Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Revival Continues

Not long ago, we posted the Spring 1992 “Packer Update,” and now we’re following up with the Spring 1993 version. This publication was sent to season ticket holders each year. A lot had changed from the season before — the optimistic uncertainty was now replaced with awards for GM Ron Wolf, Head Coach Mike Holmgren, and QB Brett Favre, and a free agent by the name of Reggie White had just joined the team. The Packers were celebrating the 75th anniversary that year, and everything was looking even more optimistic than the year before. Enjoy the look back!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

NFL Training Camp Dates

As we slog through the “Dead Zone” of the NFL year, when Packers players and coaches take their final vacation time until February, anticipation builds for the coming season. And that means Training Camp will soon be upon us. For the curious, here are the dates and sites for all NFL teams where the sweating, hitting, and swearing will begin:

Training camps: When, where and key dates for all 32 teams

Only 11 teams are going “away” for camp, both because many teams just find it easier to stay in their multi-million dollar facilities and because the new CBA cut down on camp time and on-field hours.

Though all teams can report for camp 15 days before their preseason opener, each team manages open practices and some early workouts differently. Below is a list of every team’s first full practice; teams that leave their home sites/facilities for camp are noted, as are key training camp dates.


Baltimore Ravens
First practice: July 29
Key dates: Open practices at M&T Bank Stadium Aug. 1 and Aug. 6

Buffalo Bills – at St. John Fisher College, Rochester
First practice: July 30

Cincinnati Bengals
First practice: July 29
Key dates: The Bengals host the Vikings for joint practices Aug. 10-11

Cleveland Browns
First practice: July 29
Key dates: Aug. 6, intrasquad scrimmage at Ohio Stadium in Columbus; Aug. 23-24 practices with the Buccaneers in Tampa

Denver Broncos
Official dates have not been released. The Broncos host the 49ers for joint practices Aug. 17-18.

Houston Texans
First practice: July 31
Key dates: Joint practices at 49ers Aug. 12 and vs. the Saints Aug. 18-19

Indianapolis Colts – at Anderson University, Anderson, Ind.
First practice: July 27

Jacksonville Jaguars
First practice: July 28
Key dates: Intrasquad stadium scrimmage Aug. 5. The Jaguars will host the Buccaneers for joint practices Aug. 17-18.

Kansas City Chiefs – at Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Mo.
First practice: July 30

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins haven’t yet released official camp dates.

New England Patriots
First practice: July 28
Key dates: Joint practices with the Saints (Aug. 9-10) and Bears (Aug. 15-16).

New York Jets
First practice: July 28. Only six practices will be open to the public.

Oakland Raiders – at Napa Valley, Ca.
The Raiders haven’t yet released official camp dates.

Pittsburgh Steelers – at Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pa.
First practice: July 29
Key dates: Aug. 9-10 joint practices with the Lions

San Diego Chargers
First practice: July 30
Key dates: Joint practice with Cardinals Aug. 16 in Qualcomm Stadium

Tennessee Titans
First practice: July 30
Key dates: Aug. 6 stadium practice open to fans


Arizona Cardinals
First practice: July 29
Key dates: Joint practice at Chargers Aug. 16

Atlanta Falcons
First practice: July 28
Key dates: Aug. 5 “Friday Night Lights” practice at Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga.

Carolina Panthers – at Wofford College, Spartanburg, S.C.
First practice: July 28

Chicago Bears – at Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Ill.
First practice: July 28
Key dates: Aug. 6 practice at Soldier Field; Aug. 15-16 joint practices at the Patriots

Dallas Cowboys – at Oxnard, Ca.
First practice: July 30

Detroit Lions
First practice: July 29, though the Lions have not yet released a full camp schedule.
Key dates: Aug. 9-10 joint practices at the Steelers

Green Bay Packers – at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis.
First practice: July 26
Key dates: July 31, Family Night at Lambeau Field

Los Angeles Rams
The Rams haven’t yet released a full camp schedule.

Minnesota Vikings – at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Min.
Key dates: Joint practices vs. Bengals in Cincinnati Aug. 10-11

New York Giants
First practice: July 29

New Orleans Saints – at The Greenbrier, White Sulfur Springs, W.V.
First practice: July 28
Key dates: Joint practices at the Patriots Aug. 9-10 and at the Texans Aug. 18-19

Philadelphia Eagles
First practice: July 28
Key dates: Open practices at Lincoln Financial Field on July 31 and Aug. 14

San Francisco 49ers
Exact camp dates not yet announced. The 49ers will host the Texans for a joint practice Aug. 12, then visit Denver for joint practices Aug. 17-18.

