Friday, July 30, 2010

Bulaga signed, Packers kick off camp with everyone on board

The Packers' first round draft pick, offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga, is signed, sealed and delivered. Bulaga came to terms with the Packers this morning, according to reports, on a 5-year deal. ESPN reports that the deal totals nearly $15 million with almost $9 million of that guaranteed.

With Bulaga's deal, all 82 Packers' players are under contract for the start of training camp tomorrow afternoon. Pretty darn good.

Packers chances of hosting a Super Bowl?

One of the questions that naturally started to surface after the NFL awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to the cold-weather, non-domed new stadium in New York, was: What about Green Bay and Lambeau Field? Well, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell actually addressed that matter during yesterday's annual Packers' shareholder meeting. He said the issue wasn't so much the weather, as some might have expected, but rather the "infrastructure." Goodell said there needs to be about 25,000 hotel rooms within 60 miles of the chosen venue. With approximately 3,000 or so rooms in the Green Bay area, as Maxwell Smart might say (does that reference date me, by the way?), we probably will miss by that much. In other words, the chances are about the same as a snowball's chance in h-e-double hockey sticks...or, since we're talkin' football, h-e-goal posts.

The Packers also shared some interesting plans they have in and around Lambeau Field. One of the other cool little tidbits to emerge was that the new movie about Vince Lombardi (staring Robert -- "Are you talking to me?!" -- DeNiro) will debut in Lambeau Field the week before the Super Bowl. It will be very cool indeed if shown outside in the stadium rather than inside the warmth of the atrium.

For more on the above and other highlights from the shareholders' meeting just go here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Packers shareholders meet today, players suit up Saturday

A few hours from now, Packers' shareholders will be gathering at the currently warm tundra of Lambeau Field for the annual shareholders meeting. Packers officials will present the financial report (not great, as previously reported here and elsewhere), talk about the state of the team, and so on. They will also hear from NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, who will also respond to questions submitted previously by shareholders. Should be an interesting session. Hope to provide follow up to that later today or tomorrow for you.

B & B signings?
In other team news, currently the only player on the Packers prospective roster not yet signed is first round draft pick Bryan Bulaga. Reports are, however, that he and the Pack are close to coming to terms on a contract. Bulaga Tweeted yesterday, if memory serves, that he was probably done playing golf for a while, which one would take to mean he's going to be on the practice field in Green Bay very soon. Perhaps, if reports are correct, in time for the team's first practice at 2 p.m. Saturday. That would be a great thing for not only Bulaga but the offensive line as it tries to assess whether Bulaga will be in the running for starting at left guard this season or whether he'll be groomed solely to replace venerable veteran Chad Clifton at left tackle when the time comes.

Safety Atari Bigby was reported on Tuesday to have finally agreed to his one-year tender offer. However, because of roster limitations the Packers have not yet apparently turned in the contract to the league office. When they do, and when Bulaga signs, the Packers will have to make a couple roster moves to get to the 80-man limit.

You can read more about the Bulaga and Bigby situations here.

Ad patches hit the unis
And now, coming to a practice jersey near you, advertising patches!

That's right, kids, the Packers finally caved to the demands of economic necessity over tradition (and when that happens even in Green Bay you know things are tough) and will be sporting an advertising patch on their practice jerseys this season. Two good things about that. First, it's a practice jersey, not something that will be worn on pre- or regular-season uniforms. Secondly, it's a local organization, Bellin Health, which is a major healthcare provider in the Packers neck of the woods and with which the Packers have partnered for a number of years. Bellin is the presenting sponsor for this summer's training camp, so a patch seems fitting, I suppose. For those on the lookout, the patch will be worn on the player's left side near the shoulder. As to the size, according to the Packers' director of marketing, it's tasteful. Ah, what's the's a practice jersey. And if you want to know more, read this.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Packer fans: Let's party like it's 1929!

Ah, 1929. What a great year. Well, except for that "Crash" thing and the start of The Great Depression. But at least Packer fans back then were happy, because that's the year our beloved Packers won the first of their many World Championships! Called the Acme Packers in those days -- yes, kids, Acme as in the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons -- the uniform look was a bit different back then, too. The colors were blue and gold, a bit like that of the University of Notre Dame today. Except for the brown leather helmet of course. That would be the '29 Packers, not the modern day ND Irish, of course.

