Green Bay is different than other sports towns. Most people know that the team is publicly owned, the only nonprofit organization in professional sports. It's more than that. The team is an integral part of the community. If it's not the biggest employer in town, it's up there. The money the team brings in is crucial to the local economy. That's why Brown County voted for a tax increase to renovate the stadium years ago.
When I lived in Green Bay, the population was probably 85-90,000. In a town that size, you can't help running into players. I used to see players out and about all the time. I remember seeing James Lofton shopping at Kohl's. I worked at Hardee's during high school, and I remember Larry McCarren routinely coming through the drive-thru. When I would come home during college, I used to see players all the time at the few clubs we had in GB. In Green Bay, you get to interact with the players and coaches in a way you just don't see anywhere else, and it makes the bond between team and town unusually tight.
My favorite Packer story involves one of the coaches. My buddies lived next to Dick Mojoleski, the defensive line coach at the time. We were playing Trivial Pursuit one night, and for one of our sports questions, the answer was Dick Mojoleski. I don't remember the question, but I do remember our excitement. We ran next door and showed Mr. Mojoleski that he was the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. He laughed and thanked us for showing him. We told him to keep the card, and I could tell he was touched.
Everyone who has ever lived in Green Bay for any length of time has these kinds of stories. Just this morning I came across a great article written by Paul Gigot, an editor for the Wall Street Journal. He lived in GB in a different era, but his experiences are the same. Check him out, he does he a much better job of explaining the unique nature of Green Bay and its team than I do.