Cory's Corner: Packers Should Embrace History

The Packers are absolutely dripping with history. 

They have 30 Hall of Famers, six retired numbers, 13 total championships, 10 NFL MVPs and four Super Bowl MVPs. 

In case you didn’t know, the Packers will be celebrating their 100thanniversary this season. On Aug. 11, 1919, Curly Lambeau among others organized the Packers at the offices of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Packers went 10-1 in the very first season, even though anyone that saw them play generously threw money into a hat to keep things rolling. 

The Packers are easily the smallest media market in all of professional sports in this country. The Green Bay-Appleton market is No. 67 and Buffalo, which isn’t exactly a booming metropolis, is No. 52. Heck, Little Rock-Pine Bluff is No. 57. 

It’s amazing that the Packers have been in Green Bay at all, let alone going on 100 years. I think the best way to honor that is by celebrating the franchise’s humble beginnings.

I really think that’s what makes the Packers so attractive to so many people. They are a living, breathing underdog story. Even with a salary cap, Green Bay isn’t like New York, Chicago or Dallas. The Packers weren’t supposed to bring in one of the best free agents, but somehow that’s exactly what they did with Reggie White — in the same year that unlimited free agency began. 

So, I think a good way to culminate that amazing heritage is by having it come full circle. Have a preseason game at City Stadium, which is where the Packers played from 1925-1956. That’s where Green Bay East High School currently plays. If the Packers chose to play there, it would raise a lot of eyebrows about what the Packers really stand for and it would show how far that franchise has come.

Put that game on national television and have cutaways of every single historical piece of Packers lore. There are plenty of people that don’t understand what the Packers were before that first Super Bowl in 1966. It would also give people a chance to understand why the Packers are one of the NFL’s cornerstone franchises. 

But, that is unlikely because the Packers cannot make money on luxury boxes and there won’t be nearly 80,000 people paying for merchandise, programs and beer. 

I understand that the Packers need to make as much as possible, but they tallied record revenue for 2017 with $454.9 million. With the Titletown District in full gear thanks to that $10 sledding hill, I would bet that revenues would climb again in 2018. 

This is a great time to add some historical perspective. Put the checkbooks and balance sheets aside for one preseason game and celebrate one of the unlikeliest histories in all of sports. 

But in a bottom line business, I guess the only thing that really matters is the color black or red. That’s a real shame, because I really think plenty of people would’ve loved a good history lesson — told from one of the places where it all began. 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (30)

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SterlingSharpe's picture

June 08, 2019 at 07:13 am

There's our history. And then there's history like that of the Vikings. They've had some great players (Peterson & Moss) the past 2 decades, and they had some great teams (1970's and 2009) but not once have they not failed in the end.

I like that.

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Hematite's picture

June 08, 2019 at 07:40 am

I like the idea of playing a preseason game at City Stadium.
I saw my first Packers game in City Stadium in October of 1956 VS the Bears.

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4thand1's picture

June 08, 2019 at 07:57 am

True America's team.

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IceBowl's picture

June 09, 2019 at 03:36 pm

4thand1,

You say ... "True America's team."

You are correct sir.

But apparently the crappy, fake (bought and paid for) media makes more money taking the moniker elsewhere.

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Nick Perry's picture

June 08, 2019 at 08:18 am

"In case you didn’t know, the Packers will be celebrating their 100th anniversary this season."

No offense Cory but didn't they celebrate their 100th season last year? I thought this year it was the NFL's 100th season?

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

June 08, 2019 at 08:56 am

If you wanted to emphasize the Packers history, perhaps instead of writing, “… Lambeau among others organized the Packers at the offices of the Green Bay Press-Gazette”, you would have written it was Lambeau and George Calhoun (who worked at the paper) who organized the Packers, not Lambeau “among others”. According to the Packers website, “There wouldn’t have been a Packer team without George Whitney Calhoun,” Fritz Gavin, one of the original Packers, said in 1951. “He was the prime mover.” By the way, Calhoun was best remembered for passing the hat according to the website.

In order for the Packers to have a preseason game at City Stadium, they would have had to schedule that long in advance of the game. Also, since preseason games are sold out and City Stadium doesn’t have the capacity Lambeau Field does, what happens to those “extra” tickets? Season ticket holders complain about being compelled to buy preseason tickets. How do you suppose the thousands who wouldn’t even have tickets to sell or give away would react?

A much better way to celebrate the history of the Packers is to learn it and relate it.

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Since'61's picture

June 08, 2019 at 09:16 am

DThomas - excellent post, I agree. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Since'61's picture

June 08, 2019 at 09:13 am

Cory I appreciate your zeal for Packers history however I doubt if many non-Packer fans would watch a Packers pre-season game.

