Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Green Bay Packers and the Curse of the Packalope

Tee Bee over at Guide to Midwestern Culture has been keeping an eye on the story of the Packalope, whose distinctive headgear has been banned from Lambert, I mean Lambeau Field, because his antlers, according to Green Bay officials, fall under the "anything that can be used as a weapon" category."

The ban was announced in August. The Packalope, whose real name is Larry Primeau, has had a tough go of it recently. Visiting his web site, I learned Primeau's wife passed away last November.

The Green Bay Packers have had a terrible 2005. Does this have anything to do with the Packalope's symbolic beheading? Primeau became the Packalope in 1990. Below are the year-by-year records for the Green Bay Packers since then.

1990 6 10 0 4th NFC Central --
1991 4 12 0 4th NFC Central --
1992 9 7 0 2nd NFC Central --
1993 9 7 0 3rd NFC Central Lost Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys)
1994 9 7 0 2nd NFC Central Lost Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys)
1995 11 5 0 1st NFC Central Lost Conference Championship (Cowboys)
1996 13 3 0 1st NFC Central Won Super Bowl XXXI
1997 13 3 0 1st NFC Central Lost Super Bowl XXXII (Broncos)
1998 11 5 0 2nd NFC Central Lost Wild Card Playoffs (49ers)
1999 8 8 0 4th NFC Central --
2000 9 7 0 3rd NFC Central --
2001 12 4 0 2nd NFC Central Lost Divisional Playoffs (Rams)
2002 12 4 0 1st NFC North Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Falcons)
2003 10 6 0 1st NFC North Lost Divisional Playoffs (Eagles)
2004 10 6 0 1st NFC North Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Vikings)
*2005 2 8 0 4th NFC North --

Interesting. Since the ban, the Packers have been stinking up the NFL; they're in the basement of the weak NFC North Division. Coincidence? Maybe not.

The Chicago Cubs have the "Curse of the Billy Goat," brought on, it's alleged, by Cubs security's decision to throw William "Billy Goat" Sianis and his pet goat out of Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series.

The Cubs haven't been back to the World Series since.

This afternoon, the Packers play the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are heavily favored.

Oh, I have my own Packalope story. In 2003, I ran in the Green Bay Marathon. It's a good race. Around the third mile, offering encouragement and giving "high fives" was the Packalope. I'm sure he wasn't being paid for that appearance, he was out there, I guess, because he's a decent, fun-loving guy who genuinely likes people.

The world needs more Packalopes.

About the Green Bay Marathon: Like all marathons, there was plenty of water and Gatorade at the finish line of the event. But this race also has beer and bratwursts awaiting the thirsty and hungry marathoners.

Only in Wisconsin.

UPDATE 7:00 PM: The Curse continues. The Eagles defeated the Packers today, 19-14. The Pack is assured of its first losing season since 1992.

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