2017 Week 08 (Special Edition)


You wouldn’t know it, but when it comes to the Packers, I’m a pretty superstitious guy.  Now you may be saying, “Yeah, Ken but everybody is a little superstitious.”  True but look at what I do. 
I inspect Nuclear Power Plants. 
Nuclear Plants are places of science, repeatable standards that have to be met and they are met using science and math.  Hard principles of Quantum Mechanics are used to produce power and I work with that every day.  Superstition doesn’t come into the equation anywhere!
Then Sunday comes.  The ritual actually begins Saturday night.  I shower and shave my head.  Just a rough shave, I’ll dress it up Sunday morning.
I get up Sunday, and get in the shower.  In addition to shaving my head I’ve got to have my music on.  It starts with “We Love the Green and Gold” by Pat McCurdy.  I put it on mix because it’s got all the songs mostly.  Next comes “Fly Like a Cheesehead” by Sean Smart and Sleepy.  Then Packer Rock Anthem by Lucas Cates.  Then comes Packer Face by C.W.A. (Cheeseheads with Attitude).  I finish with Royals-Green Bay Parody by Olivia Hotchkiss.  I pull on my jersey.  Then I listen to Go Pack Go song by Some Members of Garbage (it’s a band…I think).  If we are playing Da Bears, it’s of course, Da Bears Still Suck by Da Wurst Band in Da World.  Then I put on the NFL on CBS theme, NFL on Fox Theme, ESPN’s MNF Theme, and Faith Hill, Sunday Night Football Theme.  I can’t stand the Carrie Underwood version. 
Then I go on Facebook.  Gotta do my “HUDDLE UP!!! IT’S GAME DAY!!!!” posting.
As far as my appearance goes, if we won last weekend and I had a goatee, I’m keeping it.  If I decided to shave it to a sweet biker ‘stache, I’ll keep that.  I never remember what socks I wear.
My hats.  You may notice, I wear a couple of hats throughout the season.  I was wearing a camouflage, then I switched to plain green at Halftime against the Seahags!  I wasn’t getting enough mojo out of the camouflage to begin the season.  I’m a big believer in hat mojo, I’ll scour the internet from March to Mid-May looking for That HAT.  I had THE HAT back in 1996.  It was a “G” on the front with lightning bolts coming off.  Unfortunately, it had the cheap plastic strap and it disintegrated during the offseason, of course, we all know what happened at Superbowl XXXII, because I didn’t have my hat anymore.  (Head hung in shame)
Lastly Flags, I have 2, I cry to the boys as I start the truck, “Gentleman, Hoist the Colors!”  The flags go up the windows close, a whiff of exhaust, and we’re off!!
Now this all may seem silly to you, but Jerry Jones said he put a hole in AT&T stadium so God could watch his team.  I say we never put a dome on Lambeau because God and all the angels like to tailgate!  Happy Halloween Packer-Boys, and Packer-Ghouls!!  
(Ken Hill)

 Just Sayin’

Well, I am not going to go with the “we are doomed” scenario just yet. And I am not going with the division winning scenario yet either. Hundley did not play like a future Hall Of Fame QB on Sunday, but I did not expect him to play that well. I do think he will play better, but how much better, depends on McCarthy and his staff. McCarthy got a media buzz last year when he said of himself “I am a successful NFL head coach” at one of his press conferences. Well, I understand, one has to toot their own horn occasionally. The talking heads on TV frequently talk about how good of a coach McCarthy really is. OK, we are going to find out, real soon. I will not browbeat McCarthy after the loss last week against the Saints. After all, even though there was a week to prepare, no one, scout, coach or any player personnel could know exactly how Brett Hundley was going to perform on the field in his first NFL start in a real game that mattered. Now we know. So should the coaching staff. Over the next few weeks, we are going to see if McCarthy’s success is due to his great coaching, or due the talent of Aaron Rodgers. Is Rodgers the great QB he is, due to his talent, or due to the unmatched coaching wizardry of Mike McCarthy. My guess is that it is somewhere there in the middle, with maybe the talent of Rodgers maybe elevating McCarthy more so than the other way around. It is the same question I could pose with those characters up in New England. Would Bill Belichek be as successful if paired with a mediocre QB for an extended time? (Yes, I remember the Matt Cassel year.) Perhaps, therein lies the answer to my own question. In 2008, Tom Brady went down to injury in the first game. So, I assume that Belichek thought it would be in the best interest of the team to start devising game plans to best utilize the talents of Matt Cassel since his star QB was not on the field. What a novel concept ! ! OK, so one thing “successful NFL coach” McCarthy did do on Sunday was commit to the running game. And that part of the offense was fairly successful in and of itself. There was some good blocking by the linemen and the TEs. So let’s hope that MM will keep that commitment in the game planning and figure out some ways to make better use of the other talent that we have playing WR and TE. While the offense struggled, getting absolutely nothing from the two first half interceptions, aside from two additional opportunities for the punting team, the defense had some opportunities. There were several times where the Saints had 3rd and long and were able to convert for a first down. In their defense (yes, pun), I know we still have many defensive injuries and were missing starters and/or some were playing hurt. LB Vince Biegel has been removed from the PUP list and has started practicing. DT Montravius Adams has been practicing as well. Maybe these 2 guys, even though they are both rookies, can add some zip to the defense. Getting some extending time for healing for some of the guys that are hurting should help as well. (Cliché time): “Time for MM to bring his A-game!!” “Let’s hope MM didn’t have all his eggs in one (Rodgers) basket.” Or, the Packers “have their backs against the wall.“   Let’s hope they come out fighting… Just Sayin’ 
(Jimmy Smith)

