America is a fat country. Now, I am not trying to ruffle feathers here, but it is true. We are fat. Much fatter than most, actually. Recent polls suggest that nearly a quarter of the country is overweight. And, I get to say this–I am fat, too! The root of this issue is not hard to pin down either–American’s spent nearly $350 billion dollars on fast food in 2021. Staggering, right? $45 Billion of that was on pizza alone. Ah, pizza, my doughy delicious secret lover. Did you know 350 slices of pizza are consumed in American every second of every day. Not minute. SECOND. Perhaps that’s because there are 75,000 pizza restaurants in America. There are 300,000 churches. What does any of this have to do with football? Absolutely nothing. But, it is the dark outer reaches of the offseason, Packers news is more scarce than baby formula, and I am bored, so I thought we would compare all the teams in the NFC North to national pizza chains. Ya know, for s’s and g’s. Good hell, Packers training camp can’t get here soon enough!
A Quick Note From The Author
We are going to talk a lot about pizza today (a subject I know way too much about!). One pizza brand we will not be mentioning though is Domino’s Pizza. This is not over fear of legal retribution, I can assure you. No, dear reader, we won’t be talking about Domino’s for one simple reason–Domino’s pizza is hot garbage. Domino’s is essentially the WalMart of pizza. Pizza for the absolute lowest common denominator. Pizza for people who find Jay Leno funny. If you want a true representation of this country’s ever sinking collective IQ, just know that Domino’s pizza is the number one pizza company in America, and it’s not particularly close. Mind you, this is a company that recently ran an entire ad campaign readily admitting that their pizza was awful, they knew it was awful, and that they knew that you knew it was awful. Let that sink in. On with the article.
Chicago Bears–The Godfather’s Pizza of the NFC North
When I am feeling down about the state of this world, or something at work has got me feeling blue, you know what I do to cheer myself up? I look at lists ranking the all time greatest Chicago Bears quarterbacks. That always brings a smile to my chubby face. Quarterback–ya know, the most important position on the field. The position that has somehow eternally eluded our artery-clogged chums to the south. To say the Bears arrow has been pointing down since the late 80’s is an insult to the word down. The Bears trajectory since 1990 has mirrored that of the initial drop on the Intimidator 305 roller coaster at the King’s Dominion theme park. You know what else was huge in the 1980’s but is virtually extinct today–Godfather’s Pizza. You remember Godfather’s Pizza, right? The goofy logo. The crazy white Coca Cola cups with the cheap plastic handles? The ridiculous commercials with the fake mob boss that would usually run during episodes of The People’s Court? Fun fact–The Chicago Bears were the first team in the NFL. They are preparing (I use that term extremely loosely) to take the field this fall for what will be their 102nd season as a professional football team (being super loose with terms today). 102 years. And a whopping 1 Super Bowl ring to show for it. The Bears relationship with winning championships is akin to A.C. Green’s relationship to sex while he played for the Lakers. When you boil down the Bears downright ineptitude over the years, you tend to see the culprit for their flaccidity–inept leadership. Another thing they have in common with Godfather’s Pizza. It’s kinda apropos to compare the Bears floundering football organization to a pizza chain though–Most Bears fans look like they are about a half a slice away from an emergency visit to their cardiologist. You know, the more I look at the Godfather’s spokesman, in a way, he kinda looks like Mike Ditka. Long story short–The Bears suck. Let’s move on.
