Monday, March 31, 2008

Pack to kick off Monday Night Football

With or without Brett Favre this coming season, the Packers still command attention. The NFL announced today that the Pack will begin the 2008 season against the Minnesota ViQueens at Lambeau Field. It will be the first game of the opening weekend's Monday Night Football doubleheader, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. Central on September 8. The second game will have Denver playing at Oakland. This will be the Packers' 16th straight season on Monday Night Football, the NFC's longest streak; only Denver has a longer consecutive streak on MNF, 17 with the upcoming game at Oakland.

This could really be a good start to the season. It's the fourth time the Pack have opened on Monday night, and they are 3-0 in their other opening appearances, while being 25-25-1 overall on Monday night. It could also provide the Pack a perfect opportunity to retire Brett's number, but that decision won't be made until after the entire schedule is announced sometime in April.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New poll open: what position should be the Pack's first pick?

We've just opened up a new poll in the righthand column (under the store link) asking what position should be the Packers' first draft pick this year. It may be hard to imagine, what with March Madness going on, baseball season starting up, and snow and freezing temps still lingering in the upper Midwest ('d that get in there???), but the NFL draft is exactly one month from today. True! April 26 kicks off day one of the two-day extravaganza.

So, what are your thoughts on who the Pack should pick first? A corner? Linebacker? Maybe another running back? Can never have too many O- and D-linemen, either, right? Maybe, dare we say it, a QB? Whatever, now's the chance to express yourself on this matter. Go to our poll and vote. The poll will be open right up until the start of the draft. So until then...let the speculation begin!

No more Super Bowlers

The last remnant of the Packers 1997 Super Bowl team announced his retirement today. Long-snapper Rob Davis, who along with Brett Favre were the last remaining members of that Super Bowl roster, decided to call it quits after 12 seasons, 11 with the Pack. In fact, after Favre (255) and Forrest Gregg (187), Davis' 167 games played ranks third in team history.

Davis won't be out of work, though. In fact, he won't be leaving Green Bay. Packers GM Ted Thompson named Davis director of player development.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thompson named NFL's Top Exec

In an award sponsored by The Sporting News and decided in a vote of general managers and other team executives, Packers' GM Ted Thompson has been named as the George Young NFL executive of the year. Thompson will receive the award at next week's NFL owners' meetings. There will be an article about Thompson in the March 31 issue of The Sporting News which hits newsstands tomorrow.

Congrats, Ted. A job well done. Despite all the doubters over the last few years, your plan is working. May it always be so.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Good Friday for Bigby

Yes, indeed. It's a good -- not great -- Good Friday for Packers' safety, Atari Bigby. He's reportedly signed a one-year contract from the Pack with a base salary this year of $445,000. Like I said, good not great. It's quite possible, given Bigby's performance as last season wore on, that there may be various incentives that come with this new contract as well, making it quite likely he'll earn much more than that. Last year, he earned $360,000 and received an additional $253,177 from the NFL's player performance pool, which rewards players with low base salaries who wind up with a lot of playing time. That would describe Bigby: he started 16 games last season, and finished with 86 tackles, five interceptions and nine passes defended. He had his coverage troubles early in the season but down the stretch became a crushing tackler and defender who made opposing receivers think twice about coming into his territory. Bigby was an exclusive rights free agent, which meant he wasn't eligible to even negotiate with other teams. If he has another year like last year, expect a larger pay day to come.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tell us something we don't already know: Pack to retire Brett's number

There was never any doubt that the Packers would retire Brett Favre's #4. The only question was when. That was answered Wednesday when Mark Murphy, the Packer's new president and CEO, said it would happen sometime this coming season. Murphy was also careful to indicate that plans are preliminary at this point, with many details, such as at which game this will occur, yet to be determined. Stay tuned.

By the way, in case you wanted to know who else in Packers' history has worn #4, here ya go: *Vern Lewellen (B), Nebraska, 1925-26; *Herm Schneidman (B), Iowa, 1935-37; Chuck Fusina (QB), Penn State, 1986; Dale Dawson (K), Eastern Kentucky, 1988. The folks with the * wore multiple numbers during their years with the team, which was not uncommon in the early years. I guess you could say, looking at this last that, yeah, Brett kinda made that number his own. Ya think???

Monster Chillar Horror Theatre!

The old timers here will hopefully get that play on spelling...and the reference itself. For those with no clue -- not as in no clue at all, just with regard to this reference (never insult your readership!) -- it's a nod to the regular comedy sketch called "Monster Chiller Horror Theatre" that appeared as part of the old classic TV show, SCTV.

