24

July

Everything you need to know about the Packers shareholders meeting in 200 words

Packers shareholders meeting

About 15,000 people attended Thursday’s Packers shareholders meeting and another 10,000 watched online.

The Packers held their annual shareholders meeting on Thursday at Lambeau Field. Here’s everything you need to know in 200 words or less.

  • Packers president Mark Murphy reported that 350,000 stockholders hold more than 5 million shares of Packers stock.
  • The Packers were ninth in total revenues last season at $324.1 million.
  • Ted Thompson put everyone to sleep with his remarks and ended with “Go Pack Go.”
  • The Packers have 112,000 people on their season ticket waiting list.
  • Lambeau Field now holds 80,750 people, second most in the NFL.
  • The playoff ticket policy is changing. Playoff tickets will only be paid for if the game is played. No more holding money to deposit toward next year’s season tickets.
  • Murphy said they’re working on improving in-stadium wi-fi.
  • The Packers are buying up all kinds of property around Lambeau Field and hoping to attract businesses and other development to a “Titletown District.”
  • The average ticket price for a Packers game ranks 17th in the league. Team may move to variable pricing for preseason games next year.
  • It doesn’t sound like the NFL will bring the draft to Green Bay any time soon.
  • The Packers have $272 million in corporate reserves (this team is loaded on the field and at the bank).
  • Murphy said the Cowboys call themselves “America’s team.” The Packers are the “World’s team.”

That about sums it up as succinctly as possible. Players report to training camp on Friday. Who’s ready for some football?

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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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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.

19

May

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football.

If I was creating my own perfect media universe to feed me information on the Green Bay Packers, here’s what it would look like:

Play-by-play announcer: Wayne Larrivee. No explanation needed. I could listen to Wayne all day — even if the Packers were losing by seven touchdowns — and still get enjoyment out of the game.

Color commentator: Mike Mayock. I used to have Cris Collinsworth ahead of Mayock, but not any more. Mayock made those boring Thursday night games on NFL Network tolerable last season. I’ll take substance over style from my color commentary each and every time.

Sideline reporter: Doris Burke. Ok, I’m cheating a little bit. Those of you who watch Burke work the sideline and conduct in-game interviews with coaches during NBA games know why I choose her, however. She takes the job seriously and actually tries to tell the viewer something that doesn’t insult his/her intelligence. Her questions are always light on fluff and high on substance.

Studio host: Trey Wingo. Doesn’t need catch phrases or tired schtick to be effective.

Studio analysts: LeRoy Butler and Mark Tauscher. Both guys have ties to the Packers, are extremely engaging and provide good insight.

Main beat writer: Tom Silverstein. Hard working. In-depth. No frills. Smart. Insightful. Gets a little snarky on Twitter. Everything you want out of a beat guy.

Secondary beat writer: Rob Demovsky. Doesn’t get enough credit because the talent pool of Packers reporters is deep. He’s one of the better ones.

Columnist: Bob McGinn. Years upon years of working with sources and dropping knowledge. He also tends to get people a little riled up, which a good columnist will do every now and then.

Radio talk show hosts: Jason Wilde and Bill Johnson. No need to re-create the wheel. Just keep Green and Gold Today what is already is: A show to discuss the Packers, not rant and rave incoherently like most sports talk radio shows.

Blogger: Jersey Al. One of the originals and still the best.

5 Packers people to follow on Twitter: @PackerRanter: Deep. @jrehor: Passionate. @Aaron_Nagler: NFL. @Packerpedia: Informative. @BrianCarriveau: Dedicated.

That about sums it up. I’m sure I left some good people off, but hopefully they get over it and their feelings aren’t hurt too bad by being left off such a prestigious list.

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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18

July

Packers Profit: Changes Coming To The Lambeau Field Atrium?

Lambeau Atrium

Not even 10 years old, is the Atrium in for its first renovation?

For those fans coming to Green Bay for one or several Packer games this season, you will notice immediately the changes in the south end zone with  ongoing construction that is adding of 6,600 seats as well as two new high definition video boards that are in place for the start of the 2012 season.

Those are changes to the stadium bowl.  Now the Packers are apparently eyeing up some changes to the Lambeau Field Atrium.

According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said the team has some ambitious plans for the first major renovation since the atrium was completed in 2003.

Some proposed plans include moving the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame from the basement of the atrium up to the second floor which is currently home to Curly’s Pub.  This would mean increased visibility for the Hall of Fame, according the team.

The restaurant in turn would move to the first floor of the atrium near the Packers Pro Shop.  The Packers said this would also increase visibility for Curly’s Pub.  Changes in the pro shop also might be coming, Murphy said.

With the Packers recently disclosing a record profit of $42.7 million in 2011, the team is obviously not resting on its laurels and continues to make sure the franchise is financially stable long term.  Keeping the Lambeau Field Atrium up to par with the rest of the NFL is crucial to that goal and its obvious Murphy recognizes that.

The team also should be able to re-sign existing sponsors as well as attract new ones.  As long as the product on the football field continues to be excellent, the Packers should have no trouble in continuing to put money in the till.

Improvements to the atrium and stadium proper are a big part of the development of the stadium district as well.  Cabela’s announced earlier this year it was building a store in Green Bay not too far from Lambeau Field and it is expected other major businesses will follow suit and build near the stadium.

It’s definitely a good time to be a Packer fan.

8

June

Mark Murphy Entering Year Five: Where Does He Stand?

Mark Murphy

How much longer will Mark Murphy remain a Cheesehead?

Mark Murphy has seen the lowest of lows and the highest of highs as he begins his fifth season as President of the Green Bay Packers.

A former player who won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins and who also holds a law degree from Georgetown, Murphy seems the perfect balance between player and businessman, which would be a perfect fit for the National Football League’s smallest market.

With him entering year five of his tenure, now is a good time to examine what Murphy has done as well as what he didn’t do, and how the Packers have fared since Murphy took over for the legendary Bob Harlan.

Murphy was seemingly walking into a near-perfect situation when he took over on January 28, 2008.  The Packers were coming off a 13-3 season in Mike McCarthy’s second year as coach and the team was one play away from an appearance in Super Bowl XLII.  Brett Favre seemingly wound back the clock and enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2007.  Everyone thought Favre would be back for 2008 for one more Super Bowl push and Murphy would have time to learn his new job.

Then the “Summer of Favre” happened.

Favre announced (what would be the first of a few) retirements in March 2008.  Favre flew to Green Bay, gave a teary eyed press conference formally announcing his decision, and then he was gone.  Murphy, as the new guy in town, did what only made sense at the time especially given how little he likely interacted with Favre.  Murphy announced the team would retire Favre’s number at the home opener of the 2008 season against (now ironically) the Minnesota Vikings.

Favre’s picture was on the game tickets and the Packers planned a big celebration for their future Hall of Fame quarterback.  It was going to be one heck of a farewell party.

Well, the party never happened.  Favre changed his mind in the summer after the Packers had already installed Aaron Rodgers as the new starting quarterback and the rest of the story is history.  Since this was mainly a football decision, and he had only been on the job six months, Murphy stayed mainly to sidelines and let McCarthy and Ted Thompson work things out with Favre.