Seattle Seahawks
First practice: July 30

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
First practice: July 30
Key dates: Joint practices at the Jaguars (Aug. 17-18) and vs. the Browns (Aug. 23-24)

Washington Redskins – at Bon Secours Training Center, Richmond, Va.
First practice: July 28

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Good Financial News

As they do every year, the Green Bay Packers release their financial data prior to the annual Shareholders meeting (to be held this year on Thursday, July 21st). Here is how the team presented the information this year, via

Packers post record profits

Team's financial report shows robust growth in local revenue

Posted Jun 24, 2016
By Mike Spofford  I Senior Writer

GREEN BAY – The financial picture of the Green Bay Packers has never looked better.

The franchise posted record profits over the past fiscal year, according to the financial statement released by the team on Friday, providing a strong foundation for football operations, upcoming investment in the Titletown District development, and continued growth in the team’s other community and charitable endeavors.

Net income reached $48.9 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, while profit from operations was at $75 million. Those are healthy increases of 68 percent and 91 percent, respectively, over the previous year, when net income (which includes investment performance, income taxes and interest expenses on debt) was at $29.2 million and operating profit was at $39.4 million.

Such significant jumps and record results were due mainly to impressive growth in local revenue and a drop in general expenses.

Local revenue grew by $18.1 million, or nearly 11 percent, to $186.2 million, which President/CEO Mark Murphy attributed primarily to the success of the Lambeau Field Atrium businesses and a strong year in sales and marketing sponsorships.

The new, expanded Packers Pro Shop – which opened in late July of 2014 – operated for a full year for the first time, while the new Packers Hall of Fame and 1919 Kitchen & Tap restaurant also opened to strong early results. In addition, stadium tour attendance grew by roughly one-third, from 130,000 patrons to a record 175,000.

“The renovations to the Atrium are having the impact we wanted,” Murphy said. He added that Pro Shop sales had been moving more and more online, approaching 50 percent of the total sales, but the new, expanded venue on the ground floor of the Atrium produced a higher percentage of in-store sales, growing the total business.

The club’s national revenue, which is money shared equally by all 32 NFL teams, also grew $13.5 million to $222.6 million, a rise of 6 percent. That’s a fairly standard bump due to built-in increases in the league’s broadcasting contracts.

Added together, the local and national numbers produced total revenue of $408.7 million, also a franchise record. The Packers have been ranked ninth in the NFL in total revenue for the past three years and will learn their current ranking sometime this fall.

On the expense side, while player costs grew at the normal rate – each team’s salary cap has been rising by around $10 million per season in recent years – the team’s general expenses dropped considerably.

That was mainly due to a pair of one-time expenses from the previous fiscal year, a league assessment related to debt refinancing and initial expenses required as preparation for the Titletown project, that were not on the books this past year.

Those two issues accounted for almost $20 million in expenditures the prior year, allowing overall expenses for the current year to drop $4.1 million, from $337.8 million to $333.7 million.

“We managed our expenses pretty well, and we didn’t have those one-time items,” said Paul Baniel, the team’s vice president of finance and administration.

The record profits likely aren’t sustainable, though. Murphy said while he expects revenue to continue to grow, profits will likely dip next year due to the cyclical nature of player signings, which the team is now prepared for financially. “We have a number of core players with contracts ending,” Murphy said. “We could have a number of signings next year, and the biggest thing there (on the balance sheet) is the signing bonuses.”

The overall picture has the franchise well-positioned for the future, with the corporate reserve at $275 million. The team’s football operation has all the resources it needs while the franchise continues to re-invest in Lambeau Field and the community.

“Our top priority is to win championships, and we have the resources available for football if they see things that give us a competitive advantage,” Murphy said. “We want to stay state-of-the-art.”

On the community side, Murphy said the first phase of the Titletown development has required a $65 million investment, with two of the initial tenants in Lodge Kohler and Hinterland already breaking ground. The third, a Bellin Health sports medicine clinic, will break ground later this summer. Work on the public plaza within the development has not yet begun, so the Titletown investment will continue to grow as it moves into other phases, Murphy said.

The stadium is also undergoing a two-year suite renovation project that will cost $55 million, while the endowment for the Packers Foundation has grown to just shy of $25 million and the team’s overall charitable impact climbed above $6.5 million over the past year.

“We’re responsible for the future growth and stewardship of the franchise, which ties in with Titletown,” Murphy said. “We’re investing in the community. We see it as a long-term asset to the community and to the organization.”

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Coming to Lambeau...?

We had some free time last evening, so we thought we’d mock up the Green Bay Packers’ “look” for the October 20th “Color Rush” game vs. the Chicago Bears. The Bears are unofficially rumored to be playing in all dark blue, since the home team chooses their color, and the Packers have supposedly chosen all yellow. 