So, what's up with that? Well, Packers' GM Ted Thompson finally made a free agent signing, a linebacker by the name of Brandon Chillar...get it? Chillar...get it?

Anyway, Chillar is only the second unrestricted free agent signing Thompson has made in the last two years, the other being defensive back Frank Walker who was a major dud and is now collecting a paycheck elsewhere. Chillar, on the other hand, has been a two-year starter for the Rams. According to reports, he took less money than he was being offered by the Rams and the Cardinals to play for the Pack because he wanted to play -- and start -- for a winner. Chillar will challenge current Packers' starter Brady Poppinga for the strong-side linebacker spot. That can only be a good thing. His agent, according to reports, indicated that Chillar understands he is not guaranteed the starting spot.

You can read more about Chillar here. That same story will also tell you that the Pack also re-signed two of their own free agents, tight end Tory Humphrey and fullback John Kuhn. Because both were exclusive rights free agents, neither were eligible to negotiate with other teams, and signed minimum wage contracts.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Backup QB speculation

Almost as soon as the reality of Brett Favre's retirement set in, Packer fans started contemplating not only Aaron Rodgers as the new man under center but also who would now become his main backup. Other than unsigned free agent Craig Nall, the only other QBs on the Packers roster are a couple of undrafted first year players. The need for a competent and capable backup is huge, especially give the questions that fans and Packers staff have about Rodgers' durability. Heck, compared to Favre, any quarterback is going to be seen as a lightweight if they can't make it through even one season let alone 17! The exceptional -- i.e., Brett -- became our norm. We are going to have to readjust. And part of the process is perhaps seeing the backup QB play. A lot.

So, assuming that the Packers are not enamored of any of the folks currently on the depth chart behind Rodgers, what are the possibilities? has some interesting speculation, some of which has been confirmed by other independent news reports. For example, ex-Jaguars QB Quinn Gray paid a visit to the Packers this week. The Pack like him and have been apparently looking at him for some time. The Raiders are reported to also be interested in having him back up second-year QB Jamarcus Russell, perhaps even start if Russell comes in to camp in as bad a physical shape as he has been reported to be in. Given that Drew Rosenhaus is Quinn's agent, the thinking is that Rosehaus would be more apt to try to cash in on a possible starting gig in Oakland for Quinn than a backup role in Green Bay. So, Quinn might be wishful thinking.

Who else? Trent Green and Mark Brunell were rumored to be of possible interest. Take them off the board; Green re-signed at Kansas City and Brunell is said to be signing with New Orleans. As for others, Gus Frerotte, Tim Hasselbeck, and Daunte Culpepper are all free agent possibilities. As to trade possibilities, these reportedly include Sage Rosenfels (Texans), Chad Pennington (Jets) and J.P. Losman (Bills). Supposedly, Rosenfels is the best possibility among this group.

And don't forget there is a fairly deep draft in terms of QB talent. With two second round picks, it might not be out of the question to see GM Ted Thompson pull the trigger on a QB with one of them.

You can check out the analysis of the current situation here.

Sad story about Willie Wood
A couple days ago there was a moving story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the life these days of Packer great and Hall of Famer, Willie Wood. As the article says, "Today, Wood, at age 71, lives in an assisted living facility in Washington, D.C. He has had a host of physical problems, sits in a wheelchair and suffers from dementia." I had the priviledge of meeting Mr. Wood several years back when he and other 60's Packers were making appearances in area grocery stores as part of a Packers Glory Years videotape release. He was seated in a folding chair, looking very uncomfortable and somewhat bored. Didn't really say too much at all. It could have been the beginning stages of his dementia. Still, he graciously signed my tape box and shook my hand. Very dignified. Anyway, back to the story...apparently a number of readers contacted the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel asking how to send cards of best wishes to Mr. Wood. You may do so by addressing your cards and letters here: Sunrise Assisted Living at Thomas Circle, 1307 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, D.C., 20005.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Packers Fan Fest 2008

The latest edition of the renowned Packers Fan Fest is now complete. Fans from around the country -- perhaps even some fans from outside the U.S. -- traveled to the Frozen Tundra to see the stars of past and present. It's quite a love fest. You can see some great pix from the event courtesy of 620WTMJ radio's Bill Michael's blog. WTMJ is the flagship radio station of the Packers, so coverage and access is quite good. You can see some great photos here, as well as access some audio and video.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Can you believe it?

