Packers fans and Vikings fans never will agree on much. They’re allied on a distaste for the Bears and Cowboys. They like a beer (OK, plural) at the game. And that’s about it.
But one can’t help but think the two fan bases are growing closer thanks to the common bond of misery. Green Bay is catching up to Minnesota in gut-punching playoff losses. If we start from the 1998 season and stop Sunday, the Packers and their fans might have had it even worse than the Vikings — hard to believe, considering Green Bay has a Super Bowl victory in that span and the Vikings have had such well-documented heartbreak. But consider:
Worst of the worst: This generation of Vikings fans can point to three games when it comes to true pain. Those would be the NFC title game losses in 1998, 2000 and 2009 — overtime losses, heartbreaking in their own ways, forming the bread for a 41-donut sandwich.
Packers fans, though, have Sunday’s unfathomable meltdown in Seattle; they have the NFC title game in Brett Favre’s final year (2007) in Green Bay — an overtime loss at home to the Giants; they have an overtime loss to the Eagles in the divisional round after Freddie Mitchell’s fourth-and-26 grab in 2003; they have Steve Young to Terrell Owens with 8 seconds left in 1998.
Cumulative effect: The Packers have been to the playoffs 12 times since 1998; the Vikings have gone just seven times in that span. Aside from the Vikings’ Big Three losses, the others have been pretty nondescript.
We haven’t even mentioned the Packers’ OT loss in 2009 at Arizona (four of their past 12 seasons have ended with OT playoff losses), or a 15-1 season in 2011 derailed by a home loss to the Giants, or last year’s home loss to the 49ers, when Green Bay came within a fingertip of blocking the winning field goal attempt.
Blow for blow: Both teams have had 15-1 seasons come up short of the Super Bowl. Both have had their final offensive play of an overtime NFC title game loss end in a Favre interception. Each team beat the other once in the playoffs in this span. The Vikings won at Lambeau when Randy Moss mooned the crowed. The Packers won at Lambeau when Joe Webb had to play QB.
Maybe the Packers’ Super Bowl win four years ago and greater history of success makes all of this recent heartbreak easier for fans to take than the Vikings’ legacy of doom.
Or maybe the question of “which fan base has had it worse” is just another thing about which Vikings fans and Packers fans can disagree.