So we took an image of QB Aaron Rodgers, and used the away jersey as the template. Then all we had to do was turn the white to yellow. The pants would not change, nor would the helmet. 

As a part of the NFL’s overall head safety program, teams must use the same helmet all season. 

From August 2013: “Our Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, chaired by Drs. Hunt Batjer and Richard Ellenbogen, and the Player Safety Advisory Panel, chaired by John Madden and Ronnie Lott, have recommended that players no longer wear different helmets as part of a ‘Throwback’ or ‘Third’ uniform,” the memo from the league office said. “Our office supports this change and has reviewed it with the chairman of our Health and Safety ownership committee, Dr. John York, who concurs with this recommendation.”

The league office told all teams planning to wear throwback uniforms that players must wear their regular helmets on throwback (or alternate color) dates. The outside of the helmet can be modified by removing or replacing decals or changing the facemask, but the helmet itself must stay the same. Once players have properly fitted helmets that they’re comfortable wearing, the NFL doesn’t want them changing helmets during the season just for appearances.

So, we’ll see how all of this plays out. Regardless of what the Packers’ uniform is, we’re pretty sure it won’t be popular with everyone. But it’s only for one game.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Packers Color Spectrum

Related to our last post on the suspected color combination that the Green Bay Packers will use for their upcoming “Color Rush” game on October 20th, we see above that the team’s uniforms have not always been the traditional green & gold. In this gorgeous image from the front cover of the Greater Green Bay 2016 Official Visitor’s Guide, we see the display of uniforms from the historic past at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field. We’re just relieved that they didn’t go with the “all green” combination seen on the back wall between “1949” and “1950.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Color Rush (Official?)

From the world of NFL news yesterday, @NFL_Leaks reported “This, as far as I know, is the official and final design color sheet for NFL Color Rush (for 2016).” We have seen an earlier version of this which had the Chicago Bears wearing orange jerseys and pants vs. the Green Bay Packers in yellow jerseys and pants for their Thursday night, October 20th game. That seemed to make no sense, with the two colors being too close on the color spectrum (remember colorblind-gate this past season?). This updated and final(?) sheet has the Bears wearing their dark blue jerseys and pants for that game, which makes much more sense contrast-wise. Of course, nothing has been officially announced yet about the Packers’ choice of color. We predicted earlier that the team may reveal the uniform at the annual Shareholders’ meeting on July 20th. More to come...

Friday, June 17, 2016

2016 Training Camp Schedule

Now the late summer can be planned... the 2016 Green Bay Packers Training Camp schedule has been released. Highlights from the official press release:

With a theme of “Back to Football,” training camp kicks off with an 8:15 a.m. practice on Tuesday, July 26. After the opening session, morning practices beginning at 8:15 a.m. are also scheduled for July 27, 28 and 30.

The Packers will hold Family Night at Lambeau Field on Sunday, July 31. The following week, the team will have three open practices at Nitschke Field, all starting in the evening at 6:15 p.m. on Aug. 1, 3 and 4, prior to the preseason opener against Indianapolis in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 7.

Following the preseason contest against the Colts, Green Bay will hold two open practices (6:15 p.m. on Aug. 9 and 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 10) before the preseason home opener vs. Cleveland on Aug. 12. The Packers will have two open practices, 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 14 and 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 15, leading into the preseason game vs. Oakland at Lambeau Field on Aug. 18.

The team will finish training camp with two open practices (12:15 p.m. on Aug. 22 and 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 23) prior to traveling to play San Francisco on Aug. 26, and two open practices (12:15 p.m. on Aug. 29 and 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 30) before the preseason finale at Kansas City on Sept. 1.

NOTE: Should inclement weather or any other factor force the team indoors, practices will be closed to the public due to space limitations inside the Don Hutson Center. Please also note that all practice dates and times are subject to change.

Green Bay opens the preseason with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 7. The team’s two home preseason games, presented by Bellin Health and Cenex, are slated for Aug. 12, vs. Cleveland, and Aug. 18, vs. Oakland. The Packers’ two road preseason contests are at San Francisco, Aug. 26, and at Kansas City, Sept. 1.

Important dates on the preseason calendar include:

Friday, July 22 – Packers 1K Kids Run, Presented by Humana, 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 23 – Packers 5K Run/Walk at Lambeau Field, 8 a.m.
Monday, July 25 – Players report
Monday, July 25 – Mike McCarthy’s season-opening press conference, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, July 26 – First practice, 8:15 a.m., Ray Nitschke Field
Sunday, July 31 – Family Night, Presented by Bellin Health, Lambeau Field
Tuesday, Aug. 30 – Last practice open to public, 11:45 a.m., Ray Nitschke Field

This marks Green Bay's 71st training camp, a tradition that began in 1946 under Curly Lambeau. One of the most intimate preseason settings in the NFL, Packers training camp is unique in several respects. Players have been riding kids' bicycles to practice since the Vince Lombardi era, a tradition that now includes five special bikes as part of the American Family Insurance DreamDrive. The team has lived in the dorm rooms at nearby St. Norbert College since 1958, the league's longest training-camp relationship between a team and school.

