Sydney Speaks! The role of fans

In his column today, Harry Sydney defends himself against a fan who questioned the former Packers fullback and assistant coach's expertise in's Letters to the Editor on Friday. Sydney also explains what it takes to be a real Packers fan and not someone who jumps on and off the bandwagon.

Over the last months I have written about the roles of many people - the coaches, the players, the media and, yes, my role as well. As I have spent time looking at the direction this team is going, I have been upbeat because of the many encouraging things I see, but for some reason there are just a few of you readers that just don't want me to be nice and want to address facts and not fiction. OK, LET'S DO IT!!!!!!!!!

Let me start out by calling out Tim A. Gratton. In a letter to the editor, my friend stated that I don't know what any player or coach might be thinking before training camp. He even made some stupid comment putting football preparation about playing a game in the same context as some country firing missiles at another country possibly starting a war. Just how smart are you? I don't know what your background is … maybe you were once an athlete. Heck, you might have even been pretty good, but then again you could have been on the pom-pom squad. I don't know that about you, but then again you think you are the expert. Based on what I'm not sure. Then again what makes someone an expert? Could it be experience? Maybe. If it is, I'll put my experience about the game of football up against yours any day. The things I said about football referring back to the article that you thought was full of fiction was about putting myself in their place because I have stood in their shoes as a player and a coach. No, I wasn't a first-round draft pick like A.J. Hawk. I was a free agent, but everyone that walks onto that practice field during training camp has the same thoughts, especially if it's his first time with the big boys. But from your statements you might not have a clue, but you think you do. And as for my experience as a player, I've gone through more training camps then I want to remember which even if you don't want to believe it means I just might know a thing about a player's thoughts as he prepares himself for what he will have to fac

And, yes, Tim A. Gratton I did coach professional football as well. I did dedicate myself to my job and during this time I would have to say I had some success with how I coached. I was lucky to have Edgar Bennett, William Henderson and Dorsey Levens and I want to believe I had something to do with the success they have had in their careers, but then again you probably think winning a Super Bowl is overrated. It might even surprise you to know we had a good enough relationship to talk about emotions and feelings and what was going through their minds before and during training camp. So, Tim, my friend, when you want to talk about fact or fiction and want to take a shot at me, make sure you are qualified so you don't have blanks in your gun. Also, I have to say something else to you that I try not to say to anyone because it sounds like I'm bragging, but you did question my qualification, so Tim A. Gratton: HOW MANY SUPER BOWL RINGS DID YOU WIN? HOW MANY GREAT COACHES DID YOU LEARN FROM? HOW MANY OF YOUR TEAMMATES ARE IN THE HALL OF FAME? And, Tim, the John Madden games don't count!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Enough of that, and on to the role of you, the Green Bay Packer fans. Please cheer with excitement and enjoyment, but don't set unrealistic goals. As I look at this year I see a team that just might be better than anyone gives it credit for which means they just might surprise people. But as Packer fans I challenge you to acknowledge what you see - both good and bad. If Brett Favre plays good say he plays good, but if he stinks up the joint, and I'm not saying he will because I hope he will have a great year, that too must be said or written. This year we must take the blinders off. By doing that it doesn't make any one of us less the fan. Real fans call it the way they see it. I for one expect Al Harris and Charles Woodson to have a great year, but if they don't I'm not going to make up some excuse as to why they didn't. That's what the Packer fans have to stop doing. Let's stop the excuses this year. Understand there are plenty of reasons, but we can't allow them to be excuses.

This team will be counting on so many different individuals to play well this year. Guys like Marc Boerigter, Mike Montgomery, Marquand Manuel, Cory Rodgers and Greg Jennings have no clue about the Packer Nation. Then there is Daryn Colledge, A.J. Hawk and Jason Spitz. Do you really think they have any idea what it is like on game day at the Frozen Tundra? I know they might have come from a great tradition at their colleges, but trust me they have seen nothing like what they are getting ready to be part of. So let's give them a chance!!!!

In my opinion what makes a great fan is a fan that deals with the truth, even though he doesn't want to. Whether the Packers win or lose we will still be fans. It's just a question of whether we will be real Packer fans. Remember there isn't any THEM WHEN THEY LOSE OR US WHEN THEY WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and it will be forwarded to him.

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