There are times when Adrienne Packer wishes she could just change her name. Never moreso than today.
You see, Adrienne Packer is a 49ers fan. A big 49ers fan. She comes from a long line of Packer 49ers fans. Her 49ers gear collection is vast and well-worn. Her 49er roots run deep and she once considered changing her last name to Niner. She’s no casual fan, she bleeds red … yeah, I know, but it’s a special tone.
Adrienne and I worked together many years ago at the Las Vegas Sun newspaper. She still lives in Las Vegas -- “because you can’t golf on frozen terrain” -- and works for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. We chatted this week about her “unique situation.”
So what’s it like being a 49ers fan named Packer? “I’m Adrienne Packer. A woman with an unfortunate last name. People call me Adrienne Parker all the time and it drives me crazy. I'm all good with it during football season though.”
Adrienne was born in Mountain View, Calif., which is close to where the 49ers are building their new stadium in Santa Clara, and grew up “all over the Peninsula, really.”
She went to high school in the Philippines. “We used to get up at 3 a.m. to watch the Niners in the Super Bowl,” she said. “It was a Monday morning, of course, so we sometimes went to school (tired).”
Her 49er fanaticism was passed down from her father, who lived in Woodside in the Bay Area. That’s where Adrienne spent every summer and holiday.
“(Joe) Montana and (Dwight) Clark lived in my dad's neighborhood during the glory days,” she said. “I was riding my bike down this steep hill, cruising pretty fast. A bright-red Ferrari pulled out of a sloped, hidden driveway right in front of me. I slammed on my brakes. It was Montana and Clark. They apologized profusely. I went home still shaking and told my dad what happened.
“He said, ‘That would have been fantastic if they hit you!’ Thanks, Dad. Niner blood runs thicker than Packer blood. End of story.”
Adrienne said she wore Green Bay Packer gear a lot when the Packers were bad and the 49ers were winning Super Bowls. But her ironic wardrobe ended when Mike Holmgren’s Packers started beating the 49ers in the mid-90s.
“My sister once bought us all Packer visors; we never wore them,” she said. “She's a Raider fan so, needless to say, she's not the brightest person in the family.”
But even with all the loyalty Adrienne possesses for her hometown team, she is conflicted today. You see, she has a “deep, dark secret.”
“I love Aaron Rodgers,” she admitted. “He is from Chico, where I went to college, and he still visits the newspaper when he goes back to town. Very cool. Also a Cal boy. I might be more bitter than he is about the draft. The Niners should have picked him up. Smith over Rodgers rates right up there with Drunkenmiller over Plummer. Sigh.”