Hello Wisconsin: A Historic Week for the Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are old enough and decorated enough that when you say an upcoming week is “historic,” you have to really mean it. And this week, I mean it.

There are two notable events for the Packers that are occurring/may occur this weekend.

Let’s start with the guaranteed one first: the Packers are playing their first ever regular season game overseas as the NFL’s final club to appear in the London series, which has existed since the 2007 season. Their opponent is another one of the NFL’s oldest franchises, the New York Giants, which debuted the London series that year against the Miami Dolphins.

The Packers had to give up a home game for this contest, so you can understand why head coach Matt LaFleur was a bit vexed by the entire circumstance of the game this week in his press conferences. 

But while the team’s rhythm may be thrown off, the competitive advantage of a home game will likely still be present. The Packers have a sizable fanbase overseas that has been hungrily waiting for the opportunity to see their favorite team in person. Given the length of that wait, I would expect the Packers to have the edge in terms of crowd noise. As soon as it was announced that the Packers would be playing in this game, international fan groups started organizing. They’re going to be ready.

It’s also a chance for Aaron Rodgers to finally play in the game, an opportunity he’s been quoted as wanting several times over the last decade. 

But the bigger potential for history that might occur this weekend hinges on a Packer victory (and some help).

With a win this weekend, and a Chicago Bears loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers would officially take over as the all-time franchise wins leader in NFL history. 

The Bears have held this mark since the 1920s, essentially since the total was at all worth looking at. This means for the first time basically in NFL history, the Bears will not be the NFL’s all-time wins leader. That honor will, instead, go to their arch nemesis.

The Packers have many franchise marks already, including the most important: most league championships. This adds yet another honor to the franchise and marks yet another milestone in the Packers’ decades-long ascent from the bowels of post-Lombardi mediocrity.

So assuming everything goes the Packers’ way this weekend, be sure to salute a milestone that’s 100-plus years in the making.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

Most of the time, I buy beer because I think I’ll like it. 

But every now and then, I buy a beer solely because of the name or the can design.

In the case of today’s featured beer from Young Blood Beer Company out of Madison (which I’ve featured multiple times in this space before), it was the former that really got me.

I mean, come on, how could you not want to purchase a beer called First Date at Culver’s? What could be more Wisconsin than that?

The beer is a fruited sour cobbler-style ale with peach, apricot, vanilla and graham cracker. The description from the brewery reads as follows:

“Butterburgers, cheese curds and finishing it all off with a flavor of the day. One scoop, two blue spoons. Does it get any more romantic than that? I mean probably, but you take what you can get some days. This sour is inspired by a peach pie, topped off with a big ole scoop of frozen vanilla custard courtesy of the Blue Apron Squad. To our sour base, we pack in vanilla before resting on pounds of real peach and apricot as well as graham crackers.”

And boy, was it delicious. It tastes like dessert, absolutely, and with a 4.14/5 rating on Untappd (anything over 4 generally means a very strong consensus that it’s very good) you know it hits the spot.

The dangerous part is that it comes in at 9 percent ABV, making it much boozier than one would expect from the first few sips.

So there you have it. And now I want Culver’s.

Congratulations to David Bakhtiari (for a couple reasons)

How great has it been to see David Bakhtiari back out on the field?

Bakhtiari was completely removed from the injury report heading into Week 4, which was yet another outstanding milestone in his comeback from nearly two years of injuries and setbacks. Many people on Twitter and this very website had left him for dead, proclaiming his career to be over. But in fact, he’s back and playing at a pretty high level. 

So a big congratulations is owed to Bakhtiari for that accomplishment alone. To get back on the field starting again is a big deal after everything he’s gone through.

But significantly more important: he’s expecting his first child! This week he posted a photo on his Instagram of him and his wife, who is visibly pregnant, and they are getting closer and closer to their due date. He had previously announced the pregnancy over the summer.

So congratulations all around!

Rashan Gary is dominating opposing offenses

After four weeks, Rashan Gary has five sacks, and nearly had a sixth late in the game against New England. He has been on an absolute tear, and put together one of his finest games as a pro this weekend, wrecking the Patriots’ offense at every turn.

Packer fans have been able to watch Gary’s clear, steady improvement year after year. By the end of the 2021 season, it was clear Gary was a Pro Bowl caliber player.

But that was just the beginning. After the first month of this young season, Gary looks like a top-5 defender in the league and a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. That’s how good he’s been.

And people around the league are noticing. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo both commented on Gary’s abilities. Cris Collinsworth spoke about him glowingly on Sunday Night Football. Opposing players and coaches know where he is on the field at all times.

