CAMERON: Cheeseheads, their loyalties and star QBs

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Please allow me just one week to wallow in wonder.

I shouldn’t have to ask, because a good chunk saw the same thing — but still, I admit to bias.

I’m a Green Bay Packer fan, so Sunday night’s show of combined grit and skill by Aaron Rodgers left me buzzing.

Unless you’re a Bears loyalist, you probably felt the same way.

It’s funny, because I’ve never lived nor worked full-time in Wisconsin.

My allegiance to the Pack grew out of a surprise request a quarter-century ago, when the Green Bay front office asked me to write the historic franchise’s 75th anniversary commemorative book.

I was thrilled, obviously. Talk about getting to share a huge slice of football history.

During the six months it took to finish the book, I was converted. By then, I’d already started a second book. This one was about Brett Favre — called “Huck Finn Grows Up.”

SO WHAT is it like to become part of the Cheesehead Army?

Here’s one story…

A few years later, I was working on another project and agreed to meet a family on the beach at Marco Island, Fla. I only knew one of the group and felt a little uncomfortable explaining that I was, indeed, a reputable journalist.

At that point, though, two bare-chested young men in swimming trunks came walking toward us from several hundred yards down the nearly deserted beach.

It become obvious quickly that they were also strangers to the family I had only just met myself.

Finally, when the two guys got within shouting distanced, one of them hollered: “Are you Steve Cameron?”

My heart almost stopped.

Were they delivering horrible news, or what?


It turned out they were from Wisconsin, they had somehow recognized me from a long, long way off — and wanted to meet the man who wrote the Packers anniversary book.

“I’m so upset,” one of them said. “I brought my copy with me (on vacation), but I don’t have it with me. I really wish I could have you sign it.”

In the nutshell, THAT is all you need to know about the Packers and the incredible spot they occupy in the nation’s sports landscape.

I’VE BEEN a Packer junkie since the day I started working on that first book, and in the 25 intervening years, the club has had only two regular starting quarterbacks — Favre and Rodgers.

Each has won a Super Bowl as I’ve gone giddy, but they’re so, SO different.

Favre, you know as the gunslinger in Wrangler jeans, the kid from the backwoods of Mississippi who somehow played 297 consecutive games at QB in a league that eats them for breakfast.

For all his talent and charm, though, Favre never had the pure, otherworldly ability of Aaron Rodgers.

Perhaps no one has EVER had it.

Stiill, having said that, I was ready to put my head in the oven Sunday evening, when the hated Bears led 20-0 at Lambeau Field and Rodgers came out to risk his season on a horribly sprained left knee.

His footwork was terrible and he couldn’t run.

Oh, but that arm and vision.

Somehow, Rodgers threw for 276 yards on 16 of 23 pass attempts and three touchdowns — including the final 75-yarder to Randall Cobb that ultimately handed the Pack a 24-23 victory that had looked…

Not just unlikely, but impossible.

When Rodgers, who had been carted off the field early in the second quarter, walked back to the sideline after halftime, I texted another Cheesehead to plead: “No. This game is gone. Keep No. 12 off the field. It’s only one loss in a long season.”

My buddy agreed, completely.

Neither of us, however, texted Rodgers about our theory.


Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears Wednesday through Saturday each week. Steve’s sports column runs on Tuesday.



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