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MT5: Offseason program important to young Packers team

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

2024 OTAs
2024 OTAs

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:

At the end of last season, the Packers were playing as well as any team in the league, with wins over the Super Bowl champion Chiefs in early December and the Cowboys in the playoffs. We were the youngest team in the league, and the youngest to win a playoff game since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, so it is easy to assume that we will be better this year. In the NFL, though, each year stands on its own, and nothing is taken for granted. With such a young team, this year's offseason program is particularly important to us. Fortunately, we've had great attendance for the offseason program so far. We are currently in Phase 3 of our OTAs (Organized Team Activities).

Our nine-week voluntary offseason program started on April 15. The program is designed to allow the players to ease into football activities and minimize the number of injuries. The first part of the offseason program includes strength and conditioning and meetings. We held a rookie minicamp after the draft and the rookies have been participating in OTAs since then. We will hold OTA offseason practices until June 6, with our mandatory minicamp from June 11-13. Then all players will be off until the start of training camp. Rookies and selected players will be reporting July 17 and veterans on July 21.

Now, on to your questions.

Jon from Ann Arbor

I read that the NFLPA is proposing to change the offseason program. What do you think of their proposal?

I'm glad you raised this issue, Jon. It is not a formal proposal, but the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported recently that the NFLPA is working to finalize a proposal to change the offseason program, starting in 2025. Pelissero reports that the NFLPA has consulted medical and performance experts to create a solution for reducing injuries and maximizing players' recovery time. Under the potential proposal, meetings would be permitted in the spring, but no practices could take place until training camp. The NFLPA would have training camp start in late June (rather than mid to late July). There would be a significant ramp-up period which could prove helpful to avoid the soft tissue injuries that plague some players during training camp.

Any changes to the offseason program or training camp would have to be collectively bargained by the NFLPA and the league. In terms of what I think of the proposal, I really need to know more of the details and would like to see the research that supports the proposed change. It is interesting to note that the NFL is really the outlier in terms of offseason programs when compared to other sports. No other sports have organized workouts in their offseasons. They have ramp-up periods leading into the season. Football is much more physical than baseball or basketball, though, and having five to six weeks off before the start of training camp is very beneficial to the players. This should be a topic that you hear quite a bit about in the next year.

Christine Luedke from Parts Unknown

I am sure glad you are leaving the Packers, since you allowed the Green package ticketholders to be screwed out of a home division game. The double talk about having to give the Gold ticketholders all the home division games just because . . . is BS. The Packer management can distribute those games any way they want. In this case you said to heck to a 50-year Green package season ticketholder. Good riddance to you and your management style.

I'm glad you raised this concern, Christine, as I have heard similar comments from other Green package season ticketholders (although not quite as blunt). For years, our policy has been that the Gold package will get the second and fifth home games. I think this policy has served us well, and over time, it has been fair to both the Gold and Green ticketholders. If we started giving Green ticketholders the second and fifth games, we would open ourselves up to criticism from both the Gold and Green ticketholders for favoritism. With the move to 17 games in 2022, we decided that we would alternate the ninth home game between the two packages, starting with the Gold package. We were slotted to start the rotation of the 17th game in 2022, but that game was designated as an international game. Since we played that game in London in 2022, this is our first year to have a ninth home game and as a result, we are starting the rotation with the Gold package. The Green package will get seven games in 2026, unless we are chosen to play another international game. So, this year the Gold package has three regular-season games and no preseason game. I know that you are upset with our policy and the schedule, which is set annually by the NFL, but you do have several attractive games, including games against the NFC champion 49ers and the up-and-coming Texans.

Paul Miller from Brookfield

The Packers have won the NFL championship 13 times, more than any other team. We will open the season in Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The stadium was a host site for the 2014 World Cup. Brazil is the only country to play in the finals of every World Cup. The men's team has won the World Cup five times, more than any other country in the world. Brazil frequently wears green and gold when they take the pitch. I am looking forward to traditions of excellence in two different forms of football having the chance to connect when the Packers play there.

The stadium is home to the Corinthians. Their archrival is Palmeiras (think Packers vs Bears). Palmeiras wears green. So, there is a regulation that green cannot be worn in Arena Corinthians. Given the Packers' and Eagles' colors, there may need to be some discussion about this when the Packers go to Sao Paulo.

Thanks for raising this topic, Paul. I have heard from several others about the Corinthians fans' disdain for the color green. Unfortunately, the game in Brazil is the Eagles' home game, so they will be able to choose what color jersey they wear. Maybe we can convince them to wear their black jerseys, so we don't have to wear green! We are looking forward to being part of this historic game, regardless of what color jersey we wear.

Susan from Clarence, NY

Hi Mark, I hope this message finds you and your family doing well. I do not mean to bother you with this but I have not been able to find the answer. Scott and I would very much like to attend this summer's stockholders meeting. We did it a few years ago and loved the experience. We would like to travel to Green Bay again this summer. However, I have not been able to find the date of the stockholders meeting. On the website it says it hasn't been determined yet. That was a bit surprising but I thought maybe the site just hasn't been updated yet. We would like to work on our travel arrangements now.

Could you please tell me the date of the stockholders meeting? If I remember correctly it was linked to the opening of training camp. Again, I apologize for bothering you when I can only imagine how busy you are but do appreciate any insight you could give.

Thanks, Sue. No bother at all. Breaking news, our annual meeting of shareholders will be held on Monday, July 22, at 3 p.m. Our first training camp practice will be that morning at 10:30 a.m., and we are hoping that many shareholders will come into town for the weekend and stay to watch practice and attend the meeting. Thanks again. I have very fond memories of your father when he was the athletic director at Clarence Central High School during my years as a student there.

Randy from Watertown, WI

Mark, as a lifelong diehard Packer fan, I am of the opinion that most of us would do anything to be working for the Packer organization. I am not knocking other NFL teams, but to me there are 31 other teams and then there is the Green Bay Packers. As you get closer to retirement, do you still get this great feeling every time you go into the building there? From when you got there to now, the transformation of Lambeau is unreal, and every addition is really good.

To be the president of the Green Bay Packers just has to feel very good and never gets routine. My second question relates to your George Allen story. Was his coaching really that great, and if so you must have an opinion between great and average coaching and recognize it when you see it. (By the way, we all used to pay football in the neighborhood when I was growing up in Watertown and Monroe and we always picked a player we were going to be when we were playing. This one kid was always Mark Murphy. He had a football card of you he kept in his room and the thing was he wasn't even a Washington fan at all. I knew who you were when I was a young kid.)

As a Packer for life, I am grateful for the outstanding management you have consistently given us with the Packers. Just football the right way. I very much hope you have a lot of input into who comes after you. That's going to be very important.

There is no question, Randy, that the Green Bay Packers are a unique and special organization. Lambeau Field is a big part of what makes the Packers special and I do get a great feeling every time I walk into the stadium. With regard to George Allen, yes he was a great coach. What really set him apart was his work ethic and his passion for the game. He would do anything to help the team win. (He was a little old-school, though, in that he didn't believe in water breaks. He felt that they weakened you. Our trainers would sneak out ice cubes in towels to the players.) As I look back on my playing career, I was so fortunate to play for two head coaches in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – George Allen and Joe Gibbs.

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