9

November

Cory’s Corner: Goodell needs to make an example of Incognito

Miami Dolphins appeared in this PSA before games that ran on the scoreboard reminding fans to be civilized.

Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito appeared in this PSA that ran on the Sun Life Stadium scoreboard before games reminding fans to be civilized. He was also on the team’s leadership council.

First it was Michael Vick. Then along came Riley Cooper. Now we have Richie Incognito.

I know Roger Goodell has been labeled as a sheriff in the wild, wild west to some for his way of doling out punishments.

But apparently, he needs to go in a few notches on his law belt.

When the Michael Vick dog fighting case came about in 2007, it was arguably one of the most abhorrent things a player has ever done off the field. He served 21 months in jail for his role in a five-year dog fighting ring. Vick was able to get a starting job back but his public persona has been severly dented.

Then along came Riley Cooper. The loudmouth Eagles receiver who threw N-bombs at a Kenny Chesney concert was rightly vilified for putting the country back 50-60 years. Players  from around the league, which is predominantly African American, still haven’t been able to forgive a guy that spouted off and despite apologizing until he was blue in the face, Cooper could potentially still harbor those feelings deep inside.

And now we’ve got Incognito. Labeling him as a bully is a disservice to bullies. He is a calculated emotional killer that preys on the weak. Judging from the texts and voicemails where he called Jonathan Martin racial epithets and even mentioned that he would kill him, Incognito is worse than the first two guys. I mean, Incognito forced Martin to chip in $15,000 to finance a trip to Las Vegas – a trip that Martin wasn’t even attending. So, in addition to making your fellow offensive lineman’s life a living hell thanks to a verbal assault, you’ve entered into the world of extortion.

The problem is, since the NFL is a macho sport based upon brute strength, most people just shrug their shoulders when they see this type of thing. Many Dolphins players really didn’t notice anything because the meat and potatoes of what was going on they didn’t see or hear. Incognito called out Martin in the locker room but it wasn’t anything that people wouldn’t consider out of the norm for locker room chatter.

26

October

Cory’s Corner: Would Favre say yes to the Packers?

Brett Favre recently said no to play for the Rams. Would he say yes to a different team?

Brett Favre recently said no to play for the Rams. Would he say yes to a different team?

When the grizzled Brett Favre retired from the Vikings in 2010, I honestly thought that was it.

Boy was I wrong.

The Rams picked up the phone this week wondering if the 44-year-old could still play. It’s amazing that after  two-and-a-half years off, a team was still willing to kick the tires on a quarterback that  threw 19 interceptions in 13 games with Sidney Rice and Randy Moss on the roster.

But according to The Celebrity DBI released by repucom.net, Favre still has a 78 percent awareness level. That’s 25 percentage points higher than Aaron Rodgers.

Think about that for a second. Rodgers has been playing at a Pro Bowl level for the last five years and is one of the most efficient players in the game, yet Favre still is more aware of Rodgers as he visits the Bahamas and Yellowstone National Park — albeit without a fanny pack I presume.

But not to worry Packers fans, Rodgers ranks much higher than Favre on every other category. Thanks to things like the State Farm Insurance Discount Double-Check, chatting with an older woman at a hair salon for an Associated Bank ad or pitching Ford trucks are a little better than selling Rx Pro, the pain cream that Favre is promoting. Which is why Rodgers is in the top three percent as an endorser at No. 94, while Favre is 1,851.

The spirited debate between both quarterbacks is still heard at bars and parking lots before the game and it doesn’t quell when fans get into Lambeau Field either.

But for a team like the Rams, that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2004, Brett Favre could’ve injected some energy and enthusiasm into a team and a town that could really care less — especially with its baseball neighbor still playing across town.

The thing that surprised me was the shock that the Rams thought outside the box and gave Favre the opportunity. I can count 11 teams that wouldn’t admit it, but would love to have Favre as its quarterback rather than what they’re stuck with right now.

5

October

Cory’s Corner: Lombardi still resonates with Packers fans

Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi won five championships in seven years and is the only coach to win three straight.

Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi won five championships in seven years and is the only coach to win three straight.

 

Vince Lombardi is an expected learn. Not just in snowy Packer country where Lombardi made the rest of the NFL scream “Uncle!” but throughout the globe where his level of success and achievement has been unreachable.

I was born nine years after he passed away in 1970, but the most amazing thing to me is how much that man means to a fan base that after all those years cannot stop talking about him, crawling on his imposing statue outside the Lambeau Field Atrium and cannot stop drooling at the NFL’s top prize, rightly named in his honor.