Gary’s combination of speed and power makes him incredibly difficult to stop, and he’s developed multiple moves to get to the quarterback. Meanwhile, he’s outstanding at setting the edge and playing the run game as well. He’s an every-down stud.

The man is going to make a very large amount of money this offseason when the Packers offer him a new deal.

The patience with which the Packers brought him on has clearly paid off. He was able to sit behind the Smith Brothers in 2019, got more playing time in 2020 and then starred in 2021 in Za’Darius Smith’s absence. Now he’s the Packers’ best defensive player on a unit that includes several strong defensive players.

What an outstanding example of drafting and developing a player with a ton of potential, even if they didn’t have a ton of on-paper production in college.

The Rodgers watch

Aaron Rodgers had one of his worse halves of professional football we’ve seen in a long time against the Patriots this week. Not only were the stats poor (and he threw his pick six, possibly the worst of his career), but he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with the football.

The man was missing open receivers left and right, both short and deep. On the pick six, he threw well behind Allen Lazard on an out route, allowing the defender to easily step in front of the ball. And on the Romeo Doubs fumble, he threw well out in front of Doubs, forcing the rookie into an awkward position to catch and hold on to the football. And don’t get me wrong, Doubs needs to hold on to that ball, but Rodgers needs to deliver a better ball in that situation.

We knew it would take a bit of time for this offense to gel with such a large number of new receivers for Rodgers to click with. But right now, it’s not looking good for this offense. Rodgers still comes out and makes some “wow” throws, but most everything else feels labored, almost like it did in years like 2015, 2018 or 2019. 

There’s a lot of season to go, and Rodgers is certainly not among my biggest concerns for this team, but it’s at least something to watch. 

Around the NFC North

Once again we’ll take a quick look around the NFC North at what the Packers’ rivals are doing.

  • The CHICAGO BEARS, also known as the Monsters of Mid, are 2-2 and probably not as good as their record, having just lost to the equally mid New York Giants. There does not appear to have been much, if any, progression from Justin Fields so far, and his coaching staff clearly does not have a whole lot of faith in him to carry the team with his arm. The ground game occasionally gets some momentum, but the team is not strong enough in any area of the roster to carry it to any kind of success. The Bears have a date with the Vikings this week, and will likely remain below .500 for the rest of the season.

 

  • The DETROIT LIONS continue to give teams some troubles, even if it’s not resulting in a lot of wins. One could make the argument that Jared Goff is currently playing the position better than Matthew Stafford in LA, where big plays are surprisingly quite infrequent. The Lions and Seahawks combined for a massive amount of offense in week four, showing this team is capable of racking up yards and points when everything is clicking. Unfortunately, that defense is still utter garbage, meaning Detroit has a very low ceiling for this year.

 

  • The MINNESOTA VIKINGS snuck out a close one against the New Orleans Saints, who have become something of their extradivisional archnemesis over the last decade and a half. At 3-1, the Vikings are off to a solid start to the season, but since week one have not looked particularly formidable in victory. They have a chance to put together another “pretty” win against the Bears, who do not match up well against them at all. The Vikings managed to get Justin Jefferson going again after he was shut down for a couple weeks, and so long as they’re able to keep doing that, they’ll keep having the chance to win games.

It’s apple pickin’ season

We took the fam out to the nearest apple orchard on Sunday. It was a perfect fall day–a bit overcast, temperatures around 60 degrees, little wind. The colors have only just barely started to turn here in southeastern Wisconsin–up north they’re already reaching their peak–so there was enough color to lend the appearance that fall is on the way.

We got there early and there was already a crowd, and by the time we left it was absolutely packed.

We came home with several pecks of apples–more than enough for a couple pies, some applesauce and a crisp or two, plus plenty of apples to snack on. The youngins particularly enjoyed the hay ride to get up into the upper orchard and around the property, where we also saw the pumpkin farm, corn maze, laser tag field and more.

I’m not one of the people who goes around proclaiming fall to be the greatest season–my heart will always lie with summer. But there’s definitely something to be said for that crisp feel and smell of the air in October mornings and evenings, the smell of apple pie (or freshly cooked applesauce), a good pumpkin chai, and, of course, football season. It’s also prime time for the superior donut, the apple fritter.

Whatever you’ve got planned for your fall activities, I hope they’re enjoyable! And of course, bust out those scary movies.

Final look: Giants vs. Packers and Week Five Picks

The New York Giants are off to a surprising 3-1 start, but are likely just the latest example of a team that overachieves early in the season only to regress to something closer to their expected performance a bit later.

