Hello Wisconsin: 5 Reasons for Packer Fans to Be Thankful This Year

Yet another year to be thankful for Packers football.

Good morning and happy Thanksgiving all of you who are reading this column on the holiday! I hope you’re all able to enjoy some time with football, family, friends and food. It’s my favorite holiday of the year, and I’m very excited for everything that lies ahead for the day.

In my Thanksgiving Day column last year, I sprinkled a few reasons throughout the article for why I was thankful for the Green Bay Packers. In the spirit of the holiday, I decided to revisit that once again this year.

So here you are: five reasons for Packer fans to be thankful this year.

1. Public ownership structure

The recent stock sale was yet another reminder of the benefits associated with not having an owner.

There’s no arrogant billionaire capable of holding the city or county hostage for tax dollars for improvements or a new stadium, or threatening to move the team if they don’t get their personal palace funded for them.

There’s no tycoon without any football experience or knowledge meddling in the everyday affairs of the team.

The Packers’ public ownership structure also gives insight into NFL finances that the league would very, very much rather keep private. You can see why that ownership structure is outlawed throughout the rest of the league.

The Packers are the Packers because of the public ownership structure. While the stock may not be stock in the traditional sense, it is a fantastic symbol of the unique connection between the team and its fans, and a great way for the team to remain financially competitive in a tiny market without having to unfairly tax local residents.

2. Matt LaFleur is the coach

I think Packer fans are generally quite thankful for Aaron Rodgers, who has done a significant amount to make this team competitive for the last 14 years. But Matt LaFleur still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the job he’s done, in my opinion.

When LaFleur was hired, there were a lot of “meh” responses around the internet. After his first press conference, people panicked, saying the Packers hired a greenhorn who was in over his head.

LaFleur has proved a lot of people wrong. The team has nine regular season losses across most of three seasons. The culture of the team has completely changed under his watch, and the offense was brought into the modern era. He’s done a great job of bringing in talented assistants who have made a big difference as well, many of whom will likely soon be in contention for promotions of their own (something we didn’t see much under Mike McCarthy). 

LaFleur was exactly the right coach at the right time for this team.

3. Lambeau Field

If there are any of you reading this who have not been fortunate enough to get to Lambeau Field for a game at least once in your life, I would strongly encourage you to do whatever is in your power to make it happen. It truly is a unique, special experience.

Walking out from the concourse into the stands is a really special experience. And if you’re able to get the stadium tour, you actually get to walk through the tunnel and out into the field itself. 

Just thinking about it gives me chills. There’s been so much magic that has happened in that space and there is a history there that doesn’t exist at most American sports venues.

Moreover, the fact that it is one of the few remaining stadiums that has not sold off naming rights is something I VERY much appreciate.

What a special thing to have all to our own as Packer fans.

4. Great football

There are always going to be vocal minority who screams and whines about “ONLY TWO SUPERBOWLS!” but this fanbase has been so incredibly blessed by the football gods over the last three decades. All except maybe one or two fanbases would gladly switch places with Packer fans. Nearly uninterrupted success, hall of fame quarterback play, meaningful football every year, incredible victories (and yes, heartwrenching defeats). 

The fan experience is absolutely incredible, and once again we have a team that could potentially challenge for a championship.

Can never take that for granted.

5. Tremendous organizational history

This kind of goes along with the previous point, but what other organization in the NFL has a history as rich as the Packers?

13 championships. More than a couple dozen Hall of Famers. Legends of the business. The league’s trophy bears the name of the team’s greatest coach. The Ice Bowl. The Instant Replay game. Chester Marcol. Bart Starr. Brett Favre playing after his father’s death. Aaron Rodgers taking over for a legend. Curly Lambeau’s rivalry with George Halas. Randall Cobb’s game winners.

You could go on and on. 

I’m so thankful to be a Packers fan.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

Last year around this time I wrote about Untitled Art’s delicious Hazelnut Imperial Stout. Well the good folks at Untitled Art rolled out a nice surprise earlier this fall when they released a barrel-aged version of that same beer. 

This delicious beverage comes in at 13% ABV and is as thick as molasses. It’s sweet, smooth and hits the spot on a chilly fall or winter evening, with a nice hazelnut taste that isn’t too overpowering and a barrel aged flavor that finishes pleasantly instead of harshly.

