Category Archives: Lambeau Field

17

July

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 WatchMojo.com’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.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com 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 CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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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.

24

April

The Return of Brett Favre and the 2014 Packers Schedule

NFL, Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre, Brett Favre Packers, Brett Favre Packers reunion, Mark Murphy, Brett Favre retirement, 2014 Packers schedule, Brett Favre 2014

Will Favre return to the Packers in 2014? The schedule seems ripe for it.

The National Football League released its schedule of games for 2014 yesterday and each team’s path to Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona has been placed before them.

For the Green Bay Packers however, there is an additional question to be answered and it is at the front of every cheesehead’s mind:

“Is this the year?”

As in “is this the year the Packers and former quarterback Brett Favre finally publicly bury the hatchet?” Packers president Mark Murphy said the plan was to have Favre at a game this past season, but his role as offensive coordinator of a state champion football team kept the former MVP quarterback from making his way back to Lambeau Field in 2013.

With Favre having already announced he will not be coaching Mississippi high school football in 2014, the door is wide open for his return to the Packers family this season. Now that the schedule for the season has been announced, it’s time to begin another edition of Favre Watch except this time it is guaranteed to have a happy ending for both Favre and Packers fans.

Here are the Packers’ 2014 home games, ranked from least likely to most likely to be the game Favre returns to Lambeau to have his number retired and maybe even more.

8. Lions vs Packers, Week 17
This game will be played on Sunday, December 28. This game could decide a playoff spot or perhaps even the NFC North title. Take the potential enormity of the game and the possibility of brutally cold and/or snowy weather, this isn’t likely to be the one Favre returns home to.

7. Eagles vs Packers, Week 11
This game would likely be higher up on the list if Favre’s former quarterbacks coach Andy Reid were still coaching the Eagles. Combine that with the fact that this is a Gold Package (aka former County Stadium ticket holders) game and this probably won’t be the game either.

6. Vikings vs Packers, Week 5

This would be “oh-so-sweet” for Packers fans to welcome their former hero back during the game against the team he joined that broke so many fans hearts. Unfortunately, this is another Gold Package game, which all but precludes that a Favre return isn’t likely here either.

13

January

Purple Cheese: A Green Bay Packers Season in Vikings Country

Burkie, you ain’t in Wisconsin anymore!

With the 2013 Green Bay Packers season officially in the books, there is a plethora of articles all over the World Wide Web looking back at the year and what the Packers can do to improve and contend for a Super Bowl again in 2014.

This is not one of those articles.  Well, not 100% anyways.

As you may or may not know, due to a promotion at my real job, I packed my bags and moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota this past August.  From the moment I was born until roughly one month from my 30th birthday, I lived in the great state Wisconsin and Packer Country.  As of August 1st, that was no longer the case.

Of course the state of Minnesota is home to one of Green Bay’s most bitter rivals, the Vikings.  For the first time in my life, I would not be able to watch every single Packer game on television.  This fact actually weighed heavily on me when I was debating whether or not to accept the promotion, but I figured that, thanks to the advent of the internet and NFL Game Rewind, I would survive.

I arrived at the start of training camp and it was seemingly clear at that point even to Vikings fans what the NFC North would look like in 2013: the Packers would win the division with perhaps a somewhat stiff challenge from Minnesota. The optimism amongst fans here was that the Vikings made the playoffs in 2012 and thanks to the addition of former Packer wide receiver Greg Jennings, they could challenge Green Bay for the division crown.

As is usually the case in the NFL, things did not go according to the script….for either team.

The Packers stumbled early, but were able to right the ship to sit at 4-2 entering their Week 8 matchup against the Vikings at Mall of America Field.  Minnesota, meanwhile, stumbled early and often as their record stood at 1-5 heading into their first game against Green Bay.

Heading into that game, all I could think was “Just win this game. Lose the rest if you must, I just don’t want to get swept by the Vikings while I live here.” Everyone at work at that point knew who I backed and the smack talk was in jest, but there’s a difference between Packers fans and (most) Vikings fans: we Cheeseheads take our team as a source of pride. When they lose, our pride is wounded.

2

January

Packers Ticket Mystery Solved (Somewhat)

Green Bay Packers tickets

Although tickets still remain for this week’s wild card game, the Packers expect their current sellout streak to continue

Since 1973, the NFL has maintained a blackout policy that states that a home game cannot be televised locally if it is not sold out 72 hours prior to its start time.  As of Thursday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers still had 3,000 tickets left to sell and had been granted an extension to 4pm on Friday afternoon by which to sell them.

For those of you who are still worried that the team may not sell out, keep something in mind that has been the case for many years:  While we may never officially hear about it, most teams have sponsors lined up to buy all remaining tickets and avoid the blackout.  The Packers surely have that in place, if needed.

Still, talk of a blackout is not something the Packers faithful are used to hearing or seeing in the news.  As long as I can remember, the Packers have had a waiting list for those wanting season tickets that is said to be as long as 25 years.

