The Glorious Anachronism

I don’t care whether or not you support them or even want them to win the playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.

One of the great virtues of America is that there is a professional football team in Green Bay, Wis. It’s still possible! The country still has just a speck of respect for tradition left. Green Bay never lost its team, as did Canton, Decatur, Hammond, Kenosha, Muncie, Rochester, Columbus, Rock Island, Dayton and Toledo. The Packers were founded in 1919, didn’t finagle their way into what is now the NFL until 1921, and … somehow … never left.

The Packers are publicly owned. They play in a stadium named for a coach nicknamed “Curly.” That was Earl Louis Lambeau, who last coached the Pack in 1949. He was a Green Bay native. He both played for and coached the team for 11 years and won six championships, the same as George Halas. The team is named the Packers because the Indian Packing Company earned the original “naming rights” by donating $500 to pay for the uniforms. Green Bay’s team could have just as easily been named Indians, one would think.

Anachronism? Anachronism? (I’m thinking Jim Mora here.)

Having a team in Green Bay, Wis., is about the same as having a team in Spartanburg, S.C., which is doing all right, by the way, because the Carolina Panthers train there.

How did they manage to keep their team? Having the stockholders in town certainly helped. The Packers have actually grown closer to the town, having played a few games in Milwaukee each season until 1995.

Today, though, when the 49ers get dressed and walk onto Lambeau Field with a temperature of 3 degrees and wind making it feel like -17, Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh have to be thinking, at some level, why in hell are we here?

If Green Bay wins, that might be one of the reasons.

I’m not a Packers fan, or, at least, they have never been my favorite team. Like most football fans who do not live in, say, Chicago, I revere the Green Bay Packers for their very existence as much as for their success, remarkable as it is.

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