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
With the pandemic, our offseason program was mostly virtual the last two years. It's been great to have a normal offseason program with our players this year. It's the first time under the current collective bargaining agreement that teams have been able to have the new offseason program that was negotiated in 2019. The vast majority of the program is voluntary. The only required portion of the program is the minicamp. We will hold our minicamp Tuesday through Thursday next week. The other mandatory aspect of the offseason is the player physical on Monday. The offseason program has been especially important this year with so many rookies and young players expected to play key roles. It has also been beneficial for our special teams since we have a new coordinator (and system) in Rich Bisaccia.
I know our fans are excited to be able to attend the minicamp as well as training camp after two years of private practices due to COVID.
Now, on to your questions.
A question from John
Mark, my question has to do with team/league revenue. The team shares game funds with the league but how are funds generated by the team such as Titletown, Hall of Fame, Pro Shop, stadium tours, 1919 Kitchen & Tap, parking, etc., treated? What Packer-generated funds are shared with the league? Fan since 1930s and at 93 have seen it all, good and bad! Thanks for the great work you do!
Thanks so much, John. We appreciate your long-term support of the Packers. You have certainly seen a lot over the years. With regard to your question, the key is whether the revenue is football related. If it is football related, the revenue must be shared with the other teams. Titletown is completely separate and does not have to be shared. Stadium-related revenue (i.e., tours, 1919 Kitchen & Tap) is only considered football related if the revenue is tied to a game.
Chuck from Santa Ana, CA
All Packer fans are looking forward to the London game, but unfortunately most of us will not be able to attend. How cool would it be to have a watch party inside Lambeau Field? It could be set up much like Family Night, minimal cost to get in and all the rest. Having tailgating start about 6 a.m. would be extraordinarily fun. It would just be one more time when Packer Nation would be seen for what it is, the best fan base in the NFL. Hope you will consider this suggestion. Go Pack Go!
I'm glad you made this suggestion, Chuck. We've had a number of questions about watch parties over the years. With the success of the watch parties in the Deer District for Bucks games, this is something we have been considering. We had a watch party in Titletown last year for our season opener against the Saints (the turnout was pretty good, but the game, a 38-3 Saints win, certainly didn't encourage many fans to stay long). There are several issues with watch parties. First, the league discourages them (especially in stadiums) because it could hurt the TV ratings for games. Also, it can be challenging to find enough people to work in the stadium for the watch parties. In addition, unlike the Bucks, our most important end-of-season games are played in December and January where the weather can be brutal. We will continue to test this, though, with early-season games in Titletown. Lastly, while our fans love to tailgate, I'm not sure how many would be willing to start at 6:30 a.m. You must be an early riser.
Jay from Hobart, WI
I was glad to see that we reached a contract extension with Jaire Alexander. I know that he missed most of the season last year. Was there any concern about giving him a long-term contract in light of the injury?
Thanks, Jay. I was also very pleased that we were able to reach agreement with Jaire on an extension. He's been a great player for us (Pro Bowl, All-Pro) and is still young (24). I think it is always positive when you are able to draft and develop your own players, and then reward them with extensions. I think this sends a strong message to the entire team. Jaire was Brian Gutekunst's first pick as our General Manager – not a bad pick. It was great to see Jaire celebrate with his family when he signed his new contract at Lambeau Field. With regard to the injury, our doctors have cleared him to play and don't think it will affect him going forward. A shoulder injury is typically not one that will affect a cornerback's play long-term.
A question from Gary
I am a Gold and Green package season-ticket holder. I believe the Pack had an outstanding draft. I congratulate you on the LaFleur hire! Super great! My question is on the London game. This is a Packer home game, right? Well sir, if this is the case, why am I not guaranteed tickets? Are you making some sort of deal with the Queen? Or Boris? Is it your intent to screw over Pack faithful? Is this all about money?
You raise a very interesting issue, Gary. As you may know, we will be the last team in the NFL to play an International Series regular-season game. We were reluctant to give up a home game because home games mean so much to the local economy ($15M per game). With the move to 17 regular-season games, we no longer had a choice – the league can require teams to give up a home game once every eight years. Also, the international games are now technically considered neutral-site games not home games. This is all part of the league's effort to grow and develop interest in the game internationally. Although tickets are tight for the game, we will have a lottery for season ticketholders who express an interest in attending the game. I have heard from many fans both in the United States and Europe who are excited to see the Packers play in London. From a financial standpoint, playing the game in London reduces our revenue. Finally, no, I have not cut any deals with the Queen or Boris.
A question from Leighton
I want to start by saying thank you for having an open dialogue and congratulations on a successful draft after Adams' departure. How do you see your organization's overall positioning before preseason? Are there any notable additions you would like to make? Also, would you say AR12 has the ability to help other WRs and that may be a reason why losing Adams isn't as big of a hit from a win/loss standpoint? I'm under the impression that numbers might be slightly down, but you're still a top-three team in the league.
Great question, Leighton. With regard to Davante Adams, he is a great player and there is no question that we will miss him. However, as you note, Aaron Rodgers does have the ability to help the other wide receivers. Our game is now a quarterback-driven league and great quarterbacks like Aaron can lift up the play of all their teammates. I also believe we have the best running back duo in the league in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, and they will be a big part of our passing game. Furthermore, football is the ultimate team game and our success will be determined in how well we come together to excel in all three phases. I hope you're right that we are a top-three team.