Hello Wisconsin: Charles Woodson Takes His Rightful Place Among Football’s Immortals

The Hall of Fame welcomes Charles Woodson (and Bobby Dillon), Wisconsin Beer of the Week, State Fair, Family Night and more!

Over the weekend, Charles Woodson was formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, officially taking his place among the greatest to ever play the game.

It’s always special to see a Packer get inducted into the Hall of Fame, but there was something particularly enjoyable about seeing Woodson get the honor.

Woodson has a firm place in my Mount Rushmore of all-time favorite Packers, for a wide range of reasons; his versatility, his swagger, his off-field personality. 

But perhaps most of all is the fact that Woodson came to Green Bay begrudgingly in 2006, with no real other offers on the table, only to end up loving the town and the team.

Woodson was a rare free agent pickup by the late Ted Thompson, a guy that immediately made a mammoth impact:

I’m not sure even the most optimistic supporters and staff members of the Packers could have seen what was to come from Woodson in his time in Green Bay. While Woodson arrived as a big name and one-time star whose luster had started to dull, in Green Bay he saw a career rebirth and all of his best years of football, which ultimately made him a Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest defensive back of all time.

 

Be sure to read the entire thread above.

Ultimately, history will remember Woodson as a Packer, and this wouldn’t even be a particularly controversial statement if he’d retired with the team. But it was his years as a Packer that turned Woodson into a legend. He was a machine, racking up gaudy numbers and performing all over the field, while also delivering some moments that will be a part of Packer legend forever.

The one I’ll always come back to will be his post-NFC Championship speech in the locker room, which he ended with a now-immortal quote:

“If the President don’t wanna come watch us in the Super Bowl, then guess what--we’ll go see him!

Woodson only played seven years in the green and gold, but he will forever have an indelible place in Packers history. The effect he had on this team and the respect he had from his contemporaries in the locker room has been unmatched by any other player in my adulthood watching the Packers.

How ‘bout that family night?

Meanwhile, bringing the focus back to current Packers…

The annual Family Night scrimmage returned this weekend for the first time since 2019, and it was sure a sight for sore eyes. Seeing all those fans packed into Lambeau Field, for a PRACTICE, in a downpour, was really special and made me realize how much I’d taken having fans in the stands for granted for so many years.

Now, you always want to be careful about making any judgments of the team or players based on practice, even in a more formal scrimmage setting provided by family night. But it was great to see Jordan Love chucking the ball around the field, including a couple really nice balls with a higher degree of difficulty. We’re a long way from being certain what the Packers have in him, but one thing is clear: the man can throw.

The defense seemed to get the better of the offense for much of the evening, which isn’t surprising. Offenses tend to take longer than defenses to get back into the flow of things in a new season, and the inclement weather of the evening would have made matters difficult, particularly in the passing game.

Devin Funchess had a good practice, which is important for someone competing for one of the bubble roster positions at wide receiver.

But most importantly, the Packers came away from the evening without any injuries. That’s huge.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

If you followed this column last year, you know just how much I love my Milwaukee nanobreweries, and 1840 Brewing Company is easily my favorite of those. It’s been great over the last few months to be able to get back out to their tap room, which re-opened to the public in May. Great beer on tap just hits different, as great as their stuff is out of a bottle!

The brewery recently had its fourth anniversary, and as part of its celebrations, it released four brand new beers, one of which is this beautiful beer you see above. It’s called Summer Mike, and boy oh boy is it a great summer beverage.

This ale is fermented in stainless with lime, mango, guava, pineapple and papaya. That may sound like a lot of fruit, but this isn’t a beer that has an overly fruity flavor. If anything, it serves more to accentuate the flavors that are produced from the barrel aging process that followed fermentation.

After fermentation, the beer was aged in “pink” Tequila barrels, those being tequila barrels that had previously been used for red wine. 

So the flavor here is boozy. You get a sour, hard flavor that comes with the aging process and a lot of tequila taste, but it’s cut and softened a bit by the presence of the fruit. It has a very margarita-like taste to it; the lime shows up more than any of the other fruit flavors.

Every time I write about any kind of beer that includes fruit in the brewing process there are inevitably folks who complain about it not being “real beer.” But this beer is a masterclass in modern brewing and a delicious summer treat. At eight percent it’s not one you’re going to drink all day long, but if you’re out on a patio in the evenings, it hits perfectly, especially when paired with some chips and salsa.

It’s on tap now at 1840’s tap room in Bay View. If you’re in the Milwaukee area, head over and check it out.

Next week I’ll have something that’s a bit more up the beer purists’ alley!

Let’s not forget Bobby Dillon

We already discussed Charles Woodson’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but we should be sure to dedicate some space to Bobby Dillon as well. 