Detroit Lions–The Little Caesar’s Pizza of the NFC North
Weird fact about most American pizza chains–most of them have ties to Michigan for some odd reason. But, of all these dough-tossers that claim full (or partial) Motor City cred, I feel Little Caesar’s captures the complete also-ran status of the Detroit Lions best. Nobody hates Little Caesar’s pizza. And, quite honestly, nobody really hates the Detroit Lions. Whether I trained my brain to do this, or it just comes naturally, each year when the NFL schedule is announced and I get my first look at it, my eyes automatically skip the Lions game. It’s like my eyes are so bored by the thought of beating Detroit that they resist wasting the time to even communicate those words to my brain. There is just nothing exciting about beating the Lions. Nothing memorable about the numerous wins we have logged against Detroit over the years. Bland. Unoriginal. Like, the games are missing an ingredient or two. That’s Little Caesar’s pizza in a nutshell. You never really regret getting Little Caesar’s for dinner. It’s something to be gobbled up, disposed of, and quickly forgotten. Just like a Lions game. True story–I was in Detroit for business a few years back. Had tickets to a Lions game. Stopped to get gas just outside of Ford Field. Left the game tickets sitting on my passenger seat. I was in the gas station for maybe three minutes. When I returned to my rental car, the passenger window was smashed and somebody had left an additional two tickets to the Lions game. Detroit is a rough and gritty town. Coincidentally, “rough” and “gritty” are two words most often used to describe Little Caesar’s pizza. It’s also fitting that Little Caesar’s is the #4 pizza chain in America, just like how the Lions find themselves in fourth place of the NFC North year after year. The Lions are the buddy you would feel totally fine letting hang out with your girlfriend while you were out of town. They are not a threat. They never have been. They never will be. The Lions are the ne’er-do’well alcoholic brother of the NFC North. And everybody knows Little Caesar’s taste better if you are hammered. Hand meet glove.
Minnesota Vikings–The California Pizza Kitchen of the NFC North
Man, where do you even start with the Minnesota Vikings? The Orgy Boat fiasco? The unfortunate Korey Stringer situation? Their owner’s creepy-ass moustache? The Vikings are the NFL version of that hand-drawn horse meme that starts out so professional, but in the last two panels looks like a mentally disturbed child’s art project. Minnesota is a choose your own adventure book where every variable conclusion ends with you tripping over a conch shell and falling into an active volcano. Bet you didn’t know that the Vikings were the first NFL team to launch their own proprietary app! California Pizza Kitchen was the first pizza chain to put lettuce on a pizza pie! Two titans of truly useless innovation. Most pizza chains are started by chefs. California Pizza Kitchen was launched by lawyers. Conversely, most NFL teams are founded by former players/coaches. The Minnesota Vikings trace their origins to a few unscrupulous Minneapolis businessmen. California Pizza Kitchen found delivering pizza’s to be too much of a hassle, and opted for a dine-in experience instead. The Vikings found playing outdoors to be too much of nuisance and pivoted to a dome stadium in 1981. The Minnesota Vikings and California Pizza Kitchen–Microsoft Zunes in a world of Apple iPods. A sales pitch without a product. A six that thinks it is a nine.
The NFL realigned conferences in 2002, eschewing Tampa Bay out of the NFC North (a place it truly never belonged), and creating the NFC North that we know today. In the twenty years since realignment, the Packers have won the North division title 12 times. The other three teams (again, using the term super loosely) have won the North championship belt a whopping 8 times COMBINED. Two of those seasons, Green Bay was without the services of their 4 time MVP quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. I guess what I am trying to say here is that Green Bay isn’t a pizza chain. They are the entire pizza pie itself. The rest of the north is just the crust. And the crust is the worst part of the pizza (just stop reading right now if you are one of those perverts who likes the crust). The crust is nothing more than an edible handle for your pizza. Save for a fallow decade in the late 1970’s that stretched through the late 1980’s, the Packers have dominated the NFC North since it’s inception. This year is going to be no exception. Last year Aaron Rodgers screamed “I Own You” to the Bears fans after a fourth quarter touchdown that sealed Green Bay’s victory over are overmatched “rivals”. He may as well have been shouting that to the entire division. Back in 2012, Rodgers himself starred in a series of commercials for Pizza Hut. Nobody outpizza’s the Hut. And nobody outplays Rodgers. No matter how you slice it, the Packers are the big cheese of the NFC North.
Timothy Preece has been a Packers fan since 1991 and currently lives in Utah because he makes bad decisions. You can follow him on twitter at @LegitimateTimP.