The English and the French have never been very friendly to one another, but for Ryan Peacock, a resident of the United Kingdom, and Mathieu Lefevre, a resident of Paris, France, there is one thing they have in common: The Green Bay Packers.
Peacock and Lefevre have both fallen in love with the Packers the past few years and are doing what they can to spread their love to others across Europe and the globe.
For Peacock, his admiration of everything Packers came when his “Mum” bought him Madden for Christmas.
Here’s how he described his introduction to Madden and the Packers:
On the cover was a fella wearing green and gold with the number 25 emblazoned across his chest. This turned out to be Dorsey Levens of the famous Green Bay Packers. I decided that day that I would follow the Packers. (Thanks mum for buying me the best Christmas present ever!). Having followed them for many years, I decided to start this group/website. I used to play football as a tight end and middle linebacker, plus I punted and kicked at one point.
TV channels weren’t really interested in American football in the 2000s. Few games were broadcasted on a pay channel. I began to discover the football through films (“Any Given Sunday,” “Remember The Titans”). In 2010, I followed the results by looking at the highlights on YouTube. Only the Super Bowl was broadcast on a public channel, at 2 a.m. – Packers vs. Steelers … I didn’t know the teams very well but after a few minutes, I knew – I’m a Packers fan. I liked the way they play, Aaron Rodgers, and a lot of things! During the pauses, I discovered the history of this unique franchise. I just fell in love, as we say. At the end of the Super Bowl, I was happy as if I was a fan for years. If the Packers had lost, I would have been very disappointed …
The Englishman and Frenchman took their efforts one step further … they launched websites and Twitter accounts to attract other Packers fans in their home countries and across the globe. Peacock hooked up with a couple of other chaps who joined him in his effort.
Here’s how he recruited them: “After tweeting to ask if anyone was interested, a lad from Ireland got in touch – Stephen O’Brien. Stephen is a great lad and fortunately had some pedigree writing for NFL Ireland and so he took on the role of editor and writer. He really helped us take off, as I developed a website he began writing articles and arranging interviews with players. Dave Pione is the third man in. Dave started writing articles for the website and one in particular – Kramer vs. Canton – got us some great exposure which Stephen followed up by interviewing his daughter, Alicia.”
In 2012, I created a Tumblr on the Packers which recently became www.packersfrance.fr . I write news about the Packers during the offseason. During the season, I have a goal for each game – I present the game (history, the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, the keys of the game and my prediction). When I can, I’m on Twitter during the game. After the game, I write a summary. I also created the classification ‘Cheesehead of the game.’ The best player gets 5 points, the second 3 points, the third 1 point. And at the end of the season, a player is awarded ‘Cheesehead of the season.’ I also interviewed Rob Demovsky (formerly of the Green Bay Press Gazette and now of ESPN). That was very nice of him to answer me.”
They both continue to tweet and post regularly to their followers about the Packers and both have aspirations of someday coming to the United States. Mathieu would like to work here, but they both want to attend a game at Lambeau Field.
Of course the cost is a barrier, but it’s something they both hope for at some point in the near future.
Peacock said: “We hope to one day be recognized by the Packers but if we are not we will continue to provide a hub for all UK and Ireland fans plus our other followers from all across Europe. We have our first meet coming up playing a flag football tournament and then watching Green Bay and San Francisco in the evening. We also plan to come across to Green Bay to see our Packers play although trying to work out prices and so on is proving difficult.”
Here’s Mathieu’s take on the task of watching the team real time and the goal of visiting the United States:
“The time difference isn’t a problem anymore, even if I work. For example, I can watch a game from 2 to 6 in the morning before going to work … That’s what I call a true passion.
“My goal is to work in the United States as a sports journalist. I would like to participate in the creation of a French version of the official website of the Packers. Football is increasingly present in France, thanks to a new channel that broadcasts several games. But I think that franchises should be more open to Europe and France.
“My dream is to attend a game at Lambeau Field … and to interview players like Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb of course!
“I hope that this season will be good, but whatever happens… Cheesehead for life!”
GO! PACK! GO!