PUNXSUTAWNEY — Meet the Prutznal family of Punxsy: Parents Dan and Peggy, sons Shane and twins Landon and Luke, and the youngest, daughter Maggie.
Not a Steelers fan in the bunch.
But if you look closely in the family’s basement, you’ll find plenty of gold, but the color accompanying it is not black; it’s green.
Also in the basement, you’ll likely find Dan “The Packer Man,” working on some hand-crafted Packers swag and decorations in preparation for Green & Gold’s appearance in Super Bowl XLV against the Black & Gold, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Even though Prutznal is a Punxsy native, he’s been a Packers fan since about seventh or eighth grade, he said, after seeing the Packers on the front cover of a magazine in the school library.
Usually, after a certain period of time, the librarians would throw away the old periodicals. Prutznal asked if he could keep the Packers magazine, and the librarian saved it for him.
That’s where it all began, he said, and if anything, the Packers led him to enjoying football, not the other way around.
“I think back then, there were the Steelers and the Vikings, but I didn’t follow them,” Prutznal said. “Now, it’s like I live and breathe the Packers.”
It hasn’t been just being a fan of the Packers, but it’s become a hobby of creating his own fan equipment and swag. He makes all the decorations that appear in his yard when the Pack makes it to the big-time games, but since he’s using only poster paint on treated cardboard or plastic, he usually discards his decorations and starts over the next season.
Prutznal’s collection would make anyone in Green Bay jealous: Helmets, clocks, old copies of Sports Illustrated with Packer covers, toys, headbands, ball caps and homemade swag are in the basement, although he has lost some parts of his collection over the years to East End flooding.
His favorite piece of Packers swag is a “splash coat” he’s had since 1996.
But as if that’s not enough, Prutznal has a Packer-green truck also adorned in Packer-gold, and his garage walls are covered with old newspaper and magazine articles, photos and advertisements — including a life-sized Brett Favre in an ad for milk.
About what does he think about the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go Favre?
Prutznal said he recalled when Favre went to the New York Jets, and then to the Pack’s rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, “and when he beat Green Bay twice, I didn’t like that at all.”
In the post-Favre Packers’ era, Prutznal said he likes current quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but his favorite player is linebacker Clay Matthews.
Prutznal and his family visited Green Bay, Wis., and Lambeau Field during the summer of 1997, describing the weather as “beautiful,” unlike what is is like now. He said he was surprised to learn that city of Green Bay is about the size of Altoona.
As for his upcoming decorating of the year, Prutznal said he’ll probably start pretty late — about 2 a.m. — and work until it’s finished.
“It’s crazy,” son Landon said. “I don’t know if I would do all that.”
“I think it’s cool,” Maggie, the only other Packers fan in the house, said. “I like it.”
He acknowledged that it’s tough being a Packers fan in Steelers Country, but most of the ribbing he gets is good-natured. However, during the Super Bowl, “I might have to take the phone off the hook.”
But Prutznal has his supporters. At SS.C.D. School, where Prutznal serves as maintenance supervisor and Maggie is a student, there’s a youngster who always greets him with a thumbs-up and, “Go Packers!”
He said the youngster wears a John Deere cap — because it’s green and yellow — to support the Pack, and that’ll he’ll give the boy one of his Packers caps to wear.
Prutznal’s prediction for Super Bowl XLV?
“35-17 Packers,” he said. “It’s going to be a good game.”