On December 20, the Packers became the first NFL team to land a playoff berth. With our victory over the Ravens (combined with a loss to the Vikings), we won the NFC North Championship for the third year in a row. Winning the division guarantees us at least one home playoff game. While it is important to win the NFC North, we still have more ambitious goals to achieve.
In Matt LaFleur’s three years here, he’s always insisted on winning the division. Most importantly, this is only the first goal, not the last. We still have two championships to win to reach our ultimate goal. We have an opportunity over the next two weeks to clinch the NFC seed (our magic number is two – either two wins or one win and one loss for the Cowboys – the Cowboys have the tiebreaker on us. because they have a better conference record). Being the seed would mean we would have a pass in the first round of the playoffs and have home court advantage throughout. As we saw last year, that doesn’t guarantee we’ll get to the Super Bowl. The fact that other NFC teams come to Green Bay to play on the frozen tundra in a crowded Lambeau Field is a big plus, though.
There are a lot of issues in the coming weeks. It starts tomorrow night with a big game against the Vikings. They beat us the last two times we’ve played and they need a win to stay in the game for a playoff spot. I am delighted that our fans are having such important games here in Green Bay.
Now to your questions.
With the win over the Browns at Christmas drawing nearly 30 million viewers (the second most-watched game of the season behind Raiders-Cowboys at Thanksgiving) and FOX having the rights to the Christmas games “as scheduled” ( presumably every year Christmas is not a Tuesday or Wednesday), should the Packers continue to hold annual Christmas games the same way the Lions and Cowboys hold annual Thanksgiving games?
Interesting idea, Max. However, I don’t see Christmas games becoming a permanent game like Thanksgiving games. It worked this year because Christmas fell on a Saturday. As you note, however, in years when Christmas falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday, this can be difficult. Even Sunday would be a problem since almost all other games would also be Sunday. The league often coordinates with boules in college games during this time of year. In addition, the league likes to have the flexibility to get the most engaging games, especially at the end of the season. We were excited to play at Christmas this year and happy the ratings were so good.
After 29 years on the Packer subscription waitlist, I finally got subscriptions about five years ago. That being said, I haven’t been to a game since Covid started. I am in the at-risk age group for dealing with Covid at 66. With the way Covid has continued to rise in Wisconsin and with the large number of unvaccinated people in our state, I don’t feel comfortable in crowds of strangers, even though it’s outside. like at Lambeau Field.
If the Packers aren’t comfortable requiring proof of vaccination to enter the stadium on match day, is it possible to find a way for season ticket holders who aren’t comfortable with unvaccinated people selling their tickets on match day? I don’t want to return my subscriptions, but as is, I pay for tickets that are not used. It might be foolish to continue to do so.
Hopefully the Packers can make some sort of statement on this before the bill for next year’s season tickets is due, so I / we will have time to think about what to do. . I realize that management is in a tough spot with this.
Thank youâ¦ Go Pack Go!
Congratulations, Robert. Your patience has paid off. I certainly understand your concerns about playing games during COVID. It is very easy to sell tickets in the secondary market. The League and the Packers have a relationship with Ticketmaster where you can sell your tickets. We would love you to be able to attend all of the matches, but if you cannot attend, this is a good way to make sure tickets are used up. We prefer that you sell your tickets to the Packers fans. If you choose to sell your tickets through Ticketmaster like other ticket holders in the same situation have done, our website contains instructions on how to do so. Our ticketing team can also guide you through the process.
Mr. Murphy, can you give us some figures?
(1) How many copies of the new Packers anthology book (s) have been dispatched in recent weeks for Christmas gifts? A few of us were waiting for Mr. Christl to end and are glad he took the time to be specific.
(2) How many new shareholders and shares to date? A curious former shareholder (I passed mine on to my daughters) wants to know.
Of course, Dave. I agree with you regarding “The Greatest History of Sport”. Cliff did a great job with the book and took the time to make sure he got it right. We have printed 10,000 books and are about to sell them all. Additionally, we will be ordering a second print to ensure this book is available in the future as it is a timeless resource that many Packers fans will want to have in their home. Regarding the sale of shares, as of yesterday we had 164,920 buyers and 182,054 shares purchased.
Since you were an accomplished NFL player with an eight-year career, I wanted to ask you some general questions about special teams.
You played for Washington at the end of George Allen’s coaching era there. Coach Allen put a lot of emphasis on ST and I just found out he even wrote a book on ST.
During your career, have you played on ST? Was playing on ST a chore you were happy to leave behind when you became a starting or key defensive player? Have you ever played on ST for Coach Allen?
Hope you and your family have a good holiday season. Thank you for your ideas and for your willingness to answer such a wide range of questions from happy and unhappy fans.
Thanks, Bill. Yes, I was very lucky to play my rookie year for George Allen. You’re right, he was ahead of his time with a focus on special teams. I’ve played with special teams my whole career. My first two years, I played on all four special teams (cover and return from kickoff, punt and return from punt). My last six years, I have played in the kickoff and punt teams. On the punt team, I was the personal protector. I called the signals for the punt team (and actually caught a pass for a first down once). Teams were a lot smaller back then (I think 45 for most of my career) and it was more common for newbies to play on special teams. When I started out I always liked playing on special teams. I saw it as a way to help the team.
Looking back on my career, I realize how lucky I was to play for Coach Allen. I learned so much about defense and special teams from him, even though it only lasted a year. He was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame for a reason.
Hi Mark, you have excelled in all aspects of your role in Green Bay. My question is not about the team with the best record in the NFL right now, but about refereeing. Are there any new initiatives you would like to see to improve the quality of officiating for NFL players and fans?
Thanks a lot, Steve. I appreciate your kind words. One initiative that I think would help improve the quality of officiating would be to add a sky judge to the officiating team. This has already been proposed but has not had enough support. It’s really about using the technology available to make sure the correct call is made. Interestingly, this year the league office used the video assistant in a similar fashion to correct some obvious mistakes. This helps speed up the game by eliminating the need to replay reviews on games where an obvious mistake has been made by officials on the field.
Bonus question from Stephen in Palos Park, IL
Hi Mark Murphy, can you please convey to Brian Gutekunst that it was a great decision to get Rasul Douglas back from the Arizona Cardinals only practice / offseason squad? He’s been excellent on defense so far, including several times he intercepted the ball and then executed it for a defensive touchdown. That includes the game coming out of our week off against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field, and he even bit the hand that once fed him in the Arizona Cardinals game in late October. In this game I had no idea who he was and had to search for him to see that we had taken him off their practice / offseason squad, and if he continues to play the way he has. done so far, it will deserve to be paid raise. Can it be the missing spark the Packers have had over the past two seasons, which has put them in the NFC Championship game the past two seasons, which has seen them lose to the same team the Packers have lost? leaving the bye? This year that curse is over, as the Packers were scheduled to face the Chicago Bears after their leave, and there’s no way the Chicago Bears would make the playoffs or even advance that far. And could he be the spark to maybe even grab a Super Bowl victory? Hope everyone has a Happy New Year, whatever holidays they celebrate this season, and a Happy New Year.
I have decided that MT5 will have a special bonus question this month. Think of it as a holiday gift, Stephen. Brian Gutekunst has made many big moves this year, but the addition of Rasul Douglas was perhaps the most impactful (and certainly the most surprising). I give Brian and his team a lot of credit for seeing Rasul’s potential and for continuously working to improve our roster. Our coaches also did a great job with Rasul. A lot of credit obviously also goes to Rasul. It’s really amazing what he has accomplished this year. It’s one of the great stories in the league this year.