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Packers Video: Green Bay Packers 101

Every Green Bay Packers fan has faced this question at one point or another:

“Why the Packers?”

The fan then gives their reason for their apparent insanity.  It could be the team’s tradition or it could be a family tradition or a Wisconsin birthright for those born in the Dairy State.  Each fan has their own unique story as to how and why they became and still remain a Packers fan.

In rare circumstances, you may find yourself at a loss for words (because the Packers are so darn awesome) or you might have difficulty explaining your fandom to someone who prefers a much more visual medium.

If that’s the case here is’s Greatest Sports Franchises series on THE greatest sports franchise, the Green Bay Packers.  It serves as a great “Packers 101″ for anyone who knows little to nothing about the team’s history.

Those poor uneducated souls.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and Follow @KrisLBurke


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NFL Network: Packers’ Aaron Rodgers not a Top Ten Player

NFL, Aaron Rodgers, NFL Network, Green Bay Packers, NFL top 100 of 2014, Aaron Rodgers top 100 of 2014, NFL Top Players

Guessing Aaron Rodgers had the same face yesterday when he found out he was not one of NFL Network’s Top Ten players of 2014

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is no longer among the top ten players in the National Football League.

Before you ready your pitchforks and torches to throw at this writer, this is not my own opinion. Even placing bias aside, Rodgers is easily one of the top FIVE players in the league. To suggest he’s not even in the top ten is ludicrous.

Well, that’s what this year’s NFL Network list of Top 100 NFL Players did. Rodgers ranked number 11 this year versus number six last year and. number one in 2012.

Normally lists like this mean absolutely nothing, but this list is voted on by other NFL players though who those players are and how many are surveyed has not been disclosed. The fact Rodgers ranks that low amongst even some of his peers is mind blowing.

Before going off on too much of a tangent, let’s try and see what those players were looking at when they placed Rodgers where he was. This is supposed to be a listing of the top players of 2014. So if those voters are basing their numbers off of 2013, then they are taking his collarbone injury into account. That makes some sense.

Then again it is a list for 2014, so the votes should be based on what they see Rodgers doing this coming season. Are they predicting a dip in performance because of all the new talent at wide receiver or could they possibly have concerns about Rodgers’ durability thanks to last season’s injury?

Also, Rodgers’ ranking isn’t the only anomaly on this list. The player ranked directly below Rodgers at number 12? JJ Watt of the Houston Texans.

Perhaps the players who voted just hate Wisconsin? Who knows?

Rodgers ranked as the fourth best quarterback on this year’s list with Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady presumably ahead of him. Those are the top four quarterbacks in the league but is Rodgers really the lowest ranked of those four?

That’s another debate for another day.

That isn’t all the bad news for Rodgers, either. The fan vote portion of the list (which doesn’t count towards the list broadcast on NFL Network) had Rodgers ranked 14th. It’s amazing what one injury can do to a player’s reputation.



Stinky Cheese: The Broken Bond Between the Packers and Fans

Something smells funny in Packer Nation.

Something smells funny in Packer Nation.

The relationship between the Green Bay Packers and their fans has been one of the most special in all of professional sports.

Instead of one deep-pocketed owner running the show, the Packers are literally owned by the fans. Each owner has stock in the team that gives them voting rights at the team’s annual shareholder meeting each summer at Lambeau Field.

The team has over 360,000 shareholders that can call tthemselves NFL owners.  Of course that many people can’t oversee the Packers’ day-to-day operations so that’s where the president and CEO, currently Mark Murphy, comes into play.

You would think that such a unique ownership structure would create the strongest bond between a team and its fans in the history of the NFL.

In the past it certainly has, but in this modern age of the NFL, the relationship between the Packers and their fans is not as harmonious as it has been even going back just one decade ago.

In fact, you could argue the Packers and their fans have a broken relationship and not everything is well in Packerland.  The team and its fans could even use some “couples therapy.”

It’s time to face the truth: the Packers don’t care about their fans as much as they used to.  The same, to be fair, could be said about the other 31 NFL franchises, but this realization will sting particularly hard for Packers fans given the ownership structure of the team.

The NFL is a money making machine.  Profit is what makes the league go round and after the lockout in 2011, the league knows fans will watch no matter what they do or change. They’re shaking their moneymaker for all it’s worth.

The same could be said for the Packers. The team’s decision making process is no longer driven by the well being of the fans but rather that of the almighty dollar.

Some of the decisions have been truly mind boggling as well.  Look at the sudden decision of the Packers to do away with Fan Fest, a multiple day gathering at the Lambeau Atrium for fans to mingle with players both past and present as well as other activities.

The team cited declining attendance as one reason for it’s demise (the 2011 event was canceled due to the lockout) but at $85 a ticket, there was a reason many people stopped showing up.



Aaron Rodgers: Healthy, Happy and Hungry for 2014

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Aaron Rodgers wants another Lombardi Trophy in 2014.

When Aaron Rodgers speaks, Green Bay Packers fans listen.

In two recent interviews, one with Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette and the other with Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rodgers made some comments that should have fans giddy with excitement about the upcoming Packers season and also about the quarterback himself.

The first thing that really stood out in both interviews is that Rodgers seems to be very happy and content with where he is in life. For a player who has a made a name for himself playing with a chip on his shoulder, this is a big change.

In the interview with Vandermause, Rodgers said, “I think I feel good about where I’m at in my career and then also in my life that I’m going to live my life and deal with whatever comes and be comfortable. I think that’s the biggest thing. … Now I’m settling into my place in this league and my place off the field.”