The Packers are unique not because of their humble origins but because of the resilience of their fans. To this day the Packers remain a non-profit organization. That alone makes the Packers a rare entity in the corporate world of professional sports. Add to that the fact that Packer fans have reached into their own pockets on numerous occasions to keep the team afloat.

Over 300,000 of us contributed to the last 2 stock offerings to support the team’s efforts to improve their facilities and stadium.

The Packers represent the best of professional sports in America. Both the past and the present are represented in Green Bay.

As for educating the public on Packers history I am afraid that is a dismal prospect. In a recent survey of 1200 college age Americans only 41% could identify the names of the nations which the U.S. defeated in WW2. Less than 20% could name the opposing forces in the U.S. Civil War. Worse yet less than 70% could point out the U.S. on a globe that had the names of the countries blank. On a blank map of the U.S. a little over 50% could correctly point out their home state. Given those pitiful results what chance do we have to educate the public about our Packers?

Cory, I wish you the best of luck in your efforts. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Bert's picture

June 08, 2019 at 09:24 am

Pretty sad Since 61 but you are correct. Seems like most people view history as a waste of time these days. For most, nothing relevant or important happened before they started junior high.

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Since'61's picture

June 08, 2019 at 10:14 am

Regrettably true. Not enough emphasis is placed on history through either the school system, especially the elementary level, or in the home.

As David McCullough said a few years ago, “We are creating a second generation of historical illiterates.” This is one of the primary reasons why we have had and continue to have a leadership crises in this country for the last 20+ years.

As the generation of people who remember the horrors of WW2 passes on we hope that their spirit will engender the re-emergence of our “better angels” (Abraham Lincoln) to protect and preserve our country’s values.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Bert's picture

June 08, 2019 at 12:15 pm

I know people who get their "history" from watching movies. They can tell you all about the Romans because they saw "Gladiator". Sad.

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splitpea1's picture

June 08, 2019 at 10:08 pm

Maybe one of the reasons American history is de-emphasized is because some segments of the population do not have such a glamorous history in this country. They don't need to be reminded by how they were screwed by the Presidential election of 1876 or how they were treated when they returned home from WW2. Given the changing demographics of the country, maybe others don't appreciate the great job President Polk did. Or the Exclusion Acts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And so on and so forth.

Right or wrong, there are probably some factions within the education system that are embarrassed to teach this stuff and do not regard it as essential.

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 08, 2019 at 11:05 am

History has been erased from required learning. Education is now a scam.

We are knocking hard on the door of no return in this country known as Socialism.

I ponder who is worse...those demanding Socialism or those who allowed it's rise to this level today.

That sickness which has infiltrated our Government, schools and proclaim a society of major cities being over run with drugs and violence, willingly enacted to protect and enhance such demeanor, is the path that is best for all.

2020 will be a major election year, many had best think about what is coming regardless of it's outcome and the history of the Packers will be so inconsequential as the History of this Country has become.
You worry of the Packer history, worry more about why your State Capital is flying a LGBT flag instead of only the US flag and State flag.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

June 08, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Good lord, shut up

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Bure9620's picture

June 08, 2019 at 01:02 pm

Taryn, Socialism is not born out of disinformation or misinformation but disinformation becomes one of the byproducts of a socialist state or any Autocracy for that matter, Socialist or not. Disinformation is the vehicle to which Authoritarians maintain power and increase it.

Unlike most posters on here, I am an immigrant, I was born in an Autocratic regime known as the Soviet Union. My family, half them lied to and murdered by the the Soviet state, defected and brought me to America. Ronald Reagan was President then, his message to immigrants like myself was if you are tired, hungry, oppressed and lied to come to Amercia, work hard and realize your dreams. He talked about the importance of democracy and a free press. He spoke about the importance of truth and the danger of tyranny, and that the vehicle to truth is indeed democracy.
America was a shining city on a hill, remember that party?

It no longer exists. I really dont see many differences between Trump and other Autocrats disinformation campaigns, this is likely why he is so comfortable with them. He accepts Putin's lies and corruption and aspires to be much like him. A plutocrat. This why he undermined his own intelligence organizations on stage with Putin and sides with Putin over America.
I realize many Trump supporters think it is somehow cute to refer to the news and media as fake, but I actually started my life in a society where the news literally was fake. The truth is whatever the state says the truth is, intellectual curiosity was punished. I cannot put into words the importance of free media and free speech, as these are freedoms not enjoyed by all. Autocrats seek to undermine truth, limit knowledge undermine truth tellers.

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4thand1's picture

June 08, 2019 at 01:53 pm

You got a dislike Bure from one of the kool-ade drinkers.

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IceBowl's picture

June 08, 2019 at 03:34 pm

Bure9620,

Glad you made it here. Stories like yours are not heard often enough. We have been so babied and mislead we think what sex we want to be (for ex.) is an important consideration.

We have a Constitution for many, many good reasons. And free speech is amd #1.

