In recent weeks, a common question for Packers fans is whether they'll be rooting for or against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs. Opinions vary, but there's one area of general agreement: Vikings fans are arrogant.
First, let's get a read on Packers fans. Their team has won 12 NFL championships, four in the Super Bowl era. During the lean years, fans remained admirably loyal, and Lambeau Field tickets remain among the league's hardest to get.
The history of the Vikings, meanwhile, is pockmarked with one disappointment after another. Start with the four Super Bowl losses of the '70s. Add the 1999 debacle at the Metrodome, when the Vikings entered the NFC championship game with a 16-1 record and the NFL's most potent offense but lost to Atlanta when kicker Gary Anderson choked on a 38-yard game-winner near the end of regulation.
And then there's the 41-0 humiliating loss to New York in the 2001 NFC championship game and the "love boat" sex scandal involving more than a dozen players, hired women and rented vessels.
It's this history that leads many native Minnesotans to almost apologize when asked if they back the Vikings. "I might try to catch some of it," we answer when asked about Sunday's NFC championship game against New Orleans.
We're not being arrogant when we pooh-pooh the enthusiasm of our counterparts in Green Bay or take comfort in their team's misfortunes. We're just trying to insulate ourselves from the disappointment that seems as inevitable as road salt and potholes.