Friday, July 8, 2016

Squirrel Melts. Gold Jackets. Pushing it REAL GOOD!

You’ve heard of tuna melts or patty melts… why not squirrel melts? (Start at :33)

Now, I’ve come around slightly to the creativity of utilizing the “free-range chicken of the tree.” There are strong arguments to be made for depopulating these little, grey nibbling nuisances alone. But for most, these are not desperate end times that necessitate rodent consumption and let’s be real: some things just don’t go together, man.

For those of us who respect and appreciate true, natural partnerships, I hereby submit the following:

Jerry Kramer and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Jim Taylor, Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, Herb Adderly, Willie Davis, Jim Ringo, Paul Horning, Willie Wood, Henry Jordan and Dave Robinson are all Lombardi-era players in Canton and deservedly so. But where is Kramer in this list? Why has he been so confusingly snubbed?

#64’s Canton absence may even come as a surprise to many and you wouldn’t be alone. Alicia Kramer, Jerry’s daughter, has almost single-handedly furthered the cause to get her father into the Hall. She has a great story where she was actually the one to inform Roger Goodell her dad hadn’t broken through yet.

Alicia is likely making one final push to get her dad into the HOF, and SO ARE WE. Jersey Al has put together a list of selection committee members (see below) so that fans like you and I can write them as well in hopes fulfilling her mission.

You won’t be alone. Along with the Ranter, these fine sites are using their Internetting Skillz to promote #JerryKramer4HOF. Look to them for inspiration if needed. 

Please join us. Write, tweet, message, etc. why you believe Jerry Kramer should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with #JerryKramer4HOF. These committee members are experts, mind you, and they know Jerry’s playing accolades better than most humans. Be kind, be respectful, be positive. But above all, believe in what you’re saying.

Here is my draft:

Dear Selection Committee Member,

The Pro Football Hall of Fame appears to have all the greatest Packers players from the Lombardi era minus one glaring omission: Jerry Kramer. That’s despite Kramer being voted the greatest guard in the NFL’s first 50 years, despite being the only player on the 50th Anniversary All-Time team not in the HOF, despite almost a decade of All-Pro play and despite emphatic support from fans and NFL icons alike.

While I’m too young to have seen him play, what’s so incredible to me is how Kramer has spent decades promoting the sport through books, appearances and countless speaking engagements – each time providing new insights for all generations of fans. There are few, bigger-than-life personalities who possesses the authenticity to captivate like Jerry Kramer. His seemingly unending enthusiasm for the game is beyond contagious as evidenced by anyone who has heard him speak or been in his presence.

I believe Jerry Kramer more than warrants being more than what seems like a footnote, asterisk or disclaimer in relation to Canton. In many minds, he is already a Hall of Famer but you have the opportunity to finally make it official and create true, satisfying closure to this man’s career and lifelong passion. I strongly encourage you to give Pro Football GREAT, Jerry Kramer, the gold jacket he deserves. It is time.


Robert Greenfield

Let’s work together and be part of something special. It may take 5 minutes but it would mean the world to Jerry, his family, Alicia Kramer, the Packers, the fans, the Greater Green Bay area, the NFL as a whole, America in general, and squirrels everywhere.


Pro Football Hall of Fame
Attention; Senior Selection Committee
2121 George Halas Dr. NW
Canton, OH 44708

Seniors Committee
Frank Cooney runs and The SportsXchange, one of the country's leading providers of sports data and analysis.
Sports Xchange
4632 Windsong St
Sacramento, CA 95834

Dan Pompei Bleacher Report has covered more than 500 National Football League games, including 26 Super Bowls. He was given the 2013 Dick McCann Award by the Pro Football Writers of America for long and distinguished reporting in the field of pro football.
Twitter: DanPompei

Rick Gosselin has covered the NFL for 31 years, including the past 14 as NFL columnist for The Dallas Morning News.
Dallas Morning News
508 Young Street
Dallas, TX 75202
Facebook: richard.e.gosselin

John McClain has covered the Oilers, NFL and Texans for the Houston Chronicle. He has been a regular contributor to The Sports Xchange, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, the NFL Network, Comcast, Fox Sports 1 and Sirius Radio.
Houston Chronicle
4747 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027
Facebook: john.mcclain.52493

Ron Borges is a sportswriter for the Boston Herald. He has also written for the Boston Globe. Borges has been named Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year by the National Association of Sportswriters and Sports Broadcasters five times since 1999.
70 Fargo Street
Boston, MA 02210
Twitter: RonBorges

Bernie Miklasz is an American sportswriter and sports radio personality. He was the lead sports columnist at the St. Louis Post Dispatch from 1999 to 2015. He hosts the morning show on 101 ESPN in St. Louis. Miklasz is a native of Baltimore, MD, and moved to St. Louis in 1985 to cover professional football for the Post-Dispatch. He has also worked at the Baltimore News-American and the Dallas Morning News.

