Friday, February 4, 2011

Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Tribute

The Green Bay Packers
Why? Because they are unlike any other team in NFL History or any Major League Sports

A Non-Profit Company 
The Green Bay Packers are a Public Non-Profit Company, and yes you read it right.  They are in fact the only non-profit community owned professional sports team in America major league sports.  The Packers do not have an owner, which is one of the reasons the team has remained in the small community of Green Bay Wisconsin since the team was formed in 1919. At NFL Owners meetings the Packers President, appointed by a board, attends the meetings.

Of course there are the Pittsburg Steelers fans who want their team to win the Super Bowl, and rightfully so, just as there are fans of the all the other teams, but there is just something about the Green Bay Packers that most of us probably never knew, and by the time you’ve finished reading this, you may just wish you were and had always been a Packers fan, just so you could be part of an extraordinary history, fraternity, and legacy of what sports was, what fan loyalty was, and still is in Green Bay Wisconsin.
What else is there about the Packers? They are the Second-Oldest Team or franchise in the NFL, a stat that may be debated by some. Supposedly the now Arizona Cardinals are the oldest team founded in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club.  Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears were both founded in 1919. The Morgan Athletics and Chicago Bears as founding members joined the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1920, which is today’s NFL. The Green Bay Packers joined the next year in 1921. If we want to get more specific, the Green Bay area professional football team was formed in 1896, but did not take the Packers name until 1919 and therefore could arguably be the oldest team in the NFL. 

One of a Kind Structure:  As already mentioned the Green Bay Packers is a Public non-profit company. This type of structure is no longer allowed by the NFL and the Packers were grandfathered when the ruled were changed.  In 1923 the Packers Article of Incorporation” was put in place. A unique stipulation for the company was that in the event the Packers were to ever be sold, all proceeds would be given to the non-profit American Legion, which was changed in 1997 to the non-profit Green Bay Packers Foundation which donates to Wisconsin area charities. This stipulation was made in an effort to insure the Packers stayed in Green Bay and prevent any financial motivations by a sale of the club.  Over the years the Packers has occasionally sold stock to raise funds. The clue currently has 112,015 shareholders who can say they are owners, and which represent 4,750,934 shares of stock.  Besides the privilege of being an owner in name, stock ownership little other benefit. The stock does not pay dividends, does not increase in value, and does not include game tickets. There is a limit to number of shares one person can own so that no one person can gain control. Shareholders do have voting rights and the Board of Directors who run the company is elected by the shareholders.     

A Stadium First: The Green Bay Packers was founded by Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Calhoun and City Stadium was home.  With the death of Curly Lambeau in 1965 the stadium was renamed to what we know today as Lambeau Field.  During the early 1950s the NFL had attempted to force the Green Bay Packers to move, citing stadium issues.  In response in 1956 the citizens of Green Bay voted to build a new modern stadium for their team, which was completed in time for the 1957 season and was the First ever exclusive NFL only stadium. The 1957 seating capacity was 32,150, which was short of demand for seats.  The stadium would have multiple renovations to increase seating capacity to its current 72,928 seats.

Sold Out: Another thing about Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers is that since 1960, every game has been sold out.  Sold out games regardless of the team’s performance, be it good or bad. With 72,928 seating capacity, the demand for seats still exceeds what’s available and the Green Bay Packers waiting list for season tickets is over 78,000.  The estimated wait to finally get a season ticket is about 30 years and it has been predicted that if you were to add your name to the list today, you’d be on the list about 100 years. 

Their Record: The Green Bay Packers have won more Championships in the NFL than any other team. They have won twelve World Championships and the Chicago Bears is next with nine.  The Green Bay Packers are also the only team to win three consecutive NFL titles, and have done it twice, in 1929-30-31 under Lambeau and in 1965-66-67 under Vince Lombardi. The Green Bay Packers have won three Super Bowls, and have the distinction of winning the first Super Bowls in 1967. Their second Super Bowl win was in 1968 after which Vince Lombardi retired. The third was in 1996. 

The Lombardi Era:  Most football fans associate Vince Lombardi with football. Vince Lombardi was unique for many reasons. He did something rare for coaches, leaving an assistant coach position in 1959 to move to Green Bay Wisconsin as the Packers head coach and change the team almost instantly. The 1960s was synonymous with the Green Bay Packers and Lombardi made the Packers a nationwide household name. He would take the team to win five world championships including two Super Bowls during seven years. Vince Lombardi was also part of and enhanced what was the game of football.

The Green Bay Packers are more than a NFL team.  It is probably the only professional team that by virtue of its corporate structure is not in the game for money or to make money, but to play the game. Its fans are true loyal fans, as shown by a 50 year sold out record complimented by a waiting list of over 78,000. While the Packers have a great winning record, they also have had losing seasons, and still the fans are loyal to their team, unlike most cities and fan when their teams start losing games. The Green Bay Packers have a relationship with their fans, like a marriage, for better or worse they stick together, and divorce is not an option. It is too bad that the NFL and other major sports has transitioned into businesses rather than playing the game. The Green Bay Packers emulate the attitude and spirit of the after school and weekend scrimmages of the young and old, where it was a game for the fun and love of the game, and it was not about a profit margin.    

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