#39,330 and falling ….

In the 1980’s, I considered the Packers’ 8-8 win-loss years the “good” ones!  Looking back at that dreary decade, my biggest regret was lacking the foresight to put my name on the Packers’ Season Ticket Waiting List.  I didn’t mature enough to make that important life decision until the Favre glory years had started and the list bloated in the 1990’s.  Now over 20 years later, there are still 39,329 more-timely Packer fans in front of me on that list.
I have been to a few official Home Packer games at the old Milwaukee County Stadium and Camp Randall in Madison, but I didn’t land my “Golden Ticket” to see the Packers play at Lambeau Field until a few years ago.  And the stars had to align for that to happen: my high school buddy Arne got two tickets on a blustery December Sunday when some season ticket holders were too sick to attend.  And I happened to be in Wisconsin visiting family during the holidays --> cha-ching!
So my passion over the years has been to attend nearby “Away” games (quotes needed around the word “Away” since so many Packer fans around the nation have the same turf-raiding passion as I do).  When I lived in northern Indiana, I went to Lambeau-East (the Detroit Silverdome) every year, and even saw a few Brett Favre-Peyton Manning clashes in Indianapolis.  Down south here I have seen Packer games in Charlotte and Atlanta, but my favorite road trip was to Cincinnati in 2013 (pictured with my sons Jacob and Robert , and the other early Packer fans in the nosebleed seats).  The Bengals fans were friendly tailgating neighbors, the squeaky clean stadium overlooks the Ohio River, the jungle motif was pretty cool, and The Ohio State University Marching Band had an awesome halftime show.  And we witnessed an all-time great football game, but which unfortunately ended in a heart-breaking loss (go watch the highlights of that 9/22/13 game and you will remember it).
This year I took a hard pass on shelling out for Packer tickets in Atlanta’s new stadium, but Rodgers-or-not, here we come to Charlotte in December!  I’m sure we will see quite a few others in Green & Gold around the stadium.  I may never own those elusive Lambeau Field season tickets in my life-time, but wherever the Packers go --> I will follow.
Here’s another sign of my procrastination: Packer John starting encouraging me to join the Greenville Packer Backers when I first arrived in South Carolina over 10 years ago.  I probably could have been a 100-level member, but years later, I am still proud to be 
#398 Bill Demuth.

From the Editor

I’m not one to watch what’s on TV during the half-time.  Most of the time it’s some talking head updating us on football scores we constantly see in the corner of the screen as we watch the Packers.  So, TV  may have shown this special moment at Lambeau, but I doubt it.  I’m talking about the Superbowl II team reunion and that special moment was when none other then Bart Starr made his way to the opening of the tunnel and waved to the Packer fans.  The last time we saw Bart in Lambeau was for Brett Favre night when the two embraced.  Since then Bart’s health has declined and at one point it looked like Bart would never grace us again with has presence in Lambeau Field.  His health did recover to the point he could travel, but in all likelihood, last Sunday was  the last time Bart will step foot in Lambeau.  Which is why I, as tribute to Bart, have added several of his quotes in this issue.   

