Shareholders meeting a unique event

If you were at today’s shareholders meeting you can’t possibly not be fired up for the upcoming season. With the Packers being a good team with the potential to be great, the atmosphere at Lambeau today was as electric as any shareholders meeting I’ve been to with the possible exception of the first post-Favre gathering. Packers’ fans are expecting a Super Bowl run and I believe they are going to get it.

On the way to the hallowed grounds I heard Rookie and Bill making fun of me because I took a day off work to go the meeting. Rookie said he wouldn’t waste his vacation time on something so stupid, he would rather go to the beach. The beach? In Green Bay? Alright. The fact is, if you didn’t grow up being a Packers’ fan then you can’t understand us. So there is no way the Bear fan and Bronco fan that Bill and Rookie are can understand the uniqueness of being part of the Packers family. I don’t care how long you lived in Green Bay or covered the team. So go ahead and make fun of us, we don’t need you on our side. There will always be more Packers’ fans than any other NFL team if not any other sports team.

The most memorable thing today was meeting a guy who drove 900 miles straight from Virginia to be at the meeting, even though he wasn’t even an owner. He came up to me while I was waiting for NFL commissioner  Rodger Goodell to appear in the atrium for his NFL Network show and it was one of the most amazing conversations I have ever had, and it ended with a blockbuster. This guy, which for the life of me I can’t remember his name, knew more about the Packers than I do (insert cocky remark here). But really, this guy was aweseome!

We talked about almost every positon on the Packers and who was going to do what. We talked about his amazing story of being a Packers’ fan from far away and the first time he made a trip to Lambeau. As a lifelong resident of Green Bay and an owner and season ticket holder, his story made me feel so much more privileged . I am one of the luckiest men on the planet to be raised in Green Bay and be part of this franchise. To have the season tickets I have and the 12 NFL Championships to brag about, no team can hold a candle to the Packers.

Today was a great day. The crowd was huge, the atmosphere was electric, the Packers are ready to bring the Lombardi Trophy back home again. You could not walk out of that stadium today and not think big things ahead for this franchise. I know I will alway remember my conversation with my bud from Virginia. He said it over and over, unless you are one of us, you will never understand. The Cowboys can be America’s team, big whoop. The Packers are the world’s team and always will be.

I had a great day today. This was the official beginning of the Packers next Super Bowl win. It feels like 1996 all over if you ask me. Great QB, star defensive player, all the pieces are in place. The big push starts Saturday.

Finally, I said my story with the guy from Virginia would end with a bang, well, if you watched the NFL Farn Forum on NFL Network tonight my guy was on TV. How he got in those seats behind Goodell is beyond me. Look for a guy with a red sleeveless shirt and black hat with gold Packers’ logo. I almost died when I saw him down there when I watched it tonight. This guy is the most dedicated fan I have ever met, and he never even lived in Wisconsin.

The Packers are special and the NFL and all other sports leagues needs a team like Green Bay to succeed. Without the Packers’ success all other small market teams would question their existence. But if you can do what the Packers have done in a town like Green Bay, you should be able to succeed in any town. The Packers are the model of success that all sports teams are following. Little old Green Bay, land of cheese and milk and NFL superiority. Not too shabby.

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  • Kevin

    Al, thanks for posting the photos from the event. It’s cool to get a glimpse of what goes on at the shareholder’s meetings.

  • Oddball

    Now this is the reason I keep coming back here and reading. Thanks, Al.

  • PackerPete

    It was a good med day, eh Al?

    I can share your feelings for this coming season. Even without a trip to the shareholders meeting, I am as optimistic as I can remember since 96 for the upcoming season. I was suspicious of success last year, but this is a more confident feeling.

    The only thing that can stop the Packers this season is themselves, either by attitude or injury.

    Let me also share, I am that guy from Virginia. Not actually, but figuratively. I have lived in NY, FL, WA, IA, CA, IN and back in CA now, and I have always been known as PackerPete, everywhere I go folks soon learn that my greatest passion in life is GBP football. I was awarded an employee of the year award when I worked for a multi-billion dollar global company and I was introduced to the large employee gathering as a HUGE Green Bay Packers fan, my rep permeated the entire organization!

