Gettelman a true Jordy Nelson fan
BY RICH PALZEWIC
It’s safe to say that there aren’t too many bigger fans of former Green Bay Packers player Jordy Nelson than Milwaukee’s Nikki Gettelman.
To say that she was upset and disappointed when the Packers released Nelson this past March 13 is an understatement.
It was a shrewd move by the team, who had asked Nelson to take a pay cut before releasing him. Two days after his release, he signed a two-year, $14.2 million deal with the Oakland Raiders.
“Like most fans, I was not happy with Nelson being let go,” said the 30-year-old Gettelman, who played volleyball and softball in high school. “He had played his entire career here, been a model citizen, was what Wisconsin stood for and could still get the job done. He was a fan favorite for a lot of people. I think it was a mistake to let him go – I wish they could have worked something out. Sometimes I hate the business side of the NFL. I literally cried when I heard the news. I have Jordy jerseys, socks and all his gear. Even now, my heart hurts a little bit.”
Gettelman grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan because of her dad. She laughed that her father had told her he was a Dallas fan “because of the cheerleaders,” so she followed in his footsteps and became a fan, too.
“In college at UW-Oshkosh, once Jordy started playing, I began to slowly convert over to liking the Packers,” Gettelman said. “He was handsome and stuck out to me, so I grew to like him. But ironically, my first experience at Lambeau Field, I actually went in a Cowboys jersey. I was still a Dallas fan at the time, but since I was living in Wisconsin, I wanted to see the Packers do well, too. It’s funny how things have come full circle. I don’t want to see the Cowboys do terrible, but I’m definitely a Green Bay fan now. Jordy is what made me convert, so that’s why I was even more devasted when they let him go. I just thought he would be that Donald Drive type of player where he’d stay with the team his whole career.”
Gettelman has taken her attachment to Nelson to a whole new level over the years. She is a physical education teacher in the Milwaukee area, so when a few of the schools she taught at took part in the “Fuel Up to Play 60” program, she got her hands on a Nelson cardboard cutout with the star receiver holding a glass of milk.
“We had an extra cardboard cutout, so since I was a big Nelson fan, I got to keep one of them,” Gettleman said. “I just kept him propped up in my house, but then in 2016 when we started 4-6 (The Aaron Rodgers R-E-L-A-X comment), I started using the cutout as a prop in social media posts and such.”
Prior to game 11 of that season, Gettelman had gotten a box of Jordy’s Farm Fresh Flakes from a friend. At first, she was just going to keep the box of cereal as a collector’s item, but instead, she dove into the box before game 11.
“I posted a picture of me eating a bowl of the cereal before the game and we ended up winning,” she said. “Jordy wasn’t in that post with me, but the next week I did the same thing, only with him in there with me. We kept winning, so I did it every week – eating this bowl of cereal with Jordy in the background. My friends started looking forward to it. As we know, we took it all the way to the NFC championship game against the Atlanta Falcons before we lost that season. It was fun to think that the reason we were winning was because I was eating a bowl of his cereal and posing with his cutout.”
Gettelman has been pretty creative during the whole thing, bringing Nelson to the Milwaukee County Zoo by the bears’ exhibit before the Chicago game, taking him by Santa at the mall before a Christmas game and wearing costumes to spice things up.
“I know people started looking forward to it,” Gettelman said. “Even after Rodgers went down with his injury last year and we weren’t very good, I kept doing it. It put a smile on a lot of faces.”
Gettelman even took Jordy to the Packers charity softball game this past June in hopes of meeting her hero, but as we all know, that didn’t end well.
“My whole family got tickets to the game and were coming up to Appleton in hopes of meeting Jordy,” she said. “I had tickets in the second row. Then, of course, he was let go in March and said he wasn’t going to be taking part in it anymore – we were all very disappointed in the whole thing. I still had a blast at the game, though. I knew that even if Jordy wouldn’t be at the game, I still had to bring the cutout with me.”
Gettelman has also taken the cutout to Fargo, North Dakota, to a wedding as her date, to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and a cemetery.
“The reaction has always been very funny,” she said. “The cutout folds up, so the one time I went to the mall to get the Santa picture, two ladies saw me take him out of the trunk of my car and got a kick out of that. I had lots of people coming up to me asking to take a photo with him. The same thing happened at the softball game.”
Gettelman had a “funeral” for the cutout recently, putting an end to the social media posts for the time being.
“As for posting with Jordy as it relates to football, I’m done with it for now,” she said. “Maybe he will come back to the team someday – I’m hoping he does. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. If I take him somewhere with me, I may have to post something about that.”