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Packers plan extended celebration of first century

Team will commemorate milestone with 16-month campaign


GREEN BAY – It's a celebration one century in the making.

The Packers unveiled plans Monday of a 16-month campaign highlighting the team's 100th season, with festivities beginning this summer and culminating in the franchise's 100th birthday on Aug. 11, 2019.

Events include a "Lambeau Live" exhibit traveling statewide, a four-day "Packers Experience" at the start of training camp and a 10-part documentary series called "Legacy: 100 seasons of the Green Bay Packers," a decade-by-decade look at the team's history comprised of more than 100 interviews with former players and other key figures.

This summer, the Packers have planned a celebration weekend prior to their first home game of the 2018 regular season, with a kickoff concert and alumni appearances. The team also will wear a "100 Seasons" commemorative patch on its jerseys throughout the year.

Operating with the motto "You only turn 100 once," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy was pleased with how everything came together.

"I know for all of us, it's really exciting to see all the planning and the work that we've done to finally come to fruition," Murphy said. "For us, what will be really exciting is to see the fans enjoying it – whether it be 'Lambeau Field Live' or the 'Packers Experience' here during training camp."

Additionally, Murphy said the organization is hoping to set a new attendance record for its annual shareholders meeting on July 25, which will be held in the evening outdoors for the first time. The current record was set after the Lambeau Field renovation in 2003, with roughly 20,000 in attendance.

The Packers began the planning process for their 100th season more than five years ago, with the assistance of a planning committee and team historian Cliff Christl.

Christl, who worked for 36 years at four Wisconsin newspapers, has followed the team for most of his life and believes the Packers have the "greatest story in sports" when considering the franchise's humble beginnings and its status as the only publicly owned professional sports team.

Christl studied more than 50 years of newspaper clippings in research for the project and an upcoming "100 Seasons" book to be published next year.

"I think the point is it's the 100th anniversary. How often does that happen to anybody in sports, especially in the same city and the same place?" Christl said. "There are a lot of teams who'll celebrate it in various sports … that have moved. The Cardinals might be even older than we are but they've moved three times. I think it's special for that reason more than anything."

The Packers encountered road blocks multiple times during their formative years, only further tightening the bond between the football team and the community that supported it.

Stock sales and fundraisers guided the franchise through several close calls, and ultimately built the foundation for a league-record 13 world championships in its illustrious history.

Rediscovering those moments are what Murphy and the organization are looking most forward to over the coming year.

"Especially from the '20s and the '30s, it is a miracle that the team survived," Murphy said. "Look at all the other small-town teams that fell by the wayside.

"It really is amazing that the team not only survived but thrived and continues to this day. I think it's not only great for the NFL, a great story for the NFL, but it really transcends that."

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