GREEN BAY—The question was intended to jump-start an Avenger-themed, Marvel Comics-type family Halloween outing back in 2012.
“Who’s your favorite superhero?” Ernie Stevens asked his then 4-year-old son Daniel. The lad thought about it for a moment and then piped up with, “Aaron Rodgers.”
Caught off-guard slightly, his dad replied, “OK, that works.”
And so began the process of putting on the No. 12 Packers jersey over a set of youth la crosse pads, then adding the football pants and helmet and some of mom’s eyeliner for Rodgers’ goatee.
Young Daniel went so far as to mimic a diving, somersault-like Rodgers touchdown run in the living room, after which he hopped up off the floor and did the quarterback’s famous “belt” celebration.
That snapshot will now grace roughly 80,000 tickets for the Packers’ home game against Detroit on Sunday, Dec. 28, the 2014 regular-season finale.
Stevens entered the photo in the “Packers Ticket Takeover Contest,” which received more than 8,000 entries. The top five, as chosen by Packers officials, were then posted on packerseverywhere.com, and Stevens’ shot of Daniel was chosen the winner amongst 22,000 fan votes.
Told by his dad recently that his picture won the contest, the now 6-year-old Daniel responded with, “Cool,” which matches his most common description of Rodgers.
Stevens will receive two tickets to the Detroit game, but he won’t need the plane tickets that would have gone to an out-of-town winner. The family lives on Green Bay’s west side, a mere six minutes from Lambeau Field.
It’s fitting the tickets are for the Lions game because that’s the opponent Daniel saw at Lambeau last season, the first time the Oneida Turtle Elementary School kindergartner got to watch his hero in action.
He didn’t wear the entire Halloween get-up to the game, but the costume won’t soon be forgotten.
“We didn’t just dress him up. He really wanted to do that because he thinks Rodgers is so cool and he looks up to him as a role model,” Stevens said.
“There are so many athletes out there kids look up to that I wouldn’t want my kids looking up to. With Rodgers, I take pride in him being a Packer, because he is that role model. He’s just that kind of guy.”
That night two Halloweens ago truly was a family outing. Daniel’s older brother, Ernest, has long hair and went as Clay Matthews with the jersey and eye black.
Stevens regretted he didn’t have a really good photo of his two sons together that night. Some turned out a little fuzzy and dark, but the one of Daniel was good enough to submit for the contest.
“Going around trick-or-treating, he was a big hit,” Stevens said. “People were high-fiving him, and he was getting a lot of attention. He was a little mini-celebrity.”
He’ll be a slightly bigger one on Dec. 28.
“We asked him, do you understand, this picture is going to be on 80,000 tickets?” Stevens said. “He just smiled. I don’t think he understands just how cool it is.”
To view the photos of all five finalists, click here.