By now, most if not all Packers fans have either heard, read or seen Brett Favre's retirement speech. Very moving. But apparently, his emotions were too much for one of the right wing-nut radio jabberers (if you are also a right wing-nut, no offense intended). Laura somebody (sorry, folks, don't want to mention her name as that would be giving her the dignity which she obviously does not give to Brett). She spent a segment on her show the other day ridiculing Brett for the emotions he showed. She even has a "Soundbite of the Week" featuring one of Brett's comments interspersed with such words as "sniffle" and "snort." Curious though, that this "soundbite" doesn't actually provide sound, just text that they could play with. Hey, here's a tip, Laura: when you have something you deem to be a "Soundbite of the Week," maybe the point would be to actually have sound...ya think?

Not only that, she even has a poll on her site: "Did Brett Favre embarrass himself by crying at his retirement press conference?" So far, by a vote of 66% to 34% those responding (however many) are giving a resounding "No".

It's very odd that a crackpot such as this would even bother to comment about Brett. What's her point? Does she know what a football is? Does she know where Green Bay is? Had she ever heard of Brett Favre before? Does she understand the concept of human empathy? Would seem the answer to all those questions is no. Perhaps, then, her point was to drive traffic to her website where you can pay for the privilege of listening to this drivel? Sorry. No suckers here. And we certainly don't want to drive traffic there, so no links to it.

Let's get a modern cultural reference point on the relevance of Brett to Laura whomever. Let's use...Google hits and YouTube video posts! (Yes, very unscientific but still makes the point). A search on "Brett Favre" returns 3,520,000 Google hits and 1,390 YouTube videos. A search on the name of Laura who-cares returns 502,000 Google hits and 245 YouTube videos, some of which show her raving out at various targets. For comparison, there are 490,000 Google hits on the term "jock itch." So, by comparison, Laura whosits is closer to jock itch than Brett Favre in terms of her cultural relevance. And somehow, doesn't that seem very fitting in this context?

I guess when you need ratings the easiest thing to do is to latch onto a beloved icon and bash away. Fortunately, Brett is too big of a man to be sucked into such small-minded tactics that are the staple of such persons as this. And so are we. Just wanted to make our readers aware of this garbage so it can be avoided altogether.

The only question I have for Miss Laura: how the heck did you get so bitter about everything?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Harlan re-tells the story of Favre acqusition

One of the jewels of information which came out during the time between it became known that Brett would retire and his actual press conference was the story by recently-retired Packers' CEO Bob Harlan of how the Pack came to trade for him. Then-GM Ron Wolf had just started with the Packers and the Atlanta Falcons had just come to Lambeau to play. Wolf wanted to watch their back up QB, a first-year player by the name of Brett Favre out of Southern Mississippi. Wolf, while at his prior job with the NY Jets, had rated Favre as the best QB in the draft, and was set to take him. The Falcons nabbed him one slot before the Jets picked. Good thing, as it turned out, for both Wolf and the Packers. The Falcons got a first round pick in 1992...whoever that turned out to be. The Packers got Brett.

But for the rest of the enchanting story, go here. Worth the read.

Be your state or country's ultimate Packers fan
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is looking "to find one fan to represent every state in the country, and every country in the world." The first fan from each state or country to e-mail them at with the information they're looking for AND a photo will get a spot on their map. Who's the ultimate Packers fan? We all are. We are Packer Fans United! But if you'd still like your individual distinction and place in cyberspace, go here for more details.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Favre: "I know I can play, but I don't think I want to."

It was an emotional scene. About 20 seconds or so into his retirement press conference the finality of it all finally hit Brett Favre. "I promised I wouldn't get's never know, it's funny, I've watched hundreds of players retire, and you wonder what that would be think you're prepared ...," Favre said haltingly. At points, he couldn't speak, he was so taken with the emotion of it. At times, tears streamed down his face. "I'd like to thank the Packers, for giving me the opportunity as well. I hope that every penny...I hope that every penny that they've spent on me, they know was money well-spent." I don't think there's any question about that, Brett.

The bottom line was summed up in this statement: "I've given everything I possibly can give to this organization, to the game of football, and I don't think I've got anything left to give, and that's it."

