Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Reader Link: "Give 'em the meat hook!"

As the first lines of a blog entry by a Packer Fans United reader note, "A recent online poll showed Wisconsin football fans were evenly split between the Bears and the Colts. This is deeply disturbing."


As his father apparently used to shout at the TV during those grand ol' Packers-Da Bearz games of the 1960s, "Give 'em the meat hook!" While acknowledging that he really has no idea what exactly his dad meant by that, it still seems worthy of consideration by all good Packer fans everywhere. And the best part is, it can still be applied even when the team playing Da Bearz isn't the Packers. In this case, the Colts can "give 'em the mean hook!" What a concept!

To get the full impact of the idea (as well as an amusing sidebar from the Stevens Point Journal managing editor -- and Da Bearz fan -- who rejected its submittal for publication), click here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Packers Hall of Fame Welcomes Brooks and Butler

Two of the cornerstones of the Packers' success in the 1990s were named to the Packers Hall of Fame today, and will be officially inducted this summer. Wide receiver Robert Brooks and defensive back LeRoy Butler -- fan favorites during the Super Bowl years as well as now -- will take their rightful place among other Packer greats.

You can read the official announcement, and become reacquainted with each of these players, by going here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

10 Years Ago...

We can't let the date pass -- Jan. 26 -- without fondly recalling the day the Lombardi Trophy once again returned to where it belongs: Green Bay. It was on this date 10 years ago that the Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 to win Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans.

If you want to take a brief walk down memory lane, click here. You can also hear a couple Packers Radio Network audio clips from the game -- with Packer radio greats Jim Irwin, Max McGee and Larry McCarren -- by going here. Ah, those were the days!

To help refresh your memory, Desmond Howard was named MVP after returning a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and tying a Super Bowl record with 244 total return yards. Brett Favre passed for two touchdowns, the first coming on a 54-yarder to Andre Rison on the Packers' second play from scrimmage to give the Pack a 7-0 lead. (Earlier this week, Rison was on one of the many ESPN talk shows and was asked what he remembered about the catch. He said it was the best catch he ever made. Not only was it caught in full stride but, for Rison, the fact that he had a lot of family and friends at the game just made it that much more special. He also said that it was great to be part of that Packers team and to help bring another championship to Green Bay after such a long dry spell. Rison was a great pick up for the Packers at the time, and made his contributions that year and that game.)

Tractor Watch: Interview with Favre's Agent

On Thursday, Milwaukee WTMJ TV sports reporter, Lance Allen, was able to get a phone interview with "Bus" Cook, Brett's agent. The bottom line from the interview -- as the edited version presented here (from 620 WTMJ radio) makes clear -- was that Cook didn't know anything yet about Brett's decision as to retire or not. Always nice to get a bit of audio to reaffirm one -- including Brett's agent -- seems to know yet what he's going to do.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tractor Watch 2007: The Local View

As the off-season wait for QB Brett Favre's retirement-no retirement decision continues -- dubbed "Tractor Watch" (deriving its name from Brett's love of riding his lawn tractor while home) -- his local newspaper was able to get the first words from him since the end of the season on the subject. The Hattiesburg American reported today on an interview they had with him on Tuesday. Apparently, according to other news reports, the Hattiesburg reporter was able to corner Brett while he was attending his daughter's basketball game.

The key part of the article is this: “There’s not really (a timetable),” said Favre, who makes his offseason home in Hattiesburg. “I said after the last game (Dec. 31) that I’d decide within two weeks, but I probably jumped the gun when I said that. But I’m going to call McCarthy (Tuesday) night. He left a message for me this morning. “I don’t want to drag this out as long as I did last year.”

We can only surmise that if Brett did call McCarthy last night it wasn't to give his definitive decision or we would have heard about that and not about him having the conversation.

You can read the full article here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's the Colts vs. Da Bearz

Now we know: it's the Colts vs. Da Bearz in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4 in Miami.