There’s no denying new head coach Brian Daboll has done a great job of instilling some belief and confidence into this team, and he’s certainly appeared, so far, to be the right man for the job. It’s been years since the Giants had three wins before the month of November, so clearly this is a breath of fresh air for a fanbase that has seen a pretty consistent loser since Odell Beckham, Jr. and the rest of the Giants’ receivers partied on a boat in the lead-up to a playoff loss in Green Bay in January 2017. 

I’d expect it to be a pretty Packer-heavy crowd of fans in London. The Packers, as the only team yet to not play overseas, will have a lot of fans who have been dying to see them live and in person, and have a very dedicated global following. It should have the atmosphere of a home game. Perhaps even a better atmosphere than a home game, given how tame Lambeau Field has become.

The Packers’ offense is still a work in progress (and that’s putting it as nicely as possible), so I don’t expect it to be pretty, but I do expect Green Bay to emerge with a 4-1 record.

Packers 24, Giants 16

Now, on to my week 5 picks!

BRONCOS over Colts

PACKERS over Giants

BILLS over Steelers

DOLPHINS over Jets

VIKINGS over Bears

COWBOYS over Rams

PATRIOTS over Lions

CHARGERS over Browns

JAGUARS over Texans

BUCCANEERS over Falcons

TITANS over Commanders

SAINTS over Seahawks

PANTHERS over 49ers

EAGLES over Cardinals

RAVENS over Bengals

CHIEFS over Raiders

 

LAST WEEK: 10-6

SEASON TOTAL: 34-30

 

__________________________

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.

4 points

Comments (25)

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

October 06, 2022 at 06:21 am

Love “Hello Wisconsin” every week Tim. Congrats on the 34-3 overall record, despite going 10-6 last week. That’s math I can get behind.

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NickPerry's picture

October 06, 2022 at 06:50 am

LOL... I saw that too Doug. GOOD for Tim and his new math!

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TimBackes's picture

October 06, 2022 at 07:03 am

HA. That should be 34-30. Ooops.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

October 06, 2022 at 11:39 am

I kid because I love…

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stockholder's picture

October 06, 2022 at 06:57 am

The Rodgers watch- I'm more concerned about the play of the OL.
( Build the Wall? ) Seems Jenkins was the answer, at any position.
But in truth; he looked like Don Barclay last week.
Rodger's can't throw the ball, if he keeps looking over his shoulder.
And it's hard to blame anything on him, until the OL becomes a wall again.

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2022 at 07:39 am

Then I think you've forgotten how poor Barclay looked at times.

I think LaF said that he's grateful to Jenkins for getting back into game action ahead of schedule, implying that maybe the team would've been happier giving him a little more time--but that they needed him because the right side was weak. He's on the field way ahead of a year from his injury, and he's lining up against strong fronts from TB and NE. Judon is a monster. He'll get there...and wherever "there" is, it's likely better than Royce Newman at RT (and Hanson at RG).

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jurp's picture

October 06, 2022 at 01:03 pm

Rodgers can do. No wrong. Pick six on Lazard. He ran too deep. Missed passes in first half all on lousy new receivers. Better in second half. Rodgers chewed them out

SMH

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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 07:51 am

Thanks Tim. Like to start my day off with something fun.

Do you think Rodgers checks in on CHTV? If so, I think you're trying to put a chip on his shoulder. With your worries and the comments that have been made and will follow, we have a good start. Why does it seem he needs chalk board material to get going? If that's what it takes, you're the right man for the job.

Gary has to be in the top 3 for DPOY. Bosa from SF and what's his name from Dallas are the only comp so far that I can see since the Rams are doing so bad.

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2022 at 07:53 am

Rashan Gary--really disliked the pick when the Packers made it, but glad to be utterly wrong. If the #1 person this team can least afford to lose is #12, Gary is probably a close second. There's nobody else on the defense that brings what he brings. He's become a game-changer and will get a big contract soon.

Bakhtiari--there were some here as late as week 2 that were saying he might never see the field again (the Packers wouldn't have activated him and given him a roster spot at cutdowns if they didn't think he was about ready). As he rounds into shape, we'll have to see if--when up to speed--he's close to the player he was: there needs to be a little patience as the bookend OTs ramp back up, but both 69 and 74 immediately improved and solidified this OL (if only because it pushed Hanson to the bench). With Nijman on the roster, they've got 3 credible LTs. That's a nice problem to have...and it means they have some flexibility this off-season in how to deal with Bakhtiari and his contract. His playing at a high level needs to be a priority for this team for several reasons, but I would not be at all surprised to see him traded prior to the 2023 draft.