For the most up-to-date information on the many activities throughout training camp, fans are encouraged to visit, and right here at Packerville. U.S.A.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Paul Hornung — for Marlboro

Perhaps you’ve forgotten that at one time in America, smoking was a good thing. Here’s Green Bay Packers HB Paul Hornung extolling the virtues of Marlboro cigarettes. 

Here’s another one to illustrate just how far we’ve come…

Friday, June 03, 2016

OTA Open Practice — June 2, 2016

We attended the second “open to the public” OTA practice on Thursday, arriving the night before. Above is a view of the west side of Green Bay as we crossed the Fox River at dusk. If you know where to look, you can spot Lambeau Field.

Fans line up outside Ray Nitschke Field before the gates are opened at 11:00 a.m. for the 11:30 a.m. practice.

So many new rookie players... we made a cheat sheet at the last moment. And this doesn’t include the new players who aren’t rookies.

The view of Ray Nitschke Field before the players arrived.

Our first look at QB Aaron Rodgers (#12), strolling onto the field along with T Bryan Bulaga (#75) and G T.J. Lang (#70).

WR Randall Cobb (#18) with fellow offensive teammates before stretching exercises begin.

LB Clay Matthews (#52) walking out to limber up.

Team stretching before any drill work is done.

WR’s Jeff Janis (#83) and Jared Abbrederis (#84) stretch their muscles.

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) and WR Jordy Nelson (#87) chat for a few minutes.

More stretching.

LB Julius Peppers (#56) talks with LB Clay Matthews (#52).

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) and teammates kick those legs up high.

New for this year... if there are any giant donuts that get onto the field during a game, the Packers will be prepared to tackle the problem.

Defensive backs working with their coach.

Linebackers off on their own.

OL Coach James Campen gets right in there with his players.

Offensive Linemen working against each other.

Second-string QB Brett Hundley (#7) gets some snaps during drills along with QB Joe Callahan (#6).

WR Randall Cobb (#18) awaits the snap of the ball with his fellow receivers.

It sure is good to see WR Jordy Nelson (#87) back on the field. He ran a few routes, mostly off to the side, one-on-one with Aaron Rodgers. He was just positioned at the line of scrimmage here... he did not run routes with defenders around. They’re being cautious.

WR Jordy Nelson (#87) watching some special teams drills.

Working on punt returns and blocking.

Offensive and defensive linemen working against each other.

G Josh Sitton (#71) has mastered the art of holding a giant red ball so that it cannot move.

Randall Cobb enjoyed a laugh around a couple of teammates.

QB Brett Hundley moves from one drill to another during a simulated “TV Timeout.”

Rodgers talks with QB Marquise Williams (#7), who did not participate in much throwing this day.

Did we mention we’re so glad that WR Jordy Nelson is back?

GM Ted Thompson looks over all of the guys he signed. Not all of the players we saw will return for Training Camp.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy also checks over his team.

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) and WR Jordy Nelson (#87) head off to work on some pass routes.

Team punting drills.

Team field goal drills.

QB Aaron Rodgers and the #1 offense begin the scrimmage portion of the practice.

K Mason Crosby chats with a young Packers fan as he gets a drink from the water cart.

RB James Starks (#44) looks for a hole.

QB Brett Hundley (#7) takes control at the line of scrimmage.

Rookie draft choice WR Trevor Davis (#11) turns on the speed to elude S Marwin Evans (#25).

WR Jared Abbrederis (#84) and WR Randall Cobb (#18) try to get open in the secondary.

Offensive huddle.

S Chris Banjo intercepts a Rodgers pass and returns it.

A multi-bobbled ball falls to the turf. There were several INT’s in the scrimmage section of the workout.

A good number of fans took time off or left work for a “meeting” to watch practice.

The defense working against itself. 

Defensive close-up.

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) plays LB while the offense works against itself.

LB’s Nick Perry (#53, mostly hidden), Clay Matthews (#52), and Julius Peppers (#56) take a breather near the end of practice.

CB Sam Shields, starting his coverage of a receiver.

Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers watches his defense.

The team gathers around Mike McCarthy at the end of practice.

Leaving Ray Nitschke Field... see you next time, trusty Training Camp friend.

After dinner we had to stop and take a photo of a favorite sign... the motel is closed, though.