Despite the team's many stumbles on the field over the several years, no other organization has seriously disputed the standing of the Dallas Cowboys as the unofficial "America's Team" of the National Football League — until now.
Based on the opinions of sports branding and marketing experts, licensed-merchandise sales, and other indicators, the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers are challenging to take away the Cowboys' hallowed standing as the favorite "second team" of football fans after their hometown squad. Or so says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a hometown paper of sorts in Wisconsin.
It isn't just the fact that the Packers remain undefeated this season, at 9-0, after Monday night's laugher over the Minnesota Vikings. Or that the team based in America's tiniest NFL hometown is being led by the mid-season favorite to win the league's MVP title, quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Or that Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has become a household name through his endorsement deals with Nike Football, Suave and Muscle Milk.
No, the Packers' rise in national renown also stems from their long recent run of success that began in the early Nineties, their status as one of the league's most hallowed and ancient franchises, the fact that they're publicly held and not ever embarrassed by a cantankerous or egocentric owner, their conscientious nurturing of the "frozen tundra" of their Lambeau Field home, and other factors.
The Packers led the league in team merchandise sold on NFLShop.com, from April through October this year. And their fans travel in extremely high numbers to away games, which they then help the Packers win with their din.
"Relative to the size of their respective media markets, coupled with the momentum the Packers have enjoyed on the field as well as glowing television ratings and league-leading merchandise sales, Green Bay is supplanting the Cowboys, especially for a new generation of football fans, as America's Team," concluded Shawn McBride, a vice president at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, a major sports-marketing and PR firm in New York, in remarks to the newspaper.
The Packers and Cowboys likely won't be able to settle this particular feud on the field this year; at least during the regular season, they don't meet. But it'll be an interesting contest in Christmas-merchandise sales.