Brett had lots of thanks to give out. As for the fans? This part of his speech we should all hold dear: "I can't leave without saying thank you to the fans. When I laughed and when my family laughed, they laughed. When I cried, they cried. When I cheered, they cheered. When I threw an interception, well, you know. But it was a perfect fit for me. Little ol' Southern Miss, southern boy from Hancock County who had big dreams, no different than any other kid, to play here, and there's no better place to play. I had a conversation with Ron Wolf yesterday, and we had that discussion. To be thought of as one of the best players to play in this league, and to be mentioned within an organization that has players like Reggie White and Bart Starr and Paul Hornung and Willie Davis and Willie Wood and Herb Adderley and Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Vince Lombardi. To be mentioned with those people, ... I'm honored. Really ... I am honored. I hope everyone knows how special this is and I truly appreciate the opportunity, and as they say all good things must come ... come to an end."

Brett admitted to finally watching TV last night and seeing some of the coverage of him. He said now he knows "what it's like when you die." In typical Brett fashion, he was bemused by that.

One Milwaukee sports reporter, who said he was in the back of the room in which the press conference was held, said even some of the most hard-bitten reporters in that room were holding back tears. Brett has always been a man everyone could relate to, in good times and bad. Today was a sad one, for sure. But it was also one where Brett seemed to be at peace with the decision. He also said he knows exactly what he's going to do next: "nothing." He's earned it.

Thanks, Brett..."4" Everything.

You can read the entire transcript of the retirement speech here.

Favre set to speak

In a little over one hour from the time of this posting, future Hall of Famer and Packers legendary QB, Brett Favre, will address the media at Lambeau Field. He will be accompanied by his wife, Deanna. It is there that he is expected to officially announce his retirement from the game. ESPN will carry it live, and it will also be streamed live via the website. You can find the links for that streaming media page in the preceding post.

Several members of the morning radio team on WTMJ620-AM in Milwaukee were asking the question this morning, "Do you think he'll cry?" "Yeah, he'll cry." How could he not? But watching Brett all these years, he may just suck it up too and gut out what will undoubtedly be the most difficult professional moments of his life. Whichever way it comes out, you know it will be genuine Brett. He's never hidden his emotions, but he's also a person with incredible mental toughness. It should be an interesting news conference. It will also put some closure to this for Packers fans, many of whom admit they are still not over the loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game.

But, this is it, Packers fans. That age-old expression keeps coming to mind: "The king is dead. Long live the king."

Half-hour or so delay in start of news conference
There has been an announced delay of at least 30 minutes or so in the start of Brett Favre's press conference due to flight delay.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Favre will address media Thursday

According to a statement on the Packers' official website, Brett Favre will address the media tomorrow (Thursday, March 6) at 11 a.m. Central Time. Perhaps more importantly to Packers fans across the nation, will broadcast the event "in its entirety and free of charge, LIVE from Lambeau Field," according to the statement. You will need the Adobe Flash Player in order to view the streaming media. No doubt if you are near a TV you can catch this on ESPN, as well.

The entire, but brief, story is here. The live media link is here. (Note: according to that page, "A live video window will appear on this page approximately 5 minutes before a scheduled live event. If you do not see the window above, please refresh your page." Remember folks, that's for the Packers page, not this one.)

Fan Remembrances
The blogs and bulletin boards are filling up with fan remembrances of Brett. Here's a sampling from includes a posting from one of the readers and occasional posters here at, by the way. Yes...we're everywhere!

The morning after: the mourning after

The horror...the horror...

Apocalypse Now. Great movie. Marlon Brando as Col. Nutjob. Martin Sheen as the assassin. Dennis Hopper as...himself. A dark and chaotic journey into a surreal existence.

All those who feel this way today after hearing of Brett's retirement, please raise your hands. Yikes!

Those within TV or radio earshot of Wisconsin over the last 24 hours were bombarded with non-stop coverage yesterday of this momentous event. You heard or saw it all day long and went to bed with it being talked about. And you awoke this morning to your radio and TV once again reflecting on the aftermath of Brett's announcement that he was done. It's exhausting. One friend, known to joke about sticking one's head in the oven over dramatic events related to the Packers -- such as losses to Da Bearz, for example -- was asked by a buddy if he was going to have "an oven party" last night. The reply was that he was too depressed to even make it to the oven. So it is in Packerland. We have become Mudville. There is no joy.