London prediction--to be taken with a grain of salt, as my success in the pools has been terrible this year, but I expect that the Packers win. Saquon Barkley needs to be stopped and this defense needs to find out how to stop running teams (who aren't really a threat to throw downfield...see TB, NE, and now NYG) when they KNOW they're going to run the football. The Giants will have clearly studied up on what the Bears and Pats did to the Packers. This has all the makings of a tight, Badgers-esque ground war, as the Giants have been very vulnerable on the ground, too. Packers 24-21. It's going to be another close one.

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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 08:32 am

dobber, I just read an article by Mike Spofford (quoted also by Tim above) that roughly 40% of all rushing yards came on just 4 drives this year, (204 of 507) 2 by the bears and 2 by the Patriots. Sure was gashed by Cook in the Vikings game though, must have been spread out.

Here's the article:
https://www.packers.com/news/packers-looking-to-reverse-two-troubling-tr...

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2022 at 01:20 pm

A good read. Thanks T7S. As you go back and look at those two games in particular, there wasn't a lot of offense by either team outside those two drives. The other thing that you'll notice is that with the exception of one drive (the last one by the Bears that ended on downs), all of those drives ended in points.

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T7Steve's picture

October 06, 2022 at 02:12 pm

They still give up allot of yards but, tighten up at least. 125 yards a game is too much. It also seems like more than 9 points given up on turnovers besides the pick six. I guess it's because the turnovers took points away from the Packers.

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dobber's picture

October 06, 2022 at 03:26 pm

If you take care of the football, your margin for error gets much larger.

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Since'61's picture

October 06, 2022 at 09:00 am

It may be historic but I hate these overseas games, especially since we are losing a home game at Lambeau. The NFL probably would not allow it but I would have had the Packers travel to London on the earliest possible flight on Monday. As someone who has traveled to numerous location around the world I'm well aware of adjusting to the time difference.

Monday is a off day for the players so traveling does not hinder any practice time. Arrive late Monday afternoon or early evening and give the players Tuesday off as well. Have a walk through on Wednesday. By Thursday the players should be acclimated to the time difference and regular practices can be held Thursday and Friday and probably a walk through on Saturday. The point is that adjusting to the time difference can be difficult especially for players who have not made the trip before. It's also better for preventing injuries. but greed rules the NFL so here we are.

I posted from the beginning that Gary has all the tools to be come a force on the Packers defense. It appears that he is reaching that level now. He could have been a bust but the Packers have brought him along slowly and he has evolved into an elite player.

Rodgers had a poor first half last week but he is not the first NFL QB to have a bad half. He redeemed himself in the second half and the OT. It's not whether or not you fall, it's about how you get back up when you do fall. Rodgers got back up better than most. He'll be fine as long as his OL gives him time.

Bak is looking good and now we need to get Jenkins on track. I would still prefer an OL, left to right, of Bak, Jenkins, Myers, Runyon and Nijman. But for whatever reason we are trying to fit Jenkins in at RT when he has been an All Pro LG. The Packers have an ongoing history of trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

Job #1 this week must be stopping Saquan Barkley. Do that and we'll hold down the Giants. Keep them off the field with our own ground game and time consuming drives. Build a lead and force the Giants to try to win with their passing game. Pressure the QB relentlessly and force some TOs. GPG!
Thanks, Since '61

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HarryHodag's picture

October 06, 2022 at 09:18 am

As I read it, the Packers are the 'home' team in London but also have 8 other home games this year. Mark Murphy agreed to the game as most years the teams has 8 home games so the local economy won't suffer the loss of the game.
I think the Packers have a chartered plane so they can leave whenever they want. I'm not 100 percent on that.

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Since'61's picture

October 06, 2022 at 10:12 am

Harry , I am aware that the Packers have a chartered flight. I’m not sure what you’re not 100% on.

Arriving on Monday means covering the costs for a hotel for 6-7 nights plus meals, at least. Bringing over 53 players plus the coaching staff, management and probably a few assistants means covering those expenses for about 90 people. A decent London hotel runs $300 -350 per night and that’s with a group discount. Add about $150 a day for meals and you are up to $500 per day per person. At least that is what I would budget for my London trips beginning in 2004 when my business partner and I opened an office in London as we were developing our International business.
So my guess is that neither the Packers nor the league want to spend that much money on either team. It cut too much into their absurd profit for the week. Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 06, 2022 at 05:07 pm

When Gettleman bagged Jones, it was a gift to the Pack. The only other guy i would have considered is Wilkins.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2022 at 09:48 am

Congratulations to David Bakhtiari -
First congrats to him with his first child.
But congrats to him for fighting his way back onto the field. There have been a lot of naysayers out there who said he wouldn't be back. If he can stay on the field he could be the difference in getting us to where we want to go.