Regarding the infamous chip on Rodgers’ shoulder, he said via the conversation with Dunne that he now knows he’s proven a lot of his “initial critics” wrong and now it’s about “proving to myself and my teammates that I can continue to be the best every day.”

For a player who always had the urge to prove people wrong, this is huge. Rodgers now knows he not just belongs among the NFL elite but also that he is universally placed there by his peers. He expects to remain there for the rest of his career.

The second thing that raises some eyebrows in both interviews is how excited Rodgers is about the 2014 team.

In the interview with Dunne, when asked how much separates the Packers from the San Francisco 49ers, Rodgers give a short yet pointed reply: “Not much.”

Short answers from Rodgers usually implies anger. Packers fans know what happens when Rodgers is angry. It’s clear the quarterback has had it up to here with getting beat by the 49ers. You’d have to think Rodgers would love to get yet another shot at his childhood team in the playoffs come January.

Regarding the 2014 team, Rodgers is excited about the addition of Julius Peppers to the defense and the return of many injured players from last season to health including Casey Hayward and Bryan Bulaga.



VIDEO: Stuff Packers Fans Say

So it’s June. We are halfway through the NFL offseason and fans are bored out of their skulls.

Out of said boredom, it seems like Packers fans are punchier than ever. So rather than make another post about a player or a position and have everyone suffer through endless debate in the comments section, I’ve decided to post a video that should get a chuckle out of everyone. It’s a little old but overall still relevant.

After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves who can we laugh at?



Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and Follow @KrisLBurke




Packers Fans: Give Colt Lyerla a Chance

NFL, Green Bay Packers, Colt Lyerla, Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson,  Packers 2014 draft, Packers undrafted free agents

Will Colt Lyeral live up to his potential in Green Bay?

Fighting your own demons is tough enough as it is, but when you’re a member of either a Division I college football team or an NFL franchise, that task can seem downright impossible.

That is the quest that stands before Green Bay Packers rookie tight end Colt Lyerla.

If you aren’t already aware, Lyerla has quite the backstory.  He came from a broken home and moved from house to house as a child. It became clear in high school he was a freak athlete and signed on at the University of Oregon where he was once touted as a potential first round NFL draft pick.

Unfortunately for Lyerla, he never could quite stay out of trouble.  He was suspended during the 2013 season from Oregon and later quit the team, a move Lyerla later said he regretted. Lyerla soon after was arrested for cocaine possession.   He also in the past tweeted about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary being a government conspiracy.

Thanks to these incidents, Lyerla went undrafted in this spring’s NFL Draft. In the modern NFL, talent on the field is useless if you can’t stay out of trouble off of it.

After the draft, the Packers offered Lyerla a tryout and soon after he was signed to a contract.  For all their talk about “Packer People,” general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy seemingly rolled the dice with Lyerla.

Had the Packers sold their soul in order to win or are they simply trying to give a talented but troubled player a shot at redemption in a structured organization with a strong and tight-knit locker room?

The money should be on the latter. The fact that the Packers brought back Johnny Jolly last year and previously signed a troubled Koren Robinson says the Packers believe they have what it takes to help troubled players and turn them into not just good players but upstanding citizen as well.

All of us make mistakes. Even this writer a few weeks ago had Colin Kaepernick nailed to the wall because he allegedly smoked some pot in Miami. I took to Twitter and proceeded to make a total fool of myself. I have since apologized and acknowledged I was dead wrong in that situation. I was uneducated on the matter and leapt foolishly to a conclusion.  It was my fault.



Will Morgan Burnett Rebound For the Packers in 2014?

NFL, Green Bay Packers, Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Charles Woodson, haha clinton-dix, Packers safeties, Packers defense

The Packers are counting on Morgan Burnett to bounce back in a big way in 2014

When you have an injury list as long as the Green Bay Packers had last season, there are several potential candidates for the team’s Comeback Player of the Year award in 2014.

Will Bryan Bulaga return to form? Could Casey Hayward resume his rise to the top of the list as one of the league’s best young corners after an injury-plagued sophomore season? Could Jermichael Finley or Johnny Jolly somehow come back from neck surgery and contribute again?

All would be great stories, but the Packers’ greatest comeback from a player in 2014 very likely may come from a player that played most of last season but struggled badly. He’s a player that once showed great promise, but had a brutal season in 2013.

That player is safety Morgan Burnett.

It is no secret that the Packers had terrible safety play in 2013. The combination of Burnett and the now (thankfully) departed M.D. Jennings was the league’s worst last season with neither safety producing an interception or a forced fumble.  The position was the Achilles heel of the Green Bay defense (along with the aforementioned injuries) and it was at the top of the list of positions general manager Ted Thompson had to improve this offseason.

Thompson responded by not re-signing Jennings (who later signed with the Chicago Bears) and drafting Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama in the NFL Draft a few weeks ago.  These two moves alone have already improved the Packers at the safety position.

But what of Burnett? Well, after the 2012 season he signed a new contract with Green Bay worth $24.75 million over four years with $8.25 million guaranteed.  Thompson is not about to just dump that contract only a year after it was signed, no matter how poor the performance was in 2013.

Burnett had a rough 2013, but there is every reason to expect a strong rebound from him this season. Burnett functions best when he is opposite a strong free safety and Jennings was not that.  Since he was drafted in 2010, Burnett spent his first full season and the first part of his second learning from Nick Collins. Collins was one of the league’s best safeties and his neck injury in 2011 sent the Green Bay defense into a tailspin from which it still has yet to fully recover from.