Every sports team has fans who show their allegiances in differing but enthusiastic ways. Some are boisterous and taunting, while others may be respectful yet still loud in support of their team. In fact, a visit to a game can be just as entertaining to watch the fans as it is to see the game.
In some circles of which fans are not always aware, they can be viewed by another group in ways that can help enhance a stronger home-field advantage. Those circles include the players of the team itself.
Sports Illustrated reported in its Dec. 27, 2010, issue that it recently surveyed 277 NFL players to learn their opinions of which cities they believe have the most knowledgeable fans. Based on the findings, Green Bay took the top spot with 26 percent of the vote. Pittsburgh was next with 14% of the vote and was followed by New York (9%), Philadelphia (8%), and Dallas (7%).
While Green Bay fans were voted the most knowledgeable, Packers players Donald Driver, A.J. Hawk, and Mason Crosby didn’t need a survey to tell them how dedicated their fans are.
“When you go to (community) appearances, it’s crazy how people know everyone’s stats on this team,” Driver said. “They can break down stats from when you were a rookie that you don’t even remember – but they do. That tells you how important it is and how much our fans love the players, and not just the players of the Green Bay Packers, but they know everybody around the league. I take my hat off to the Packers’ fans. That shows you the history behind when they first started here in Green Bay and how much these fans have embraced this team, both on and off the field.”
For Hawk, he has seen how wise the Packers’ fans are come gameday so the results did not surprise him.
“When you’re on the field you can tell they obviously know when to cheer on third down, when to try to help our defense out, and when to stay quiet when our offense is out there,” Hawk said. “That’s kind of the simple stuff but you can tell they understand the game and understand the different situations. It’s definitely different being here (Lambeau Field) than it is on the road at other places. I think our fans pay attention more and they’re just aware of everything a lot more than most fans.”
The dedication and loyalty seen by fans at Lambeau Field is something that surprises visiting teams and their fans. Rather than ‘clashing heads’ with the opposing team fans, Mason Crosby knows that’s just not the case for Packers fans.
“I think a lot of fans that come and watch games at Lambeau are always surprised in all reality how nice the fans are here, how they just love the game, and I think it is because of their knowledge of the game,” Crosby said. “You go to other places and fans are just yelling sometimes for the wrong reasons.
“But I think Green Bay fans do a great job. They love the game for what it is and they know about it, and they treat fans that come to watch a game in our great stadium with respect.”