A Packers Fan Offseason Survival Guide
by Dan Conklin
July 4, 2013
This is a reprise-slash-revision of a previous article that we publish every year around this time.
We have now gone several weeks without any real news about the Packers. We have already read everything we could about the new draft picks, free agent acquisitions (or lack thereof), and undrafted rookie free agents. We refreshed our memories on the promise we saw from last year's training camp surprises and practice squad players. We gobbled up every bit of information available on the OTA practices and minicamp. We have put together our own projected depth charts and opening day rosters. But now...we have three more weeks to wait until anything meaningful happens. THREE WEEKS!!! Entire wars have been fought in less time. God could create three more worlds during that time period. For those of us addicted to Packers information, this stretch leading up to training camp may seem nearly unbearable.
But somehow or other, for our families' sake if for nothing else, we have to find a way to make it through until training camp starts. We can't let ourselves become so irritable or depressed that we ruin our summer and theirs. So to help you through these next few weeks, we bring you the Official Packers Fan Off-season Survival Guide. Suggestions on things that you can do to help pass the time. Because, unlike Adam Sandler in the movie Click, we can't just hit the fast-forward button. We have to survive and thrive until the green-and-gold IV is coursing through our veins once again. Here are some ideas to start with:
1. Relive the last Packers Super Bowl victory by watching video highlights on NFL.com.
It's hard to believe that two seasons have passed already since the Packers brought a championship trophy back to Titletown, but if any of those memories are starting to get fuzzy it may be time to watch highlights of that victory over the Steelers. For added enjoyment, check out some video footage of Charles Woodson's locker room speech right after the Packers earned the right to go to the Super Bowl, and then check out the official White House coverage of when the Packers finally got to meet the President. (If that's not enough, you may find it useful to gain a little perspective by going back and seeing how much football has changed over the years by watching the NFL Films full-length feature on the Ice Bowl, which is out there on YouTube.)
2. Watch old locker room interviews of Packers players on Packers.com.
It's one thing to read articles about players, it's another thing to hear what they have to say directly from their own mouths. For me, it's almost as much fun watching the player interviews after practices and games as it is to watch the games themselves. I said almost...
Through these interviews, you get a feeling for their personalities, and you find yourself becoming more attached to certain players because of it. For example, long before he became a household name, I always loved watching interviews with Donald Driver. His infectious personality, sense of humor, and eternal optimism made it obvious why he was such a favorite in the locker room, and (not surprisingly) was able to become a national sensation on Dancing With The Stars.
3. Watch old press conferences on Packers.com.
It's interesting to follow Coach Mike McCarthy and the other coaches over time to see what they have to say about the team on a week-by-week basis. In so doing, you can get more insight into his leadership style, strategy, and growth. Of course, the daily injury reports can seem a little boring at this point in time, but you can use the fast-forward button for that.
4. Read great Packers books off of Paul Chronis's list on Amazon.com.
According to the Jenkins Group, only about 15% of Americans read books on a regular basis. I have to assume that if you're reading this right now, your likelihood of reading may be a little bit higher than that. But if indeed you are or want to become a reader, you can familiarize yourself with Packers history and personalities by reading one of more books from this list. Some of them can be purchased used for as little as $0.01 + shipping, and some may even be found for free on http://books.google.com/ . I remember reading Instant Replay by Jerry Kramer as a kid, and I'm sure that my teacher at the time was just happy that I was reading!
5. Watch some YouTube highlights of various Packers players or games.
Nothing works faster to build expectation for the coming season than to be reminded of just how good some of the Packers players are. For example, check out this highlight film of Jordy Nelson. If that doesn't get the green blood flowing, what does?
Someone has gone to a lot of work to edit and/or upload these videos of our favorite Packers players and in many cases put them to great music, so we owe it to them to watch them, right?
6. Familiarize yourself with the official NFL Rulebook, which is updated every year.
OK, I realize this is aimed at the more nerdy types, but it never hurts to know the rules better than the next guy. That way, if you're in a sports bar and an idiot Bears fan starts loudmouthing about a referee call, you can point out the official rule, help him see the error of his ways (other than the obvious error of following the wrong team), and demonstrate to everyone in the room what all of us already know: that Packers fans are the most sophisticated, knowledgeable, and level-headed fans in the entire football world.
7. Paint your room or entire house in Packers' colors with Home Depot.
You can have them mix paint to perfectly match the Packers' official colors for your living room, den, master bath, or exterior. It will create more of a sense of paradise and will certainly increase your home value. (DISCLAIMER: Packerpedia recommends that you actually get advice from your realtor as to the actual effect on home value, since there are some areas of the country where, mysteriously, it may actually have a negative effect.)
8. See what else is out there in the Packers web universe.
When we created this website, we went about the task of trying to come up with a comprehensive list of all the different Packers-related websites out there. We quickly realized that there may never be any such thing as a comprehensive list, because there seems to be no end of Packers stuff out there on the web. Right now, we already have links to over 250 different sites on what we believe is the Biggest Packers Link List on the Web, and the number seems to keep growing regularly. Whether it's a new blog you've never seen before, a player's charity site, or even a video channel devoted to the Green and Gold, you may be surprised to find what's out there for you to enjoy.
9. Enjoy the rich history between the Green Bay Packers and beer.
The Packers (and their fans) have always had a unique relationship with alcohol, dating all the way back to the Prohibition Era. One story from those days is that when coach Curly Lambeau first negotiated a contract with Johnny "Blood" McNally to play for the Packers, Lambeau reportedly offered McNally $110 a week if he wouldn't drink after Wednesday, versus only $100 a week if he did. McNally allegedly took the lesser amount.
Miller Beer has been a sponsor of the team going back to the 1940's, and in 1950, Frederick C. Miller, Miller Brewing Company president, worked as a voluntary assistant on the Green Bay coaching staff. Over the years, several Packers worked at Miller Brewing during the offseasons, and Ray Nitschke was no stranger to beer commercials himself:
So whether you're tipping back one of the microbrews named after Packers players from Titletown Brewing Company, or sipping a Wisconsin-only favorite like Spotted Cow, or even just downing a good old Miller Lite, keep this in mind: As you drink of that cup, do so in remembrance of the Green Bay Packers.
10. Do something fun and recreational with your family on a Sunday afternoon.
Apart from those weeks when the Packers play on a Monday or Thursday or have a bye week, they're not going to see much of you after September 8th. In the meantime, it may be a good idea to score some points with them over the next few weeks. Do some things that they like. Have some fun. Get to know them a little better. Let them know that you're multidimensional. As easy as it is to get caught up in all things Packers, it's good to remember that when all is said and done, it's just a game, and family is forever. So make some memories, enjoy your summer, and quietly, in the back of your mind, keep counting down the days until February 2, 2014, when Aaron Rodgers will once again be holding the Lombardi Trophy aloft and planning his trip to Disneyland.
Photo Credit: USA Today
Mike Conklin also contributed to this article.