Category Archives: Mark Murphy

11

July

Packers, Favre Stall Number Retirement

Brett Favre

Favre frowns on the idea of returning to retire his number amidst boos from fans

Earlier this week, Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy spoke to the media about the upcoming season and the talks that have been swirling about when the team might hold a retirement ceremony for former quarterback Brett Favre’s famous #4.

Just a few months ago, Murphy and Favre both admitted that there had been some dialogue between both sides and that a return to Green Bay was eventually in order.

It was sounding like it was all but a foregone conclusion that Favre would be back at some point during this next season for a ceremony of some sort.  The obvious thought was that it would be at one of the home games.

Murphy emphasized the team’s desire to get something done before Favre is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.  That means time is running out.

Speculation began about which game was best for the team and Favre to reunite.  That both of Favre’s former teams, the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, were scheduled to appear in Green Bay this year only added to the intrigue.  The Packers wouldn’t possibly bring Favre in with the Vikings in town, would they?

Well, not to worry about the possibility of choosing the wrong game or time this season.  Murphy has backed off of his earlier statements about retiring Favre’s #4 so soon and has seemed to place more emphasis on having further dialogue and simply having Favre attend a game.  He now says that a ceremony during the 2014 season is unlikely.

Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig ran a recap of some of Murphy’s comments this week.  Murphy says that neither Favre nor the team want a scenario in which he returns and fans are booing him.  Murphy makes it sound like a mutual concern and cited the fact that they can’t control 80,000 people.

If that’s what he’s selling, I’m not buying.  Kudos to Murphy and the Packers if they’re trying to add some mutuality to this sentiment, but this seems like another attempt by Favre to have more control of a situation than he is entitled to and it has stalled the process.

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26

June

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.

4

April

Brett Favre’s Return To Packers: Are Fans Ready?

Brett Favre

This is how most Packers fans prefer to remember Brett Favre

It only took me 18 months before I broke down and wrote about Brett Favre.  I joined Jersey Al’s team in August of 2012 and until recently, it was pretty easy to avoid the topic altogether.

Over the past year, however, Favre’s name has been tied more closely with the Green Bay Packers and a return to Titletown is not far off for old #4.  During that span, our team has penned a few pieces about Favre, most recently of which was done by Kris Burke last year in June.

Favre retired after the 2010 season and three seasons removed from being the Packers starting quarterback.  For many fans, those three years seemed like a decade.  The year in New York with the Jets was kind of like being at a preseason game.  The game is going on and it looks like football, but who really cares?  The last two years of Favre’s career were a much different story.

For those with some time to spare, about an hour and twenty minutes, to be exact, here is a link to the film “Last Day at Lambeau“.  It chronicles the time between Favre’s first retirement from the NFL and the Packers to his last game at Lambeau Field as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2010.

I remember Favre’s signing with the Vikings in August of 2009.  Whether he orchestrated his departure from New York in order to land in Minnesota or if the stars just aligned that way, I hated the football Gods.  It wasn’t that I was worried about Favre beating up on the Packers, because I honestly didn’t think he could.  I just didn’t want to deal with all of the attention and build up.

2009 came and went and the Vikings got the best of the Packers in both games that season.  Favre and the gang were within his merely falling forward to give themselves a chance to go to a Super Bowl that year.  But in true Favre fashion and almost as if it were scripted, a vintage interception ended the Vikings’ run and 2010 would turn out to be a disaster (literally, as Mall of America Field was rendered inoperable by massive snow build up).

25

February

The Packers should choose a different flavor of tight end

At the moment there are 3 “flavors” of tight ends; everyone’s favorite at the moment is chocolate and that would be the “oversized wide receiver” tight ends like Jimmy Graham or Jordan Cameron, who are players who can take the top off of a defensive secondary while posing a size match up for cornerbacks and safeties while causing speed problems for linebackers.  These types of players are what the NFL craves right now and with the Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl with bigger more physical corners, the most logical response would be for NFL offenses to counter with big and fast tight ends who can beat bigger corners at their own game.  Strawberry would be the “move” tight end, much like Aaron Hernandez or Jordan Reed, who while aren’t the biggest or fastest have the most utility of the group, being able to operate decently as a inline tight end, out in the slot or even as a fullback in some situations (the Packers in particular love this kind of tight end).  Finally, there is vanilla, the old and boring standby of inline or “complete” tight end such as Jason Witten or Todd Heap who were capable inline blockers but could also operate as a safety value for a quarterback in the short passing game.  Each flavor has its own advantages and disadvantages and that’s fluctuated over time as offenses and defenses have evolved in the NFL.

When looking at the Packers under the Mike McCarthy/Ted Thompson regime, the flavors that appeal most have definitely been chocolate (Jermichael Finley, Brandon Bostick) and strawberry (Tom Crabtree, Spencer Havner, Ryan Taylor, DJ Williams) with almost no emphasis being placed on blocking.  And it’s easy to see why, with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers at the helm, plays could be extended, wide receivers got the majority of the attention on offense and running backs, outside of a couple years of Ahman Green in his prime, took a back seat to the offensive passing game.  Add to that the aerial explosion that occurred starting around that time and it’s easy to see why the Packers, along with pretty much every other NFL team, starting looking at tight ends more as receivers than blockers.  However, we might just start to see Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson pick a different favorite flavor this coming draft.