Rashan Gary is dominating opposing offenses -
It wasn't that long ago that fans were dominating chats, twitter and whatnot about what a bad pick Gary was. I will admit at the time I wasn't thrilled with it at the time. But once they are in GB I am rooting for every player. Gary has been so damn good! He could possibly become the DPOY!

The Rodgers watch-
I'm not worried about Rodgers at all. Sure he has missed some throws. There have been guys running open that he hasn't seen. But lets remember that we don't know if those guys ran the wrong routes, and what else is going on. Rodgers has had 2 absolute Dimes that were not caught for TD's. The very first throw of the season and the one that would have won it in the 4th quarter. He did not play well in the first half. But he came out in the 2nd half and played like himself.

We have now played 4 games. In those 4 games we have had Bakhtiari, Yosh, Runyan, Tom, Myers, Hanson, Newman, Jenkins all play on the OL. 4 games and we have used 8 players on the OL. We are starting get our OL to gel with Bakhtiari, Runyan, Myers, Newman and Jenkins. Once they gel, it will help our run game and passing game.
For WR we have been without Lazard, Watkins, Watson in games. Watkins has been on IR the last 2 games. We have elevated Winfree twice already. There hasn't been a ton of consistency of who has been playing at WR. With 2 rookies and Watkins eventually coming back, it will be a learning experience for them. It will take time to build the chemistry. But that is starting to build with Doubs especially. That back shoulder throw for TD felt like a building moment. Watson's speed is going to be a huge factor. He will also make an impact.

The offense just needs time to gel. Building each game and improving each game. Hopefully playing our best at the end of the season

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jont's picture

October 06, 2022 at 03:43 pm

"The Packers had to give up a home game for this contest, so you can understand why head coach Matt LaFleur was a bit vexed by the entire circumstance of the game this week in his press conferences."

I am a bit vexed as well. The argument for some time has been that Green Bay is a small town and home games are a big deal to the town so the Packers weren't asked to give up a home game and go overseas. With 17 games now, that is not an issue; they still get 8 and the opponent gets 8 if it's an opponent's home game shifted.

The league makes a lot of odd decisions, and this is one of them.

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jont's picture

October 06, 2022 at 03:45 pm

Re Justin Fields, IMO his arm is fine. He's not throwing a lot because, I think, he's not yet reading defenses as a well as a QB must and because his o-line sucks.

Now, I am not defending the Bears, but from where I sit Fields is getting too much blame.

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LeotisHarris's picture

October 06, 2022 at 03:46 pm

Always an enjoyable read, Tim, thanks.

We do, however, need to have a talk about this fruity-graham-crackery beverage you're glorifying. I understand the more bizarre the name, the more the beer snobs love their IPAs, LLCs and RPGs, so just set your can of Mother's Queef or Fat Tire 750 Arch Creek Ale down and listen up. I come from a generation where we drank beer. You know what it tasted like? It tasted like BEER! That's why we drank it, dagnabbit! If we were heading over to the kegger off campus, we knew damn well we were going to guzzle Old Style that tasted like it had boiled grease in it and was passed through an old garden hose. AND WE LIKED IT! It was beer! We didn't go looking for any so-called "dessert beer" because any such notion would have rightly earned you a week-long wedgie at the very least.

So, from the shining peak of Val Blatz Mountain to the cool serenity of Meister Brau Valley, I cast scorn upon your silly little alcoholic abominations. They ain't and never will be beer!

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Starrbrite's picture

October 06, 2022 at 08:28 pm

That was hilarious—still laughing.

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Starrbrite's picture

October 06, 2022 at 06:28 pm

Overseas games are incredibly stupid—this is not the United Nations Football League.
As Tim correctly states, the Packers have a global following…and other States besides Wisconsin—right Tim? “Hello Wisconsin” and hello Packer fans everywhere.
Why is Lambeau Field (one of the lager stadiums in the NFL) a quieter crowd? Is it the stadium design or otherwise?
As Dobber and some others, I’m eating humble pie regarding Gary—but it’s tasting good now.
At some point…should we sign OBJ?
Go Packers!!

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2022 at 01:02 pm

Like baseball, they have succeeded in making the entire stadium, "the Family section." A lot of stiffs in the stands. I will only attend the game honoring LeRoy Butler, since we were there for the original "leap"

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Starrbrite's picture

October 07, 2022 at 03:49 pm

Good way to put it—makes sense.

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