In the first championship game of today, the Saints dream season fell short in Chicago; four turnovers made it a lot easier for Da Bearz than it should have been. The second game found the Colts winning at home in a thrilling game, posting the largest comeback win ever in a championship game. Down by 18 points at one point, the Colts rallied back in what then became a see-saw type game that was in doubt until an interception of a Tom Brady pass with about 20 seconds to go. Peyton Manning finally exorcises the demons and gets a shot in the Super Bowl.

They say in big games you always go with the best quarterback. Let's see, that would be Peyton Manning or Rex Grossman. That's a toughie. Hmmmm...

I'll take the Colts. Then again, I'd take any team playing Da Bearz.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More Kudos for Driver and Kampman

The Packers two Pro Bowl representatives have now also been named to Pro Football Weekly's all-National Football Conference team. Donald Driver and Aaron Kampman were selected by writers and editors at Pro Football Weekly as well as members of the Pro Football Writers of America. Driver is the first Packers wide receiver to make the all-NFC team since Sterling Sharpe in 1993, while Kampman is the only Packers' defensive end (other than Reggie White, who was named to the team in 1993 and 1995) to be selected first team all-NFC since 1970.

Great to see great players -- and great people -- receive this kind of recognition. Coming on top of yesterday's all-rookie team selections for Greg Jennings, A. J. Hawk and Daryn Colledge, the core of a good young team is in place for next year...and several years to come.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rookies Rewarded

With all the rookies playing for the Packers this past season -- with all the rookies starting (a possible club record with five primary rookie starters) -- the odds would seem to favor a presence of some kind on the NFL's all-rookie team. And so it is. Wide receiver Greg Jennings, guard Daryn Colledge and linebacker A.J. Hawk were named to the all-rookie team. Selections are made by writers and editors from Pro Football Weekly and members of the Pro Football Writers of America. So there's some credibility and respect behind these selections.

As the season went on, it became more and more apparent that the Pack had made some good picks last April. Jennings surprised early on, but was unfortunately more limited as the season progressed as a result of an ankle injury. Still, he was good enough to be named to the all-rookie team. Hawk started all 16 games and led the Packers in tackles with 155. Colledge started 15 games and became a solid and reliable performer with a great upside. The experience that all the rookies received this year bodes well for the future.

The Packers are slotted to get the 16th pick in the first round of this year's draft. The final total number of picks, especially with GM Ted Thompson's penchant for wheeling and dealing, is an unknown. Unless there is someone he really wants and values at that 16th pick -- or earlier -- it wouldn't be surprising to see Thompson trade down for additional picks. One player that has been mentioned as possibly being of interest to the Packers and who might be available at that slot is Ohio State's Ted Ginn, Jr. Ginn is a junior who is coming out early. He is a wide receiver and punt and kick return specialist. Ginn's injury early on in this year's Fiesta Bowl took away the Buckeyes key offensive and special teams playmaker and was a prime factor in their loss of the national championship to the Gators. The Pack could certainly use a returner who is a legitimate threat. And another playmaking receiver -- regardless of who may be throwing the ball -- is always a plus.

Hey, it's January. It's cold. The only things we have to sustain us right now are thoughts of the draft...and the Saints beating Da Bearz this weekend.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It Was 40 Years Ago Today, Sgt. Pepper Taught the...No..Wait...

Lest we forget: it was 40 years ago today that the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in Super Bowl I...although it wasn't called the Super Bowl then. It was the AFL-NFL World Championship Game in those days. Starting with the third game in January 1969, the name "Super Bowl" became official. (The previous two games were renamed as Super Bowls I and II.)

We should give special kudos to Max McGee for that game. He had been out the night before and didn't expect to play. He was a bit "under the weather" shall we say. Still, he wound up making some spectacular catches and playing a key role in the win. He had 7 catches for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns.

You can read a great article about McGee's exploits -- both the night before and during the game itself -- here. Those were the days!

Philbin New Packers OC

Head Coach Mike McCarthy made it official today: offensive line coach Joe Philbin is the new offensive coordinator, replacing Jeff Jagodzinski who took the gig as the new head coach at Boston College. So, those fans responding to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel poll last week as to who they'd prefer, Paul Hackett (rumored to be in the running as a close friend and mentor to McCarthy) or "someone else" got their wish. On the other hand, "someone else" also beat out Philbin who finished last in the online poll. Oh well...

