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.
The Packers have certainly had an up and down (and up) season. In late October, things looked pretty bleak. We were 2-5 and had lost four in a row. We were a very young team and were making rookie mistakes. Our offense in particular was struggling. Since then, we've gone 6-3 (with impressive wins over Detroit and Kansas City), and the offense has come alive, scoring over 30 points in the last two games. It is a real credit to Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff, as well as our players, that we've turned our season around.
We stand in the same position as we did last year going into Week 18 – win a home game and we're in the playoffs. Last year, we had won four in a row going into the last game against the ascending Lions. The Lions had been eliminated from playoff contention but played a great game and beat us 20-16. The win catapulted the Lions to the great season they've had thus far. Similarly, this year we are playing an ascending team in the Bears (they've won four of five), who would love nothing more than to knock us out of the playoffs. We are a very different team this year, though, with Jordan Love as our starting QB and many young players playing key roles. I hope that our returning players learned from that experience, and we take advantage of this opportunity.
I'm also reminded of the last game of the season in 2010 at Lambeau Field. We were in a similar position as this year – win a home game against the Bears and we would make the playoffs. The Bears had already clinched the division and had nothing to play for. We were not even sure if they would play their starters. They knew we were a dangerous team, though, and played to win and knock us out of the playoffs. We won a tight, defensive struggle 10-3, and went on to win the Super Bowl after beating the Bears at Soldier Field in the NFC Championship Game.
You cannot ask for much more than this as a player or a fan – a home game against your archrival with a playoff berth at stake. It will be exciting. Now, on to your questions.
Rick from Little Chute
Has there ever been talk of an alternate helmet logo, not to replace the G but just as an alternate to be used periodically? I think the numberless running back from the Lombardi era logo would make a sweet helmet logo.
Thanks for the suggestion, Rick. We really have never seriously considered an alternate helmet logo. In my mind, the G is the best logo in the league, and has become iconic. I would hate to take away from the G in any way. We do, though, go with logo-less helmets when we wear our historic third jerseys.
A question from Steve and Diane J.
If the Packers are going to host a concert in 2024 my suggestion would be to book The Rolling Stones. I watched a report on the group on CBS Sunday Morning on Oct. 15. The Stones have released a new album of original songs and spoke about touring. What a coup to book the Stones in little ole Green Bay!
A rare question from a married couple. I appreciate the suggestion, Steve and Diane, and a Rolling Stones concert at Lambeau Field would be great (as an aside, I worked security at a Rolling Stones concert at Rich Stadium in Buffalo in 1975 – which shows how old both Mike Jagger and I am). We try to have one major, non-Packers event a year in Lambeau Field. We have had concerts as well as college football games and a soccer friendly. Wisconsin-Notre Dame is scheduled for 2026, and we are working on other college games. With concerts, there are a couple of issues that can make them challenging to schedule. First, there are only so many acts that can fill a football stadium and the timing of the tour must match up with our preferences. With our weather and the natural grass field, the concert window for us is mid-May to mid-June.
A question from Dylan B.
Hello Mr. Murphy, I have noticed the Packers logo is a little bland and disappointing, so I made a better one, please consider using it.
Thanks for the sketch, Dylan. I appreciate your creativity, but I think we will stick with the G. I do like the use of the cheesehead and icicles, though.
Ron from Broken Arrow, OK
Thank you for taking the time to answer questions from Packer fans like myself once a month. I always look forward to your column!
My question today regards the fairly recent decision by the NFL to permit jerseys with the numbers 0 through 19 to be worn by defensive players.
I've been a loyal follower of the game for 50 years, so I grew up with those numbers being worn primarily by quarterbacks, place kickers and punters. I also realize that beginning in 2011 the NFL permitted numbers in the teens to be worn by wide receivers. However, I have to say, I find it confusing as a fan to see defensive players wearing these numbers.
Over the past 40 or so years, as I know you are aware, defensive linemen wore jerseys with numbers in the 60s, 70s and 90s. Linebackers have worn jerseys with numbers in the 50s and 90s, and defensive backs jerseys with numbers in the 20s, 30s and 40s. With this numbering system in place, it made it easy to determine the position of the players on the opposing defense. However today, it is practically impossible to know the position of the player making a tackle on defense, wearing a jersey numbered 0-19, unless you follow that team.
I'm aware that college football has always had more options to jersey numbering than the NFL, due to the size of the rosters. However, for the life of me, I don't understand why the NFL made this change for defensive players. I don't see where the previous numbering system was broken. And personally, I wish Quay Walker was wearing No. 57 instead of the jersey worn by Don Majkowski! Anyway, thanks for all you do and for reading the rantings of an old Packer fan!
Thanks for the email, Ron. I appreciate your thoughts on this issue – I know that many of our fans are traditionalists and don't like the change either. As you note, the change is fairly recent. I think the main reason was to give the players more options. Many of our players wore these numbers in college and would like to wear the same number in the NFL. Also, with more players on the roster and practice squad (and with retired numbers), this does give teams more flexibility.
J.R. Zimmer from Hoschton, GA.
Thanks for all you have done and continue to do for the greatest organization in all sports. I would love to know if the league has ever discussed changing the schedule to promote development and competitiveness for the entire season by moving all the division games to the end of the season and using these six games as the determining factor for division champions. All other tiebreakers could remain the same. This would reward teams who peak at the end of the season and give all teams something to play for virtually all season. It would also create a playoff atmosphere during the last six weeks of the season before the actual playoffs begin. Go Pack Go!
Thanks so much for this suggestion, J.R. No, I don't think the league has ever considered moving all division games to the end of the season. It's an interesting idea, though, for the reasons you mention. The league has recently moved to all division games in the last week of the season (and most teams have division games in the last two weeks). The NBA recently established an in-season tournament to increase interest during the season. We'll see if it ends up being successful for the league, but it seems kind of gimmicky to me. I would have similar concerns with ending the season with six division games. I like having division games spread throughout the season. Also, it is pretty exciting to open one season with a division game.