It's not easy being a Vikings fan these days. The team is coming off an unbelievably disastrous season when everything that could go wrong--and even things that no one could imagine going wrong--did. The squad's gray-bearded quarterback has officially filled out his AARP membership application and is finalizing plans to buy a condo in Del Boca Vista (assuming they haven't all gone like hot cakes). The squad's young quarterback was drafted as a wide receiver and has all of two games of starting NFL experience under his belt. The Vikings current home stadium still hasn't been repaired and the chances of them getting a new one are likely equal with those of them moving the team to warmer climes.
To make matters even worse, two of their NFC North Division rivals are facing off on Sunday in the NFC Championship game (was it really a year ago that we were preparing for that?) for the right to go to the Super Bowl. The upcoming contest between the Bears and Packers has presented Vikings fans with a particular dilemma: which team should we be pulling for? In the interests of clarifying the situation and helping to reduce the cognitive dissonance that Vikings fans are currently experiencing, I will explore both sides of the matter.
Why You Should Cheer For The Packers
This argument is a relatively simple one. The higher the stage, the greater the fall. Watching the Packers lose to Arizona in the wild card round last year brought undeniable satisfaction to Vikings fans. But it was nothing compared to the boundless joy we experienced in Super Bowl XXXII when the heavily favored Packers were upset by the Broncos. Since our franchise is apparently fated to never actually win a Super Bowl ourselves, the best we can hope for is the opportunity to watch the Packers lose one.
The obvious danger in this situation is that if the Packers do beat the Bears on Sunday, it gives them the opportunity to win the Super Bowl. That is a nightmare scenario that no true Vikings fan even wants to consider. Which brings us to our second option.
Why You Should Cheer For The Bears
Vikings fans do not like the Bears or their fans. In almost any other situation, we would like nothing more than to see them fail utterly and completely on Sunday and have their Super Bowl dreams crushed with extreme prejudice. However, as with sin, there are gradients of the wrongness of cheering for another football team. And when it comes to the Packers, it is intrinsically wrong for a Vikings fans to ever wish them well. That is an absolute that is not mutable or even open for debate. It is always wrong to cheer for the Packers. Period. End of story.
Therefore, the choice for Vikings fans this weekend--as difficult and unsatisfactory as it may be--is to root for the Monsters of the Midway. It's more than a little depressing to realize that our hopes of a Packer-free Super Bowl now rest on the arm of one Jay Cutler, but it is what it is. Go Bears.
Vikings fans should also be wary to not fall for the false promise of camaraderie now being offered by some Packer fans. They're all quite giddy (drunk with excitement in addition to alcohol) about their team at the moment and are opening up the door for us to jump on their bandwagon. You must resist this temptation with all your might knowing that if the Packers do win the Super Bowl, the gloating and smugness that will ensue will be intolerable. Don't think they won't rub another Super Bowl win into your face at every opportunity. They will. And don't think they would act any differently if they were in your shoes right now. They loved watching Favre throw that pick last year in New Orleans. They howled with delight during the Vikings forty-one donut drubbing at the hands of the Giants, they laughed in our faces when Denny took a knee against the Falcons, and from painful personal experience, I know they chortled mightily when Drew Pearson pushed Nate Wright to the ground before catching the original "Hail Mary." Don't be fooled into thinking that when it comes to outcomes, Vikings-Packers is anything but a zero-sum game. When one wins, the other loses. Go Bears.
UPDATE-- Dave e-mails with more inflammatory rhetoric on why it's right to target the Packers:
I wholeheartedly agree on cheering for the Bears, and reject the argument to cheer the Packers for a personal reason-I am taking the family on a long weekend to the Wisconsin Dells next weekend, so a Packers win will put me in the heart of cheesehead-land the weekend before the Super Bowl. The thought of what is supposed to be a relaxing weekend by the pool instead filled with Packer jerseys all around, Packer pep fests on the TV, and Packer flags on every vehicle is enough to make me wonder if I can get my deposit back, and besides, Wisconsin isn't (yet) a conceal carry state.