24

July

Pigskin Paul’s Packers Preview: 12 Young Players Who Need to Step Up

Packers Nick Perry - Time to Step Up.

Nick Perry – Time to Step Up…

We have done it my friends. We have survived the dreaded football off-season. This coming week NFL teams will begin pouring into Training Camps with about 90 players per team ready to compete for jobs on 2013 regular season rosters. The Green and Gold will be amongst them obviously with high expectations and goals, but lots of questions to be answered as well. Not to be considered all inclusive by any means, here are some topics that come to mind for yours truly.

Nice to see that MARK MURPHY continues to wield the financial magic wand that continues to reap revenue and profit to keep the franchise competitive with the power brokers like JERRY JONES down in Texas. With the South end zone expansion project well on its way to completion local revenue should get a nice boost for future seasons. My only question in that regard is one for the entire NFL: At what point does your thirst for money hit “the wall” because of fan saturation/exposure and expense of access to your game?

Still can’t help but wonder whether Free Agency and Salary Cap haven’t left the team dangerously thin of proven NFL talent at the LB and S positions? Of course some younger players will get better and contribute more, but is the organization counting on more of that phenomenon than is reasonable? We shall see.

So then who might be the younger players to step it up and emerge as legit NFL starters, perhaps even stars? The other key question is often, who can return to the field and bounce back (and up) from injuries? With a young, home grown roster like that of Green Bay that list might include half of the roster, but let me pinpoint a dozen guys who might make a performance leap this season for various and sundry reasons.

NICK PERRY/OLB    Last year’s No. 1 Pick missed most of the season after a September wrist injury eventually landed him on injured reserve (with a knee injury to boot).  Assuming he’s healthy it would be nice to think that he spent a lot of  his down-time in 2012 talking with coaches and watching film that helped him better understand the position switch from DE to OLB he is making. Hopefully, that study will help him do more playing than thinking in 2013.

7

June

It’s Time To Bury The Brett Favre Hatchet Once And For All

If Aaron Rodgers can let what happened with Brett Favre go, so should the fans.

The schism that once existed between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers continues to shrink.

Perhaps it may have finally vanished.

In an interview with Joe Buscaglia of 550 WGR Radio in Buffalo, Favre made his strongest remarks to date that he is ready to return to the Packers family.  When asked if he had any regrets about how his departure from Green Bay went down, Favre replied with the following:

“It’s the way it is. It is what it is. It’s over and done with. I was at fault. I feel that both sides had a part in it. If you could go back would I or them have done things differently? I’m sure both sides would. But you can’t.”

This is one of, if not the very first times Favre has actually admitting to some kind of wrongdoing in his 2008 standoff and eventual separation with the Packers.  These perhaps are the words many fans have been waiting to hear out of the former quarterback before they would be willing to once again embrace Favre as one of their own.

He also said that he and current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers “have a good relationship.”  That’s quite a change from when the Packers were preparing for Super Bowl XLV and Rodgers said he didn’t have a relationship with Favre.  The joint presentation the two quarterbacks made at the NFL Honors show in February obviously got the ball rolling.

Favre also acknowledged that he has had discussions with Packers president Mark Murphy and also recognized that Murphy walked into a “hornet’s nest” when he took over as president and CEO for Bob Harlan. He also said he played for a lot of great coaches “that branched out” and mentioned Mike McCarthy as being among them.

Packers fans know Favre better than anyone.  The phrase “I am sorry” has never been in his repertoire. Most can probably count on one hand the amount of times Favre has admitted to fault on anything, whether on the football field or in life.  The Favre heard in the interview sounded like an older and wiser gunslinger. 

18

March

Packers President Mark Murphy on Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers

Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers

Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were reunited at the NFL Awards show this winter.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel beat writer Tom Silverstein caught up with Packers president Mark Murphy on Monday at the NFL Owners meetings in Phoenix.

As a favor to bloggers and online media outlets, Murphy talked about two Packers that generate a ton of clicks and web traffic: Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

On the former, Murphy says progress has been made toward getting Favre’s jersey retired in Green Bay. On the latter, Murphy said cash will not be a problem in extending Aaron Rodgers’ contract.

On Favre:

“I don’t want to put a deadline on it, but it’s going to happen,” Murphy said. “It’s got to be sitting down, the organization, whether it’s myself or others, sitting down with him and working on the timing on it.”

On Rodgers:

“A priority as an organization…We all want to see it get done,” Murphy said. He did not know the progress of talks between Rodgers’ representatives and Packers negotiator Russ Ball.

Here’s hoping we see Favre’s number enshrined forever at Lambeau Field and Rodgers locked up to a long-term deal sooner rather than later.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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