Lately Untitled Art brews have been getting a little overly sweet for my tastes, but this one has found a really nice balance between sweetness and booziness, and it’s no wonder it’s earned a whopping 4.43 rating on Untappd out of more than 10,000 check-ins.

You may still be able to find this one at your local liquor store. I purchased it a month or so back from Woodman’s.

It’s stout season, folks!

EXTRA BEER: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite beer days of the year, because it’s one of the several days in which I bust out some of my rare beers/bombers to share with friends and family. These are beers I’ve kept aging for months or years and have been waiting for an opportunity to split with some of my favorite people.

Here are a few that I’m anticipating will make an appearance:

  • All Too Well (2021) by 1840 Brewing Company, Flanders Red Ale/Sour. 6% ABV, fermented with a Belgian yeast strain in stainless in June of 2019, refermented and aged in second-use wine barrels with a mixed culture of yeast and bacteria for 25 months.

 

  • Black Friday (2019) by Lakefront Brewery, Russian Imperial Stout, 13.2% ABV. Chocolatey stout with caramel and roasted malts with vanilla and oak flavor.

 

  • Witchcraft (2015) by Brenner Brewing Company, 13.5% ABV. I’ve had this one aging for six years. The last bottle of one of my all-time favorite beers, brewed by a company that no longer exists and never really made anything else worthwhile. A true unicorn. A Russian Imperial Stout aged for a year in bourbon barrels and virgin Missouri oak barrels with nine malt varieties, molasses, honey and Anodyne coffee.

 

  • Old Friends From Young Years (2021) by 1840 Brewing Company, Biere de Garde, 9.3% ABV. Brewed in July 2019 and fermented with a Norwegian farmhouse yeast in a third-use oak puncheon. After over a year of primary fermentation/maturation in oak, moved to stainless with blueberry and blackberry for another year.

 

  • Twenty (2018) by Central Waters Brewing Company, Barrel-Aged Stout, 13.5% ABV. Central Waters’ 20th anniversary stout, featuring a blend of several barrel-aged stouts each aged at least two years. Cellared for another three at my home.

Cheers from my Thanksgiving celebration to yours.

Around the NFC North

Here we go once again around the NFC North leading into week 12.

-The CHICAGO BEARS are rumored to be firing head coach Matt Nagy after today’s game against the Lions, rumors that Nagy himself immediately shot down at his press conference on Tuesday. How could would that be, firing the guy on Thanksgiving? I get that you want to do it going into the mini-bye to give an interim coach a bit more of a shot, but sheesh. Regardless of what happens with Nagy’s job this week, he’s essentially a dead man walking for the remainder of the season, so I guess they may as well rip the Band-Aid off, holidays be damned.

-The DETROIT LIONS once again get to torture the entirety of America as we’re forced to watch them play Thanksgiving Day football. To me though, there’s something soothing and reassuring about seeing the Lions getting pasted every Thanksgiving. It really is the kickoff to the holiday season. Plus, maybe this week they’ll manage to make Nagy look good enough to convince the Bears to give him more time.

-The MINNESOTA VIKINGS are certainly a matchup problem for the Packers, and are capable of being a good football team. The problem is this team swings wildly from one week to the next so you never know who’s going to show up. They could end up being a tough out in the postseason, they could get demolished in the first round, or they could utterly collapse and fail to get there at all--literally any of these outcomes is within the realm of possibility for this team. Anyway, Paul Allen is a douchebag.

Matt LaFleur: Officially the NFL’s hottest coach

It’s nothing we didn’t already know, but Matt LaFleur is totally the hottest coach in the league, and it’s official due to science, ya’ll.

Okay, so it’s a poll of 300-some women based on Google Images results. But still.

Oh wow, Matt LaFleur hottest coach confirmed.

h/t u/codesherpa on reddit pic.twitter.com/BPRZhFPqCZ

— r/GreenBayPackers on reddit (@redditPackers) November 24, 2021

LaFleur ranked first, edging out Miami’s Brian Flores, the Jets’ Robert Saleh, Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and the Rams’ Sean McVay. Women in the survey were asked to rank each coach on a 1-10 scale based on the first 10 photos returned by Google Images.

