Sunday, June 06, 2010

Oh boy...troubles, troubles

Before hitting the news of the day, I should make note of the fact that the reason there has been no post here in a few weeks is because I was off celebrating the 1,200th post of! That occurred with the May 17 post and it's been nothing but non-stop festivities ever since. 1,200 posts! Woo-hoo!!!

OK. That's not true. Well, the 1,200 posts part is. But the celebrating part is not. The reason there has not been a post is I was just waiting to get around to it. Problem was, just like the car keys, I couldn't find that darn round tuit (I know, bad pun, but it's all I got).

Anyway, as the summer rolls on with OTAs, minicamps and finally summer training camp on the horizon, you can be assured we will be back in full coverage mode (or as close as we can get) here at PackerFansUnited. You've come to expect...well, whatever it is you've come to expect from we plan to do our best to deliver...whatever that is.

So, without further ado, let's get to the stories of the day. Unfortunately so, in this first instance.

Brandon Underwood joins Johnny Jolly on the watch list

Fans are well aware -- going back to last season -- of D-lineman Johnny Jolly's run-in with the law back home in Texas. He's had trials delayed, and the latest development is that the prosecutor is ramping up the charges against Jolly, to include, according to reports, that Jolly "bought, sold, funded, transported and aided in the buying, selling, funding and transportation of illegal narcotics including cocaine and marijuana" in Harris County (TX) from 2006 through May 2008." To make his case, the prosecutor has even decided it's worthwhile to use a convicted felon still sitting in prison to testify against Jolly. Read about that here. The prosecutor seems determined to bring down Jolly any way possible. Of course, Jolly didn't help himself any by failing a polygraph test, appearing "deceptive" about matters related to his bond stipulation (apparently related to alcohol). Regardless of how this turns out, no doubt Jolly is facing a league suspension of some kind. Which makes Ted Thompson's addition of two rookies -- second-rounder Mike Neal and seventh-rounder C.J. Wilson -- along the defensive line seem most wise indeed. The Packers obviously had some misgivings about Jolly's availability both short and, perhaps, even long-term, But one of the things that is most curious is that Jolly has yet to sign his one-year tender offer. If Jolly doesn't sign it by June 15 the Packers are essentially allowed to decrease their tender offer to 110 percent of last year's salary, thereby handing a major decrease in money to a restricted free agent such as Jolly. So...facing perhaps career-threatening legal matters...and still not signing a tender in time to make more money? OK...good luck with all that, Mr. Jolly. So much potential...let's hope you haven't thrown it away.

Now another Packers player may be in hot water.

The news broke yesterday afternoon that seven Packers players had been interviewed by Lake Delton, WI police in conjunction with an alleged sexual assault. Six of the players were found to have had no involvement with the incident. But police said a seventh player, identified today by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as second-year safety, Brandon Underwood, was still under investigation. He says it was consensual, the two women (yes, two), said it wasn't. You can read about the Underwood situation here. According to the article in today's Journal Sentinel, "(Lake Delton) Police Chief Tom Dorner said he doesn't expect to conduct more interviews. He said he would take the case to the district attorney on Monday or Tuesday to consider charges." You can view the actual police report of the incident from within the linked article; just scroll down and click on the graphic link you'll see. As with the Jolly case, it would be likely that regardless of outcome a league sanction of some kind against Underwood may be forthcoming. The league doesn't like this kind of publicity, let alone activity, as Commissioner Roger Goodell has demonstrated in a few other recent incidents.

The players were in Lake Delton, which adjoins the Wisconsin Dells resort area, to participate in a charity golf tournament hosted by LB Clay Matthews. Some of the players interviewed are among the many Packers scheduled to participate today in a charity softball game hosted by WR Donald Driver in Grand Chute, south of Green Bay.

This flurry (OK, just two that we know of) of behavioral problems is starting to remind us of the bad ol' days of the 1980s when Mossy Cade and James Lofton made news for all the wrong reasons. Let's hope these matters get resolved justly for all parties concerned and we can get back to focusing on football.

Lambeau changes?
The Packers have been holding focus groups in Green Bay and Milwaukee to talk with fans about the possibilities of expanding Lambeau Field. The whole idea, of course, is to somehow generate more in-stadium revenue for the team as that revenue stream does not have to be shared with other teams. In order for the Packers to stay close to big city teams with new stadiums such as the Cowboys and Giants, they will have to look at every way possible to generate needed revenues. You can read about the variety of ideas the team is considering here. Of course, being the fan friendly -- and shareholder owned -- team that they are, if you have any better ideas you think the team should consider, be sure to send them on to the team.

Another topic that has popped up since the awarding of the 2014 Super Bowl to the The New Meadowlands Stadium jointly owned by the Giants and Jets is the possibility of a Super Bowl ever being played in Green Bay. After all, if a Super Bowl can be played in one cold weather venue then why not another? Esteemed sports pundits have waxed wistfully about how there would be no better place than Lambeau Field to host a Super's the best place to watch a football game, Lombardi, history, the Ice Bowl, etc. But then the realities of a Super Bowl kick in. It is noted that a Super Bowl today is more about what goes on off the field than on it. There needs to be plenty of off-field party space, hotel rooms, etc., etc. Green Bay and its surrounding area is just not set up to handle such an event, they say.

As a Packer fan, I have mixed feelings about this. Yes, it would be great to see Lambeau Field host a Super Bowl. I'd probably try to be there myself if I could. However, as a realist, I also have to say...nope. Sitting outdoors at Lambeau Field in late December or early January is a battle of survival against the elements. People are dressed in parkas and snowmobile suits, each doing their best imitation of the Michelin Man. And for those who have never been to Lambeau, let me share with you that the seating -- apart from your luxury box digs -- is on metal benches with numbers marked on them...yep, just like most college or high schools stadiums. With 70,000+ fans crammed onto these benches, attired as they are, you're lucky to get one cheek (if you know what I mean) on that bench...and you better have a blanket or two under that cheek to keep it from going numb by the end of the first quarter. It takes a tough breed to stand up to that kind of weather. Packer fans know how to deal with it. Unfortunately, many if not most of those who would likely be attending a Super Bowl wouldn't have a clue how to stay at least moderately unfrozen in such circumstances. Remember, we're looking at around the beginning of February for the 2014 Super Bowl. The mean temperature for Feb. in East Rutherford, NJ is 30 degrees; in Green Bay it is 20 degrees. Oh, and yeah, there is that thing called snow, too.

To Packer fans, Lambeau Field will always be the premier stadium in football. It doesn't need a Super Bowl to add to that status.