During the offseason, hope burns eternal. Draft picks will turn into hall of famers, free agents will turn into cornerstone players. Much has been discussed and written about the additions to the 2021 Green Bay Packers. Even more thought has been given to the development of the returning players on the roster and who will take the next step. Any or all of these could play key roles in a championship run this year. However, it is possible that the single biggest impact to the 2021 team is the return of the Packers fans at both Lambeau Field and on the road.
The 2020 season was devoid of any fans in the stands. In Minnesota in week one, you could clearly hear everything the players said. While there was an advantage in overall communication on both sides of the ball, the lack of crowd noise and the energy they bring was noticeable throughout the season. Players in interviews talked at length about bringing their own energy but that is always easier said than done. It was apparent that the lack of fans impacted the team, particularly at home.
This season it has already been announced that Lambeau Field will be a full capacity. This is not only clearly thrilling for the Green Bay Packers fanbase, but the players as well, particularly on defense. Edge rushers Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Rashan Gary thrive when the crowds are at their loudest, feeding on the insatiable energy a packed stadium provides. Not only that but crowd noise allows them to jump snap counts and create more havoc throughout the game.
Due to the passion and sheer volume, Packer fans travel very well. So, some of the benefits of the homefield crowd often carry over to road games. Sometimes away games seem almost like unofficial home games for the Packers. It must be somewhat demoralizing for opponents to come out of their home locker room and see so much green and gold in the stands of their own stadium.
The 2021 season will be defined by the players on the field and their performance. However, the passion and dedication of the fans in the stands will only serve to provide even more motivation, energy, and drive to bring a Lombardi Trophy home to Titletown, USA.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.