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Marcia Pocernich of Cromwell will root for the Vikings tonight, while husband Bill and children Marcus, 9, Micah, 7, and Andrea, 6, will cheer on the Packers. (Steve Kuchera/Duluth News Tribune)

Minnesota family split between Vikings, Packers

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CROMWELL, Minn. -- Bill Pocernich found the perfect way to indoctrinate his children into becoming Green Bay Packers fans.

Two summers ago, on a trip that included a stop at the Packers Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field, Pocernich, his wife, Marcia, and their three children traveled from Cromwell to Green Bay to see the team's three Lombardi Trophy awards given annually to the NFL's Super Bowl winner.

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The couple's youngest son, then-5-year-old Micah, especially was on a quest to see the shiny, silver trophies.

"He was running ahead of us in the Hall of Fame, trying to find where the trophies were," Bill said. "He went into the last room before us and we could hear him say, 'Whooooa.'"

The children stood wide-eyed staring at the trophies, named for the coach of the first two Super Bowl champions, each of which had a spotlight shining on them.

"Micah broke the silence and said, 'Dad, can we see these in Minnesota?' " recalled Bill, referring to the Minnesota Vikings' inability to win a Super Bowl. "I said, 'No, Micah you can't.' 'Not even one?' 'Nope, not even one.' "

Pocernich, who grew up a Packer backer in the Ashland area but married a Vikings fan 12 years ago, had successfully turned his children into green-and-gold diehards.

So when the family tunes into tonight's NFC Central showdown between the Packers and the Vikings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the father and his kids will be rooting against their former hero, Brett Favre, while only one voice will be cheering for the Vikings.

"We'll be on our best behavior [tonight], we're not going to rub it in to each other," said Bill, athletic director and boys basketball coach at Cromwell High School. "We have to, otherwise it might get a little tense."

"He has brainwashed all three of my children, so I'm alone," counters Marcia, who grew up in Sebeka, Minn. "It's easy for him to say he's going to be on his best behavior, but I have him plus three kids to deal with."

Micah, 9-year-old Marcus and 6-year-old Andrea probably will wear Packers colors and stay up a little later for the game, their parents said. Purple jerseys and Favre's No. 4 are off-limits, Bill said.

"We'll likely be Favre fans when he retires for the fifth time, but we can't be fans of the Vikings quarterback," he said. "If the kids were to ask for a Vikings' jersey, I'd be OK with Adrian Peterson and that's it. Nobody else."

Even Marcia acknowledges Favre's late-summer move to Minnesota was a bit shady.

"I really thought he should have stayed retired," she said. "When he went to the [New York] Jets [in 2008], I lost a little respect for him. I've been a sports fan all my life and it felt wrong that he would go to the big rival.

"However, being a Vikings fan and knowing that we needed a quarterback who might be able to take us to the Super Bowl, I was willing to swallow my pride."

If that's the ultimate result, perhaps the color purple will sneak back into the children's wardrobe.

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN for most viewers, while viewers in Wadena and Hubbard counties with can also catch the game on KSTP Ch. 5 (ABC).

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