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.

21

May

Packers President Mark Murphy: Could He Be Leaving for Stanford?

Could the Packers lose their President?

Mark Murphy, current President and CEO of the Green Bay Packers, is reportedly interested in the Athletic Director job at the University of Stanford.  The San Francisco Chronicle was the first to break the possibility of Murphy leaving Green Bay.

The job as the AD of Stanford became available when previous AD Bob Bowlsby took a job as commissioner of the Big 12.  Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette reported today that Murphy tried to get the Stanford athletic director job in 2006, but Bowlsby got the job.

While the idea of leaving one of the most successful franchises in the NFL for a college may seem like a step down, Murphy has a long and rich history with the college game.

The bigger question that needs to be answered is what is happening with the Packers’ front office?

With so many coaches and staff leaving this offseason (i.e. Joe Philbin, Reggie McKenzie, etc.), losing Murphy could be another tumultuous hit to Green Bay.  It’s understandable that other teams or schools want to hire successful people, but at what point do the Packers need to pony-up some dough to keep these guys around?

Will Green Bay suffer in 2012 from these losses?  Maybe, maybe not, but it certainly is much harder to bring in a new coach or a new CEO than it is to keep one that has been there for years.

Hopefully this is all just the work of rumors and nothing comes from it, but just in case, Green Bay might want to start lining up some other options.

Any volunteers?

6

March

In The Wake Of “Bountygate,” Thank God For The Green Bay Packers

So the New Orleans Saints apparently paid their players to go out and injure their opponents.  Another scandal has engulfed the National Football League for the foreseeable future.

It’s another reason why I want to go out and buy another beer for Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy.  If they don’t drink (which I don’t think Thompson does) then I’ll buy a soda. I don’t really care.

Why you might ask?  Well, it’s not for the Super Bowl XLV title or a stellar 15-1 season to follow that up (disappointing playoff exit aside).  We’ve all sung the praises of what the two men have built as far as a roster.  The Packers are set to be one of the best teams in the NFL for the next several years.  This we knew already.

Today instead, in the wake of the embarrassing “Bountygate” scandal as it is beginning to be dubbed that has already engulfed one team and could swallow up more, I raise a glass to toast Thompson and McCarthy for the work they are putting together in the locker room which translates to on field behavior.  Thompson and McCarthy have arguably put together the best group of men in the league.  Forget about on field talent.  I’m talking about character, ethics, morality and the like.

It’s a bland approach in the eyes of some people.  The Packers largely ignore free agency (i.e. the “big name” players) and choose to build through the draft.  Thompson’s stubborn refusal to largely forego the free agent process has earned the ire of some fans still today despite the Packers’ recent Super Bowl championship which was won with a depleted roster. This approach means the Packers won’t even sniff around names like Randy Moss or Terrell Owens among others.

Would players like Moss and Owens flourish in the Packers offense with either Aaron Rodgers on in past years Brett Favre under center? There’s no question.  However, both Moss and Owens earned reputations with multiple teams as locker room cancers.   Self-serving players like them have never had a place in Green Bay going all the way back to the time of Vince Lombardi and perhaps even earlier.

Fans may have crowed in 2007 about missing out on Moss, but do any of them now still insist that would have been a good move? I didn’t think so.

17

May

Note to Vic Carucci: Retiring Favre’s Jersey Not a Priority

As I was snooping around NFL.com this weekend in an attempt to find something that didn’t involve the lockout, I came across an article from Vic Carucci entitled “Favre deserves Packers number retired sooner than later.”

My eyes widened at the title.

Was he really suggesting what I thought he was? Did he believe that good ol’ Number Four deserved an expedited reconciliation from the Green Bay Packers?

Apparently he did.

After reading Carucci’s thoughts on the matter, my regard for him dropped significantly. Though, to be completely up front about it, I never really cared for his writing to begin with. It’s not like his stock had very far to fall anyways.

But this was just ridiculous.

Carucci personally finds it “unsettling” that CEO Mark Murphy attached the timetable of “a few years” to the retirement of Favre’s number. He does admit that this “speaks to what remains an overwhelmingly wide gap in the relationship between Favre and the Packers.” He even acknowledges the fact that the Packers need some time to let the “old wounds” heal.

For some reason I cannot explain, however, Carucci puts the entire burden of reconciliation on the Green Bay Packers organization.

Now, I’ve done my best to remain silent on this issue, because it’s one that divides the Packers fan base. And I respect all of the differing opinions out there. Each person has a legitimate reason for siding one way or the other, and without all the facts of the messy divorce, we only have speculation on which to base our claims.

My personal feeling is that Favre turned his back on the Green Bay Packers, even though both sides could have handled things better when going their separate ways. The vitriol that fans feel didn’t start when he went to the New York Jets. People seemed to support him, and a lot of Packers fans were understandably skeptical about Aaron Rodgers’ ability to lead the team.

No, the jersey-burning level of anger didn’t escalate until he put on that purple uniform. That’s when Favre crossed the line.

And perhaps Carucci, being the sports “journalist” that he is, doesn’t quite get that.

“Murphy should have been able to gather by the applause he received after mentioning the organization’s intentions to retire Favre’s number,” writes Carucci, “that a sizable number of Green Bay fans still have a special place for him in their collective heart.”