With the addition of another 7,000 seats at Lambeau Field this past offseason, that list got slightly shorter and offered additional opportunities for fans to get into one of the most historic venues across pro sports.  The Packers currently own a streak of 319 consecutive sellout games, with 301 of those being regular season contests.  I’m here to tell you that the streak will continue and to have no fear.

Interestingly, the Packers have two local markets:  Green Bay and Milwaukee.  This means that a television blackout would affect a large portion of the state’s viewing audience, if it got to that point.  Again, it won’t.  When was the last time that we saw a true TV blackout in a local market?  If the Jacksonville Jaguars can tarp thousands of seats in the name of advertising and remove them from the stadium count, I think the Packers can easily fill one of the league’s few Mecca’s.

With regards to obtaining playoff tickets at Lambeau Field, typically the Packers send out an invoice to their season ticket holders to give them first option to buy playoff tickets.  It makes sense that they would get first crack at them and that is how it is done with all professional sports.  The team’s timing wasn’t the greatest this season, however, as they sent out the invoices the week following the Packers embarrassing 40-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.

13

December

Packers Periscope: Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys

The Past: In reality, the Packers and Cowboys aren’t all that different; both are storied franchises whose heydays came after hiring relatively unknown New York Giants coordinators.  Both had a renaissance of sorts in the 80s and 90s; Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin for the Cowboys and Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, Reggie White and Desmond Howard for the Packers both lead their respective teams back into relevance.  Both have been successful franchises in the last couple years; obviously Green Bay boasts a Super Bowl over the last couple of years that the Cowboys have no answer for but to call the franchise “unsuccessful” would be glossing over a decent team who are still the highest grossing franchise in the league.

While the Packers and Cowboys have only played each other 24 times in NFL history; perhaps the most historic game of all time occurred in New Years eve, 1967 where the temperature dropped -15F and an unassuming quarterback from Alabama drafted in the 17th round quarterback sneaked his way into the hearts of Packers nation and became a legend.

The Cowboys would probably like to forget the last time they played the Packers, a 45-7 demolition at Lambeau Field that would ultimately lead to the firing of then head coach Wade Phillips, which was punctualized by several coaching mistakes which ultimately lead to a bad call on a fumble returned for a special teams touchdown being unchallenged because the Cowboys had already wasted all their timeouts.  After that, the entire team simply gave up and let the Packers had their way with the Cowboys; Clay Matthews recorded sack/interception returned for a touchdown while James Jones logged 123 yards and a touchdown on 8 receptions.

The Present: Both the Packers and Cowboys are at a crossroads of sorts for their playoff hopes.  Frankly neither should really be in the discussion; the Packers are a completely different team without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Cowboys have been wildly inconsistent, almost beating the Peyton Manning lead Denver Broncos but getting blown out by the Bears last week with a backup quarterback that’s just been benched for Jay Cutler.  Still the Packers are 6-6-1 and have a shot to get into the playoffs (especially if the Lions continue to play poorly) while the Cowboys are 7-6 and again are one game out from 1st place in the NFC East.  However in a league of parity, both teams with essentially .500 records are still in the playoff hunts with a reasonable chance of actually getting in says platitudes about how a team’s fortunes can change in a matter of moments.

16

November

Cory’s Corner: Lambeau Field has lost its mystique

The Packers have lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 2008. Lambeau Field doesn't have the home field advantage it once did.

The Packers have lost back-to-back home games for the first time since 2008. Lambeau Field doesn’t have the home field advantage it once did.

I realize the best passer was watching the game from the sideline, but what happened to the Lambeau Field mystique?

After dropping an ugly loss to the Eagles, the Packers have now lost two straight home games for the first time since 2008. I can remember when the Packers reeled off 25-straight home wins from 1995-1998.

Coming into the Bears game Nov. 4, the Packers had won 10 straight at home and 23 of its last 24. Those are good numbers but it appears that those numbers may be the exception and not the rule.

It seemed whenever Green Bay was playing at home it was just expected that it was going to be another win. And when it was a playoff game in January in the bitter cold, many teams wilted under the shadows of greats like Curly Lambeau and Vince Lambeau all the way to Mike Holmgren.

Of course that all changed in 2002 when a 22-year-old quarterback by the name of Michael Vick, in just his second year as a pro by the way, turned the normally racous Lambeau into deafening silence.

Looking at former teams, there is one common denominator from Brett Favre’s teams of the 90s to Aaron Rodgers teams now: they were a lot tougher. And I know that may be construed as a cop-out because that soft label has been applied to this team before.

But go back to 2010. You’re lying if you say you truly expected the Packers to win the Super Bowl. After Matt Flynn lost a tough game at New England to drop Green Bay’s record to 8-6, I thought they were done.

They then won two straight and got in the playoffs through the back door. The turning point of the playoff run was the 27-point shellacking the Packers gave to the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. And the reason is simple: the Packers were and are built like a dome team.

On the outside, the Packers look like a bunch of mean football players ready to shatter all of your bones. But on the inside, they’re at home sipping hot cocoa under your grandma’s freshly knitted afghan blanket.

They’re the semi truck with cross-stitch and Sudoku inside.