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Despite NFC Title Game Loss, Packers Fans Say They’re Grateful For A Strong Season

Fans Also Share Hope Aaron Rodgers Will Return As QB Next Year

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Fans cheer at Lambeau Field for the first time this season
Packers’ fans hold up signs during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Spectators were allowed in Lambeau Field for the first time during this season. Mike Roemer/AP Photo

The season ended Sunday for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field for the NFC title game. The Bucs came away with the victory, and for the second year in a row, the Packers fell one win short of reaching the Super Bowl.

Despite Sunday’s loss and freezing temperatures in Green Bay, a steady stream of Packers fans visited Lambeau Field on Monday. They agreed it was nice to have football in a year shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Without sports in general, I think this experience would have been entirely different and more depressing,” said Melissa Frassetto. “Despite the fact that (the Packers) didn’t take it all the way, I think it was a really good ride and gave people something to look forward to.”

Packer fans at the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers
Packer fans react during the first half of the NFC championship NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo

Frassetto, who lives in Madison, grew up in the Fox Valley and attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She visited Lambeau Field with a friend from Ohio who’d never seen it before.

The stadium played host to a post game news conference Sunday night with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said his future with the team is uncertain. Frassetto hopes Rodgers will return to Green Bay next season, she said.

“I think as any pro in his position, there had to be serious disappointment there for him and obviously that showed when he was being interviewed,” she said.

Other fans agreed they hope Rodgers will return with even more motivation next year after back-to-back losses in the NFC Championship. That includes Steve Korth from Oconto, who said he thinks Rodgers was living in the moment when he made remarks about his future Sunday night.

“I thought they played pretty good,” Korth said of the Packers’ season. “They just need a few more key players, and we’ll be back there again next year. We’ll win it all.”

Brian Steinhoff and his family didn’t have tickets to Sunday’s game — the Packers only sold 6,500 to ensure social distancing — but they made the trip from Milwaukee to watch it nearby.

“It was a good time. We had bean bags, set up the grill, made a little family adventure out of it,” he said.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the field
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) walks off the field after the NFC championship NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 to advance to the Super Bowl. Morry Gash/AP Photo

On Monday, Steinhoff and his 11-year-old son Ayden, who were decked out in Packers gear, were able to get autographs from a few players.

Ayden said he thought it was smart when Packers head coach Matt LaFleur opted to kick a field goal on fourth-and-8, while down by 8 points, late in the game. It’s a move that’s been a topic of discussion among fans.

Even though Sunday’s game didn’t go how he wanted, Steinhoff said it feels great to reach the second-to-last game of the season in consecutive years.

“I think overall, it was a really solid team,” he said. “We really put a lot together, and as a Packer fan, it was good.”

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