In the time it takes to read this sentence, a wife will angrily shush her husband because Fox 11 is airing a thinkpiece about an undrafted Packers rookie who has only a slightly better chance of making the team than you do. At least one Fox Valley resident will look at his dog and wonder what sort of cheese-tinted voodoo compelled him to name it “Jermichael.” Someone, who may or may not be your author, will look at his fantasy football team chock with Packers and marvel at how his emotions are, as yet, undefeated in their long duel with sound judgement.
Packer fandom is why a toddler on my block — a female no less — is named Jordy. It’s why my future father-in-law spends every offseason weekend perfecting grill recipes. And, in the case of one Fox Valley resident, it’s why he invented “Bill the Packer Fan.”
Look up Bill the Packer Fan on Facebook, and you’ll see he’s garnered over 16,000 followers. Then amble over to his hilarious Facebook and YouTube videos to see that more than a million visitors were there before you, and wonder just what you’ve been missing. Borrowing equally from the Saturday Night Live Superfans and every Rhinelander resident you’ve ever met, Bill the Packer Fan is, without a doubt, a phenomenon that even its creator didn’t see coming.
Full disclosure: I personally know Bill the Packer Fan — or his civilian proxy, I suppose — pretty well. I even played guitar in his wedding. In giving up the backstory about Bill the Packer Fan, however, we agreed that we wouldn’t disclose his actual identity.
Affecting a faux-yooper accent, he explains Bill’s origin. “Honestly, it came from just seeing Packer fans who were around during the early Favre years. I’d mimic the way they dressed, the way they talked, the way that it was all Packers, all the time.”
The “Bill the Packer Fan” wardrobe is simple and chuckle-worthy: a furry mustache, short jean shorts, gaudy Packer gear, and an accent that would make Garrison Keillor chew his nails. All together, it works, and when he recorded his first video in December of 2013, it immediately went viral, and fame was inevitable.
Before long, Nash FM radio came calling, and Bill the Packer Fan wasn’t just a web-only curiosity. He was a featured player at Packer gamedays, got to rub hairy elbows with country stars such as Joe Nichols, and eventually became probably the most famous Packer fan this side of Justin Timberlake.
Not one to be pidgeonholed, Bill branched out. He made tons of appearances, was invited to rappel off the side of Lambeau, even parodied Eminem in one classic YouTube bit. Watch it, and I guarantee you’ll probably be a Bill the Packer Fan believer.
Thing is, its creator has reason to trust that Bill the Packer Fan’s biggest impacts are still ahead. “Not gonna lie, I just think he’s a great character. I am him, but I also like him. So I want to do more: more videos, more appearances, all of that.” He’s even careful to avoid profanity because, as he says, it doesn’t fit with the ‘church-then-Packers’ mandate he’s shooting for. “I say ‘frick’ and ‘what the crap.’ I never wanted Bill to be a dick, just a lovable Wisconsin guy.”
By that measure, he’s succeeded. His unique vocabulary, which includes Miller Lite 12-packs he calls an “A-Rodge,” and bowel movements he lovingly refers to as a “Chicago Cub,” is eminently quotable. He has new parody videos in the hopper and, as an outsider, it’s easy to see that Bill the Packer Fan isn’t limited to his green-and-gold antics. He’s even participated in charity events that have donated to children with maladies and weird senses of humor. For better or worse, Bill is all of us, and his many acts and antics reveal the honest emotions of his audience as well as those of his creator.
“Check this video out,” he instructs me, as his wife — not named Beverly, by the way, though the many online videos would suggest otherwise — rolls her eyes. “It’s to the tune of ‘Greased Lightning,’ but it’s about how fricken’ awesome Eddie Lacy is.”
His detached mustache now sits silently next to the computer keyboard, the new video is nearly ready to unleash on Packer nation, and kickoff is only days away. But there is a furry upper brow to reapply, and an A-Rodge waiting in the fridge. Bill the Packer Fan is fricken’ ready.
Read more from Tyler Sjostrom at www.thepastorskid.net.