‘Deep Dish Pizza is Overrated’ sign at the Bears-Packers game restarts age-old arguments

Packers employee Joan Malcheski restarted the eternal fight over pizza with her sign during the Bears-Packers game at Lambeau Field on Dec. 29. | NBC Sports

The photo has gone viral, racking up more than 33,000 likes on Instagram and thousands more on Twitter and Facebook. You could argue the Packers-Bears game was over well before the clock ran out on Sunday night, but the pizza debate launched from the stands, that’s still going strong.
Late in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ 41-25 thumping of the Bears, “Sunday Night Football” cameras showed a fan bundled up and sitting alone on the Lambeau Field bleachers holding a handwritten sign that read “Deep Dish Pizza Is Overrated. Go Pack Go” — a good-humored culinary poke at the NFC rivals by way of Chicago’s most famous pizza.
“SNF” shared the photo on its social media with a one-word caption, “Discuss,” and boy, are people ever.
The photo has gone viral, racking up more than 33,000 likes on Instagram and thousands more on Twitter and Facebook. It generated 13,000-plus Twitter likes on Barstool Sports with this caption: “Shots fired.” ESPN’s NFL Twitter account shared it and wrote, “Meanwhile in Green Bay: Pizza hot takes.”

Discuss ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/xP9Io1KihO— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) November 30, 2020

As you might expect where the Packers-Bears rivalry is concerned, the back and forth in comments sections has been spirited but fun. Everything from “Pizza is about the topping and how it melts together, not about having a loaf of bread” and “Just eat lasagne if you want to eat lasagne” to “That’s why she’s sitting alone” to “I like beating the Bears but come on people some things are sacred.”
Nobody is getting a bigger kick out of it all than Joan Malcheski, the sign-maker under all those cold-weather layers who also happens to be the brand and marketing director for the Packers.
“I had no idea I was on camera, but then all of a sudden my phone started blowing up,” she said.
Malcheski was among a couple of hundred Packers employees and family members allowed in to Lambeau Field on Sunday with new safety protocols in place should ticketed fans be able to return to games later this season. Her socially distanced seat had her parked behind the Bears bench, so she decided to ask fans on Twitter what she should yell their way.
“With the hashtag ‘#keepitclean,’ because I wanted to represent the fun and the rivalry and not make it ugly,” she said.
When a couple of people suggested going the Chicago pizza route, she texted co-worker Haylee Helmle to meet her at halftime with a marker so she could make use of the blank backside on preprinted signs that had been handed out for the game.
It was a way to represent all the season-ticket holders Malcheski knows so missed being at the game.
“I really don’t take any credit for it. Our fans are very creative and just the best and so much fun. I just felt happy to carry the spirit of the fans from home to the game in real time,” Malcheski said.
“I was just delivering what the people wanted. Just trying to make good on my tweet.”
It was her idea, though, to sneak in a plug for Kwik Trip’s line of frozen Pothole Pizzas down in the lower right corner: “Pothole Pizza by Kwik Trip.” The La Crosse-based convenience store chain sponsors the Packers Perks rewards program Malcheski works on.
She doesn’t have anything major against deep dish, but she is “a stickler for Wisconsin cheese.” The Pulaski native has two brothers who farm near her hometown and her grandparents had a cheese factory.
“Overall, I think always the cheese should be the star of a pizza. It should be on top. I guess I don’t really have a beef with (deep dish) other than it should be on top,” she said.
She’s been amused by all the comments and has learned how passionate people are about their pizza on both sides of the Wisconsin-Illinois border. A few have even analyzed her use of an underline on the word “overrated.”
“People are just funny. I can’t help but laugh,” she said. “A lot of their comments are not wrong.”
She sent a screenshot to her marketing counterparts for the Bears. “I’m sorry, it was me,” she wrote. The reply back was that it was good fun all around. You could say the same about the rivalry dating back to 1921.
“The biggest fallout from the sign is dealing with my family from Illinois,” Malcheski said. “I have a lot there. I have plenty of cousins in McHenry, Illinois … so it’s a good thing social distancing is in place right now.”
The Packers next play the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 6 at Lambeau. Ticketed fans won’t be in attendance and she doesn’t know if she will be, but if so, the sign pressure is on.
“I think Philly cheesesteak would be the obvious choice, but I don’t know that I want to stick with food,” she said. “The people, if we’re allowed to go, would make that call.”
Read more at usatoday.com

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