GO PACK GO!!
Alright, I know that training camp has not yet started, but for me, the season began Wednesday with the Shareholders meeting. The annual trek to Lambeau Field, included about 13,000 people this year as guests were once again allowed in and an additional 11,500 attendees watching online.
Both young and old joined the crowd in welcoming team president Mark Murphy and general manager Ted Thompson and the rest of the board to the field for the annual report.
Cloudy skies gave way to a radiant sun which matched the main reports from both Murphy and Thompson. Murphy, triumphantly spoke of the long-term success of the organization, pointing out that the Packers overtook the New Orleans Saints for the #1 position for the highest regular season TV ratings. He proudly announced that Lambeau Field was once again voted the number one fan experience in the entire NFL and the 18th most valuable sporting franchise in the entire world.
One of the biggest cheers came when he announced that with the addition of the new seating, Lambeau Field now holds more people than the house that Jerry Jones built down in Texas (so NFL, when do we get to host the Super Bowl?).
The best story of the day came when Murphy told the story of how he and his wife were discussing what it was going to take to end the lockout with the referees. “That morning in Seattle, my wife and I were at breakfast, and there had been some issues with replacement officials and Laurie said, ‘What’s it going to take to end this dispute?’ ” Murphy said. “I said, ‘Well it’s probably going to come down to a national TV game, a huge mistake costing a team a game.’ Little did I know it was going to be us about 10 hours later.”
He went on to say, “When you go through difficult situations like that, you often find out about people and organizations. I was very proud of the way our organization handled a difficult situation, particularly Mike McCarthy. He was the point person on that.”
Ted Thompson’s turn at the podium provided little detail on personnel and what lies ahead in terms of any movement with the team. He was very quick to talk about Heach Coach Mike McCarthy.
“He’s not only a good coach but an excellent motivator and excellent leader, In January 2006, we were looking for the right man to lead this football team … I thank God every day that he’s the Green Bay Packers’ head coach.”
Thompson also explained that “We are one of two teams with 10-plus regular-season wins over the last four years, qualified for the playoffs four seasons in a row and we’ve also interestingly enough qualified for the playoffs 15 of the last 20 years in the National Football League, and thanks to you, we’ve won 20 of the last 21 games here at Lambeau Field.”
Credit for the success of the team did not start or end with McCarthy as Thompson praised the entire football operations team for the accomplishments over the past year.
Thompson also pointed out that the season ended with much disappointment, but overall it was successful as the team recorded its first home playoff win since 2007.
One highlight of the afternoon was the recognition of Dave Robinson who will become the 22nd member of the Packers organization to be inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in August. He will also be recognized with a ceremony on Dec. 8. His induction into the Hall of Fame gives the Packers the second highest total of players in the Hall, only eclipsed by the Chicago Bears.
The rest of the reports focused not only on the financial stability of the team, which recorded $54.3 million in operational profit and a net income of $43.1 million, but also community involvement. More than $3 million in grants have been awarded to charitable organizations over the history of the Packer Foundation and due to the continued success, an additional $5 million will be added for distribution in 2013.
The day ended with a tour of the south end zone expansion. From just under the giant video screen to the terrace seats, the expansion is truly amazing. Not only are the levels equisite in design, but the Packers managed to blend the addition into the rest of the stadium with such ease that it feels like that section has always been there.
The other mind blowing aspect of the 700, 800 and 900 levels in the south end zone are that the view of the field is just as clear and crisp as being on the 50 yard line. Plus having the north video screen to catch replays is just as vibrant as sitting in your own living room watching it on TV.
Overall, what did I think?
well, I guess I can leave that answer to my Mom who went to her first meeting with us, as she said, “It was truly amazing, I never imagined it to look like it did.”
I would have to agree, it looked amazing and dare I say, SUPER!!
GO PACK GO!