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
Road trips have long been an integral part of Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL schedules. In the NFL, though, it is very rare for a team to have a three-game road trip like the one we start this Sunday in Indianapolis.
This road trip will be a great challenge for our team, and how we perform in these games will go a long way toward determining the success of the season.
I've noticed that the better teams in the league develop a "road warrior" mentality and adopt an attitude that they will overcome all obstacles. During our run to the Super Bowl in 2010, I sensed that our team had adopted this mentality. Also, since there are fewer distractions for players at road games than at home, teams can often be more focused for away games.
Finally, I've seen that our fans, with the way they travel to away games, provide us with a unique advantage in these contests. They provide great support to our players and help neutralize the home-field advantage. Last year's game at San Diego served as a great example of how our fans can help the team. Our fans were so loud when the Chargers were on offense that Philip Rivers had to use a silent count because players couldn't hear the signals. I'm hoping our fans show up in full force these next three weeks and we see all three home teams using silent counts.
I'm looking forward to the Packers Everywhere pep rallies in Indianapolis and Houston. We'll be thanking our fans for their great support and helping get them fired up for the games.
Now, on to your questions:
Matt from Slinger, WI
I am sure you are getting many e-mails asking this same question, but I am wondering what you are planning on doing to make sure the NFL players get National Football League-qualified referees back to doing the job they do best. Your response is greatly appreciated!
Matt, I have received many e-mails, calls and letters regarding the quality of officiating and, of course, our loss to the Seahawks. First, like all of our fans, I was very disappointed with the loss to Seattle, as well as with the quality of the officiating. Complaining about the officiating, though, doesn't do any good, and I thought Mike McCarthy did an excellent job in putting the team's focus on the Saints game. Overall, I was very proud of how our organization handled a difficult situation. In the days following the Seattle game, I spent quite a bit of time talking to many people throughout the league, both to express our concerns about the officiating and to urge the league to finalize the agreement with our regular officials. I was really pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the officials on an 8-year CBA. This is really positive for the long-term health of the league. It was good to see the regular officials receive such positive responses from our fans last week. Although the officials looked a little rusty in the first week back, I'm confident they will be in mid-season form soon.
A question from Paul
Why do we still have separate season-ticket packages? I realize that many years ago the Pack played two games per year in Milwaukee, but when they stopped doing that all games should have gone to the "hometown" fans. That is ancient history now and it's time to change.
Paul, this policy's roots stem back to 1933 when we began playing a portion of our home games in Milwaukee. In 1995, when the Packers decided to play all of their home games in Lambeau Field, then-President Bob Harlan established a ticket package for Milwaukee season-ticket holders that had them receive tickets for two regular-season games (the second and fifth games) and one preseason game. I would be very reluctant to change the policy, as it would be unfair to our Milwaukee season-ticket holders who supported us for 62 years. Also, I think the policy works well for us. It gives new season-ticket holders two options from which to choose and helps emphasize that we are the state's team. In addition, especially with our ownership structure, it is beneficial to have more people with a connection to the team.
Malcolm from Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia
Considering the global popularity of the NFL and, of course, the Packers, do you think Green Bay could see their way to creating an overseas membership package? Something small but significant for all of us diehard fans who can't be there but still want to be a part of it all.
Great idea, Malcolm, and I have good news for you: Our social networking program, Packers Everywhere, has just gone international. Packers Everywhere, now in its third year, has proven to be very popular with our fans. It provides a free vehicle for Packers fans to connect with each other, and to watch games together at designated Packers Everywhere bars all across the world. We currently have more than 150,000 fans signed up and over 1,800 official Packers Everywhere bars. I urge all of our Packers fans to go to PackersEverywhere.com to sign up and find a Packers Everywhere bar near them. Currently we have one bar in Australia, at the Courthouse Hotel in Port Douglas, Queensland. Malcolm, you should get one signed up in Ferntree Gully. More information is online atwww.packerseverywhere.com/international-bars
Eric from Olathe, KS
I follow the Pack on the web and enjoy the postgame press conference with the players but we can only hear the answers. Would it be possible to hang some dynamic mics from the ceiling in the press room so we can hear the questions? GO PACK!!
This has been a source of frustration for me over the last few years. We purchased and installed parabolic microphones in order to allow people to better hear the reporters' questions. We've recently made adjustments to the settings that have improved the quality of the audio for the questions being asked. I encourage you to visit the site next week for press conferences and notice the improvement. We will continue to upgrade our technology to bring the best experience to our fans.
Ramiro from Brownsville, TX
I know the Green Bay Packers organization likes to be left alone from too much media and tends to avoid any drama and just likes to be quiet and do what they do alone, but have you and the organization ever considered doing the HBO show "Hard Knocks" so the fans can see what it is the coaches and players go through during camp, or is that something Green Bay wouldn't do?
Thanks, Ramiro. I'm often asked this question by fans. I love Hard Knocks and think HBO does an excellent job of giving viewers a first-hand look into NFL training camps. HBO has asked us to be on Hard Knocks, but we've declined. Although the program does provide great publicity for the teams, I don't believe the benefits outweigh the risks for us. First, the cameras and coverage can be a big distraction and impact the quality of practices in training camp. Also, it is much better to keep some of our coaching and personnel practices confidential. For instance, opponents of the Dolphins (this year's Hard Knocks team) have said they picked up play calls from watching the show.