I gotta admit – this is weird. I’ve been a Packers fan for as long as I can remember. I love the team not to torment the people around me. I love the team for their “blue collar” appeal. They are owned by the city. Season Tickets are willed from generation to generation. Football isn’t just something you watch; it is life.
Today while all my co-workers are sporting their favorite Vikings shirts -I decided to go one step further. I’m wearing my “Wentzylvania” shirt. After all – someone had to represent that other team playing for the championship. I stepped away from my usual fan-dom and decided to wear the shirt supporting the North Dakota Golden Ginger- Carson Wentz. Granted the kid is injured and won’t be there to lead his team on the field. But I wear this shirt with great pride in support of Mr. Wentz.
I will also admit that once game time is upon us I will be torn. Although Packer Green and Gold runs thru my veins I find myself secretly rooting for the other underdogs; Case Keenum, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
None of these men were top 10 draft picks. Of the three, Diggs was the only drafted player. He has a four-year $ 2.5 million contract ($227,000 guaranteed) which in this day and age, is chump change. If you compare that to Adrian Peterson’s rookie contract- it really is peanuts. Peterson signed a five-year $40.5 million contract ($17 million guaranteed). Yet Diggs has been an exceptional draft pick by the Vikings. The man is just fun to watch and produces game after game.
Then you have the two Undrafted Underdogs; Keenum and Thielen. Both men were signed as undrafted free agents. Undrafted free agents mean that not a single NFL team felt they were worthy of using a draft pick and signing them to a “big” draft contract. Keenum spent his first two years bouncing back and forth between Houston and St. Louis/LA Rams. He has had success but Keenum was never really given the long term opportunity to shine. There are stats upon stats online that show Case Keenum has had his ups and down. I can guarantee you that NO ONE except Case, his wife and God knew how good he could be…well I’m guessing his parents had a clue. What will be interesting to see is how well this 3rd string quarterback will do up against the 2nd string quarterback for the Eagles, Nick Foles. By the way- it is worth noting that Keenum was the backup to Foles in 2015/2016 when Keenum would eventually start over Foles.
Finally we have Adam Thielen; a true local legend. Adam Thielen hails from Minnesota. He grew up here; he went to college here. When he went undrafted in 2013, he decided to attend a rookie tryout and evaluation with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings singed him to a contract after that tryout. He was released but re-signed to the practice squad for the 2013 season. I can about imagine how hard he worked that year to come back and make the cut in the 2014 season. Again, there are stats upon stats to show just how talented this underdog is. He has accolades to support the statistics. You can’t help but root for a guy like this.
Yes – this die hard Packer fan is torn. I enjoy supporting the guy from North Dakota and his team of fly by night Eagles. But I also enjoy watching the no-name, blue collar guys in MN. I may wind up cheering for both teams just because I can. Regardless of who wins, it will should be a great game.