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.
Training camp is a special time of year in Green Bay. Packers fans from across the country often schedule their family vacations around the training camp schedule, and the influx of fans is a boon to local businesses. The bicycle tradition is unique within the league and shows the special connection between our players and young fans. Last year, we were in the throes of the pandemic and our training camp was unlike any previous camp. We had no preseason games and fans were not allowed to attend any practices.
As we get ready for this year's training camp, it appears that we will be back to a mostly normal camp. Fans will be allowed to attend training camp, but fans must, based on NFL protocols, remain at least 20 feet away from players at all times. We are still working through all the protocols, but it appears that some elements of the traditional training camp experience may be different this year. We will, though, have our annual shareholders meeting (July 26), Family Night (Aug. 7), joint practices with the New York Jets (the week of Aug. 16), and two home preseason games, all with fans.
It will be great to see our fans back in Green Bay this summer.
Now, on to your questions.
Jon from Manitowoc, WI
I read with great interest the story about Carl Nassib announcing on social media recently that he is gay. What are your thoughts about the reaction from across the league?
I've been very pleased with the reaction across the league, not only from players and coaches, but also fans (Nassib's jersey was the No. 1 seller on Fanatics). First, it took incredible courage for Nassib to make this announcement, so a lot of credit has to go to him. I think the positive reaction also shows you how far we have come as a society in recent years. It was great to see the support he received from Raiders management (Mark Davis and Jon Gruden) as well as his teammates. Hopefully, this positive response will encourage other gay players in the future to be willing to make similar announcements.
Matt from Harrison, WI
I am wondering if there are any short-term or long-term changes to Lambeau Field in the works? I have been especially wondering if the north end zone would ever have seating added like the south end zone did a few years ago.
Great question, Matt. We will continue to invest in Lambeau Field, although I do not anticipate increasing our seating capacity (Lambeau Field is second in the league with a seating capacity of 81,441). We are in the middle of a major renovation to the concourse, with significant upgrades to the concession stands (converting most stands to grab-and-go stands). The fourth phase of the renovation will be completed next offseason. The other big change we are exploring is the installation of new videoboards. Our current videoboards are nearing the end of their life expectancy and will require replacing soon.
Braden G. from Milwaukee, WI
Thanks for taking the time to answer fans' questions. I understand how rich the Packers' history is and celebrating that in different ways will always happen. Our alternative jersey has always been a throwback. The color rush brought a new look in the all-white jersey. My understanding is the NFL doesn't allow teams to change the helmets in any way during the season. Having said all that, has there ever been a conversation of doing a "modern" style jersey? A blaze orange during hunting season, maybe a yellow and green digital camo jersey?
I'm glad you like our alternative jerseys, Braden. As I mentioned last month, we will unveil later this summer a historic third jersey that we'll wear in a game this season. Regarding the helmets, the league actually just announced that teams would again be allowed to use alternate color helmets again, starting in 2022. This will give the clubs more flexibility when it comes to alternate jerseys. I realize that hunting is big in Wisconsin, but I'm not so sure about a blaze orange or a camo jersey.
I just received an email indicating that the Packers are not sending tickets but require the use of a smartphone for season ticket holders. I do not have a smartphone and being retired, do not have any need to own one. I do everything I need to do on my computer at home and use a flip phone for the few times that I need to call someone when I am not at home. My question is how am I going to be able to see the games that I buy?
Thanks for raising this issue, Walt. Our ticket office has been in contact with a number of season ticket holders with similar issues. Hopefully you've already been in contact with the office. The move to digital tickets was not something that we took lightly. All of our tickets last year during the pandemic were digital, and it went smoothly. There are many advantages to both the season ticket holders and the Packers with the move to digital tickets, the biggest being the elimination of fraudulent tickets. Our ticket office is working with ticket holders and will help determine a solution for each individual situation. The move to digital is obviously the wave of the future. We were the 31st NFL team to move to digital tickets.
Joseph from San Antonio, TX
As someone who was literally on the same field defending against him, just how good was Lynn Dickey on Oct. 17, 1983? You defended against Hall of Fame QBs throughout your distinguished NFL playing career. For at least that one Monday night under the prime-time lights, was Lynn's play just as impressive and/or threatening as a Joe Montana or Dan Fouts? From a fan's perspective, I certainly thought so. Please be sincere, detailed and honest. Thank you.
Excellent question, Joseph. On that night, Lynn was as good as any quarterback I ever played against. He was in complete control. He had great weapons (James Lofton, John Jefferson, and Paul Coffman), but he was the one that made it all work. It seemed that no matter what we did that night, he was one step ahead of us. He had a strong arm but was also deadly accurate. Needless to say, with a 48-47 game, it was not a good night to be a defensive player. One of the great parts of my job is that I've had the chance to get to know many of our alumni well. Lynn often comes back and is extremely humble and appreciative of his time with the Packers.