Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO Mark Murphy. On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at: MurphyTakes5@packers.com
Everyone associated with the Packers is excited about next weekend's home playoff game. The atmosphere will be great, and our team is playing with tremendous confidence at Lambeau Field. We showed real character in the win over the Lions to clinch our fourth straight NFC North championship. This is the first time in Packers history we've won four straight Division titles.
As I've mentioned in this column before, in order to win the Super Bowl, it is most important to be playing your best as you head into the playoffs. With the win over the Lions, we also clinched the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Some pundits say the bye week can take away momentum from a team as it starts the playoffs. I'm confident, though, we will be able to keep the momentum going into the playoffs.
I think playing the NFC North championship game in Week 17 will be very helpful to us. We had to be at our best to beat a hungry, strong Lions team. The bye also comes at a good time in terms of giving players, especially Aaron Rodgers, time to recover from injuries.
I'm also excited for our fans to be able to attend a home playoff game for the fourth straight year. To me, there's nothing quite as exciting or intense as NFL playoff football. There is so much at stake. Our fans have been great all season.
We launched the "Get Loud Lambeau" campaign for the Lions game, and will continue it for the playoffs. The goal is to make Lambeau Field as loud as possible (especially when we're on defense) and give us a tremendous home field advantage. A home playoff game is also a boon for the local community. With the addition of the South End Zone, the economic impact of a home playoff game is now nearly $14 million.
Although we will not know who we're playing until Sunday night, we know it will be a tough opponent. We will have to play well and build on the success we've had at home this year in order to win. Our fans and the home field advantage will be crucial to our success next Sunday.
Now, on to your questions:
Ray from Fairfax, VA
What do you feel (if anything) is holding this team back from becoming a dynasty?
Well, Ray, I would first say that it is very hard to win games in the NFL, let alone championships. All of the NFL rules and policies are designed to promote competitive parity within the league. It is much more difficult to win championships consistently now than it was during the 1930s and 1960s, for instance. There hasn't been a repeat Super Bowl champion since the Patriots in 2003-04. Also, with the merger and expansion over the years, there are many more teams in the league, and more playoff games must be won to win championships. I'm very proud of the fact we've won four straight NFC North championships, and hopeful we can win our second Super Bowl championship in five years.
Jerry from Green Bay
I've read that the Packers have experimented with Standing Room Only tickets this year. How has the experiment gone, and is this something we will see on a regular basis in the future?
Yes, we sold Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets for a number of games this year. The South End Zone, with 14 viewing platforms and open concourses, was designed to accommodate SRO tickets. We sold the tickets in two locations, the west side on the fourth level and the entire sixth level, both in the South End Zone, and experimented with different numbers of tickets. The SRO tickets are $75. I think the experiment was successful, and you will see SRO tickets in the future, especially in warm-weather games. We wanted to ensure that the SRO patrons didn't negatively affect season-ticket holders. The fourth level (west side) is perfect for SRO, since it is group seating and has different fans for every game. I've talked to many people who bought SRO tickets and almost all of them said they loved the experience. We will sell 300 SRO tickets for the playoff game, on the fourth level. The divisional playoff SRO ticket will be priced at $105.
Patrick from Chicago, IL
The official capacity of Lambeau Field is now 80,750. During the Patriots game, it was announced that the Packers set an attendance record of 78,900. Why aren't you able to fill all of the seats?
Thanks, Patrick, you are very observant. With SRO seats we now have a capacity of 81,435. The attendance record – it was actually 78,431 for the Patriots game – is for paid attendance. The difference between our seating capacity and the paid attendance is the number of complimentary tickets that are provided to the Packers and visiting team players and coaches, as well as our employees. I can assure you there were no empty seats for the Patriots game.
Chad from Minoa, NY
What was your first professional business job which helped get you to become CEO/President of the best organization in football?
Good Question, Chad. My first job out of college was with the Washington Redskins. I played for eight years with the Redskins. My experience as an NFL player is very helpful to me in my role as president of the Packers. Although it was many years ago, I do have an understanding of the challenges and issues our players face. My first professional business job after my playing career ended was with the NFLPA. I served as the assistant executive director. Looking back, I am very grateful for the opportunity NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw gave me. It helped me make the transition from the NFL, and got me started in my professional career. Also, my experiences with the NFLPA and knowledge of the collective bargaining process (and agreement) have been invaluable to me.
Ronnie from Virginia Beach, VA
I just wanted to say thank you for having an amazing football team and caring about your fans so much. I wanted to know how I can get a full Lambeau experience from home. I am currently a United States Navy veteran and now work as a supervisor at the Red Cross. With it being as hard as it is to get Green Bay home game tickets and with my very busy schedule, I doubt I will be able to attend a game anytime soon. I do manage to watch every game I can at home. Thank you for your time.
Thanks, Ronnie. We appreciate your support of the Packers down in Redskins country! I have a couple of suggestions. If you don't already have it, you should consider getting the Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. This will ensure that you can see every Packers game. The Sunday Ticket is really great. I had it when I lived in the Chicago area, and loved it. It's a must for serious NFL fans. I would also suggest you consider going to watch the games at a Packers bar. If you go to Packerseverywhere.com and type in your zip code, it will give you a listing of the Packers bars in the Virginia Beach area. I hear from fans all the time about how much they enjoy watching the games with other Packers fans. Finally, brats and cheese curds will certainly help give you a Lambeau Field-like experience.