Wed, Dec 11, 2019

Filled with cold-weather teams that are rich in history and tradition, and have bitter rivals within the division, the teams of the NFC North vary in franchise success but fans stay fiercely loyal to their team and show up to support them no matter the weather or conditions. 

The fans take their team pride, and their food, seriously and from cheeseheads to construction hats, they have unique ways to show it. 

As part of our Stadium Series, here is a look at what game days look like for fans of teams in the NFC North.

Packers

The Green Bay Packers have one of, if not the, most historic and iconic franchises in the NFL, I mean the trophy is named after their former coach. 

Lambeau Field holds almost as many people as the city itself and as the home to the only publicly owned team in the league, the fans have an extra special connection to it. 

Inside the stadium, you see a sea of cheeseheads. Real commitment to a certain food is wearing it as an accessory, and that’s just what Packers fans do. 

There’s a constant underlying murmur of “GO PACK GO” in unmistakable midwestern accents in the background of every game day. 

Walking into the stadium you can feel the history and usually, you can feel really, really cold weather as well. From Vince Lombardi to a history of elite quarterbacks and rivalries that are nearly as old as the league itself, fans embrace the long culture of the franchise. 

After a touchdown, the stadium plays “Bang On the Drum All Day” and fans say you can’t help but dance. As of this year, they also have lights go on and off to celebrate as well. Of course, the most famous touchdown celebration at Lambeau, and possibly the entire league, is the Lambeau Leap and players take full advantage of their chance to do it if they score.

Fans say the players feed off their energy and give it back to them with the celebrations. What some may seem as unsportsmanlike or too showy the fans know are just ways to involve the fans and give them something to cheer for. 

Getting into the stadium as a season ticket holder is very important to fans, and the waiting list is ridiculously long. Many Packers fans put their newborns on the list right away so they will have a better chance of getting the opportunity to buy season tickets as adults. 

It also still has aluminum benches with no back as seating in rows 1-60 all around the stadium rather than more modern seats. 

Tailgate:

Tailgating before home Packers games is a lot different than most stadiums. 

A lot of the pre-game festivities are done in garages that turn into living rooms and bars. Fans welcome other fans into their homes for cheese curds, beef jerky and a bevy of Wisconsin beers. The garages and homes also offer a lot more warmth than lawn chairs and open trunks, and in Green Bay winters that’s a plus. 

The team recently added the Johnsonville Tailgate Village for fans who do not have cooking equipment, making sure they can get in on the fun as well.

During training camp, fans love the tradition of “big guys on little bikes” with the team riding in on small bicycles. 

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears, or “Da Bears” as many say (usually people who are not Bears fans) are another team with rich NFL history. 

The fans describe themselves as hard-working and loyal to the team no matter what. When the calendar turns to August, Chicago becomes a football town and talk of the team is heard throughout the city. 

The fans of Chicago are known for supporting their teams no matter what (see: Chicago Cubs) and this team is no different. 

The group has had ups and downs throughout their franchise but fans endure the cold weather, throw on a bear mask and root for their team. 

They had the second most winning coach in NFL history in George Halas who had 324 wins.

And speaking of coaches, one of their most recognizable, and the one people often dress up as in the stands is former head coach Mike Ditka.

The original columns remained after the 2002 renovations and give the stadium a unique look, many fans refer to the stadium now as “New Soldier Field.” The stadium is dedicated to the men and women of the armed services.

Located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago the city skyline and the Michigan River can be seen from the stadium, providing a great backdrop to the game.

You will not find cheerleaders on the sidelines of a home Bears game, they are one of the few teams in the league without them. 

You might find people still doing The Super Bowl Shuffle which still synonymous with the team and brings back memories the 1985 team, who went on to win the Super Bowl

Now fans sing along to “Bear Down” as it plays in the stadium after any Bears points are scored. 

Tailgating:

It doesn’t matter if it is freezing out, what the windchill is or if it’s a blizzard, fans will be outside embracing the conditions and preparing food. Bratwursts, Chicago style hot dogs and polishes are on the menu at these pregame parties. 

Fans can also eat at Ditka’s restaurant and be fully immersed in sports memorabilia. 

Division rivalries are very real in the NFC North and you can probably hear fans talking about how much they hate the Packers on any given day. 

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are another team that embraces the cold weather. The fans love bundling up and tailgating outside even in the most extreme conditions. 

U.S. Bank Stadium is immediately a unique experience from the second you walk up to it. In front of the stadium, there is a giant Vikings ship that lets you know you’re in SKOL country. 

Speaking of SKOL, the chant is one of the most recognizable elements of the franchise and comes from Swedish, Danish and Norwegian word “Skål” which was used as a way of saying “Cheers.”

The stadium is was built in 2016, and they made it a fully immersive experience that is sensory overload for fans. 

There is local art, the fight song made into the logo, a cartoon-inspired wall, a fire breathing dragon, and many more pieces from artists, and former players and former coaches. 

The history of Minnesota is also represented in the stadium and they built it by using all materials from the state. To include high school teams, they put a helmet from each Minnesota school on a giant wall. 

Ahead of games, the Gjallarhorn sounds off by a special guest to get fans ready for the action.

In the stands, fans are of course clapping and chanting “SKOL,” wearing Vikings hats and singing the fight song after a touchdown is scored. The glass of the dome gives the illusion of playing outside and helps keep the stadium warm. 

Fans reminisce of the great defensive line the Purple People Eaters and are happy anytime they beat the New Orleans Saints or their division rivals. 

Tailagte:

The team has never won a Super Bowl, but the loyal fans are ever hopeful and couldn’t dream of supporting another team. Proud in purple they flood the parking lots to party before games. 

A famous Vikings tailgating group is the “Viking World Order.” They ordain fans as Vikings and even include ex-players. 

They have coined “Minnesota nice” and will welcome any visitors from opposing teams to their tailgate. 

Detroit Lions:

Detroit Lions fans have a “Detroit vs. Everybody” attitude and for them, it is about representing the city, not just the team. “One Pride” is another one of their slogans that represents the mindset of the team and the fans. 

They have no Super Bowl appearances, had an 0-16 season, but they still pack Ford Field to cheer on the Lions. 

The stadium aims to be fan-friendly and every year provides a new menu to give game-goers a variety of options. 

Fans are proud of their blue-collar town in the rust belt and are often seen wearing construction helmets with Lions logos to games. 

One of the biggest traditions for the Lions is their Thanksgiving game that occurs every year. Fans say when the Thanksgiving food hits the table, no matter what the record is, they’re excited to watch the long-time tradition and support their squad. 

Ford Field captures the city and mimics a factory. The steelworks and white out class honors the Ford and automotive legacy and the exposed brick flows with the look of Detroit. 

After a touchdown, they play the fight song, “Gridiron Heroes” to get the fans pumped up. In honor of their head coach Matt Patricia and his iconic look, the screen shows a beard, pencil and headset to put over fan’s faces on the big screen. 

Tailgate:

Many fans tailgate at Eastern Market, which is the oldest farmers market in the United States. Coney dogs are one of the tailgate essentials. 

The stadium is right downtown, which not every fan base can say, and the location allows for a different tailgate experience. People are really getting the full city experience when they head to a game. 

Banner Content

0 Comments

Leave a Comment