The man may not be getting the credit he deserves in Coach of the Year races, but at least he’s getting other much-deserved attention, amirite.

Also, ignore how high Bill Belichick is. Please.

 

The best Macy’s Parade attractions

As an avid Thanksgiving enthusiast and yearly viewer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I am very much looking forward to flipping on the parade this morning before football starts and having it on in the background while getting some last-minute cleaning done, and throwing some Thanksgiving dishes in the crockpot/oven.

Some of my personal favorite attractions, outside the Broadway performances:

  • The Tom Turkey float. Come on, it’s a classic!

  • Snoopy, in whatever form he arrives. Usually a balloon.

  • If not Snoopy, Charlie Brown and his football.

  • The Sesame Street float, because they always have some kind of ridiculous musical guest.

  • Al Roker being a goof on the parade route.

  • “That holiday superstar” himself, Santa Claus

I know some people find the parade corny, but it’s been a part of my Thanksgiving every year since I was a little kid and I’m excited to make it a part of my kids’ Thanksgivings as well.

Prediction for Packers vs. Rams

I know I didn’t exactly cover a whole lot of current events in this week’s column. Mostly trying to keep it light for the holiday, and also I’m just not feeling particularly good about this weekend.

The Packers are a tired team. Their coach has said as much. We’ve seen as much. And normally in circumstances where people are giving them little chance against their opponent, I tend to double down and say this is a team that’s going to surprise people.

But I just don’t see it this week. Down three offensive line starters (two of whom are all pros) against one of the best pass rushing teams in the league, it’s going to take a miraculous coaching display for the Packers to keep Rodgers upright and for this banged up offense to score enough points to win.

It’s a home game, which means it’s certainly not out of the question that the Packers pull off a crucial victory right before the bye. But this is a team that looks like it is desperate for a rest, and they’re running on fumes at the moment. Unfortunately, I don’t like the way this looks on paper.

Rams 30, Packers 20

 

 

__________________________

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.

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Comments (13)

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oceanstrength's picture

November 25, 2021 at 07:39 am

No, He 'called out' the right reporters of fake new: ALL of them.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 25, 2021 at 07:47 am

Great column Tim, as usual. One of my top 3 weekly reads on CHTV.

Watch Sunday, that is why they don't play the games on paper!

I also share your feelings of dread this week, however I also can remember my time in the CA Bay area and the Ronnie Lott quote "Same Ole Sorry-Ass Rams". I believe that quote and also that the Rams will find a way... to Lose!

GPG! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 25, 2021 at 07:50 am

PS - I sent the link to this article to many fans I know from other NFCN teams in a recruiting effort! Loving your team is great, but you should be actively recruiting to the faithful fan base.

PPS - I did not wear a white button down dress shirt and black tie and ride a bicycle to their homes to recruit them.

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Razer's picture

November 25, 2021 at 07:47 am

Thanks Tim for the cocktail of beer and football. Always a smart and fun read.

Coach Lafleur is certainly green and his inexperience has been at the bottom of some underwhelming football. But, his strengths outweigh the occassional weak game plan or questionable play call. He has pulled together a good staff and seems to be managing them well. I like that he doesn't let his ego lead his efforts. It is the only way that it was going to work with Rodgers and it works. The day is coming when he will need to put 'his' stamp on the team and get the Packers to play according to his vision.

...Anyway, Paul Allen is a douchebag... May be the best journalistic punchline of 2021. Thanks

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Coldworld's picture

November 25, 2021 at 08:07 am

I see this as a potential loss based purely on attrition. I’m actually less worried about Nijman being a significant downgrade verses Donald than the loss of Garvin to Covid.

Garvin is just decent, but, outside of Preston he’s the only reliable all down OLB unless Gary plays one handed. A one handed OLB is a significantly hampered beast. Unless Hamilton or someone from the PS really steps up, we are likely to really struggle to get outside pressure and this is a team where it’s been shown it’s going to take consistent harassment of the QB.

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Gee's picture

November 25, 2021 at 09:58 am

Yep your first sentence says it all, for me anyway. Add to that Rams bye week and giving McVay boys both rest and another week to prepare. Ugh if the pack can stop coming out flat they may keep it close enough to have a shot. Cause I'm no expert, but I figure the Rams will be going for the throat right off the hop, I mean going for it 4th, trick plays, fake punts all of it.

