Packers share optimism, new throwback
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson offered no bold predictions, but he exuded confidence in his team while speaking at the annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday at Lambeau Field.
"We have a pretty good team," Thompson said. "We have a chance to do some good things. If we play really well every Sunday, we'll have a chance to win."
Thompson, Packers president Mark Murphy and members of the team's board of directors gave their annual reports to a crowd of just under 12,000 shareholders. There were few new details unveiled, just a reiteration of the past season and a look at the year ahead.
Murphy, who called the NFC title game loss in Seattle one of the toughest he's ever experienced, made it clear the chance to "do some good things" meant winning the team's fifth Super Bowl in February.
"We are committed to doing everything in our power, everything we can, to bring the Lombardi Trophy back where it belongs," Murphy said in closing. "… We won Super Bowl I. I think it would be very fitting if we also won Super Bowl 50."
Here are some brief highlights from Thompson and Murphy's reports.
-- Murphy unveiled the Packers' third uniform, an alternate that will be worn for the next five years. It's a throwback to the team's uniform worn from 1937 to 1949, when the team won two NFL championships. The Packers will first wear the jersey on Oct. 18 against the San Diego Chargers. Over the past five years, they wore Acme Packers jerseys based on the 1929-30 uniforms. As Murphy mentioned, the Packers were 5-0 when wearing the Acme Packers jerseys.
-- Perhaps the day's signature moment came midway through Murphy's report, when he mentioned former general manager Ron Wolf's upcoming induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Wolf was in the stadium, and he received a minute-long standing ovation. Murphy congratulated Wolf for his induction. "You and Mike Holmgren and Brett (Favre) really got this thing turned around," Murphy told Wolf.
-- Speaking of Favre, Murphy said it felt like a game day when the Packers retired their former quarterback's No. 4 jersey and inducted him into the franchise's hall of fame earlier this month. "We're so excited to have Brett back in the family," Murphy said. Favre will return to Lambeau Field on Nov. 25 when the Packers host the Chicago Bears for a Thanksgiving night kickoff. Favre's jersey number will be unveiled on the Lambeau Field façade. There still has been no news on how often Favre expects to return to Green Bay after Thanksgiving.
-- The meeting's biggest applause may have come when Murphy reaffirmed the team's commitment to Lambeau Field. "We do not sell the naming rights to the stadium," he said. "We will never do that. We will always be Lambeau Field." The team does sell sponsorships for the stadium's gates, which Murphy said helps offset the lost revenue from not selling the naming rights.
-- Murphy said he was surprised when San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, a former Wisconsin star, retired after one NFL season. He said it's a sign that despite advancements toward player safety, more must be done to assure players the game will be safe for their long-term health.
-- Thompson briefly spoke on free agency. "We had a quiet free agency season," he said, "but we had a productive one." The Packers GM referred to re-signing right tackle Bryan Bulaga and receiver Randall Cobb, two players who would've been among the biggest league's biggest names on the open market.