On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at: [email protected]
Earlier this week, the NFL held its first in-person annual meeting since 2019 at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. There were not a lot of proposed rule changes or controversial topics discussed during the scheduled agenda – a sign that the league (and the game) overall is in good shape. The league recently finalized long-term agreements with the NFL Players Association and our media partners. Moreover, television ratings have been excellent, with 46 of the top 50 rated shows last year being NFL games.
The one rule change that generated a lot of discussion was the proposal to guarantee both teams a possession in overtime, even if a team scores a touchdown on the first possession. The divisional playoff game this year between Buffalo and Kansas City shined a light on the unfairness of the current rule. The Chiefs scored a touchdown on the first possession of overtime and the Bills lost with Josh Allen and their offense never having a chance to possess the ball (as a lifelong Bills fan, I realize I might be a little biased, but I felt the same way in 2014 and 2015 when we, the Packers, lost without having a chance to possess the ball). The original proposal would have applied to all games – regular season and postseason. The more we discussed and examined the issue, though, it was clear that the unfairness was more of a problem in the postseason. The team winning the coin flip (100% of teams winning the coin toss have decided to take possession in recent years) win roughly 52% of the regular-season games, but have won 10 of the last 12 postseason overtime games. Also, in the regular season, you have more concerns about the impact of the additional number of plays (i.e., injuries, competitive fairness for the next game).
As a former defensive player, I used to think that a team didn’t deserve to win if they can’t stop the other team from scoring a touchdown. However, more and more, our game has become a quarterback-driven league, and in the postseason, the best quarterbacks are still playing, and it is very hard to stop them from scoring a touchdown.
The postseason games are the best product the NFL has to offer and making the games as fair as possible will be good for the league. Now, on to your questions.
A question from Brett
Green Bay not selected for ’24 draft – missed opportunity by the league.
We were also disappointed that Green Bay was not awarded the 2024 draft, Brett. The league was impressed with our proposal, though, and I am confident that we will host a draft in 2025 or 2027 (we did not bid on the 2026 draft because we are hosting the Wisconsin-Notre Dame game that year). I don’t mean to take anything away from Detroit. I know that they will do an excellent job hosting the draft and were very deserving of the selection. Hosting the NFL Draft will be a tremendous boon to the Green Bay economy and will also highlight the great history and tradition of the Packers and Lambeau Field. Titletown and the new Resch Expo will also be key components of our draft.
A question from Mike
What the f… are you and your sidekick doing? Not going after an established WR? You deserve to not win a Super Bowl. Got rid of the WR corps. You screwed Rodgers with his weapons. After being a Packer fan since 1965, it’s a slap in the face. All Packer fans that bought stock and supported this team for all those years and you won’t spend the money to either keep or get elite players. I hope you’re fired soon.
Thanks for sharing your opinion, Mike. The decision to trade Davante Adams was extremely difficult. He is not only a great player, but also a tremendous person who has done so much for the organization both on and off the field over the years. It was clear to us that he didn’t want to play on the franchise tag and that he wanted to play in Las Vegas to be closer to home. Ultimately, I think we created a situation that was good for Davante and the organization. I know you are concerned about our wide receiver position, but we have almost six months left before we play our first game. With four picks in the first two rounds, we have the draft capital to either trade for a veteran receiver or draft a top-quality receiver(s). I’m confident that our wide receiver room will look very different in September than it does now.
A question from Peter
I noticed that the Packers will be getting two compensatory draft picks in the upcoming 2022 draft; are these draft picks the result of losing players or coaches? If players, are teams awarded draft picks for losing coaches?
Yes, Peter, we will receive two compensatory picks this year – one in the fourth round and one in the seventh. They are both for losing players (Corey Linsley – 4th round, and Jamaal Williams – 7th round). With the Adams trade, we will have a total of 11 picks in this year’s draft. This year, for the first time, the league will award compensatory picks to teams that had minority coaches leave to become head coaches or coordinators on other teams. The picks are to reward teams for developing minority coaches.
Stephen from Palos Park, IL
What research does Brian Gutekunst do to decide when it is the Packers’ turn in the draft of who he will pick to draft? I am sure he has scouts that give him their opinion on players that are still available in the draft, but how about weeks before the draft, he still must have to be talking to scouts, even though there is no way any of them can possibly know who will still be available when it comes time for the Packers’ turn in the draft?
Great question, Stephen, and timely, with the draft coming up later this month. Preparing for the draft is really a year-long process. Our regional scouts are on the road year-round attending games, practices and pro days. Like Ted Thompson, Brian Gutekunst is often on the road visiting colleges. I believe some of the best information that we get on potential draft picks comes from Brian’s (and his scouts’) discussions with college coaches. In the final weeks before the draft, Brian and his staff spend countless hours ranking all the potential draftees and trying to anticipate what players will be available when we pick. It is a fascinating process, but not an exact science. We’ve been very fortunate over the years to have more hits than misses in the draft.
George from North Mankato, MN
I have a couple questions about the challenges of playing a game overseas for the first time in franchise history. How does the team plan to allocate any tickets that it receives for the game in London? Does the team have to secure passports for all of the players and any staff that makes the trip? How are travel accommodations decided and what does the itinerary look like? Will there be opportunities for fan interactions with players, alumni and staff on this trip? What sightseeing or other tourist attractions will the team be able to enjoy on the visit? Thanks for all you have done and continue to do ensuring on the field success and success in the community for the Packers.
As I mentioned in the column last month, George, we are very excited to be playing in London. I appreciate your questions. I have been asked by many people about how to buy tickets to the game. Unfortunately, we will receive a limited number of tickets for the game and will use these for players, coaches, staff and a limited number of season-ticket holders. I would encourage people looking to buy tickets to contact On Location. We will help secure passports for all players and staff that don’t already have them. We are still working through our travel arrangements, but we will likely take a larger charter than normal on Thursday night and return on Sunday following the game. We will have a Packers Everywhere pep rally, probably on Saturday. The players and others on the trip will have an opportunity to see some of the London landmarks, but we have to remember that this is a business trip, and the main goal is to come back to Green Bay with a win.