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Since'61's picture

November 25, 2021 at 09:03 am

Happy Thanksgiving to all Packer fans and our fellow bloggers here at CHTV.
We have much to be grateful for as Packers fans and as Americans.
Everyone enjoy your bird and the trimmings. Be safe.
GPG! Thanks, Since ‘61

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Gee's picture

November 25, 2021 at 09:59 am

Well said sir, and Happy Thanksgiving to guys down south, enjoy everything.

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NickPerry's picture

November 25, 2021 at 09:16 am

"The MINNESOTA VIKINGS are certainly a matchup problem for the Packers, and are capable of being a good football team."

Well, I don't know about that, especially missing Alexander, Smith, and Gary. Yes, Cook, Jefferson, and Thielen are a tough matchup for ANYONE. But when you're missing 2 All-Pros and a All Pro IMO this year in Gary it's tough. But that's why I'm bringing up the following.

I don' know how many of you listen to a Podcast called "Locked On Packers" but IMO it's one of the best Packers podcasts out there. The host is a gentleman named Peter Bukowski, who some of you might know from another Packers site APC.

Peter brought up an excellent point this past week on Mondays podcast I believe it was. He stated the Packers had a 40.6% pass rush PRESSURE rate vs the Vikings. Don't hold me to that exact percentage but it's over 40%, I remember that for sure.

My point is the Vikings got lucky IMO. That type of pressure is insane and a team facing that type of pressure won't usually do what Cousins did on Sunday. Lets not forget Cousins through up 4, maybe 5 lame duck passes that should have been picked...That's where they were lucky. Matter of fact I'd be willing to bet if Cousins faces a pressure rate like that over a 10 game stretch, the Vikings MIGHT win two, most likely one, considering Cousins record against a team with a winning record.

The Packers offense looked about as good as it has in any game this year for the last 38 minutes of the Vikings game. My hope is the offense plays for 60 minutes against the Rams and the rest of the season the way they did for those 38 minutes, IF they do that starting THIS week against the Rams, I have no doubt they'll beat the Rams IMO the most important game this year.

The Defense will bounce back and I think they'll be fine against the Rams. When they come back after a much deserved bye week they'll be better. Once, IF, Alexander, ZaDarius Smith, and Rashan Gary are back ( Praying to the football Gods) they'll be great!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and your families. I hope you all have a blessed and Happy Holiday!

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jont's picture

November 25, 2021 at 09:52 am

I'm with you, Nick.
Remember a few weeks ago when the Pack had pretty much no chance against the Cardinals? They showed toughness and hustle and simply outplayed a strong team. One more time!

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stockholder's picture

November 25, 2021 at 10:17 am

The Packers need to get healthy and in a big way. I'd give several stars the peppers treatment. It's time to manage their playing time. And Yes, I'm looking right at Adams , Clarke, and P. Smith. Put this game on the youngsters. Experiment all you want. Stafford will always be considered a Lion. A Loser. The change in atmosphere has worn off. And Donald isn't anything he once was. The Rams can be beat. And it's time LeFluer uses his youngsters.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 25, 2021 at 03:46 pm

Paul Allen is and has always been a douchebag. While his voice was restrained when he "took the high road" on Sunday, the emotions conveyed in his blather reminded me of my personal all-time favorite Paul Allen call:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UUeqvquXZI

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dobber's picture

November 26, 2021 at 06:28 am

"But I just don’t see it this week. Down three offensive line starters (two of whom are all pros) against one of the best pass rushing teams in the league, it’s going to take a miraculous coaching display for the Packers to keep Rodgers upright and for this banged up offense to score enough points to win."

People are putting a lot on this Rams defense, but for a 7-win team, they don't get to the QB very much with their pass rush. As you note, not as formidable a defense (on paper) as the one that came calling last January. They don't get to the QB as much as people think: low sack, pressure, and knockdown rates. They miss Brockers on the inside. They get some guys back this week, but they have to scheme pressure and they haven't been all that successful at it. The Packers will get their chances this week, and it's not Nijman I'm worried about. It's on Runyan, Patrick, and Newman to make it go, and the Packers will need to run at the edges of the Rams front.

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