Green Bay Packers fullback Kuhn spoke at the Marshview Conservation Club's 15th annual sports banquet and fundraiser on Tuesday.
KOHLER – Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers fans, consider yourselves warned.
Green Bay Packers veteran fullback John Kuhn is putting the NFC rivals atop his "teams we're looking forward to beating in the playoffs" list.
"San Francisco's got it coming," he told a crowded room at Range Line Inn, where the Marshview Conservation Club held its 15th annual sports banquet and fundraiser Tuesday night.
The event, aimed at helping pay for the Sheboygan Falls-based group's conservation-minded initiatives, featured a trove of autographed sports memorabilia up for giveaway, including a Bob Uecker-signed Milwaukee Braves baseball jersey and a football with Aaron Rodgers' (and his parents') signatures.
The night's biggest highlight, though, was the stocky bearded guy in a green-and-gold jersey.
Kuhn, the Packers' 250-pound veteran fullback, was the night's featured speaker, continuing the conservation club's legacy of drawing notable Packers players to headline its fundraisers; former cheeseheads Paul Hornung, Mark Tauscher and Frank Winters have all taken turns speaking in the past.
Wearing his popular No. 30 jersey, Kuhn regaled the crowd with stories from last season's momentous final drive against the Chicago Bears in the regular season finale — a drive that featured three fourth-down conversions and ended with an unlikely long touchdown pass that helped the Packers clinch the NFC North Division title.
Kuhn also offered optimistic assurances for Green Bay's upcoming season.
Denver and New England will likely be the AFC's top contenders this season, Kuhn said. But, he noted, "I already told you, we're going to win it."
"I really feel like this is our Super Bowl to lose and this is our Super Bowl that we're going to bring back to Titletown," Kuhn said to enthusiastic applause.
The annual Marshview Conservation Club banquet included a bevy of auction items, door and raffle prizes and other assorted giveaways valued at more than $20,000, said Phil Mersberger, the club member charged with organizing the fundraiser.
Most of the goods boasted a decided Packers flavor. Besides the Rodgers-signed football, which Mersberger hoped would fetch a hefty price, there was a 1960s Packers collage (with multiple autographs), a Super Bowl XLV Lombardi trophy replica and an Eddie Lacy-signed jersey (albeit from his days at Alabama).
Not everything had a green-and-gold flair, though. Also up for auction was a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey mini helmet, a basketball signed by Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan — even a local winery tour and tasting party.
Mersberger said the club, which has been around since the 1970s, started holding sports-themed banquets to set itself apart from other local conservation clubs' hunting- and fishing-themed fundraisers. The club aims to collect around $10,000 each year at the banquet — it's only fundraiser of the year — with money going to help pay for youth programs and other conservation and outdoors initiatives.
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Tuesday's estimated 360-person crowd was the largest in the event's 15-year history.
"We've got a larger crowd tonight, so we'll probably exceed that ($10,000)," Mersberger said. "Just depends upon what kind of spending mood they're in and how they perceive our prizes."
Mersberger said the club has focused on expanding the yearly program and offering more and better prizes. The club has also focused on attracting big-name speakers.
Kuhn has been at Green Bay since 2007, when the team claimed him off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers. He entered the league in 2005 as a non-drafted free agent, and has become a popular fixture in Green Bay's offensive lineup.
He was an important factor in the Packers' last Super Bowl season in 2010, when he played in all 16 regular season games, carrying the ball 84 times for 281 yards and four rushing TDs. His six total touchdowns during the regular season that year were second only to wide receiver Greg Jennings' dozen.
He's remained a key figure in the Packers' offense. He became the first player in franchise history two seasons ago to post rushing and receiving touchdowns in two different postseason games (he did it against Atlanta in 2011 and again against Minnesota in '13). He was named a Pro Bowl starter in 2011 — the first Packers fullback to get Pro Bowl recognition since '04 — and was a Pro Bowl alternate a season later.
The team re-signed him earlier this year.
Kuhn, for his part, riled Tuesday's audience with bold predictions of a green- and gold-themed Super Bowl party later this season.
San Francisco will be the Packers' first playoff opponent, "after our first-round bye," he predicted.
"So we'll see them at home at Lambeau Field in the second round."
"And then the team that's really got it coming to them," Kuhn continued. "They've got it coming twice, because I really feel like we're going to see this team twice next year. We're going to see them the first game of the regular season, then we're going to beat them in Seattle, and then we're going to beat them in Lambeau Field in the NFC championship game in late January, and that's the Seattle Seahawks."