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MT5: Green Bay is now officially on the clock

Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO Mark Murphy

Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field

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:

With the NFL Draft in Detroit ending a week ago, the focus turns to Green Bay and the 2025 NFL Draft. We are now officially on the clock. We will have a draft countdown clock in the Atrium that will be unveiled later this month, as part of a draft handoff between Michigan and Wisconsin.

The NFL Draft has evolved into a major event over the years. Detroit set an attendance record with more than 700,000 people over the three days. It is a major challenge to manage an event that size, and Detroit did an excellent job. We sent over 30 people to Detroit to observe the draft, including people from the Packers, Delaware North (our concessionaire), Discover Green Bay, as well as local police and fire department employees and elected officials. They all learned a lot and were able to meet with league employees who run the draft.

We are excited about hosting the draft next year. It will be the biggest event ever held in Green Bay, and Green Bay will be, by far, the smallest community to host the draft in the modern era. The draft will serve as a three-day commercial for Green Bay and the entire state of Wisconsin. It will be a tremendous opportunity for people across the world to see what a great place Green Bay is to live, work and visit.

Now, on to your questions.

Questions from Michael

After just attending the NFL Draft in Detroit I have the following questions: 1. How much input do the Packers get in the setup of the draft? 2. Would the team consider using Lambeau as the hub of the actual draft if allowed?

That's great that you were able to attend the draft in Detroit. In response to your questions, the draft is the league's event. We will have input, but the league will have the final say. Our setup in Green Bay will be very unique. Since the league began hosting the draft in cities across the league, most of the drafts have been held in the city's downtown areas, separate from the team's stadium and practice facilities. In Green Bay, we anticipate that the stage will be placed outside the stadium. Since the stage will be so close to Lambeau Field, we expect fans will also plan to visit and experience the stadium while watching the draft.

John from Algoma

I love watching the NFL Draft. My favorite parts are when they show players at home with their family members. It's great drama – seeing their anxiousness as they wait for the call and then the relief when they are final drafted. What was your draft day experience like?

I absolutely agree with you, John. The drama is what makes the draft so popular. The draft was very different back when I was a senior at Colgate in 1977, but I do have a very unique draft day story. The draft was 12 rounds then and was held over two days. There was much less information about the draft back then, so I wasn't sure whether or where I would be drafted and what to expect.

On the first day of the draft, I received a call from George Allen, the head coach of the Washington Redskins (who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002). He said that they really liked me and that they would fly me down to the D.C. area and draft me. I was so excited. I flew down and a van picked me up and drove me to the Marriott at Dulles Airport. By the time I got to the hotel it was late in the evening, and the first day of the draft had ended.

I got up early the next morning, ready to be drafted. The Redskins put me in a van with four other college players, and we drove into Washington, D.C., about a 45-minute drive. They gave us a nice driving tour of the city, and then took us to a great restaurant in the city for lunch. There were no cell phones back then, and the driver of the van kept stopping and going to phone booths. Finally, in the late afternoon, they drove us out to the Redskins' practice facility. Coach Allen called me into his office and said that the draft had just ended and that I wasn't drafted, but that they wanted to sign me as a free agent. They offered me a two-year contract ($19,000 and $21,000) with a $2,500 signing bonus. He said I should take a minute, read through the contract and sign it. He then turned to his assistant and said that if I didn't sign the contract, they should call the safety from Oklahoma that they liked so much.

I then called back to my apartment and talked to my girlfriend (who is my wife now). She said that six teams had called and wanted to sign me. To make a long story shorter, the Redskins never had any intention of drafting me and hid me out so that no other team could reach me. Coach Allen was famous for trading away draft picks, so he had to come up with other ways to sign rookies. I was able to talk to the other teams, finally. They all wanted me to switch to play linebacker, while the Redskins wanted me to play safety. I was much more comfortable playing safety, and although I wasn't pleased with what the Redskins did to me, I decided to sign with them, and I was able to get a little more money from them!

After I made the team at the end of training camp, Coach Allen called me his 13th-round draft choice. Although I wasn't happy with what Coach Allen did to me (the NFL prohibited teams from flying players into their facilities during the draft shortly after my experience), I loved playing for him. He was a brilliant defensive coach, and I learned so much in my one year playing for him. It really set me up for the rest of my career. A few years ago, I asked Bruce Allen (George's son and a longtime executive in the NFL), if he knew what his father did to me during the draft. He said yes, and that I should stop complaining because it worked out pretty well for me.

Kent S. from Homosassa, FL

During the draft the league was advertising the "Schedule Release Show" was on the horizon. Prior to the show the league must provide someone at "1265" with the Packers' schedule. How is this done? How many "Insiders" (pun intended) on the great website staff and elsewhere have advance notice so that they produce their outstanding product? Thanks for your consideration of my question.

Great question, Kent. Putting together the NFL schedule has become a very complicated process, particularly with an increasing number of networks all wanting great matchups now. For years, Howard Katz (a Colgate alum and one of my favorite donors from my time as the Colgate athletic director) was in charge of the schedule. He had a great background – working for ABC and ESPN and was highly respected by the team and network executives. Howard would call me the day of the schedule release. He often said that they were making changes in the schedule right up to the day before the schedule was released. Mike North has taken over for Howard and has continued with a similar process.

Steve for Ellison Bay, WI

Mark, I realize it is now the 2024 season, but wish to ask about one play from 2023 I'm stuck on what seems timeless. Eric Wilson's fumble recovery in the third quarter of the 49er playoff game wasn't just a fortunate result from one of those lucky bounces. The TV tape shows he had completed his blocking assignment around the 15 or 20 near the Packer sideline and turned to see Nixon breaking free in full stride around the 25 heading toward the 49er sideline on the opposite side of the field. In that precise moment he had to have sprinted to the other end of the field, even though there was little chance of catching up to Nixon, rather than becoming a spectator. I don't mean to shortchange any other player's effort, but it seems to me all of the new players walking into that building should understand that's the effort needed to be a Packer. What do you think?

Thanks for raising this issue, Steve. I could not agree with you more. The play that Eric Wilson made that night was one of the best plays I've ever seen. As you note, it's a great example for all players that you should never quit on plays and keep running. I'm sure that our coaches will use that play for many years to show players the right way to play special teams. I'm really happy for Eric. He's developed into a great player and leader for us.

Jamie from Madison

I know that you had a long career as a college athletic director. What do you think of the current state of college athletics with name, image and likeness payments, and the transfer portal? It's hard to follow the teams with the players transferring so often.

You're right, Jamie, things have certainly changed since I was an athletic director in 2007 at Northwestern. I am so glad that they did not have NIL and the transfer portal when I was an AD. I was always a supporter of student athletes' rights, but this needs some further structure. It would be like we had no salary cap and free agency for players every year in the NFL. These changes, along with conference realignment, are increasing the gap between the haves and the have-nots in college athletics. The one good thing to come from this is that more of the athletes will stay in school longer because of their NIL money and are more likely to graduate. You have seen a number of coaches leave or retire due to the changing dynamics in college athletics (e.g., Nick Saban).

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