The idea of the Green Bay Packers ever leaving the area hasn’t been of much thought in the last two decades. Why would they? They won two Super Bowls, played in three, and are home to some of the most dedicated fans in all of sports.
Decades ago, this was a real possibility and everyone knew it. The Packers were always at risk of crumbling from within and the public came to the rescue, as everyone already knows. The Green Bay Packers are the only “publicly” owned team in the entire National Football League.
Even though the Packers have been in excellent standing since most likely the 1990’s, they never took for granted the situation the team was in. Green Bay is a small market. It is no Los Angeles or New York. It can’t share it’s city with another football team, it’s virtually impossible.
Packers President/CEO has admitted that much of his job relies on the fact that keeping the Packers in Green Bay is essential. Due to this, the Packers have established a reserve fund that holds around $411 Million, per Sports Illustrated.
As recently as today, the Packers have had players come out about their long-term commitment to the team and the city. Former fan-favorite Defensive Lineman Mike Daniels would never leave the Green Bay area, even in the off-season. To players in large cities, this might not be a shock, but in Green Bay it is rare. Former Head Coach Mike McCarthy used to build off-season training programs into players’ contracts to get them to come to Green Bay more often during the off-season.
Today, we see a large amount of commitment from the players. These aren’t guys who are self-interested, money-seeking players. They are a group of guys that understand who they are and through a group effort can achieve sustained excellence.
Packers star OLB Za’Darius Smith said today in his Zoom press conference with reporters that he will bring great energy to the team “until he retires” in Green Bay. That sort of mentality is what keeps other players around. That is what it looks like to be a leader.
On a humorous note, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky asked Za’Darius Smith on Friday afternoon about Left Tackle David Bakhtiari’s progression since his rookie year. Demovsky, who mentioned that Bakhtiari was “kind of a dick” in his rookie year, joked at the maturity and talent that Bakhtiari has acquired through the years in Green Bay.
To point out the obvious, the Packers have enjoyed short and long-term improvement from their players. Last year was no accident. General Manager Brian Gutekunst put the right pieces together for great success as any effective GM should do.
If the Packers play their cards right, their team could be destined for continued success this upcoming season, that is if there is one. The Packers recently announced that they will not host fans during the first two games of the season. With that being said, it will hopefully not impact the on-field performance of so many up and coming players on the Packers’ squad.
At a time of great uncertainty, aside from most likely Wide Receiver or Defensive Line, the Packers have a great number of assets if the COVID bug hits them hard. Rookie QB Jordan Love could be seen on the field in real-time. AJ Dillon could take the starting place of what was a spectacular performance last year in Aaron Jones.
Needless to say, this season could be a lot of fun. It also could be very random. One day a player could be active, the next they could be quarantining with COVID. This all depends on how the bubble system works or doesn’t work in the NFL. Only time will tell.