And you choose the right team to have free speech with.

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IceBowl's picture

June 09, 2019 at 03:44 pm

Tarynfor12 ,

Yes the Country/Constitution is the more/most important. No sport is even close. I'm pretty sure people here would agree.

You are also correct that socialism is making huge inroads in our society. Lack of history (ie: Socialism has failed everywhere tried) makes accepting/expecting socialism a more real option for those that do not know.

But those issues are for a politics blog, not the CHTV fun Packer site.

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splitpea1's picture

June 08, 2019 at 08:40 pm

A little variety once in a while is nice. There's nothing going on in football now, anyway.

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splitpea1's picture

June 08, 2019 at 08:34 pm

I love it!

You can blame the warped "news" media and their alliances with the political duopoly for a lot of the aforementioned problems. Their goal is to distract the public from the real issues and keep them preoccupied with a bunch of petty and interpersonal nonsense. And as for the people in these nasty inner cities that keep electing the same kind of do-nothing leaders--you have to question their sanity. The only way these places are ever going to get cleaned up is to adopt a mentality that is pretty much the opposite of what it is now. It's probably not going to happen voluntarily.

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IceBowl's picture

June 09, 2019 at 03:46 pm

splitpea1,

Sadly, too true.

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packerbackerjim's picture

June 09, 2019 at 10:21 am

Seriously, that’s what you worry about Snowflake?

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packerbackerjim's picture

June 09, 2019 at 10:22 am

Previous comment directed to Taryn.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 10, 2019 at 02:51 am

Bure, most of my in-laws and a quite a few friends of mine grew up in a USSR satellite state. My son did a school project a few years ago and interviewed five people who lived under Communism. The results were interesting, but the sample size was too small to rely upon. If I were to generalize nevertheless, the older people hated communism more than the younger folks (though I don't think it got any better than "it wasn't so bad").

The 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest just occurred (June 4). Chinese officials don't recognize the date as having any significance and it certainly won't be taught or even allowed to be discussed in schools. Mind, some topics apparently can't be discussed at Marquette University either. It seems possible that in the big scheme of things, Tiananmen Square will not be terribly significant.

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LambeauPlain's picture

June 08, 2019 at 10:13 am

The Packers celebrated 100 year history as a team last year. This year will be their 100th anniversary in the NFL....also the league’s 100th year of existence.

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wildbill's picture

June 08, 2019 at 11:05 am

You mentioned the $454.9 million on revenue but we only netted $72.8 million. And that was a 49% increase on 2016. Sounds like a lot of money until you take into consideration that the Packers need a large reserve for any building upgrades, increases in costs, expansions such as Tittletown district, etc. just like the Green Bay Area can’t afford to lose the revenue of a home game by playing it overseas, I don’t think the Packers should take a big revenue hit either. And what about the fans that won’t fit in City Stadium that would have had a seat in Lambeau? Plus I agree that most non-Packer fans couldn’t care less of our great heritage. Nice thought but a bad idea.

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IceBowl's picture

June 08, 2019 at 09:57 pm

wildbill,

I am not arguing. I do not know the money numbers.

Assuming you are correct, I want to be working in the Pack's front office.

Man, they spend a lot of money. (a bit more than my retirement)

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PatrickGB's picture

June 08, 2019 at 01:20 pm

If it was closer, I would go to any and all preseason games. But I live elsewhere. I have met many Packer fans who have never even been to Wisconsin. There are a lot of non resident Packer fans. For many GB and Milwaukee locals, season tickets are a cash cow and sold to non fans. TV announcers claim that Packer fans travel and while some of that is true. Yet, it’s also true that many of us who don’t live in Wisconsin go to games whenever we can travel shorter distances and afford the ticket. I have found that often tickets to “away” games are cheaper than “home” games. Still, despite my rant, I want the team to thrive and do what it needs to stay solvent. Go Pack Go!

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IceBowl's picture

June 08, 2019 at 10:03 pm

PatrickGB,

I really didn't know until my daughter graduated Madison and moved for her job. In San Diego she spent Sat at a Bucky bar and Sun at a Packer bar. She has found Packer bars everywhere she has gone.

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IceBowl's picture

June 09, 2019 at 03:14 pm

Corey,

You start out with an idea and then say it won't work. I say where there is a will, there is a way. (Nostalgic right?)

The Packers should celebrate their unique history. Maybe they can't work out a preseason game at City Stadium for seating and financial reasons, but they could produce a "Packer History and Feel" presentation before (or after) a preseason game. Video on the (undersized - editorial comment) jumbo's with plenty of on field additions - guest appearances. (Pack playing in original uniforms?)

No ticket issues, same, if not more revenue opportunities and Packer history.

And less gripping about having to purchase pre-season games (at least for 1 game) And please don't start arguing about Green or Gold package.

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