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 at: MurphyTakes5@packers.com
With Veterans Day coming up Nov. 11, the Packers and the NFL are honoring our nation's veterans and active-duty service men and women with a *Salute to Service, *recognition that will take place in NFL stadiums over the next three weeks.
At Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Packers will have the opportunity to pay tribute at Lambeau Field. The stadium will feature banners in support of the military. Also, our players and coaches will be using equipment and apparel that feature camouflage designs. We'll also be saluting the 157th Unit of the Wisconsin National Guard, which recently returned home from a tour of duty in Kosovo.
The Packers have a long history of supporting our service men and women, from USO visits reaching back decades, to recent visits by alumni, current players and staff, to bases overseas to offer our thanks. At Lambeau Field, we've had the privilege of hosting homecomings, community send-offs and change-of-command ceremonies for Wisconsin National Guard Units, as well as an event for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
In recent years, our Packers Tailgate Tour has had the opportunity to visit troops engaged in training at Ft. McCoy and spent time with veterans at VA Hospitals in Tomah and Milwaukee, and in Veterans Homes in Marquette, Mich., and King, Wis. I especially enjoyed visiting with our World War II veterans, as their stories brought back memories of stories my father shared from his days in the Army. Like them, he was very proud of his service and he learned valuable lessons that benefitted him his entire life.
We also offer our support through a simple yet very important salute, with the hundreds of care packages and letters we send to troops overseas. We're humbled by their support from so far away. It's an honor to return our support with a message from Lambeau Field.
We ask you to take a moment during Sunday's game to consider their sacrifices on behalf of our freedom and offer your own thanks.
Now, on to your questions:
Craig from Greenleaf, WI
Do you see in the future that you will renovate around the bowl like you are doing this year, with the second level all the way around?
Since we announced the current renovation, I've been asked this question quite a bit. I think it is very unlikely that we would add a second level. First, it would dramatically change the look of Lambeau Field, and the seats would be very far from the field. Also, I believe we have to be careful that we don't become too big and diminish demand for our tickets. When the stadium was renovated in 2003, the south end zone was left open and designed for future expansion. As a result, the new south end looks like it fits in with the rest of the stadium. I do, though, anticipate that we will make changes to our premium seating areas in the future.
Glenn from Noblesville, IN
How intense is the player evaluation process of current college players at this point of the year, or does this mostly take place during/after the college bowl season and the combine?
Our player personnel and college scouting departments are very busy at this time of year. Ted Thompson and his staff visit hundreds of colleges in the fall and are on the road weekly. The fall is a very important time for our scouts because they can watch both games and practices live. Most of the work after the college football season is based on film study of players. By watching a game (or practice) live, scouts can tell a lot about a player by seeing how he interacts with his teammates and coaches. I think one of our biggest advantages as an organization is that Ted Thompson makes so many visits to college practices and games. Most GMs in the league spend a limited amount of time visiting colleges.
Rick from Vinton, IA
At the shareholders meeting, a slide suggested that there would be some new Packers affiliates in the Cedar Rapids/Waterloo area. I have looked for them but have not found them this season. Has this been delayed or do you have a list of call letters?
We're very excited about the coverage of Packers football outside of Wisconsin, including our radio and preseason TV affiliates in Iowa in the Des Moines (KPSZ radio, KCWI-TV) and Quad Cities (KGCW-TV) areas. For years we've been hearing from fans in Iowa and recently we've been able to expand our broadcast areas there. Other radio affiliates outside of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan include Stillwater, Minn. (KLBB); Bismarck, N.D. (KFYR); and Sioux Falls, S.D. (KSOO). We also have another new Packers TV Network affiliate in Honolulu (KFVE-TV).
We will continue to look into expanding in Iowa, including the Cedar Rapids-Waterloo area. We're thankful of our following there. Stay tuned! Also, this year, for the first time ever, our annual Tailgate Tour is planning a stop in Iowa.
For fans not in reach of our games over the radio, the NFL's Audio Pass program is a way to listen to the radio broadcast over the Internet. More information on that program is available on NFL.com.
Josh from Tampa, FL
With all of the historical values that come with being the president of the Green Bay Packers, what has been the most humbling moment in relation to the history of the organization?
Great question, Josh. The Green Bay Packers are such a special organization. I am honored to be in my current position and have often been humbled by the great history and tradition of the organization. Last year, however, at the beginning of our most recent stock sale, was the time when I felt most humbled. We worked a good portion of the fall getting ready for the sale, and it took much more time than we thought to get clearances from the states. When we finally were able to begin the sale in early December, we weren't sure what to expect in terms of response. When we sold 185,000 shares in the first two days, I was completely blown away and humbled by the great outpouring of support from our fans.
Steve from Middleburg, PA
I would like to see more Packers merchandise sold in this area. I am the type that likes to see what I am getting. Why do we have so little to choose from in Packers merchandise here in PA?
I understand it can be hard to find Packers items in some areas of the country. I suggest that you go to Packersproshop.com. Although you can't feel or try on the items before your online purchase, the site has many features that allow you to view items multiple ways and we've got a great return policy in case it doesn't work out. We realize that we have many fans across the country that can't come to the Pro Shop at Lambeau Field, and have put a lot of resources in recent years into our online customer service. Over half of our total Pro Shop sales are now online. Another advantage of buying from our Pro Shop (online or in the store at Lambeau Field) as opposed to a department store in Pennsylvania, is that we don't have to share that revenue with the 31 other teams.