Over the course of the last few weeks I have noticed two disturbing trends.  The first is obvious, Arron is hurt and the Packers are struggling.  As fans we are hurting too, but as fans we all know there is nothing we can do to change this.  We just need faith the coaches have a crystal ball and the team will rally around Brett Hundley, giving us a reason to bring Aaron back this December.
The second trend is not quite as obvious and actually started last year.  I alluded to it a little in the Packer Tidbits when I mentioned Buffalo. 
For the newer members, a history lesson about the Greenville Packer Backers.  About 12 years ago, my daughter Jamie and her Husband Tim wanted to watch the Packers on TV.  Back then it meant finding a sports bar that carried all the games and so Bailey’s became the place they went.  As it turned out, there was always the same 6 or so Packer fans there every week and one couple (Loren & Nancy Wolf) mentioned they once belonged to a Packer fan club in Orlando and why don’t we start one here.  Well, that’s all it took for Tim to get the ball rolling.  He was a natural wheeler and dealer who was able to get Packer stuff for next to nothing.  The core group of Jamie & Tim, Nancy and Loren (who use to play with the Packer Band in the 60’s) and Linda & I started to meet at Bailey’s in the small pool room in the front with one 21” TV.  The club immediately outgrew the room and because Bailey’s was unable to give us a larger space, we moved to Jay’s Mid-town Tavern.  Saw Favre’s last playoff game against the Giants there.  We outgrew Jay’s and moved to Dixie’s.  After the state closed their doors one  Halloween, Tim moved the club overnight to The Corner Pocket. It was there we celebrated our Superbowl win.  The club grew and we moved to Friar’s.  Our second season there, Friar’s wanted to be known as a “Sports bar” and limited the number of TV’s with the Packer game on, so in an early bye week, we moved the club to Chief’s which is where we are today.  The first week was rough.  Johnny, from Chief’s, thought I was BS-ing when I told him there could be 100 or more Packer fans at the game so he didn’t over staff.  That week, we played duh bears and had over 150 in attendance and Johnny never doubted me again.
The club continues to attract new members, signing up our 401st member, #501 Louis Depes but despite that, the club is no longer growing.  Our current membership stands at 88 which is down 20 from just two years ago.  There are several external reasons for the decline; things we have no control over.  12 years ago, you could not get the NFL Ticket in the comfort of your home.  Now you can get it on your cell phone on the beach.  Back then, the Packers seldom had a nationally televised game.  As the Packers continued to become a playoff perennial, we have had more prime time and late night games (week 7 was our first 1:00 game this year and still was on local TV). Good, inexpensive prizes have become tougher to find.  The better the Pack became the more they charged.  Gone are the days of the $2 watches and paper weights, now even car flags go for $15 or more.  Some members have moved away (Like Nancy & Loren), others have moved on, some dear friends have passed away (Tom Becker, Rex Weinbender and Tim Ware), others come but don’t renew and finally, our original 100-level members, as Bill called us, are 12 years older.
Over the years, the running of the club has fallen into my lap.  In year 2, with Tim running the club, looking for a way to get involved, I decided to started the Packer Backer Bits.   Then Nancy and Loren (and his trumpet) moved back to Michigan to be with family. After their divorce, Jamie worked more weekends at Lowe’s and Tim passed away. 
I am grateful to the “staff” at PBB (Kraig, Ken, Jimmy & Barbara) for Erich (Facebook) and Justin (website) and especially Linda & Marge for running the “office” every gameday.
Which bring me to the second disturbing trend. Not only membership, but weekly attendance this year is down, in part because of the late games, but I believe it’s more than that.  I have noticed about half the Packer fans at Chief’s each week are not current members.  That in itself is not bad, just wondering why.  We use to all sit together, now we have spread ourselves into separate groups making it hard for me to communicate on gameday.  Part of the reason may be the TV’s and with the new owners commitment to Chief’s this could correct itself, but it still causes me to wonder.  The last and most important thing is our lack of enthusiasm.  We use to all get up and high five each other while Loren played “hot time” on his trumpet every time we scored, now it’s only a few of us going from table to table.  The Bills fans have not only been out cheering us, they are starting to invade what use to be Packer Country; being “Shuffled out by Buffalo” so to speak.  Even this Special edition is evidence of a decline with only one club submission when there use to be a dozen.
What Tim started worked then, but may not work now.  As much as I love the Packers and everyone of you, it’s becoming too much for me to handle on a weekly basis; after all, I’m 12 years older now.  As I stated before, I am forever grateful to those who are helping, but even with that, between the newsletter, recordkeeping, reloading the prize bag each week, buying prizes, showing up 2 hours before game time to set up, showing up for every game and being on the MC the whole game, it’s becoming too much for this old body to handle.  This is not to say I’m retiring but to say that without more help, the future of “our” club could be in jeopardy.  I’m not sure what or how we can spread everything out and  I’m open to any and all ideas (current and non current members alike)  about how to make “our” club better.  Please take the time to respond with your thoughts and ideas, remember, the only bad idea is the one you never tell us.  I can’t wait to hear your ideas, I will always love the Greenville Packer Backers, the Packers and as always, will forever   Bleed Green My Friends. 
(Packer John)