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:
The win over the Rams last Sunday was a solid team performance. We didn't play a perfect game, but we were in control almost the entire game against a good team coming off a bye. After the last-minute loss to the Vikings the week before, I thought it was important to get a win as we headed into the bye. The win definitely sends us into the bye week on a high note.
The NFL added the bye week to the schedule in 1990. I think it has been a great addition for players as it gives them a chance to rest and recover from injuries during a long, grueling season. In 1993, the league tried having two byes during the season. That experiment was short-lived, however, as the league and the networks determined that having two byes meant that there were too many weeks with limited games on TV. The bye weeks are typically spread out during the middle portion of the schedule. This year's bye in Week 13 is the latest bye that we've ever had (although four teams have a Week 14 bye – the byes were adjusted this year due to the 17-game season).
Most teams would prefer to have their bye in the middle of the season. Given the high number of injuries that we've suffered this year, it is a real credit to Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur that we sit at 9-3. The depth of our roster has proven to be a real asset. The players have had most of the past week off and will return to Green Bay on Sunday. The bye week has given our players, coaches, and staff a chance to recharge their batteries and for the players to recover from their injuries.
With five games left in the regular season, we are well positioned to accomplish all of our goals. The next few months should be an exciting time for all Packers fans.
Now, on to your questions.
Craig from Laramie, WY
Hello Mr. Murphy, thank you for your monthly "Take Five" column. It is a wonderful glimpse into the world of the NFL that most fans would otherwise never see.
My question for you pertains to what seems like a dramatic increase in the amount of gambling in relation to professional football. I know this is not exactly a new phenomenon but what does seem new to me is the huge uptick in promotion of it, including by the NFL itself. There was a time when gambling was prohibited in professional sports but now it seems to have gone so far as to be officially endorsed by the league. Is this good for football?
Again, thank you for this column and for being a great leader of my favorite sports team! Happy Holidays and GO PACK GO!
You're right Craig, with regard to how quickly legalized sports betting has grown. The key was in 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that banned betting on sports (except in Nevada and New Jersey). It is now up to each state to determine whether to allow betting on sports. Currently, 26 states have passed laws legalizing sports betting. Wisconsin recently amended its agreement with the Oneida Nation and the tribe held a ribbon cutting on Tuesday for the sports betting venue in their casino. As to whether sports betting is good for football, I think time will tell. As you note, the NFL (and the teams) are promoting legalized sports betting and are benefiting by sponsorships with casinos. Another big benefit to the league is that legalized sports betting will help television ratings, as people have a stronger interest in watching the games. Gambling sites are also taking out ads during NFL games. There are problems involved with sports betting, though. Gambling can be addictive, and the league is strongly promoting responsible gambling. Another big risk is that players, coaches, and officials could take bribes to fix games. With the move to legalized sports betting, the league has stepped up its efforts to educate players, coaches, officials, and staff regarding the risks of gambling.
Don from Fond du Lac, WI
Good morning Mark,
A question for you regarding the current stock sale, and what the proceeds will be used for. May I suggest that one of the main changes within the stadium will be to remove the bench seating and replace it with individual seats. I have had numerous chances to attend Packer games during November and December, but I have passed because with fans wearing extra clothing to stay warm, there isn't enough room on the bench for everyone to sit. I feel real sorry for the people on each end of the bench, because their seat is lost in the masses.
I am a current shareholder of the Packers, so I have had many conversations with friends discussing this same topic. However, since you offered this chance to have questions answered by you, the main man, I thought what the heck, give it a shot. So there is my question. Thank you.
Thanks for the suggestion, Don. The league approved our sixth stock sale with the understanding that all of the proceeds would go into the stadium. The proceeds can't go into anything that would give us a competitive advantage. We will put the money into the ongoing renovation of our concourse (we are about halfway through our seven-phase project which includes grab-and-go concession stands and increased television monitors throughout the concourse) and for new, larger video boards that will be installed for the 2023 season. With regard to the bench seats, the issue there (and I've addressed it here before) is that the stadium bowl is not up to current codes, and to bring it up to code, we estimate we would lose 10,000 in seating capacity.
We're obviously not going to take away 10,000 seats, so I would suggest that you either move to areas in the stadium with chairbacks (i.e., the south end zone) or rent a chairback to provide you with guaranteed space and a back rest.
A question from Adrian
Firstly Mark, I would like to congratulate you on the work you've done with the Titletown District and the most recent stock sale. Not only are things good for the Packers off the field, but we can honestly say that Lambeau Field has a surrounding area that rivals other iconic stadium districts like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park or the most famous soccer arenas in Europe.
One question I do have though, is the possibility that Lambeau Field could at some point have a name change similar to what has happened at Arrowhead or Mile High. I personally hope that the Lambeau Field name remains as it is but wanted to find out where the front office stands on this issue. Would the Packers consider a sponsorship of the stadium name or are committed to maintaining the Lambeau Field name as it is?
We are committed to keeping the Lambeau Field name, Adrian. In my mind, Lambeau Field is the best asset that we have as an organization. It is an iconic stadium and has a great reputation. You mentioned Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. I think the Cubs and Red Sox have made the same determination that we have – that the stadium name is so valuable that it doesn't make sense to change the name of the stadium for money. We are fortunate, though, to have many gates, and we do sell those naming rights. So, we are not completely pure!
A question from Jim
Hello Mr. Murphy, how do you think the ongoing litigation between the Los Angeles Rams and the City of St. Louis will end up affecting the Packers?
First, we are very pleased that we were able to settle the lawsuit before it went to trial. The settlement was for $790M. The big remaining issue is who will pay the $790M. Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Rams, agreed to indemnify the clubs. The question is whether the indemnity is full or only for legal fees. The Rams, the league and the teams will be having further discussions. Commissioner Roger Goodell will serve as the final arbiter.
A question from Don
Not to make it seem we are using the Waukesha tragedy in a derogatory way. How about the Packers recognize the EMS responders before kickoff this Sunday or before introductions this Sunday? The team is beat up, and it's just a football game. But this is a HUGE game and we need to put it in perspective of the real heroes in the world. Win-win for both … and the emotions will be UP. Just an idea.
Thanks for the idea, Don. First, the incident in Waukesha was horrific, and completely senseless. Since it happened in our backyard, we wanted to do something special during the Rams game on Sunday. We had a moment of silence in remembrance of the people that died in the incident and recognized the first responders for all they did for the people affected by the incident. Finally, our players and coaches have decided to make a contribution to assist those impacted by the incident, and the organization will match the donation.