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In Enemy Territory: Surviving the Taunts of Houston Fans

As a J.J. Watt fan, I was a little surprised by the reaction of the Houston Texans fans during Sunday night's Green Bay Packers win.

If you’ve spent any time with me, you know I’m a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan.

So, when I was headed to the Reliant Stadium in Houston, I was a little fearful that I was going to watch my Packers get destroyed. I had seen the Packers lose against the Indianapolis Colts the week before and I still harbor bitter feelings toward the replacement refs over that Seattle Seahawks outcome.

Going to an away game has always been on my unwritten bucket list. I was able to fulfill that wish while visiting a good friend who had moved from Waukesha to Texas a year ago. It was also a chance to see J.J. Watt in action. The Pewaukee High School graduate was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2011, and he’s become the face of the growing Texans' franchise.

I even met Packers President Mark Murphy, who paused to take a photo with us outside the stadium.

Walking around the stadium Sunday afternoon, I was impressed by the Texans fans. Most were jovial, energetic and couldn’t resist making comments to the Packers fans walking past. That is what I expected. After all, I would tease any opposing teams fans at Lambeau Field. It’s all in good nature and in good fun — as long as it stays that way.

Unfortunately, it didn’t stay that way. Reliant Stadium is loud — it is a dome and the Texans fans have big voices. But when Aaron Rodgers managed to shut down the No. 1 ranked defense in the nation, the Texans fans grew silent. We Packers fans grew louder. And that’s when it happened.

The Texans fans revolted at us Packers fans as soon as Rodgers scored his first touchdown. First, it was a sign thrown at us. Then another person gave us the finger. Later, the F-bomb was dropped. Other derogatory terms and insults were hurled our way.

We weren’t engaging in the taunting behavior. We were cheering for our team. But these fans were NOT happy. One woman could only yell at us, “How does it feel to have a sucky team?”

I didn’t respond….I only whispered to my friend, “How does it feel to lose to a sucky team?”

As the Houston fans started leaving the stadium with 12 minutes left to go in the fourth quarter — something that would never happen at Lambeau — we moved closer to be with some other Packers fans. Safety in numbers, right?

Well, the Texans fans behind us at our new location were also angry and ticked off. As they left, they made sure to leave us a present. They dumped their beer on our camera bag.

Now, I am not saying that Green Bay fans don’t do rude things. I’ve seen poor sportsmanship from Packers fans, too. The angry taunting was non-stop during the Texans game.

But in the end, Rodgers and the Packers said everything I didn’t.

Eric Billups October 24, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I randomly ran across your article through a Google search and just wanted to make a few comments. I'm a Texans season ticket holder and I cringed when I heard some of the things you encountered. For the most part, Reliant is usally pretty welcoming and it's unfortunate that some jerks who get their feelings hurt because the Texans are losing make visitors feel unwelcome and leave with a bad taste in their mouth. I travel to about 3 out of town games a year and I think that's why I get sensitive to stories like this. I, like you get excited but a little anxious going into "enemy territory" because the last thing I want is to be overly harrassed just for rooting for my team. I hope there were some good aspects to your trip and I hope your experience doesn't sour your views of Houston or its fans. Good luck, and just maybe we'll see you in New Orleans on neutral ground.

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