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Packers ready for stretch run

Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO Mark Murphy


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:

As I've mentioned here in the past, Coach Mike McCarthy likes to break the season into four quarters, just like a football game. With Sunday's win over the Patriots, we're now headed into the fourth quarter. The win over the Patriots, the hottest team in the League and a quality opponent, was one of the best wins we've had in recent years. It was the kind of win that can give a team confidence and momentum heading into the final quarter of the season. I think the win sets us up well as we head into the stretch run. There is still a lot of football to be played, though, and we must continue to improve as a team.

In order to win the Super Bowl, it is important a team play its best football at the end of the season. In 2010, we were a good example of a team peaking at the right time. We played well, but lost to New England in the 15th week. We knew we had to win our last two games to get into the playoffs, and used the momentum of those victories to go on to win the Super Bowl. Conversely, in 2011, we clinched the NFC North early, and headed into the playoffs rested, but without momentum. As I look ahead to the rest of the season, one of the very best things that has happened to the Packers this year has been the fine play of the Detroit Lions. They beat us decisively in Week 3, and were in first place in the NFC North for most of the season. Heading into the last four games, they are only one game behind us and we know we have to continue to play well to win the division.

The final quarter of the season should be exciting for the Packers and our fans. As a player, this is what you want – to be playing games in December that count. It all starts Monday night with a big game against the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons.

Now, on to your questions:

A question from Dave

Mr. Murphy, I have noticed this year that on occasion you will see an NFC game on CBS. A good example of this was the Detroit-Chicago game on Thanksgiving. Has there been a change from the past of FOX doing NFC games and CBS doing the AFC games? If so, then why?

You're very observant, Dave. I'm impressed. This year for the first time, the NFL allowed CBS and FOX to "cross flex" games. NFC games are on FOX and AFC games are on CBS. With inter-conference games, if the visiting team is an AFC team, it will be televised on CBS. If the visiting team is in the NFC, it will be televised on FOX. Under cross flexing, a network can take a game that would normally be on the other network and put it on their network. Cross flexing is designed for the situation where there are two attractive games on one network, and by moving one of these games to the other network, it allows more people to watch both games and for both networks to achieve strong ratings. Also, NFC teams are in larger markets, and cross flexing allows CBS to have more games with large market teams. Interestingly, Thanksgiving was an all-NFC affair, with all three games involving two NFC teams.

Rashad from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I am just wondering if you have considered a green edition helmet. We're known for the cheeseheads and it's great for fans. I just think green would be a nice limited edition or special edition.

No, Rashad, we haven't considered a green edition helmet. We do like wearing our historic third jerseys, though. We've worn the 1929 uniform a total of four times (one game each during the 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 seasons), and will determine a future third jersey in the offseason. For the 1929 uniform, we wear our normal helmets, but take the decals off. League guidelines prohibit teams from wearing different helmets during the season, so I don't anticipate any teams wearing second helmets.

A question from Kellyn

Good morning, Mr. Murphy. When I saw this post on Facebook, it took me a minute to think of any questions I had. I guess with the holidays coming up, I was wondering if the team does anything to help those less fortunate? I understand they want to spend all the time with their family, seeing how they spend so much time away, but I was just curious. Happy Holidays!

Great question, Kellyn. As a community-owned team, giving back to the community is a high priority for the Packers. Last year, our overall charitable impact was over $6 million. On Thursday, we held our annual Foundation luncheon. This year, we gave out $1.1M in grants from the Foundation, the most ever. The grants went to 229 organizations across the state, including two $250,000 impact grants. One of the impact grants was focused on hunger relief. We gave $50,000 to five different hunger relief organizations in Brown County. We distributed the money to their organizations in mid-November because we knew many people in the community would be in need of food during the holidays. Also, many of our players are very supportive of those in need during the Holidays. For instance, for several years now, Josh Sitton has conducted "Shop with Josh," in which he takes under privileged children shopping during the holidays.

A question from Ken

Mr. Murphy, at age 15, I watched the Ice Bowl. Since then I have often wondered does the NFL have a procedure to determine when it is too cold to play or when it's too hot to play.

Wow, what an experience that must have been for a 15-year-old. I'm sure you became a Packers fan for life after watching a game like that. With regard to your question, it is up to the referee to determine if the weather (or field) conditions are unsafe for play. You will typically see this come into play with thunderstorms during preseason games. I think one of the great things about the NFL is you play in all different types of weather conditions. Some of the most memorable games in NFL history, including the Ice Bowl, have been played in extreme weather conditions.

A question from Rick

Dear Mr. Murphy, I am a season ticket holder. When I enter the stadium on game days, I am usually given a free souvenir. It is often a flag or a towel, which is encouraged to be waved during the game. While this is an excellent way to show our enthusiasm, it does little to increase crowd noise. I think that some consideration was given to the design of the new seating in the south end zone, with an increased crowd volume in mind. In fact, I've even heard of the new seating section referred to as "The wall of sound." The crowd volume at the Seattle stadium is famous for being an advantage for the Seahawks. So, my question is this: It would seem that an obvious free souvenir to be given away at the gate would be a small plastic megaphone, about the size of a large beer cup. They would be easy to stack for storage and would probably be no more expensive to produce than the flags or towels. Is it against an NFL rule to provide megaphones to the fans?

Good idea, Rick. Unfortunately, artificial noise makers are prohibited by the league. We do give them out to fans on Family Night, though. We are looking at different ways that we can make Lambeau Field as loud as possible. The South End Zone was designed to keep the noise in the stadium, and we are also using video and prompts on our video boards to help us in this effort. I was very encouraged by the fan support during the Patriots game. I thought the crowd was really energized.

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