Now, just in time to re-live those Championship memories (after all, if it worked in one Depression it might just as well work in another), the Packers Pro Shop has just today unveiled its "Third Jersey Collection" featuring a whole bunch of, well, jerseys and other goodies featuring that throwback look of '29. This look will actually hit the field at Lambeau this season as the team's third jersey (hence the "Third Jersey Collection" name...a-duh!). You can even get an Acme Packers bobblehead. With the leather helmets worn back then you have to figure that this is a pretty accurate replica as most of the players would have been living bobbleheads during the course of a game. In fact, you can even get yourself one of those helmets...although not the leather kind, just a modern version with the leather brown color. Just imagine the fun as you pit yourself against a clueless leather-helmeted friend in a head-butting contest. It doesn't get any better than that! Anyway, if you want to see the entire collection, you can do so here.

But another great alternative to yet more Packers gear is yet more Packer Fans United gear! Today through July 30 you can receive Free Shipping on orders of $45 or more! Yes, this is a shameless plug for which we make no apologies. We have some really cool items at our shop just waiting for you. T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, cups, etc. If you can't find it...well, it means we probably don't have it, but that's beside the point. What we have there is good stuff. For men, women and kids. We have you covered. Stock up now for Christmas and get free shipping to boot. C'mon, Packer fans! You need it, you crave it, you know you want get it, already! What are you waiting for? Just click on the scrolling banner or shop link in the righthand column. Or if that is too overwhelming for you, just click here. That will do the trick, too.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Packers' Rodgers can bring Lombardi Trophy back to GB

There's a great article by the always on-target Packers beat writer, Bob McGinn, in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. McGinn examines the situation with the Packers' quarterbacks focusing, not surprisingly, on starting QB Aaron Rodgers. The point which comes through loud and clear, if it didn't last season, is that Rodgers isn't the heir apparent to Ol' #4 any longer. He is now clearly Da Man. And not just with the Pack and its fans. Rodgers is now establishing himself as one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. And if he stays healthy, Rodgers could go a long way toward giving the Packers something that rarely comes along in the NFL: back-to-back premier QBs.

McGinn's article examines the history of Rodgers, his blossoming since taking over from Ol' #4, his strengths and weaknesses as seen by his offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and an unnamed personnel director for another NFC team, and the potential that lies ahead.

Oh, there's also a brief review of backup QB Matt Flynn. Bottom line there is that the Packers are so satisfied with his progress that once again they will likely go into the season with only Rodgers and Flynn on the active roster. No doubt they will try to find a third for the practice squad.

Rodgers is a confident, driven young player who went a long way last season to helping Packer fans forget...whatshisname. But as the article also points out, until Rodgers actually wins a playoff game, let alone a Super Bowl, he can be a very good QB...just not a great one. All the makings are there. And as the article also reminds us, "Two football writers from Sports Illustrated have placed the Packers atop their preseason power rankings. Pro Football Weekly did the same."

As we so often say here at, it's great to be a Packers fan!

You can read the entire Bob McGinn article here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Packers' shareholders meeting and training camp in week ahead

Here it is, Packer fans, the week we've waited for since the end of last season's great run. In the coming week, Packers' shareholders will gather on Thursday morning (and, yes, you need a ticket to get in) at the currently un-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to hear from Packers' management and coaches about the status of the team on and off the field. They'll also hear a bit from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who'll be on hand, as well. No doubt, a major area of interest will concern the current and upcoming contract negotiations with the NFL Players Association.

While the annual shareholders event certainly is an important part of things, what most fans wait for, of course, is the start of training camp. That gets under way Saturday, July 31, at 2 p.m. with players in full pads on Ray Nitschke Field and is open to the public. If weather doesn't allow outdoor practice, things move inside to the Don Hutson Center where, because of space limitations, the practice is closed to the public. You can check out a day by day practice schedule here. You can also download a PDF version of the schedule here.

Now, if your green 'n' gold juices aren't flowing already, check out this article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which begins the talk about the Packers' Super Bowl hopes and chances this season. The key, which is the same every year, really, is to start fast. No surprise there. With a tough schedule and questions on defense given Johnny Jolly's year-long (indefinite) suspension and Al Harris' return from his major knee injury, that means the offense has to come out with guns blazing. Barring injury, that will be a given.

