There is no other TitleTown USA
Green Bay native John Anderson makes his case for Greeen Bay as the one and only TitleTown USA.
The city of Green Bay, Wis., is fortunate to have two prestigious nicknames attached to it -- TitleTown USA and Toilet Paper Capital of the World.
I'm certain, based on its 12 NFL championships and a nearly equal number of tissue mills lining the Fox River to supply America's bathrooms, that neither claim can be seriously challenged by another municipality. But space on Green Bay's city limit signs allows only so much room for civic pride, and thus football gets first billing.
It also gets a lot of play in the local Yellow Pages, as TitleTown is used in the name of no fewer than 27 businesses.
The business of arguing anything in sports is all about perspective.
Having held season tickets to Packers games since before I was a student at Vincent T. Lombardi Junior High School, my perspective of Green Bay comes from Section 104, Row 51, Seats 35-36 at Lambeau Field.
There is a mystique that goes with all that winning, as well as a windchill: The Ice Bowl; Frozen Tundra; Favre's visible breath as he shouted out signals on a December Sunday afternoon. Winter has done wonders to make Green Bay famous.
And though the sheer volume of snow, world titles, legendary players and coaches (the Super Bowl trophy is named after our coach, for goodness' sakes) in franchise history are enough to ensure Green Bay's rightful place as TitleTown USA, the case is far more complex.
The green and golden age of the Packers under Lombardi serendipitously coincided with the growth of television. A combination that both grew the National Football League into a power and changed the way this country spent its Sundays.
Under the NFL's old blackout rules that prevented showing the home team's home games in its home market, those fans instead usually got to watch the powerhouse team from the little town in northeast Wisconsin. The Packers were gaining fans from across the United States as they pummeled opponent after opponent. TV in the '60s helped reinforce Green Bay as TitleTown, and the perception continues to this day.
Recounting a conversation I've had a thousand times in my life:
Stranger: "Where are you from?"
Anderson: "Green Bay, Wisconsin."
Stranger: "You must be a big Packers fan."
It's why the smallest city to boast a professional sports franchise (pop. 100,353) doesn't suffer from a Napoleon complex or feel the insecure need to make up some sort of pseudo-sovereign state. Listen, Boston, when you have fans all over the nation, there is no need to declare yourself one -- although Red Sox Nation does sound a lot better than Beantown!
As for New York, it chose to cast its nickname lot with the Big Apple and the City that Doesn't Sleep.
Wake up, Gotham, all those baseball pennants are nice, but baseball, still archaically referred to as the national pastime, has become passÚ. The NFL dwarfs MLB in popularity, and the Packers continue to be one of the league's most popular teams along with it.
Besides, which team are you rooting for? Are you rooting for the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Giants and Jets (and the latter two teams actually play in New Jersey)?
Same goes for Chicago and Los Angeles. Where's your allegiance?
Green Bay's has been with the Packers since 1919. To outsiders, we might be a one-horse town of cheese-wedge-wearing simpletons, but we're also simply a one-team town.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Tigers get Price in 3-way deal with Rays, M's
- Kershaw throws CG, extends win streak to 10
- Seahawks' Lynch at camp after ending holdout
- Red Sox trade Lester to A's for Cespedes
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
"SportsCenter" will announce the winner Monday, July 28, during the 6 p.m. show.TitleTown USA
Nothing small about sports in Valdosta, Ga.
Fans singing New York, N.Y.
TitleTown follows Cardinal rules
Lawrence, Kan., rocks as it chalks up recent title
TitleTown in the Windy City
Parkersburg, W.V., challenges for TitleTown
Tennessee's kinship with titles anything but rocky
Pittsburgh bleeds black, gold and titles
Cross the Golden Gate Bridge into TitleTown
Ann Arbor is a ... TitleTown
Chapel Hill's trophy case makes rivals blue with envy
L.A. walks, talks, acts like TitleTown
Boston has recent success, history
Detroit is a hockey, baseball, basketball town
Gators swim in success
Green Bay won't give up TitleTown
Louisville tries to slug its way to title
This TitleTown belongs to the Little Leaguers
Massillon, Ohio, earns title stripes in football
ESPN writers, announcers
Green Bay: There is no other TitleTown USA
Chicago: The real TitleTown USA
Three words make L.A. TitleTown
Pittsburgh: So good, they donate champions
Four in nine makes San Antonio TitleTown USA
Other fan submission
Artesia, N.M., lives high school football
Iowa City's hopes pinned on wrestling
Long Beach tries to spike competition
South Bend has golden dreams
List of TitleTown USA nominees
- Fathead Darren Sharper Wall Graphic