“To this day that is one thing that I’m surprised at,” said Lombardi’s grandson John, who was in New York on behalf of his grandfather to be a part of the “Hometown Hall of Famers” celebration recently.  “I thought over time that he would fade from memory. I mean he would’ve been 100 this year. His 100th birthday was in June. And to still be so relevant and referred to is amazing.”

The “Hometown Hall of Famers” is a program that started in 2011 and its sole mission is to highlight the hometown roots of the NFL’s best players with a special ceremony and a plaque that remains in the hometown. The Lombardi family chose to keep the plaque at St. Francis Preparatory School, where Lombardi honed his craft as an offensive lineman en route to earning a scholarship to Fordham University.

It didn’t take long for Lombardi to put the rest of the NFL in a stranglehold. Two years after the Packers finished 1-10-1 in 1958 and were within a whisper of losing the franchise, Lombardi churned out a playoff team for the first time since 1944. Lombardi didn’t stop there as he racked up three NFL championships and two Super Bowls in seven years, numbers that would make any opponent cripple to its knees.

“The greatest achievement is winning three championships in a row which in the playoff era no team has done,” said Lombardi who worked for 10 years in football with the World League, the Cleveland Browns, Vanderbilt University and Tennessee Oilers/Titans. “A lot have won two but no one has been able to win that third one. So it’s that achievement level that I think they’re all chasing. That accomplishment in and of itself is something that everyone can look to who’s in professional sports.

1

October

If the Packers are Shut Down like the Government, Who is Essential and Who is Non-Essential?

Mike McCarthy is not happy about being classified as non-essential.

For the first nine years of my professional life, I was “non-essential.”

Non-essential was never really defined. I worked hard. Went above and beyond. Got plenty of accolades. Was told my work was very important by everyone I interacted with. Got a paycheck once every two weeks.

But when push came to shove, I was categorized as non-essential.

Yes, I worked for the federal government. And whenever our wonderful elected officials couldn’t agree on a budget, a government shutdown was threatened. That’ when we found out which civil servants were essential and which were non-essential.

The essential people were designated to work through the shut down. I guess their jobs were considered really important, or something.

The non-essential people were sent home until the politicians figured out a budget. We were non-essential, so whatever, right?

I no longer work for the government, so I’m spared the humiliation of being labeled non-essential as our government shuts down today. All of you non-essentials out there reading this right now, I feel for you. You are all essential in my view. Don’t let the haters bring you down.

The shutdown got me thinking: If the Packers got shutdown like the federal government, who would be essential and who would be non-essential?

These are the things I think about. Welcome to my brain.

Aaron Rodgers
Definitely essential. He’s the best player on the team and plays the most important position. The Packers couldn’t function without him.

Mike McCarthy
Sorry, Mike, but you’re non-essential. Aaron Rodgers can call the plays and I don’t even think you can name five defensive players on your own team.

Evan Dietrich-Smith
Essential. Someone has to snap the ball to Rodgers.

Brett Goode
Non-essential. The Packers will never punt or kick field goals. Just score touchdowns. No need for a long-snapper, punter or kicker. Goode will be furloughed and play his guitar in Green Bay coffee shops until the shut down is over.

Clay Matthews
Can we furlough Matthews’ hamstring and keep the rest of his body?

Eddie Lacy
All running backs are non-essential. The Packers proved that in 2010.

Tramon Williams
He’s non-essential, but since Williams hasn’t shut down an opposing WR since 2010, he doesn’t know what the term means and hangs around anyway.

28

September

Cory’s Corner: Clutch stats are synonymous with luck

Aaron Rodgers is 5-17 in games decided by four points or fewer.

Aaron Rodgers is 5-17 in games decided by four points or fewer.

After the Bengals came back to beat the Packers, the fourth quarter statistics came pouring through like a poorly constructed dam.

Coach Mike McCarthy is now 9-20 in games decided by four points or fewer and Aaron Rodgers is 5-17.

I realize those numbers look pathetic. Nobody wants to be under .500 in this league at anything.

But a good barometer for the “clutch” statistic is Eli Manning. When the Giants inched into the 2007 playoffs with a 10-6 record he engineered fourth quarter or later comebacks from the divisional playoff all the way to the Super Bowl.

I say that luck is a pretty good synonym for clutch. Did Manning have anything to do with forcing Brett Favre’s interception? Of course that set up the eventual 47-yard game-winning field goal and put the Giants in the big game. Once there, Manning needed a 3rd and 5 completion to David Tyree — who is no longer in the league — to keep the hope alive.

But as you remember, it wasn’t just a completion, Tyree caught the ball against his helmet with defenders draped all over him. New York ended the Patriots’ march to perfection and it was all because Manning led a clutch drive that saw him heave up a 32-yard desperation pass that somehow found enough helmet to be hauled in.

