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.*
A top priority for Head Coach Mike McCarthy this year was to get off to a fast start. We've started 1-2 the past three seasons. Although we were able to make the playoffs all three years, we were not able to earn the top seed. As we saw in our Week 2 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Lambeau Field has become a very difficult place for visiting teams to play. Playing playoff games at Lambeau Field gives us our best chance to get to the Super Bowl.
Coach McCarthy made a number of changes to our training camp schedule this year to allow the team to get off to a strong start. So far, the changes seem to have had the desired effect. The 49ers game tomorrow will be a challenge. They've had our number recently, as they have beaten us four games in a row, and we've especially had trouble defending Colin Kaepernick. If we can beat the 49ers, we will be undefeated through the first quarter of the season, with two home games to start the second quarter of the season followed by a bye.
There is still a lot of football to be played, but getting off to a fast start gives us a great chance to accomplish all of our goals.
Now, on to your questions:
Bill from Iron Mountain, MI
Has the rule change regarding the extra point had the impact the league wanted?
Great question, Bill. Although it is too early to draw any conclusions, it does appear the rule change (moving the extra point kick to the 15-yard line) has made the play more competitive. In three weeks, there have already been more missed kicks (9) than there were all last season (8). Also, in their second game of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers successfully went for two points after their first two touchdowns (and missed the kick on the third). It is also a live play now, and there was a runback of a blocked kick during a recent game. Although the runback wasn't successful (for two points), it was exciting. I think, with the rule change, more fans are now actually watching the extra point, rather than running to the concession stand or kitchen. As the weather turns cold, it will be interesting to see if more coaches decide to go for two points.
Robert from Wigan, England, UK
Was just an interesting thing I heard the other day from an American football program on the TV. It said the Packers have had every game sell out since the 1960's? So I was wondering if it was true. It would be great if it was!
Yes, Robert, it is true. We've sold out every regular-season game at Lambeau Field since 1960, and on a season ticket basis since 1961. We are very fortunate to have this type of support from our fans. It is really remarkable, and something we never take for granted. Our waiting list for season tickets is now up to 119,000. With the addition of the South End Zone in 2013, quite a few people came off the waiting list. Most of these fans had been on the waiting list since the early 1980s.
Joseph from Medford, WI
Will the Pro Football Hall of Fame Tour ever come to Green Bay? It is in Minneapolis in October and features Reggie White.
We'd be very interested in hosting the Pro Football Hall of Fame Tour in Green Bay, although probably not for at least another year. We just opened our new Hall of Fame on Aug. 21. By the way, I would encourage all Packers fans to visit the new Hall of Fame. It is truly spectacular. It makes great use of technology, and is very interactive. We do have two areas for rotating exhibits - we currently have exhibits on the Packers-Bears rivalry and Ron Wolf. These areas are not large enough for the Tour, so we would set up the Tour in an appropriately sized space for a home game weekend.
Dick from La Crosse, WI (shareholder)
Mark, I am not a season ticket holder but have attended numerous games over the past 20 years. A large part of the gameday experience and memories are tied to the pre/postgame tailgate parties with family and friends. With all the expansion and reserved parking, the tailgate areas keep shrinking. What can be done to preserve this part of the gameday experience for those of us not in the luxury boxes?
I'm often asked this question, Dick. Actually, right now, with the parking available to the west of Lambeau Field on Lombardi Avenue and the new parking lots to the south of the stadium, we have more parking than we've had in recent years. As the Titletown District is developed, though, we will lose quite a bit of parking to the west. Although each business in Titletown will have its own parking, we know that parking will be an issue, especially on game weekends. We are looking into putting a parking structure on the west end of Titletown. We know tailgating is important to our fans, and we want to ensure there are plenty of parking spaces available for tailgating. The lots to the south are still relatively new, and I think many fans haven't discovered them yet. The lots are not the traditional macadam, but are grass lots with a gravel base, and have held up in wet and snowy weather. The grass lots are much more attractive on non-game days, something that was very important to people in the local neighborhoods. While traditional tailgating is important to many of our fans, our experience with the Tundra Tailgate Zone (TTZ) has shown us fans also like to congregate with other fans. I think Titletown, especially the public plaza, will be very popular on gameday. We are also studying changes that could be made to the promenade in front of the Oneida Nation gate, including having a more permanent structure than the TTZ.
A question from Dan
On Oct. 1, the stadium tax will be off. Thank you. With all the new purchases the last few years, can we assume the tax is gone for good? Will the stadium be able to survive without the tax? I would just like to thank all the Brown County residents, football and non-football fans, for paying for my enjoyment. Again, THANK YOU!
Yes, Dan, Wednesday was an historic day here in Brown County. The sales tax officially expired and the tax is gone for good. In my mind, the sales tax was highly successful. It completely transformed Lambeau Field from a 10-day-a-year facility to a year-round attraction (700 events a year). Moreover, it put the franchise in a sound financial position. We can now compete with other teams both on and off the field. We've also been able to invest in the stadium, including football facilities and renovation of the Atrium ($367M), team and community. We are very thankful the Brown County residents voted in favor of the sales tax. Special thanks also go to Bob Harlan, John Jones and our Executive Committee for their tireless work in ensuring the sales tax passed. I know the vote was close, although I have yet to meet anyone who voted against it. With regard to the stadium, I think it will be fine without the sales tax, at least through 2031, the end of the lease. The annual maintenance fund for Lambeau Field is funded through 2031. Packers leadership and the politicians smartly had the foresight to ensure funding for maintenance of Lambeau Field was secured well into the future.