    I have planned trips across the country to coincide with Lambeau visits, I routinely drive to the closest sites where the Packers have a game, now that I am in CA, SF and Oakland are closest. I attended the first Family night scrimmage a day after a friend and I toured Notre Dame stadium alone after we walked in with a work crew, we were the only people in the bowl! That followed by a Lambeau visit was quite a double dip for a football junkie like me.

    When I used to live in Orlando, FL, I was a regular attendee at the old “Bay of Pigs” annual game between the 80’s Packers and the creamsicle Bucs. I partied with America’s Pack at the old sombrero and met Ray and Max after games.

    When I lived in Des Moines IA, I ran into Bob Harlan at the Rock Bottom with his son and wife and we had a passionate 45 minute conversation after which he invited me to be his personal guest for a Lambeau tour next time I was in GB. Awesome!

    The stories go on and on, 50 years of life and 45+ years of Packer fandom since my earliest memories of chasing a football through the snow in upstate NY, I have always been a Packer fan, through all the ups and downs of the late 60’s through today.

  • Rick

    Glad of all you other Packer fans out there.

    I am scared that we slide from 32 million profit 3yrs ago to 20.8 million lastyear to barely 9 million profit as a team this year. The NFL will have to correct this quickly because we do not have a billionaire owner to bail the team out it is us.

    Otto von Breitenfeldt moved to avoid starving in 1868 from Germany to rural Eau Claire. In the 20s the family thought the Packer football over at Green Bay and Milwaukee was very entertaining and always supported the team including helping them stay afloat by buying extra tickets for the fundraiser in I believe 1928 or 1932 and the money was split with the Bears to keep them from going under.

    I was born a Packer fan of Packer fans. I am glad that win or lose the Green and Gold is still “our” team. Not a rich owner’s team that we root for, but our team. It is kind of like your high school team. You are deeply rooted in the traditions and spirit that makes your heart love to follow your team. I feel that way about the Packers because it is our team. We are the money engine that keeps it alive too. Our tickets, parking, food and beer, watching on TV, going to away games when you are an out of state packer fan like Packer Pete , and buying all the packer gear in the world keep the lights on and heating bill paid.

    I am sure many of us have family stories about how we became Packer fans.

  • Rick, I don’t think you should be so frightened. For one thing we dumped #4’s salary without bringing in any high priced free agents 3 years ago. For another we had the youngest team in the league those 3 years. We were bound to have more profit which I pointed out at the time would come more into line with the rest of the league. Since we have a more talented team those players have to be rewarded with new contracts like we did with #12. That’s the price of being competitive.

  • Sometimes my optimism comes from the things TT doesn’t do. IE; Bears and Lions get press for FAs Peppers and a LB thats hurt already for the Bears and the Lions getting Burleson and a LB from the Raiders. But I think re-signing Collins, Pickett, and Clifton the much better deal than going outside. Those are huge signings. However, having said that I’d like to see another veteran OLB on the roster – just don’t know where he’d come from.
    ST concern; Geez, let it go and hope Blackmon comes back. I’m more concerned at CB than anyplace on the team. Woodson cannot last forever and Harris is such an iffy at this point. You think we had problems there last year, scary how bad this could get in a hurry.

  • PackerPete

    LT, I share your concern over the seemingly paper thin CB position. With Harris a huge ?, Woodsons health becomes critical… unless…

    …Underwood and Lee are actually players.

    This is one of the most interesting story lines of TC for me. I cannot wait to see how the development of the young CBs is coming along. I do not see anyone else on the roster who is anywhere near ready to step up if needed, it simply must come from these two. I pray for miracles with Bell, but… who knows? Lets just hope that Swain isn’t getting reps at CB! Let the battles begin!

    Also, please do not underestimate the coverage ability of our safetys. Having Collins in the middle helps the CBs a lot. I really like Burnett’s skill set, and I am not scared of Martin, Blackmon or even Peprah should the need arise.

  • Steve Cheez

    Al and PP, when I read you I get a huge woody thinking about how lucky I am to have been a part of the Pack’s extended family all my life. How deprived all these other people must be who don’t have the opportunity to experience and express passion for a team.