McCarthy also promoted Winston Moss to assistant head coach/defense, James Campen to offensive line coach and Jerry Fontenot to assistant offensive line coach.

You can read all about it here.

So at least we have the coaches in place. Now...what about that QB from Southern Miss?

Divisional Playoff Review

The NFL Divisional Playoffs are usually exciting games, as teams are battling to be only two wins away from taking home the Lombardi Trophy as winners of the Super Bowl. This past weekend's games really didn't disappoint in that regard...other than that the Packers were not playing, of course.

Are we getting a bit tired, though, of the Patriots vs. Colts match up? Regrettably, the curse of Marty Schottenheimer doomed the San Diego Chargers to a great season and -- what else -- playoff loss. I'll have to go with the Patriots over the Colts in the AFC title game. Tom Brady knows what it takes to win the big games and Peyton Manning...not yet.

Then we have Da Bearz vs. the Saints. I was rooting for the Seahawks to beat Da Bearz. Although I wasn't sure which would rip the heart out of Bearz fans more: a first playoff game loss...or a SuperBowl loss. Da Bearz pulled it out in overtime. But it seems as if the Saints are destiny's team this year. So let's go with the Saints over Da Bearz in the NFC championship. By the way, any team with a player that can take a hit like Reggie Bush took and then keep on gotta like their chances. If you don't know the hit that I'm talking about, just click here to see a video clip of Reggie getting "jacked up!" (as the guys on ESPN would say). Yowza.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Favre Watch '07: What Does This Mean?

WTMJ620-AM radio in Milwaukee was reporting this afternoon during it's sports segment that Brett Favre is not renewing his membership at the "Green Bay Country Club." It is unclear what the source of this information to WTMJ radio is, so it could just be another one of those rumors that comes out of nowhere. Or, it could be that the radio report was less-than-precise in describing Brett's membership. There really is a GBCC. But apparently that's not the place after all.

As it turns out, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported that the membership was with the Oneida Golf & Riding Club.

Just as we were looking south to the "tractor watch," we get hit with a slice out of the north.

Is this an early warning indicator that Brett is moving on? As much as Brett likes to play golf -- or at least, used to -- it does make one wonder. Although, according to the article in the Press Gazette, Packers CEO Bob Harlan isn't making much of it at all.

I'm so confused...

(Note: this article was revised after additional information was obtained; we regret any confusion which may have been caused by the earlier posting.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Moss as a Packer?

This rumor just in. Bill Michaels, sports talk wiz from WTMJ620-AM radio in Milwaukee, was within the last 30 minutes saying that he heard some radio station in Minneapolis is reporting that the Packers are interested in talking with...gulp...Randy Moss. Michaels made it clear he didn't know if this was true or just one of these Internet rumors that gets passed around as true when it is merely speculation. He noted that so far he was unable to confirm anything about this. So, it could just be rumor. Or, maybe not.

Certainly the Packers need another playmaker at wide receiver. Just as certainly, Moss can't wait to get out of the football wasteland that is Oakland. But Moss with the Packers? He of the goalpost "moon" fame? If Brett Favre returns for another year, Moss might indeed feel he can resume his playmaker status with a QB that actually completes passes. The question with Moss, as it has always been, is whether the baggage he brings with him off the field, to the locker room and sideline is worth what he might do on the playing field.

But, as noted in the earlier post of the day, since this is the ho-hum time of the year, at least this Moss rumor turns it momentarily into a hmmmmmm time of year.

The Ho-Hum Time

So, Packer's that time of year: the ho-hum time. No playoffs for the Packers. Not much in the way of exciting news, unless you count the fact that the tundra at Lambeau is being torn out in preparation for the new synthetic "reinforced" grass surface, drainage and heating system which will be installed. If that doesn't get you excited...OK, if it did get you excited we'd be worried about you.