101 ESPN St Louis
11647 Olive Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63141
Twitter: miklasz

John Czarnecki, whose first pro football interview was of Johnny Unitas in Buffalo’s War Memorial stadium for the Rochester Times-Union, has been the editorial consultant for Fox NFL Sunday since its inception 20 years ago. He previously worked at CBS Sports. The winner of four Sports Emmys for work on NFL studio shows, Czarnecki wrote the book “Football for Dummies” with Howie Long. Czar’s first full season covering the NFL was 1979 and he worked for such newspapers as the Herald-Examiner in Los Angeles and the The National Sports Daily. He has served nine times as a Super Bowl pool reporter and is a longtime selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a member of its Seniors Committee.
Ira Miller
Sports Xchange
4632 Windsong St
Sacramento, CA 95834

Jeff Legwold
Facebook: Jeff.Legwold

Full List of HOF Voters:

Kent Somers, Arizona Republic
Darryl Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal - Constitution
Scott Garceau, WMAR-TV
Vic Carucci, Buffalo News
Darin Gantt, ProFootballTalk
Dan Pompei, Bleacher Report*
Geoff Hobson,
Tony Grossi, Radio
Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News*
Jeff Legwold, ESPN/
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
Green Bay
Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette
John McClain, Houston Chronicle*
Mike Chappell, RTV6 - ABC Affiliate Indianapolis
Sam Kouvaris, WJXT-TV
Kansas City
Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star
Armando Salguero, Miami Herald
Mark Craig, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
New England
Ron Borges, Boston Herald*
New Orleans
Jeff Duncan, Times-Picayune
New York (Giants)
Bob Glauber, Newsday
New York (Jets)
Gary Myers, New York Daily News
Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News
Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
St. Louis
Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch*
San Diego
Nick Canepa, San Diego Union Tribune
San Francisco
Nancy Gay
Mike Sando,
Tampa Bay
Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune
David Climer, The Tennessean
David Elfin,
Mary Kay Cabot, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer
At Large
Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange
At Large
Jarrett Bell, USA Today
At Large
John Clayton, ESPN
At Large
Jason Cole,
At Large
John Czarnecki,*
At Large
Clark Judge, Talk of Fame Network and Yahoo Sports Radio
At Large
Peter King, Sports Illustrated
At Large
Ira Miller, The Sports Xchange*
At Large
Sal Paolantonio, ESPN
At Large
Vito Stellino, Florida Times Union
At Large
Jim Trotter, ESPN
At Large
Charean Williams, Ft. Worth Star Telegram
At Large
Barry Wilner, Associated Press

Saturday, January 2, 2016

5 (More) Questions with Vikings Territory

With the last regular season game upon us and a division crown on the line, Adam Warwas of VikingsTerritory fame once again asked to pick our brain. Since the last result was so satisfying, I thought I'd give it another go. 

