The NFL lockout remains in effect (although hopefully not much longer) and the date is June 16, not January 16.
The excitement was over the unveiling of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship rings. Tonight was a different kind of night, given that the players and coaches have barely interacted since they got back from Dallas, but it’s a night none of the players or fans who were following along on Twitter will likely ever forget.
Like a great movie, the occasion had it all: Drama, laughter, nervousness and an ultimately very sweet payoff. Yours truly was even sucked into the drama of the evening thanks to one of my soon to be patented poorly timed and poorly worded jokes. More on that later.
Since the event was private, no media were allowed inside the Lambeau Field Atrium until after the event. This was a night solely for the players in coaches. We were treated to some “pre –game” coverage on NFL Network but sooner than later the players were inside the stadium, ready for the festivities to begin.
Without any media, the obvious question on Twitter became “Which player would be the first to tweet a picture of the ring?” The early favorite was tight end and new fan favorite Tom Crabtree with Nick Barnett not far behind. Another thing that got a chuckle out of me were all the tweets that said Aaron Rodgers had arrived…..solo.
Soon after, players were seated and the ceremony got underway. Tensions and nervousness began to escalate quickly as time went further and further past 7 PM central. You’d think there was a game going on given the anxiety I saw on my Twitter timeline.
Offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga broke the tension with a tweet stating “The Ring!” followed by a link to TwitPic. That link ultimately led to a picture of a grinning Bulaga and no ring. A new meme in Packer fandom may have been born: being BulagaRoll’d. Sorry, Rick Astley.
At this point fans were openly wondering if all the Packer fans retweeting photos of the ring would cause Twitter to malfunction, as has been known to happen during spikes of activity. Twitter also supposedly has this “Twitter jail” for those users who send too many tweets in too short of time period, thus chewing up precious bandwith. This led me to tweet to fans: “Intentionally trying to take down Twitter will get you banned fyi.”
You swear I insulted everyone’s mothers. My feed blew up with people calling me a buzz kill and saying I “didn’t get it.” It was a small joke gone wrong and thankfully John Rehor of Cheesehead Radio and the Packers Lounge came to my rescue. (Thanks again John!) Moral of the story: Don’t screw with fans of the world champions, even in jest. Oy vey.
Anyways, players were soon tweeting pictures of two boxes on their respective tables, one of which contained their ring and the other a necklace for the player’s significant other.
At this point, it seemed like even the players were bursting at the seams to get their new pieces of jewelry. Ryan Grant even tweeted “What if the rings accidentally said Pittsburgh Steelers on them?” That funny guy, #25.
Then, Twitter exploded. The rings were unveiled. (The winner of the first player to tweet the picture? It seemed to be safety Anthony Smith with assistant head coach Winston Moss coming in second).
One after the other, Twitpics flooded people’s timelines. The first few pictures, likely taken in a rush of excitement, were poor and had a lot of glare but soon much clearer images emerged.
My first thought upon seeing the ring? “DAAAAAMN that’s a lot of diamonds.” According to the release from the Packers, there is one diamond in each corner representing the four Super Bowl wins, 13 diamonds in the raised “G” in the center of the ring and 92 (yes 92) in the crown of the ring for each year of the Packers’ existence. That’s 109 diamonds, folks.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the ring isn’t even on the front. On the inside the number “1” is engraved along with the words “mind, goal, purpose, and heart.” Remember Charles Woodson’s speech after the NFC Championship?
As for the players, they were like kids inside a candy store. Lollipops to a toddler are like diamonds to grown men, I suppose. Pictures kept popping up of players striking a pose with their ring. Given all the labor strife of the offseason, it was good to be able to see the guys cut loose and have a good time.
Packers president Mark Murphy said after the ceremony that the team captains had input and that the players wanted “big” and they wanted “bling.” Judging by the end product, mission accomplished. It’s honestly one of the most impressive pieces of jewelry I have ever seen.
After the unveiling, I thought all the drama was done for the night. Turns out I was wrong.
A Bears blogger decided to become a troll (not the cute kind you could buy at Hallmark back in the day) and started instigating some Packer fans. His most outrageous claim (that I saw anyway) was that the state of Wisconsin “is broke and yet buying horrible rings for million dollar crybabies.” That statement goes far beyond idiotic.
As I write this, the back and forth between him and Packers fans goes on and it serves as almost the perfect ending to the Hollywood story that was the 2010 Packers. The good guys have won the day, but evil still lurks and the battle is about to be joined once again.
The journey of 2010 for the Packers is now complete. The 2011 one now begins.——————
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