Cheesehead Origins: How Kyle Cousineau Became the “Mayor of Green Bay”

Profiling one of Packer Twitter's OGs and a local Green Bay icon.

Welcome to Cheesehead Origins, an offseason series geared toward showcasing Packer fans with interesting fandom origin stories! CheeseheadTV is devoted to Packer fans worldwide, and we want to hear (and share) your stories. 

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If you’ve spent any amount of time at all in the Packers blogosphere or Twitterverse, you’ve likely at least heard of Kyle Cousineau. But who is the bearded fella who’s been dubbed the “Mayor of Green Bay?”

Kyle is a 42-year-old real estate appraiser who lives with his wife and two daughters in the town he’s called home since birth: Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

Growing up so close to Lambeau Field creates a truly unique relationship with the team and allowed Kyle to have some experiences as a fan growing up that many other diehards, even lifelong Wisconsin residents, never experience themselves.

“I was lucky enough to have parents that trusted me as a 10-year-old kid to ride my bike to Lambeau Field 4.5 miles each way every day for Packers training camp,” he recalled. “Most days we’d leave at 6:30 a.m. to get there for 8 a.m. practice and not get home until 4 p.m. This was the early 90s, so no one had cell phones. They just trusted us to be good kids. But being there for two-a-day practices and seeing those guys in person every summer got me totally hooked on football.”

And so, like many budding young fans, Kyle began memorizing the roster: numbers, faces, where players went to college and all kinds of other trivia. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion, fostered in large part by his father.

Kyle’s dad took him to his first Packer game in 1989, and by 1990 trusted him enough to ride his bike back and forth from Lambeau training camp. 

“To this day I sit next to my dad at every Packer game,” Kyle said. “He has season tickets to both green and gold packages, and we never miss a game.”

Another unique aspect about growing up a fan in Green Bay was that the families of players and coaches were also embedded in the community. This brought Kyle even closer to the action.

“I went to grade school with a bunch of assistant coaches’ kids,” said Kyle. “So getting to know them and their dads was huge. I grew up with Bob Valesente’s daughter, Michelle. Mr. Valesente was the linebackers and then defensive backs coach with the Packers under Coach Holmgren. And once or twice a year during training camp he’d see me and a couple other classmates and invite us into the team facility after practice to give us a tour.”

It’s the stuff of dreams for fellow children of the 90s like myself, who grew up idolizing the Holmgren-era teams and memorizing every tidbit we could about the players and coaches.

Now an adult, Kyle is something of a fixture in the Packer fan community, both online and in “real life.” He’s such a great ambassador for the city to visiting Packer fans that he’s earned the nickname “The Mayor of Green Bay.”

Kyle credits the inception of the nickname to Cheesehead TV”s own “Jersey Al” Bracco.

“I first met Jersey Al in person for the first time in Dallas before Super Bowl XLV, and he and I became fast friends that night,” Kyle said. “Back then he ran Jersey Al’s Green Bay Packers, and would send people my way when they had questions about what to do and where to go when they came to Green Bay. Aaron Nagler and Corey Behnke (before he moved to Green Bay) would also do the same when people would reach out to Cheeshead TV for suggestions.”

Kyle would go so far as to offer to show visiting fans around the city and take them to different bars or restaurants. Whenever possible, he would get them set up with tickets. 

He said this local ambassadorship really started to become a “thing” during “Throwback Weekend” in 2011.

“Myself and Wally Pingel spearheaded a pretty cool even that was the brainchild of Colleen Brenton (RIP),” Kyle said. “Back when Colleen lived in Idaho, she wanted to set up a pre-party and tailgate to get a bunch of people from Twitter together so we could all meet and hang out. Brian Carriveau caught wind of the idea and I’m 99.9 percent sure he coined it ‘Throwback Weekend.’”

Kyle and the group threw the idea out to the Twitterverse to gauge interest, and were shocked at the number of people who RSVPed. There are more than 100 people who ended up attending from around 12 to 15 different states who showed up to a party on Saturday night and the tailgate on Sunday. 

Kyle and Wally co-organized the event for several years after that, and made a ton of great friends in doing so.

But Kyle hasn’t just worked hard to bring people together in Green Bay and to show them the city. He’s also been diligent in his efforts to actually get them into the stadium–and to keep available tickets out of the hands of fans of the visiting team. 

His passion for connecting fans with tickets has its origins in the 2012 season, when the Packers hosted the Vikings at Lambeau Field in the Wild Card round.

“I saw a ton of my friends posting on Facebook that they were selling their tickets to ticket brokers because they couldn’t find local buyers, and it pissed me off,” Kyle said. “Because I knew the majority of those tickets were being sold to Vikings fans on the secondary market. I knew I could find some Packer fans on Twitter that would take those tickets, so I put a post on Facebook saying if you want to sell your tickets I’d buy them or I’d get them in touch with Packer fans that would.”