Now, I should admit that I was ignorant to Dillon’s greatness before it was announced he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I knew he was the team’s all-time interception leader, but I know a lot of random trivia about the team without knowing much about the players. 

Dillon’s time with the Packers predates the football consciousness of the vast majority of the people likely to be reading this article, so chances are you also were not well-versed in his greatness.

Dillon played for the team in the 1950s, which is a dark decade for the Packers falling between Curly Lambeau’s departure and the arrival of Vince Lombardi. He overlapped with Lombardi for just one season, in fact, his career in Green Bay ending before the team’s legendary run took off. That year, the 1959 season, was the only winning season he experienced in Green Bay.

Dillon tallied 52 interceptions over those eight seasons, and in three separate seasons (1953, 1955 and 1957) intercepted nine passes.

Dillon also played with a glass eye for his entire career after he lost an eye in an accident as a child.

The man earned a lot of praise from other Hall of Famers and Packer legends, including VInce Lombardi and Ron Wolf. It was a long overdue induction, and it is unfortunate that Dillon died just two years before getting to see himself enshrined in Canton. But it is better late than never, and it’s great to see a man who could easily have become a forgotten Packer get some time in the spotlight this weekend, more than sixty years after his playing career ended. 

It’s electric!

Earlier today I tweeted the following:

This post got a larger response than expected. And I have to say, I was quite surprised that nearly a third of the 300-plus respondents (at the time of this writing) said they have never heard of electric football before.

Commenters on this site tend to be older than the folks who interact with our content on Twitter, but for the uninitiated among you, electric football was a game that featured a metal electric “field” and plastic football players on little adjustable bases. When you’d turn on the electricity, the field would vibrate (with a loud, unforgettable buzzing noise) and the players would move forward… if you were lucky. Oftentimes they’d just spin in circles, the source of much frustration for seven-year-old Tim.

You would set the players up in formations and designate a runner of the football, or attempt a “pass” by throwing the little miniature foam football at your intended receiver while the players were moving. Passing was so difficult that usually we just ended up running the football and creating some wild bunch formations.

My field was given to me as a child as a birthday present a few months after Super Bowl XIX, in which the San Francisco 49ers eviscerated the San Diego Chargers with six touchdown passes by Steve Young. The set came with the figures of the two Super Bowl teams. 

But my dad was an electric football aficionado in the 1960s, and still had all of his old players, some of which he hand-painted. I’ve still got all of the sets from the other NFL teams that existed at the time.

I would usually start off by trying to simulate an actual football game, but eventually I’d get bored with that and start making mini-games with the players. I’d do a lot of races, for example, and try to see which players I could get to “run” the straightest and fastest. I also enjoyed a Red Rover-style of game in which I’d line up the players on opposite sides of the field and just let them ram into each other.

So anyway, electric football certainly could be frustrating, but it was a staple of my childhood and my early years as a football fan. 

In my responses, I was certainly among the younger of the folks who had electric football growing up--most of the others who responded were in their 40s and 50s, and those in their 30s (like myself) seemed to either have older siblings who were into it or were introduced to it by their father.

I’d like to see continued responses on this, so if you were an electric football player at any point, be sure to leave a comment saying so, because I was surprised at just how many people didn’t know anything about it!

Mason Crosby: a model of consistency

Mason Crosby has played in every single Packer game since 2007. Heading into year 15 of his career, he seems to only be getting better with age. He made every single field goal he attempted last season, and still has outstanding range for deep kicks. There aren’t many kickers you’d take over him in the league at the moment.

In his media availability Monday afternoon, Crosby said he would enjoy having the opportunity to play into his 40s, but can’t think that far ahead. His current contract expires after the 2022 season, after which the Packers will have to assess Crosby’s skills and weigh those against his age and potential cost.

If Crosby continues to play at the level of the last couple years, one would think he’s got a very high chance of getting yet another contract in Green Bay. Kickers can play for a long time, and as we’ve seen in Chicago and Minnesota over recent years, the last thing you want is to be in a situation in which you do not have kicking consistency. 

Crosby has come a long way since his troubles of the early 2010s. He’s a lock to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame someday, and whenever he leaves Green Bay, he will do so as a long-time fan favorite. 

State Fair is upon us once again!

I was hoping today would be my day to get out to the Wisconsin State Fair, but alas, we’re beset with rain and thunderstorms all day long, which would have made it less than desirable to haul out my three year old and my eleven month olds to the fairgrounds in West Allis. 

But I do hope to get out sometime this week. I’m a big fan of the State Fair. I enjoy the animals, but of course, the real attraction is the food.

