In the early 1990s, Green Bay was generally viewed as a no man’s land by most NFL players.
Cold. Boring. Small market. Cold. Just generally not somewhere you wanted to play.
That all changed with the rise of Brett Favre and the signing of Reggie White, who became the first major black player to sign with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent in 1993 and helped recruit the likes of Sean Jones and other stars to the NFL’s smallest market. The team went on to consecutive Super Bowl appearances, including a win over New England in 1997, and has been a playoff contender nearly every year since then.
Well, that might all be changing again.
A new Sports Illustrated poll put Green Bay among the top three teams NFL players would LEAST like to play for. Not surprisingly, most players (20 percent) picked the Oakland Raiders, followed by the Buffalo Bills (14 percent). But 13 percent of players polled said they wouldn’t want to play in Green Bay. Rounding out the Top 5 were the Detroit Lions (12 percent) and the Cleveland Browns (7 percent).
SI said it polled 296 players for the survey. They could not vote for their own teams.
This might seem like an innocuous little tidbit – a blurb meant to fill space in a magazine more than anything – but it’s interesting to note that the Packers were the least desirable team among players in the league for five or fewer seasons, drawing 16 percent of their vote.
That tells me a lot, namely that the Green Bay Packers are falling out of favor fast among young players and that Ted Thompson & Co. need another Reggie White or Brett Favre to keep the interest alive. There really are no superstars on the Packers right now. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is good and he’s the new “leader of the pack,” but until he starts actually leading this team to the playoffs on a regular basis that doesn’t matter. And yes, we have the likes of Charles Woodson on defense, but he’s going to be around what? Maybe a couple more seasons?
I’d hate to see Green Bay fall back into the pariah category it used to share with teams like Cleveland and Oakland. This is yet another sign that, despite the team’s two recent victories, organizational changes are needed in Green Bay – especially if the Packers fail to make the playoffs – to keep this franchise viable.
Ah, the joy Ted Thompson brings to me daily… what a F-stick that guy is. I remember the days were GB was were players went to die… Thanks a million Ted.
It’s not just Ted. Packers need to address this ongoing stigma with a public relations plan that doesn’t just let a stupid SI poll continue to make GB look bad. The Packers have plenty of money to spend on making the franchise more interesting place to be for players. Signing talent will help, but so would taking extraordinary care of new and young players relocating, and being active in changing Green Bay’s national perception.
The truth is it’s FREEZING COLD and there AIN’T SHIT TO DO around there. Especially for super athletes trolling for chicks.
The survey results are not good news nor are they encouraging. Do they signal the need for “organizational changes?” Depends on what is meant by that, and I am not sure what those kinds of changes — whatever they might be — would accomplish in the minds of prospective players. My sense is that some sort of shake up is an over reaction to the SI poll. I would guess that putting a winning product on the field would go a long way toward making GB a desirable place to play. “Organizational changes” in an of themselves may or may not accomplish that.