Sports

Are the Green Bay Packers the New "America's Team"

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

For years the Dallas Cowboys have held the title as "America's Team." But now it appears the Green Bay Packers are taking a run at the mantle.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out that since 2000 the Cowboys are just a .500 team while the Packers are 105-71, are coming off a Super Bowl win and are cruising with a 9-0 record this season.

"For a lot of fans around the country, we are their second favorite team," said Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.

Murphy points to a November 6 game in San Diego in which half of the crowd was rooting for the Packers instead of the hometown Chargers.

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"It was an unbelievable crowd," Murphy said. "At every stop we make, there are fans at the hotel, fans at the stadium, fans at the pep rallies."

A recent Harris Interactive Poll still found the Cowboys as the favorite NFL team. The Packers finished third, also behind the Steelers.

However the Packers' popularity is on the rise.

"There is no doubt the small-town, community-owned Green Bay Packers are the new darlings of the NFL," said Michael Neuman, managing partner of Scout Sports and Entertainment in New York. "In the ever-growing disparity between small-market and big-market teams across professional sports, the Packers are becoming the team America is rooting for."

That can be seen in merchandising. Between April and October the Packers led the league in team merchandise sold on NFL.com, with Aaron Rodgers the top-selling jersey and Clay Matthews third.

They are also big online.

"Over the past year, in fact, Dallas and Green Bay are 1-2 in terms of the most trafficked teams on ESPN.com, not including ESPNDallas.com, which obviously has significant reach with Cowboys fans," said Patrick Stiegman, now vice president and editor-in-chief of ESPN.com. "Both drive tens of millions of page views to our national site, and stories on the two teams consistently rank among the most commented upon pieces across all of our NFL coverage."

So when asked if he thinks the Packers should be termed "America's Team," Murphy, the team CEO, said, "I think so."