But with camp a week away from today, it sure is nice to be able to realistically talk about the goal: Super Bowl.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More on Jolly's suspension by NFL

Since yesterday's announcement that Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly has been suspended "indefinitely" by the NFL for violations of the league's substance abuse policy, some folks have wondered how Jolly can be suspended without yet being convicted of anything. There is a very good review of the scenarios under which this may have come about in an article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

And since Jolly had signed a one-year tender with the Pack for about $2 million-plus this season, he can also kiss that goodbye, as the suspension stipulation also indicated it was to be without pay. Man, that was a mighty expensive cough syrup joy ride. Wonder how much his "friends" had to lose in comparison?

What a waste.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jolly suspended for season by NFL

As some have speculated since defensive end Johnny Jolly was busted by Houston police in July 2008, and as Packers draft picks along the defensive line this season seemed to indicate, the NFL has told the Packers today that the league has suspended Jolly for the entire 2010 season. Actually, it's an indefinite suspension without pay. Jolly can apply for reinstatement after the next Super Bowl.

Reading GM Ted Thompson's statement about the matter doesn't seem to hold out much hope for Jolly rejoining the team after his reinstatement. You can read between the lines, so to speak, by checking out the report here.

A player with a wealth of talent but apparently not enough smarts to avoid the situation and crowd he traveled with back in his home town. Sad on many counts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What the Favre? Part 21

We haven't done a "What the Favre?" segment in a long time. But now, with an interview with Ol' #4 appearing in the new issue of Men's Journal (on sale Friday for those who wish to line up), we have yet another opportunity to ask that question. Because every time Brett speaks, well..."What the Favre?".

According to excerpts released and/or picked up by other outlets, it becomes quite clear that Brett's decision to un-retire (for the first time) had nothing to do with just wanting to play football, as he had so often claimed. It was, as most realize by now, purely for the chance to get back at the Packers and GM Ted Thompson. He says so himself. According to an excerpt appearing in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Favre says, "They (the Packers) made it pretty clear I wasn't going to play there, and I said, 'How about the Vikings or even the Lions?' I wanted to stay in the same division. They said that wasn't going to happen, but maybe Tampa. I said, 'Fine, trade me to Tampa. I'll whip your asses in week four.' Maybe that was a mistake. I'm flying back to Hattiesburg thinking I'm going to the Bucs, and I get off the plane and Bus tell me I've been traded to the Jets. I said, 'Bull,' but they were smart; they released the news so I'd look like an ass if I backed out."

How much of a rocket scientist do you have to be to understand that when he said he wanted to play for the ViQueens or the Lions -- the Lions, for the love of God! -- that it was all about revenge..."whip your asses" as Brett puts it? And isn't it interesting that Brett had always said that he never wanted to play for the ViQueens originally. No, not at all. Yet, here he is saying it was the first thing out of his mouth.

Question: what, if anything, can we believe that he says? Not that he's going to retire. That was said and then changed twice (it was just twice, wasn't it???). Not when he says he just wanted to play and it didn't matter who with. Clearly, from his comments that wasn't the case, even at the start of unretirement #1.

As has been said here many times over the last couple years, it is so sad that someone who was and is such a great quarterback and a Packers legend has basically turned himself into a running sitcom every time he speaks. About the only thing we can count on, no matter what he says one way or another, is that he will be back for another season with the 'Queens trying yet again to sweep the Pack as was accomplished last season. We'll see how that all works out this season.

You can find excerpts from the Men's Journal and Star-Tribune articles here and here respectively.

Packers profit...sorta

As all true Packers fans know, the team is the only publicly-held team in the NFL. So, in anticipation of its upcoming shareholders' meeting at Lambeau Field (where else?) in Green Bay on July 29, the Packers today released their financial statement highlights for the last fiscal year. The good news, somewhat, is that net profit went up from about $4 million last year to $5.2 million this year. But the bad news is that profit from operations dropped big time: from $20.1 million last year to $9.8 million this year. This continues a trend of several years of declining operations profits for the Pack.

According to an article just hitting the airwaves (question: is the Internet "the airwaves"??? Hmmm....) in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said, “Player costs are growing at twice the rate of revenue.” For the record, player costs were up 11 percent while revenue only increased 5.5 percent.

The Packers might be viewed by some -- especially team owners and management -- as the canary in the coal mine, particularly with negotiations ahead for owners and the NFL Players Association. Management may use Packers' financials -- albeit the only team that makes its books public and the smallest market team at that -- as part of its case for reducing the players' portion of the overall take that comes in to the NFL.

Be sure to check out the article link above for more on this developing story.