Last week, I fired a few shots across the bow of my San Fransico 49ers loving wife before the NFC championship game on Jan. 19 between her team and mine, the Green Bay Packers. We all know how that one ended up, with my beloved Packers falling 37-20.
One of the editors who publishes this column wisely predicted a San Fransisco win and offered my wife a chance to write a rebuttal. Below is her response:
My husband knew before we walked down the aisle that I’m a very competitive person. He also knew I loathe Green Bay. I even wrote it into my wedding vows. I’d take him as my husband, and even if our children grew up to love the Packers, I never would.
It all started in 1997 when that cocky Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre went up against the 49ers, the team I rooted for with my father in the NFC championship. I had seen what Green Bay did to the Dallas Cowboys a year before, with the Cowboys barely squeaking by and making it to the Super Bowl in 1996 (by the way, winning their last Super Bowl title).
San Fransisco lost and the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl. The 49ers wouldn’t make it back to the NFC championship until 2012, eventually losing in the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens by three points.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I would bet it had to do with Green Bay.
Flash forward to the week leading up to the big NFC Championship between my 49ers and my husband’s Packers. Our riffing had now grown too much that Travis dressed our son that morning in a Packers shirt and hat for church.
“JT, I see you’re wearing Packers stuff,” I told him as he ate a donut.
“Yeah mom, but I’m secretly rooting for the 49ers on the inside,” he said, peering up at me under the brim of his hat.
Then, I casually mentioned to my husband that I lit one prayer candle for our team and to give me the strength to deal with a possible loss. During the service, I noticed all the candles were lit. He smiled at me afterward and advised he lit one for all his players, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
As soon as the game started that night, we were both on the couch in our respective team jerseys, and you could see the Green Bay was not off to a great start. And there I was trying to suppress my competitive nature and soothe my husband’s worries as he sank further under his Packers blanket, scarf and hat with our son sitting in his lap.
I knew he would have done the same thing for me. (She’s wrong, I wouldn’t have.)
“Hey, look that was a great play,” or, “Hey! You scored a touchdown,” even though my team still had a comfortable lead.
We’d decided earlier in the week to have a chicken wing cooking contest alongside the game, with our kids judging in a blind taste test at halftime. I won with Peanut Butter and Jelly wings, so I was now winning on all fronts.
As his wife, till death do us part, the competitive side of me needed to stop for a little bit.
I took off my jersey, told him his team could win and all would be OK because my team was young and could come back next year.
Then Packers scored a touchdown and pulled within 14 points. I promptly put the jersey back on.
In the last two minutes, it was like slow motion seeing Aaron Rodgers throw a long pass toward the end zone, a hail mary throw meant for Davante Adams and a touchdown. But future Hall of Fame corner Richard Sherman made a spectacular game-ending interception.
I could feel the color draining from my husband’s face. We sat in silence until he finally spoke.
“Well that sucked,” he said.
I let him sit in silence a little bit longer. Then, since the Super Bowl will be played in Miami this year, I turned on Will Smith’s “Miami” song, looked at him, smiled and danced out of the room.
Melissa Simpson, an award-winning former reporter from Northwest Arkansas now resides with her husband Travis, their children and enjoys cheering on her favorite local teams in the Arkansas River Valley.