OK, OK...we have to snap out of it, people! And forget all the finger pointing related to the Pack not getting Randy Moss and that's why Brett retired. Moss wanted to stay in New England, as is obvious by the fact that he turned down more money, according to reports, to sign with the Eagles. As one Packers reporter said this morning, the Packers played this situation "right down the middle." Meaning that they were not going to put undue pressure on Brett one way or another. As GM Ted Thompson said, it was Brett's decision. So, as the Packers reporter noted, if Brett decided to return, great. But if he didn't, the Packers have a first round draft pick who's been riding the bench for three years, absorbing everything possible from the greatest QB of all time, and being coached the last two years by one of the better QB coaches in the league, who just also happens to be the head coach, Mike McCarthy. The reporter noted that the Packers are anxious to see exactly what they have while Aaron Rodgers has two years left on his contract. They need to see him play this year to determine whether they will want to ride this pony and re-sign, or cut bait and go in another direction.

It's Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood Now
Yes, this is the direction of the conversation now, as it needs to be. We are now in the Aaron Rodgers era, kids. And it's scary, because no one yet knows what we have or what that means. Fortunately, he's had time to mature and get playbook smart. But he hasn't played much. And the last two seasons, as most any fan will tell you, he's gotten hurt almost immediately during or after what little game time opportunities he did have. According to Wayne Larrivee, who is the radio voice of the Packers, he has no doubt that Rodgers has the mental make up to do the job, as well as the physical tools to be a good QB. His opinion is that he will do well with the Packers, although he also acknowledged that the glare of the spotlight will be intense. Following a legend is not easy. It may be impossible. The pressure to perform well immediately will be extreme. Fan tolerance...we'll have to see.

Then there is the matter of durability. We won't see another Packers QB -- likely any QB anywhere -- surpass Brett's string of consecutive starts. And that's the thing, Larrivee said, that will be missed most: knowing that week after week the same guy will always be there. We haven't even been able to say that about Rodgers as a backup, let alone as a starter. Which means the Packers also better scour the wires or deal for an experienced backup. Who do the Packers have on the roster currently as possible backups to Rodgers? Veteran Craig Nall and first-year free agents Dalton Bell and Jerry Babb...yup...better start looking.

Ted Thompson will, one would assume, now also be looking to pick up a QB in the upcoming draft, as well, although probably in the second (where the Pack now has 2 picks) or later rounds. Who are the prospects there, after you get by Matt Ryan, out of Boston College, who is a top 5 pick? Brian Brohm from Louisville who also is a likely first round pick. There is also Andre Woodson of Kentucky, Chad Henne of Michigan, Joe Flacco of Delaware (who, according to scouting reports, sounds a lot like a raw young Brett Favre in terms of arm strength...and wildness), John David Booty of USC, Erik Ainge of Tennessee, Colt Brennan of Hawaii, and a host of others which offer some intriguing possibilities. It would seem that this would be a unique draft for the Packers in this regard: having to draft a QB who would not only be a serviceable backup, but also potentially a starter should Aaron Rodgers fall flat or get injured. Fortunately, there is a bumper crop of QBs who just could fill that bill.

This is different, isn't it? Talking about something we haven't really had to deal with since 1992. 1992! Wow. It is surreal. But real it is.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Favre says he was "mentally tired"

In a message Brett left on ESPN's Chris Mortensen's voicemail, he said he was "mentally tired." That statement confirms that he was ready to step aside. "I know I can still play," Brett said, "but it's like I told my wife, I'm just tired mentally. I'm just tired." That's the sign it's time to go. You still can do it. But do you want to do it? The answer Brett gave himself? "No."

You have to respect the fact that he goes out on his terms, without injury or a decline in skills. In fact, Brett had one of the best years of his career, and set NFL milestone after milestone in the process.

The Packers will hold a news conference at the 3 p.m. Central time today. You may be able to hear or see it via streaming media at Of course, tune in to ESPN and other programs or online resources and you can also read, hear and/or see much more on this retirement of a legend. This is what classifies as a major sports news story, so coverage is already plentiful.

If you want to read and hear more about the message Brett left for Mortensen, you can check it out here.

If you'd care to express your view as to whether or not you agree with Brett's decision, you can have your say in our latest poll in the righthand column, right below our store link.

Breaking News: Favre to retire

According to a report by Jay Glazer on, Brett Favre is set to retire. The news is being reported also by local Milwaukee media. As of this time, there is no announcement or confirmation from the Packers.

However Lance Allen, sports reporter for WTMJ TV in Milwaukee, while doing an on-air telephone interview with his news team, said he was text messaging Brett's brother, Scott, during the on-air time and was asking if the rumor was true. At approx. 8:35 a.m., Lance reported that Scott just wrote a text message back that "It's true."

More details to follow as they become available.

It's the day we all dreaded. The end of an era. We will not see anyone like this again.

You can read the Jay Glazer report here.