Packers Need to Put "Fun" in Dysfunction

Before I get into today’s blog, I need to mention something: A couple of weeks ago I wrote here that neither Charter Cable nor Dish Network carry the NFL Network, which is televising exclusively a Packer/Viking game on December 21, 2006. Actually, the NFL Network is available on Dish Network, but only as part of some of their more comprehensive (read: expensive) packages. The NFL Network remains completely unavailable on Charter. Now on to today’s sports blog goodness:

It’s tough for Green Bay Packer fans to admit that the Minnesota Vikings are better at anything. The reverse is also true, but Viking fans are wary to get into any of those “my team is better than your team” arguments because they know that Packer fans hold the ultimate trump card (i.e, championships) in those debates.

But one area where the Vikings have always had it over the Packers is turmoil, a fact never more obvious than in 2005, a year that started with the Randy Moss “mooning” incident and ended with the firing of embattled coach Mike Tice. That year also saw the trading of Moss, Tice’s ticket-scalping fiasco, and most famously, the “Love Boat” scandal that saw four Vikings charged with indecent conduct and lewdness related to alleged sexual activities on board a Lake Minnetonka cruise ship. The Vikings were often mediocre on the field, but give them credit for being endlessly fascinating off of it.

Now, unfortunately for Midwest sports writers, that seems to be changing. Moss is long gone, his football and scandal career having since significantly slowed. After losing much goodwill with the Minnesota public following his part in the sex cruise (although indecency charges against him have recently been dropped) and reports that he was rehabilitating his devastating 2005 injury in a Florida Wal-Mart parking lot rather than a state-of-the-art NFL facility, Daunte Culpepper is also gone. New head coach Brad Childress is reportedly running tough, productive practices, and the team seems to be shedding its aura of cheapness and incompetence, shelling out big bucks for desired free agents and hosting visits from some of the most desirable players in this year’s upcoming NFL draft (the most recent being Texas QB Vince Young).

Meanwhile, as the Vikings appear to be running efficiently, the Packers seem to be an organization lost. Instead of working to turn itself around following last year’s abysmal 4-12 campaign, Green Bay hired a woefully inexperienced head coach, lost some fine free agents (Antonio Chatman and Ryan Longwell to division rivals, no less!), is again forced to deal with a star player’s trade demands, and has shown no eagerness to spend money on quality veteran free agents like Charles Woodson or Levar Arrington despite being way under the salary cap. These not-insignificant problems seem like afterthoughts though when compared to the ever-increasingly bizarre situation with Brett Favre, who with each passing day of indecision is losing more and more of the enormous goodwill he has built up with Packer fans. But Packer fans shouldn’t be as frustrated with Favre as they should be with GM Ted Thompson for letting Favre hold the team hostage.

But if the Packers are trying to become as dysfunctional as the Vikings have been, they have a lot to learn. Brett Favre’s indecisiveness and Javon Walker’s unhappiness aren’t embarrassing enough. Leno and Letterman aren’t going to work Walker’s contractual demands into their nightly monologues, and Favre’s waiting game isn’t going to be immortalized as a Milwaukee Brewer giveaway promotional item, as the Vikings sex cruise has been by the minor league St. Paul Saints.

Only a scandal of “Love Boat” proportions could spice up what is looking to be an uneventful and unsuccessful year from the Green and Gold. Come on, Packers, learn a lesson from the Vikings: If you’re not going to be good, can’t you at least be interesting?

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