Vikings or Packers? Most other years there would not even be a choice: the Packers. Always Packers. Forever Packers. Packers über alles. Supporting any other team is not even a consideration. Unless, of course, one is also a die-hard Brett Favre fan.
Tonight’s Vikings-Packers game is the epitome of Monday Night Football. It is the stuff of epic poetry and archetypal songs: a renowned hero leads a vengeful fight against those who formed his legend and then cast him out. For this season, at least, this is football’s greatest rivalry.
However, there is still the question of loyalty. This is a quandary not easily solved. In fact, for me, there is no solution. Instead, I must conspire and find a way to support both without giving one or the other precedence. Furthermore, this choice must be reflected in my own fan regalia.
First, the game-day jersey. I decide against Favre’s Packers jersey. Although it clearly combines my love of both, that time has passed and it is still too soon in the grieving process to return to that beloved piece of clothing. The next obvious choice is Favre’s Vikings jersey. Alas, it too is an impossibility: it has been on backorder everywhere since the week he signed. I am told I will have it in time for Favre’s third Super Bowl appearance at the end of this season. Another consideration: my number four New York Jets jersey. No. Favre’s tenure in New York was simply too surreal. At the end I must resort to more neutral territory and wear my Brett Favre Pro Bowl jersey. It is a respectable compromise.
Headwear is actually more of a challenge. Originally, I thought about removing the horns from my viking helmet and attaching them to the sides of my Cheesehead. This alteration, however, looked more like a strange commentary on cattle and the dairy industry, not a gesture to my football allegiances. The second idea again involved attaching the horns to the side of the Cheesehead, except that I would retain the hornless viking helmet on top of the cheese wedge. Not good. Strangely, or perhaps, not so strangely, the hornless viking cap eerily resembles a Pickelhaube, the WWI Kaiser helmet. With these modifications, the entire ensemble seemed more like a reactionary political statement about the European cheese market. Deutsche Käse über alles, indeed. So, I have settled for a far less creative approach: a viking helmet resting gently atop the cheese wedge. Or is the cheese wedge supporting the viking helmet?
Tonight, during the game, we may see some disturbing images. Images of vengeful Vikings spearing oversized wedges of yellow-orange foam cheese on their plastic broadswords. We may also witness giant, heavy cheeserounds turned up to reveal flattened Viking effigies stuck to their bottoms. Whatever happens at the game, here, in my living room, cheese wedge and Viking co-exist in harmony, mutually supporting each other in a delicate balance of love, faith, and allegiance. I have created a world where there can be no Viking without cheese wedge and no cheese wedge without Viking. A world where the horned Pickelhaube and the quarter-round foam cheese wedge are equals and live side by side in tranquil togetherness, bonded by their hate for every other team in the NFC.