Anyway, not much going on. Yes, there is the now annual rite of the Brett Favre "tractor watch." Will he retire or won't he? My bet is still that he won't. Someone created a semi-entertaining clip about this on YouTube. If you care to check it out, click here.

Oh, there is also the search for a new offensive coordinator, with some reports indicating Head Coach Mike McCarthy might bring aboard his friend and mentor, Paul Hackett, who is winding up his contract as quarterbacks coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hackett hired McCarthy at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989 and then took him along for the ride to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993. According to a report in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Hackett, who specializes in handling quarterbacks, learned the West Coast offense from legendary coach Bill Walsh while serving as an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers from 1983-'85 and taught it to McCarthy. In addition to an extensive career coaching in the college ranks, Hackett has coached for the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, 49ers, Chiefs and Buccaneers."

Sounds good to me. However, in an early tally of the Journal-Sentinel's sports poll of the day, fans still seem to prefer someone else. Literally. That is the candidate in the lead at the time of this post, "someone else", 43 percent to 35 percent, over Hackett. Probably just a reflection of the fact that...well...who knows. If we have to get excited about offensive coordinator searches and new turf for the tundra then...never mind...

Of course, we can also turn our attention to the upcoming draft. Yes, this is what fans of 8-8 teams that miss the playoffs are doing this time of year. The Packers have the 16th pick overall in the first round. Can't be any more middle of the road than that. Who are the candidates at that position? Will GM Ted Thompson trade down for additional picks, something he seems very good at doing with a fair amount of success? Discuss among yourselves.

What else? There is that upcoming playoff game this weekend between Da Bearz and Holmgren's Seahawks. Of the top-slotted teams, this writer believes -- as many do -- that Da Bearz have the greatest chance of losing this weekend. I just know it would crush the spirit of my misguided Bearz-fan friends were that to happen. As Seinfeld would say, "That's a shame."

Have a great weekend, Packer fans.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Looking to the Post-Favre Era

As Packer fans begin to contemplate life after Brett -- which could come...well, who knows? -- it seems that a majority of fans feel that the best option right now is to have second-year backup QB Aaron Rodgers under center. At least that's the result of today's poll in the online version of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Here are the results at the time of this posting:
If Brett Favre retires, what should the Packers do?
Groom Aaron Rodgers to take over (43.3%)
Draft a top QB (29.3%)
Trade for an established QB (27.4%)
Total votes: 2,090

Apparently, fans are beginning to warm up to Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood. But most would likely prefer that tour be delayed at least another year if possible.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Great Article on Favre's Future

Packer fans might want to check out this great article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel from sports columnist Jim Stingl.

Not much more needs to be said.

Although if there is, the fans are saying it here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Packers 26 - Da Bearz 7; Favre Bye Bye???


Well, Packer fans, the Pack spanked Da Bearz on New Year's Eve, 26-7. That enabled the team to finish at 8-8, a surprising finish after winning four in a row. The Pack unfortunately finished out of the running for the last wildcard spot as the NY Giants did something uncharacteristic of their recent play and beat the Redskins. Drats!!! Still, you have to be pleased with the way this young team improved and came together over the course of the season. That's a good sign for next year.

What perhaps isn't such a good sign was QB Brett Favre's tearful on-field post-game interview. When you hear Brett say, "What a way to go out. Chicago's obviously a great football team. I wasn't too optimistic but here we are with a win. I couldn't ask for a better way to go out." That's...not good. A lot of the speculation recently -- including here -- has seemed to be leaning toward Brett coming back. Now? Hmmmm...

As John Madden pointed out late in the game, he took it as a good sign that Brett would return because he had ankle surgery scheduled for today. Madden opined that he didn't think Favre would be having that so soon unless he planned on returning. Well, guess what? According to reports, Brett has postponed the surgery and no date has been rescheduled.

So, perhaps we saw the last of Brett the Great last evening. But what could be more fitting than beating Da Bearz in Chicago? OK, beating Da Bearz at Lambeau, but you know what I mean.

Brett, legions of fans hope you return next year. Ya still got it, kid. C' 'bout one more for old time's sake? But if not, thanks for the ride. It's been unforgettable. See you in Canton.