What will you be watching most closely in the preseason?
History of “Packer Preview”
For the past 21 years I have hosted “Packer Preview,” Sunday mornings during the NFL season on KFAN, the flagship station of the Minnesota Vikings.
Ours is the first and only show in America to be heard on an arch rival’s flagship station.
I first pitched the idea to KFAN in the summer of ’95, after moving to the Twin Cities from Chicago. I was handling sports updates and filling in for vacationing hosts and had begun a new Sunday morning show called “In the Zone,” along with former Gopher, NY Knick and Chicago Bull, Trent Tucker.
KFAN management laughed and told me the Vikings station couldn’t possibly air a Packers show. But when the team moved to WCCO following the ’95 season, I approached the station again and this time they gave me the green light.
“Packer Preview” debuted in 1996, Sundays at 9am, and the Pack went on to win Super Bowl XXXI. When the station won back the rights to the Vikings four years later I thought my run was done. But by then we had quite a following and were allowed to stay on the air, albeit one hour earlier, at 8am.
Most folks can’t believe there’s a market for a Packers show on the Vikings station, but the Pack has long been one of the most popular teams in the Twin Cities. You can’t find an office or a neighborhood without at least one Green & Gold devotee. Besides, it allowed KFAN hosts to tell callers who want to talk about their favorite team to call in on my show on Sundays.
The highlight of the first five years of “Packer Preview” was the prediction segment with my 90-something Grandma Dorothy, a devoted fan who would tape the games so she could watch them in the spring when she missed football. She never warmed up to Brett Favre: said he threw too many interceptions. She passed away on the eve of the Packers-Vikings game at the Metrodome in 2000. The next day, Ahman Green ran wild and the Pack won a rare game in the Twin Cities. I believe she had something to do with that.
When she passed, I turned to my youngest Packer fan relative: nephew Sam from Bayside, WI, who handled the job for seven seasons. He has passed the baton to younger brother Zach. Eleven-year-old Zach took over till he turned 13. Now my ten year old son Jackson is in his second season as Packer prognosticator. Though he's a dreaded Vikings fan, he has been pretty accurate in his predictions.
Finally, a nod to longtime “Packer Preview” caller “Corey from Milwaukee.” Over the years, I could count on him and “Dave from Shakopee” to be holding on the line before the show started. Corey always began his call with “Good morning Mr. Head Cheese…” That led me to adopt the moniker that adorns this site.