At the Green Bay Packers' annual shareholders meeting, which was held on Thursday morning at Lambeau Field, team President/CEO Mark Murphy and General Manager Ted Thompson gave the owners in attendance a look at a variety of topics on their minds for the franchise.
Thompson began his comments by addressing his expectations for himself and his group during the offseason:
Thompson's offseason goals: 1. Try to sign as many of our own players. 2. Selectively add additions from other teams. 3. Draft effectively.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) July 24, 2014
Let's see how he did. On point number one, Ted retained the services of Sam Shields, Andrew Quarless, Mike Neal, John Kuhn, Matt Flynn, and others. On the second item, he added two players from other teams: Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion. The third item will have to be judged farther down in the future, considering the fact that rookies need a few years to be accurately evaluated, but he addressed some critical areas of the team and appears to have received good value for his picks.
I'm sure Ted wouldn't give himself an "A" grade for anything, but if those items are how he evaluates himself, he should be pleased.
After that, Murphy spoke at length about issues and topics concerning both the Packers and the NFL as a whole. First, he discussed the Packers' season-ticket waiting list, which only continues to grow and now sits at six digits:
Murphy says #Packers now have 112,000 names on the season-ticket waiting list.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) July 24, 2014
So yeah, if you aren't already on the list, you had might as well just get on it now for the sake of your grandchildren.
Next up was the possibility that the Packers could play overseas:
Murphy says he expects #Packers to play in London "in the coming years." Vows it will NOT be a home game that they give up.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) July 24, 2014
The most logical target for the Packers to play in London would be in the 2016 season, when they are scheduled to play a road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Murphy's clarification that it would be a road game was critical, though, especially since the entire region around Green Bay would suffer economically if a home game were taken away. He further emphasized this point in a press conference later in the day, saying that "we would never give up a home game, it's too important to the community."
Next up was some news about Roger Goodell's plan to expand the NFL playoff pool:
Murphy says he believes #NFL will expand playoffs to 14 teams "but not until 2015 season."— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) July 24, 2014
For now, that's probably good news, as teams won't have to adjust any strategy moving forward. It seems logical that when it does happen, only the top-seeded team in each conference will get a bye, requiring six games on divisional weekend. The likely way to do that would be to hold three games each on Saturday and Sunday, with one in each of early afternoon, late afternoon, and prime time slots.
A final point will appeal to fans of the Packers' history, and fans of the legendary teams of the 1960s in particular:
Murphy: Lombardi movie will be released in conjunction with 50th Super Bowl— Pete Dougherty (@PeteDougherty) July 24, 2014
Furthermore, the movie will be made by the group of people who produced the documentary "42" about Jackie Robinson. The 50th Super Bowl will be held in early 2016, and in light of this news we think it would be pretty appropriate for the Packers to win Super Bowl 50. Hey rest of the NFL: just go ahead and take the year off, why don't you?
Following the shareholders meeting, Murphy then met with reporters on a press conference that was streamed by Packers.com. Here are some highlights from his press conference:
Thought it was a good meeting, a good turnout...it was actually higher than anticipated, 14,759...and then we had over 10,000 watching online.
I guess if we draft more Badgers, I guess (laughs) we'll get more attendance at the meeting and more rounds of applause.
The benefit (to moving to variable pricing on tickets) would be lowering the face value of preseason games...the preseason games are just a lot dfiferent than they were 15 years ago...the feedback I've gotten from fans is that with the face value as high as it is for preseason, it's hard for them to sell them or resell them, so I think if we lower the face value it will help them in that regard...the total season ticket cost will be about the same, but will be distributed a bit differently.
The area to the south, there won't be any economic or commercial development there...We're gonna be in a position where we'll have money available to invest in the stadium, in the community, in the area...things are gonna evolve, for premium seating, for instance, some of suites really haven't been renovated.
On Brett Favre:
I did read those comments (that Favre made on Chicago radio), I guess I'd say...that was a very emotional time for the Packers, and I think as time goes on the emotions are passing and cooling down. I really hope, and I think we have the best fans, and I think they're gonna look back and they're gonna see the entirety of what he did, not just the last few years when he played for the Vikings...(Brett) probably had as big an impact on the organization as anyone in the history of the organization and I'm hopeful that when he comes back that he'll be fully supported by the fans, and I'm confident in that.
Murphy also mentioned that the team plans on bringing Favre out to Green Bay for a game to be recognized sometime during the 2014 season but that it has not changed the timeline for his jersey retirement.
If any of you were at the meeting today, please feel free to share any interesting stories, tidbits, or quotes you may have from the meeting in the comments.