There’s the Milwaukee Bucks milk stand (which I heard a rumor isn’t happening this year?!?!?!), which is always a hoot. The massive variety of fried foods (the fried Brandy Old Fashioned the other year is one I’ll always remember), the exotic meats, the dairy products, the everything-you-could-possibly-think-of-on-a-stick. The kitschiness of it all is just fantastic. 

Looking forward to finally getting out there this week and experiencing it again. The last time we took our oldest he was still too young to really enjoy it, but I think he’d get a big kick out of it all this year, especially the animals.

It’s Texans week

For the first time in nearly two years, the Packers will play a preseason game this weekend, meaning we’re finally going to get to see Jordan Love in his very first live game action. So while it may be “just” preseason, it’s a pretty big deal.

But there are plenty of other players that I’m interested in seeing. We essentially have two draft classes worth of players that haven’t really had a chance to hit the field yet.

Of last year’s rookies, very few saw significant playing time, but more are expected to be key contributors in 2021. We know what the Packers have in AJ Dillon and have at least had a chance to see Kamal Martin, but players like Love, Josiah Deguara, Jon Runyan and Vernon Scott haven’t had nearly the same opportunities to showcase themselves yet.

Meanwhile, this year’s draft class will be put on display for the first time. What can rookie Eric Stokes do against competition that isn’t literally the best QB-WR tandem in the game? How involved will Amari Rodgers be in the Packers’ offense? Will TJ Slaton push bodies around with impunity?

There are a whole lot of questions about the underside of the roster, and preseason is where we see some of those things start to play out. I, for one, can’t wait.

Go Pack.

 

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

3 points

Comments (20)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Since'61's picture

August 09, 2021 at 04:17 pm

HOF is a well deserved honor for Woodson.
When I was small my older brother and I had an old Hasnro electric football game my Dad bought in the mid- fifties. It was terrible but we still had fun. Then when I turned 9 he bought a new set for me. Supposedly they were much improved, NOT! The players still ran in circles or the wrong way! The only difference was that it was a little quieter, the players were better detailed and the field had bleachers.

Still had fun with it until the next year when I got an Aurora HO slot car set, which I still have and still works to this day. The electric football games are long gone. In the meanwhile the Lombardi Packers were winning championships. Great times! Thanks, Since ‘61

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Alberta_Packer's picture

August 09, 2021 at 05:34 pm

As much as I will remember Woodson as a superb football player - I will also think of him for his humanitarian efforts - notably his gift of 2 million dollars to the University of Michigan Children's and Women's Hospital.

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jurp's picture

August 09, 2021 at 05:53 pm

First, your description of the beer of the week sounded a lot like a wapatooie I got sick on in 1977 - and if I want something that tastes like a margarita, I'll have a margarita, thank you :)

Now on to something more important...

Not only did I have an electric football game (ca. 1970), but my older brother and I had a Photo-electric Football Game. This was simply a cardboard box with a lightbulb in it, under a translucent piece of plastic (I think. Might've been paper). One player was offense, the other was defense, and each had a set of cards with plays on them. The offense's were a light green with a white stripe indicating the runner's path through the defense (passes were broken lines); the defense had yard markers and traditional Xs, one for each player, in a typical defensive alignment. Offense would put his card face down on the plastic/paper, defense would put his face up, and then you'd turn the light on - if a defense's X hit the offense's path, then that was a tackle or interception. A lot of fun. My mom threw our set out when I left home, and I will always regret not buying the one I saw in an antique store in the 90s for $60 - could've played it with my kids :(

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Tingham's picture

August 09, 2021 at 07:38 pm

Wish I could give yuo two thumbs up. One for the wapatooie reference and the second for photo-electric football. I loved it and thought is was so much more real than my electric football game.

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stockholder's picture

August 09, 2021 at 06:20 pm

This is a great article. I believe your best. Well Done. Excellent! I had a Tudor electric football game. Such Fun! Great memories. Thanks.

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splitpea1's picture

August 09, 2021 at 06:21 pm

I've never heard of electric football, either. But I have plenty of experience with paper football (a popular study hall activity) and foosball (love the metallic thud when the ball is slammed inside the goal!).

I've never understood the craft beer craze, either. What, Duff and Fudd aren't good enough for everyone?

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Since'61's picture

August 09, 2021 at 07:58 pm

Splitpea1 as an FYI you can still buy an electric football game on Amazon. Maybe the players run in the correct direction with the new editions. Thanks, Since ‘61

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splitpea1's picture

August 09, 2021 at 08:25 pm

It says it's for ages 8 and up, but I get the feeling I'm a little old for it....