Taking it one step further, Rodgers is 5-24 when he’s got the ball in the fourth quarter trailing by 1-8 points.

How many of those were missed field goals, a dropped pass, a blown coverage or a bonehead penalty? Any one or a combination of those things can quickly turn a definite win into a loss.

“You can throw a bunch of numbers into a can and sort them different ways and come up with strengths and weaknesses and you can believe what you want to believe,” McCarthy said on Monday. “I think you really have to stay in tune with individuals especially in a team sport where you have 11 people on the field at once.”

To prove how silly the clutch stat is, Jay Cutler has a better clutch winning percentage than Peyton Manning. Now I don’t think anyone is crazy enough to think that Cutler is a better overall quarterback than Manning, who is cutting through defenses with so much meticulous-like precision that he reminds me of a surgeon.

4

August

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Training Camp

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Another week of Packers training camp is in the books. Is it Sept. 8 yet?

Finley pipes down
I’ve never been one of those people who gets all bent out of shape whenever Jermichael Finley says something that stirs the pot — I’ll take honesty and candor over canned cliches any day. But it looks like Finley is at least trying the cliche route…for now. Will a boring Finley in front of the microphones lead to a more exciting Finley on the football field? I don’t think one has anything to do with the other. If Finley becomes a force at tight end, it won’t be because he zipped his lips during training camp. Besides, if he does finally break out, people would probably be more tolerant of whatever does come out of his mouth.

Hawk OK with pay cut
Calling it “more of an ego thing than anything that guys can’t get over,” LB A.J. Hawk spoke about taking a pay cut this offseason in order to stay with the Packers. After the slash in pay, Hawk is due to make $10.6 million over the final three years of his deal. That sounds like more than enough money for a guy who rarely makes impactful plays. It’s good to hear Hawk speak openly about taking a cut and being a team guy, but deep down, even he has to know that there probably wasn’t another team out there that would be willing to pay him over $10 million. It’s still a great deal for Hawk, and the Packers obviously think it’s a fair price for a LB that hasn’t made many flash plays, but is healthy and ready to go every Sunday.

Bakhtiari making a move
We’ve been hearing nothing but good things about David Bakhtiari. There are even rumblings that he might end up winning the starting right tackle job. The rookie from Colorado appears to be plenty athletic to be the kind of pass protector the Packers like. And with Marshall Newhouse being, well, Marshall Newhouse, and Don Barclay horsing around at backup center, perhaps the window is open for the rookie to win the job. But remember: We haven’t made it to the first exhibition game yet. All rookies are getting loved up right now because they’re new, they’re fresh, their ceilings are perceived to be high and we don’t know their shortcomings yet.

25

July

The Rejected Shareholders Meeting Speech from Packers GM Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson.

A source provided ALLGBP.com the below speech that was rejected by Ted Thompson for Wednesday’s Packers shareholder meeting. Unfortunately, Thompson decided to not use this speech, and just wasted everyone’s time like he’s done at every other shareholder meeting. Hopefully Ted changes his mind and uses a speech like this next year.

“Before I get started, I first want to thank everyone who is here today. Many of you forked over $250 to buy Packers’ stock a few years ago, and for that, the entire organization is truly grateful.

All of us in Packers’ upper management love you people, even though we think you’re insane and make jokes about you behind closed doors. I mean seriously, you guys fork over $250 so you can hang a certificate on your wall and come here every year to listen to me say absolutely nothing about your favorite football team. The last couple of years, I’ve literally stood at this very podium and read off the names on the roster. If you paid me $250 to listen to myself talk, I wouldn’t do it.

But I had an epiphany the other day. I was watching tape of some unknown prospect that you all have never heard of, but will one day get mad at me for drafting, when I realized the Packers owed you more for your $250 than what you’ve been getting at this event every year.

What I am going to give you today is actual insight into some of the decisions that were made about this season’s team. Hopefully you think it’s $250 worth of insight. I happen to think it’s worth $2 million because insight from Ted Thompson — yes, I just referred to myself in the third person — is super rare and worth a lot.

(Pause for fans to whisper among themselves and get over the initial shock of what you’ve said so far)

I saw the other day that Charles Woodson said he’d retire as an Oakland Raider. I know Charles has his own brand of wine and it must be some good s#^t!! I should try some. Without myself and the Green Bay Packers, Woodson would probably be making $40,000 a year as a sideline reporter for Division I-AA college football games on ESPN U. I never sign free agents. But I signed him off the scrap heap. It’s nonsense to think of Charles Woodson as anything but a Green Bay Packer. I know when you get cut it sucks. I really do. But c’mon Charles, have a little perspective.