And that’s how it started. Every year since when the Packers host a playoff game, he works diligently to get Packer fans into the stadium. Kyle estimates the number of people he’s connected with tickets for playoff games to be around 500, with this year against the 49ers being the most by far (a number he estimates to be around 120). 

It’s become much easier now with e-tickets, because he can coordinate everything via text or internet. But when he first started, he had a lot of money that he’d pay out and he was trusting buyers to actually show up with cash on hand to pay him back.

For as much effort as Kyle puts into getting others into the stadium, he still makes it a point to get there every home game himself. 

I asked Kyle for his game day routine, wanting to hear how a professional operates when tailgating at Lambeau. Here’s the routine he gave for a standard noon home game.

  • Wake up at 6 a.m. (thanks to his daughters and his own excitement)
  • Coffee and shower
  • Double-check tailgate supplies, head out by 7:15 a.m.
  • Get to parents’ house and prep everything in his dad’s vehicle
  • Head to the Lambeau Field area by 7:30, getin line with friends by 7:45 a.m. to get a great parking spot in Lot 1 at Lambeau Field as soon as the lot opens at 8 a.m.
  • Set up. Usually with three or four vehicles parked together and multiple tents, a bar, tables and grills.
  • Make and pour bloody marys.
  • Party until about 11 a.m., then break down the tailgate and head in around 11:30 to get to seats by the National Anthem.

Kyle says his group might typically have anywhere from 50 to 75 people.

To close, I asked Kyle for a few Packer-related memories that are particularly meaningful. His first choice was Super Bowl XLV, because he actually got to go.

“I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to the game, and am forever indebted to Jason LaCanfora (currently at CBS Sports, previously at NFL Network),” Kyle said. “I met Jason in Green Bay in December 2010 after I sent him a random Tweet saying I’d love to buy him a beer while he was here covering the Packers-49ers game. He took me up on it and became buddies. When Jason worked at NFL Network, he was given two tickets to every Super Bowl as an NFL employee. The Tuesday after the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC Championship I sent Jason a tweet asking about something Packers-related and he responded, ‘are you going to Dallas? If not, do you want to?’ I thought he was messing with me, but he wasn’t. He had an extra ticket to the game and offered it to me, a dude he just met two months prior.”

Kyle dipped back into his childhood for his second memory, a seemingly meaningless game against the Bengals in 1992 that ended up becoming far, far more important to the franchise than anyone could have known at the time. 

“I was so fired up because it was Terrell Buckley’s first game,” recalled Kyle. “He was a top draft pick in 1992 and held out through training camp, if you remember. He signed his contract the week before and was going to make his debut against the Bengals during week 3.”

The Friday before the game, Kyle’s mom brought him and his brother to the Port Plaza Mall to purchase a new Packer hat to wear to the game. While there, he saw Buckley walking with his own mom, and, as he puts it, “totally freaked out.”

“I ran to my mom and made her dig in her purse for a pen so I could have him sign it,” Kyle said. “I was very lucky that T-Buck was gracious enough to sign my hat that night.”

He ended up wearing the hat to the game, and Buckley had a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Packers happened to win when a second-year guy named Brett Favre came in off the bench and hit Kitrick Taylor for a game-winning touchdown.

Finally, Kyle recalled one experience of which I’m particularly jealous, as it combines my favorite team and my favorite band. 

“Because of my friendship with Tom Crabtree I was able to see some pretty awesome concerts and do some amazing things,” he said. “Because of Tom I saw Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, Soundgarden at The Rave in Milwaukee, drank with Pop Evil on their bus and then toured Lambeau FIeld locker room at lik 1 a.m., partied backstage and then stood at the side of the stage at Rock USA in Oshkosh for an Avenged Sevenfold headlining show, and partied with Dave Grohl and Aaron Rodgers at the Kohl Center before a Foo Fighters show, where we then watched the entire show from stage.”

Seriously, a night partying with Dave Grohl, Rodgers and Crabtree is something out of a dream for me.

Kyle continues to play an active role in giving people great Green Bay experiences and recommending some of the city’s must-see stops on game weekends, every bit the “Mayor” he’s been dubbed. 

He left off with a shoutout to the Packers Twitter community. 

“Some of the best nights of my life are because of people I’ve met through Twitter. We have a pretty great group of people that rep the green and gold online and I've seen some really great things happen in the Packers internet community.”

 

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Huge thank you to Kyle Cousineau for participating in this week’s edition of Cheesehead Origins! If you’re not already, follow him on Twitter at @KCousineau09. 

Stay tuned next week for a familiar face and prolific podcaster!

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (2)

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RedRight49's picture

March 24, 2022 at 07:17 am

Outstanding!

Truly enjoyed the story of " The Mayor and the Green Bay Packers ".

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JerseyAl's picture

March 24, 2022 at 09:29 pm

See? And no one believes me when I tell them I was the first to call Kyle the "Mayor of Green Bay."

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