One year later to the day, I had what could be deemed an equally unique privilege when I met and interviewed Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.
Well, by met, I mean took a picture with, and by interviewed, I mean I listened to him talk at a Rotary function. Either way.
Let me just use this space by talking about how comfortable I am with the Packers future after hearing this guy talk. Sure, it's his job to paint an attractive light on the franchise he runs, but I bought into everything he said.
Murphy is a guy who doesn't like failure. With his experience as a trial lawyer, his time working for the NFL Players Association, his time as an athletic director at Colgate and Northwestern, to his current position with the Packers, he is one of the most successful former NFL players of all time.
With a pedigree like that, it's easy to believe anything this guy says.
He doesn't really sugarcoat things. He acknowledges the fact that a 6-10 season in Green Bay is unacceptable.
He made plenty of jokes about the Brett Favre situation, which are a lot easier to laugh at one year after the fact, no matter what side you're on.
He revealed that if you approach him while wearing a shirt that says "The Three Stooges," with his, coach Mike McCarthy's, and general manager Ted Thompson's heads on it, he'll still sign it if you ask him.
He's also a terrific public speaker, and a humorous one at that.
Coming into his presentation, I wondered how much Murphy would talk about the Favre situation, especially because he just fake-retired again. Murphy was very candid on the matter, admitting it was a "very difficult situation."
But the biggest point that he made is that all the talking heads of ESPN out there don't understand. Regardless of your position, this isn't really a situation you can judge after one year. Murphy said that "our quarterback situation is secure for the next decade," and that's really what we have to remember here.
Also, I know there were members at that Rotary luncheon that still can't believe Favre is gone—kudos to them for not attacking Murphy on this occasion.
Murphy also talked about the future of the team's defense, which has gone through many changes this offseason. He seems confident that the hiring of Dom Capers and the switch to the 3-4 alignment will make the Packers more aggressive, but you could see him curb expectations a bit when he said this year would be a transition.
They still don't know which linebacking position A.J. Hawk will play. They still don't know who will anchor the defensive line. Murphy says the prototypical end in the 3-4 is a guy that is in the 6'4'', 300-pound range, although I'm sure he'd welcome a certain free agent of the 6'7'', 283-pound variety.
He also spent a lot of time talking about the upcoming collective bargaining agreement and possible labor dispute. I usually skip over those articles when they are posted on PFT, so it's no surprise I kind of zoned out during this portion of Murphy's speech.
During his question-and-answer session, he talked about how having four preseason games in today's NFL is basically pointless, and he personally would like to see a schedule with two preseason games and eighteen regular-season contests.
He noted though, that if the league did this, the regular season would still start after Labor Day, which would mean the regular season would go into mid-January. Murphy wasn't the only one thinking how cold a night game at Lambeau Field could get in the middle of January.
In fact, that thought must have been a real pressing issue to one member of the audience, who asked if the rumors about the Packers installing a dome over Lambeau were true.
First of all, what rumors? Second of all, hell no. Murphy reiterated that Lambeau is and always will be the Frozen Tundra, which would be more awesome if Chris Berman didn't come up with the name.
The Mark Murphy speech may not have had the same security measures as the Obama event I attended one year prior, but I gotta say, as a Packer fan, it's hard for me to choose which event I enjoyed more.
Just kidding. Dude, I interviewed the President of the United States. Come on.