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Since'61's picture

August 10, 2021 at 08:59 am

Regrettably solitpea1 our time has past for electric football. However, I just thought you should be aware it’s still available if your curious enough to want to check it out. Be well.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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SanLobo's picture

August 09, 2021 at 09:52 pm

Electric football has a strong niche following. I have a neighbor who routinely hosts numerous otherwise fully grown men at his home for electric football tournaments. They have an Association, a league, coaches…
He’s a commercial artist and has meticulously hand painted the players and fields to match College and Pro teams. He did a beautiful snowy Lambeau.

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Since'61's picture

August 10, 2021 at 08:56 am

SanLobo - your neighbor sounds very dedicated. How do they get the players to actually move in the right directions?
Thanks, Since ‘61

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SanLobo's picture

August 10, 2021 at 09:24 am

LOL…I have no clue! I have never gone over and watched them play. I know they take it serious as I’ve seen FB posts about the modifications they can (and cannot) make to players to better control their movements.
I seriously considered offering to buy the hand painted Lambeau field though. It was striking in its detail, precision and artistry. I would put it under glass and turn it into a coffee table for the TV (Packer Game day) room.

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ImaPayne's picture

August 09, 2021 at 11:27 pm

What I dont know is do these guys go in as a player from team X. Woodson split his time with Oakland and the Pack but got a SB with the pack. Maybe they downplay that now and just honor the player all the teams they played on?

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SanLobo's picture

August 10, 2021 at 09:32 am

Players don’t go into the HOF as from a team, unlike how they choose a team to retire from. They go in as themselves. But, the HOF will sell memorabilia and souvenirs in team colors for that player. For instance Woodson has T-shirts for sale in Green and Gold as well as Black and Silver. Also, you can buy pennants listing all the HOF players for your team there, and Woodson will appear on both the Packers and Raiders pennants.
Source: Me…in a previous life my organization had a partnership with the HOF and I spent a huge amount of time with them.

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ImaPayne's picture

August 09, 2021 at 11:30 pm

I have a special place in my heart for this guy because I was in Michigan and am a big M fan -until recently roll tide, when he played there. Then he went to Oakland and so did I via the Navy. Then he came to GB, I to Ill then Minn but became a packer fan so I kind of followed him around the country. Hell of a player

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NickPerry's picture

August 10, 2021 at 05:39 am

HAHA... This was great...I had an electric football game. It was a Christmas gift when I was about 6 or 7 IIRC, (1966 or 67). My game had the Packers vs (WHO CARES) and I still remember the ONLY formation I could run which was basically unstoppable, BUT the player with the ball did move forward!!

I recorded the HOF night and fast-forwarded to Woodson's speech. It seemed to be all Raiders fans. The ascot Woodson wore LOOKED like it was silver & black which sorta bummed me out. While I totally agree that Woodson doesn't get in the HOF without coming to Green Bay, I's not as convinced he'll be remembered as a Packer even though he should be. Without GB he's not in the Hall.

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Hematite's picture

August 10, 2021 at 07:57 am

Being a Michigan Wolverines fan, I loved having Woodson play for the Packers.
I sure would like to try that beer!
I had an electric football game, my best friend across the street had a photo electric football game.
We played those games regularly when we were about 8 to10 years of age.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

August 10, 2021 at 08:25 am

Wow, thanks for digging up the memory of my old electric football game! My set from the early 70s featured the Packers and Lions. You must have had the deluxe set if yours had adjustable bases! My green bases weren’t adjustable unless you count bending the little plastic “hairs” on the bottom to try to get your player to stop running in circles. The field buzzed and bounced so much that at times the players had difficulty just standing up and hanging onto that little felt football! That game was a staple of my childhood until Mattel’s handheld electronic football came out 1977. I wore my Mattel unit out as I played it constantly!

Would love to see some follow-up posts on other vintage football games. I had a card-based game I played for hours in my youth but can’t remember the name. Sadly my parents tossed them all out after I left for college. Currently the only football-based board game we own is NFL Game Day which surprisingly is fun to play!

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

August 10, 2021 at 08:46 am

Woodson has been one of our greatest defensive backs, right up there with our nine time all pro defensive back, Willie Wood. He was signed as a free agent and became a "Super-Safety" who was the only player on the Packers team who could jump up high enough to touch his elbows on the crossbars of the goal posts. Imagine having both Woodson and Wood in their prime on our team today...

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stevebooth8739@gmail.com's picture

August 10, 2021 at 10:01 am

I too remember Electric Football and it's lack of control drove me nuts. I'm 64. I find it interesting that some folks have so much passion about it.

Charles Woodson was and is incredible. What a great coach he (and LeRoy Butler) would make.

Thanks for the article. Certainly a worthwhile read.

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