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MT5: Packers vs. Bears – America's Game of the Week

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

The Packers-Bears rivalry is the oldest in the league, and I've always thought it is the best in the league as well. The fact that the league and FOX scheduled our game on Sunday (between teams that both had losing records last year) at 3:25 p.m. CT in the America's Game of the Week slot shows that they highly value the rivalry.

Our fans' enjoyment of the rivalry is well documented, but I know our players and coaches have a deep appreciation for it as well. The Packers and Bears have played 206 times, with the Packers leading the series 105-95-6 (and have won the last eight games). The Bears led the series for many decades but since the mid-'90s with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers both playing at a Hall of Fame level – the Packers have surged ahead. The Packers and Bears hold the top two spots in the league for most wins all-time. The Bears had the record since 1921, but the Packers took over the lead last year – with 794 wins to the Bears 789.

It should be an exciting game tomorrow in Chicago, with both teams eager to get off to a fast start. Jordan Love is ready to take over as our starting QB, but it will take a total team effort to be successful this year. Our team had a very productive training camp and preseason and wants to show people that we are still a very competitive team.

Now, on to your questions.

A question from Thomas

As the leader of the Packers organization, you must set the vision for the current and future growth of the organization and team. You have many responsibilities, including to the board of directors, which most of us who have never been a CEO cannot fully comprehend. Thank you for everything you do. I still don't know when you have time to sleep. However, my question is: Having been an All-Pro NFL player, do you still get butterflies before a game? Do you ever miss playing? As a former college player, some of my former teammates will ask me if I miss playing. I tell them I wish I was young and could play it all over again. I explained how today, I would be an amazing player for three seconds. Once the ball was snapped, I would be tired and out of shape. LOL. God's continued blessings.

I do still get butterflies, Thomas, but not nearly as intense as when I was a player. For the Bears game tomorrow, though, with so much uncertainty and excitement surrounding our team, I think I will be very anxious. I do not miss playing, as I feel fortunate that I am still involved with the game and played long enough to accomplish most of my goals. I was able to play in two Super Bowls – with one win and one loss. I prefer the win.

Jared from Kenosha, WI

Hi Mr. Murphy and thank you for taking the time to answer questions from fans! On the eve of a new season, instead of questioning the team's outlook, I thought we should ask something more contemplative because you won't be able to reflect for a while. Who is one or more special employees in the Packers organization who deserves a shout out for the important work they will do this year? While fans mostly focus on the product on the field, I know many eagerly anticipate their Lambeau visits, and it often runs so smoothly thanks to many behind-the-scenes folks. Whom do you want to acknowledge for their efforts and often invisible impact?

Great questions, Jared. We have so many outstanding employees who I would consider unsung heroes. With the new football facility, Joan Malcheski, our director of brand and marketing, played a key role in the design and construction of the facility. She made numerous trips to view college facilities (college facilities are typically better than NFL facilities because they are an important part of the recruiting process) as well as other professional teams' facilities and was instrumental in working with both Miron Construction and 49 Degrees (the architects). Joan suggested several key changes that helped the new facility become truly special. Throughout the process, it was very clear that Joan was highly respected by everyone within football.

Karen from South Beloit, IL

We have the youngest team in the NFL. Is your focus more on funneling that youthful energy into winning games this year, or melding the team into a cohesive unit for a Super Bowl run in the future? Thanks!

Hopefully both, Karen. We are obviously a very different team this year, with so many young players. Like every season, there will be ups and downs, but we certainly can have success this season. I also think that, especially with a young QB, all of our young players can grow together as a team over the next few years.

A question from Chaim

Hi Mark! What's with the egg crates that some players wear during training camp? It makes their heads too big and makes them look like bobbleheads. I can't imagine that wearing such a weight on one's head reduces brain injury. I'm aware that a small study was conducted which found that players were less likely to get concussions while wearing those egg crates, but one small study isn't enough. How about we apply some common sense until we have more scientific information? Common sense dictates that it can't be good for players to be running around with such heavy weights on their heads. Let's apply the Hippocratic Oath. First, do no harm. Love your column and looking forward to seeing Jordan Love get his chance!

Thanks for raising this issue, Chaim. The egg crates are called guardian caps. Although they look bulky, they are not that heavy. Linemen, running backs, tight ends, outside linebackers and tight ends were required to wear the cap for all preseason practices last year, and this year for all pre-, regular- and postseason practices. Wearing the caps reduces the risk of concussion by 10% (and 20% if both players are wearing caps). The caps significantly reduce the impact of hits to the helmet. I've been pleasantly surprised that we have received very few complaints from players since they've been required to wear them. Many of the players got used to wearing them in college (many colleges have required them to be worn for years) and they realize that they help keep them safe.

Stephen V. from Palos Park, IL

Now that the preseason is over, September is here, it is over a week before the Packers kick off the season at Soldier Field against the rival Chicago Bears. It is my birthday month, which is on the 7th by the way. My question for you is, outside the teams in the division, which team(s) are you looking forward to see the Packers play in the season, whether at Lambeau Field or on the road?

I hope you had a Happy Birthday, Stephen. The two games that I am most excited about this year both happen to be away games. I've never seen the Raiders new stadium – Allegiant Stadium – and have heard great things about it. Also, the Raiders have a great history and tradition. And, no, I will not go to any of the casinos. The other team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. I have tremendous respect for Art Rooney and the way he runs the organization (he views the Steelers as a community-based team similar to the Packers). We have worked closely with the Steelers over the years on a number of projects. Like Lambeau Field, the Steelers' Acrisure Stadium is fan friendly, and celebrates the history of the Steelers and has a Pro Shop similar to ours.

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