1.    Last time you stopped by, our readers had some fun with your answers in our comments section, but it was you and Packers fans everywhere that got the last laugh. The Packers beat down the Vikings in a 30-13 romp at TCF Bank Stadium. Is Green Bay destined to repeat this success at home or has something changed since November that causes concern about this matchup?
Going into the TCF game, we were coming off a streak of three mind-numbingly bad losses. Last week, we were flat-out embarrassed. Injuries have mounted and some frustrations vented, but there’s something about playing the Vikings that brings out the best in the Packers. I’m willing to bet that’s in the back of the minds of both the players and fans of Minnesota.
2.    I'm a firm believer that seldom are there "experts" out there better at analyzing any given team than their fan base that pay close attention to every snap, every success, and every failure. Assuming you fall into that category, what weakness to the Packers currently display that could most effectively be exploited by the Vikings?
How’s your pass rush these days? Oh, it’s good you say? Damn. It’s no secret the Packers’ offensive line is one ailing unit. Combine that with receivers that aren’t getting open and it could be a long night. For the Vikings, the timing is excellent, but as the players like to say, it’s all about execution.
3.    The NFC playoff participants are decided and both of our teams are in. All that is left is seeding and, specific to this game, deciding whether or not the Vikings can take Green Bay's throne atop the NFC North. Can you tell me what the atmosphere is right now within your fan base? Is there excitement like there is with ours? Is there disappointment that Green Bay hasn't locked it up already? Is the gaze already set upon the playoffs and advancing there? Tell me about how the narrative is playing out east of the border.
The Vikings and their fans should be thrilled to have a chance to take the division at Lambeau on the last game of the year. As for the GB fan base, a minority of beastly trolls have staggered out from under their bridges. It happens from time to time. But when you are accustomed to being so good for so long, any chink the armor is magnified. I’m a believer in this team, but the concern is falling short this year and not maximizing the time with our future HOFer at QB. Despite a few rumblings of laying down this week for a better playoff matchup, I get the impression most fans are just hoping the coaches can make adjustments, replacements step up and the team makes a statement Sunday.
4.    Last time you were here, you opined that the Packers should be far more concerned with stopping Adrian Peterson than Teddy Bridgewater. Since then, Bridgewater has been playing quarterback at a much higher level and had a December to remember. Has your opinion as to whether or not Bridgewater is a legitimately dangerous opponent changed since our last time talking?
No, not really. The majority of has been against weaker teams, and a very poor decision late against the Cardinals cost you guys arguably your biggest win of the year. He’s decent though, and clearly locked in as your guy for a while. If I’m planning against the Vikings, it’s still about stopping AP.
5.    Last week was rough for the Packers. Of course, I love to talk some trash when I see something like that happen, but the truth is that this type of experience is not something Green Bay has experienced much of for a long, long time. Vikings fans cannot say the same. Do you think the Packers will be disheartened by this loss and allow it to carry over to the postseason or are they mentally tough enough to forget about it and move forward with even more motivation?
Good question, and I don’t have a clue. Maybe the Packers don’t either, and won’t until the game gets going. If they happen to fall behind early, it’s going to be hard. As a fan, the belief in Packer comebacks has taken a hit this year despite the Miracle in Motown.
BONUS: Got a prediction for us on the outcome of Sunday night's game?
Essentially repeat of last game: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 Questions with Vikings Territory

Adam Warwas over at VikingsTerritory reached out to us to answer a few questions (in bold) and I gladly answered. While we've had some fun trash-talking with these guys in the past, I was *a little* more straightforward this time. Please let us know what you think in the comments.

1. The obvious elephant in the room is that the Packers are on a three game slide and playing some pretty ugly, relatively speaking, football. Can you talk a little bit about what factors have been involved with these three losses and what solutions the team might try to employ in Minnesota?

It’s as though they went on a two-week bender and were still hungover last week. A good night’s sleep and a strong cup of coffee should sufficiently wake them up. Rodgers has always been a master of improvisation and there’s a chance he’s been boxed in by some vanilla play calling. Giving him more freelance ability with the secondary playmakers will keep defenses guessing and frustrated before #12 drops the hammer.

2. Prior to the season, I'm on record saying that Eddie Lacy being on that Packers roster is just plain unfair. As it turns out, Lacy's year is going pretty poorly and Green Bay is looking fairly one-dimensional on offense these days. Is that a fair assessment and how is that impacting Aaron Rodgers?

While it’s not ideal, Lacy’s short history has indicated he may be a slow starter. Couple that with an injury and the numbers speak for themselves. Starks is a very capable backup but brings a different set of skills to the scheme, probably resulting in more week-to-week adjustments on offense than preferred. That being said, I don’t know it impacts Rodgers that much. I mean, he won the MVP in 2011 when the team was 28th in rushing. He hasn’t played his greatest, but his receivers outside of Cobb and James Jones are relatively young and inexperienced as well. Some struggles are to be expected. As they mature and gain Rodgers’ trust, the offense will get exponentially better sooner than later.

3. Can you tell Vikings fans a bit about Green Bay's 2015 rookie class? I'd like to get your perspective on which rookies are contributing to the success of the team and which have been underwhelming.

In typical draft-and-develop fashion, we picked up some supporting cast members in Rounds 1-3 and depth the rest of the way. You’ll want to pay attention to our first pick especially, Damarious Randall, who has already save our behinds more than once in the secondary. Ty Montgomery, our return guy and WR, appears to be healthy enough to contribute in a variety of ways. Quinten Rollins is real intriguing ball hawk with upside in the secondary. He’s actually a former college basketball player who was his conference’s defensive player of the year his senior year – the only year he played college football. There’s a chance you might see John Kuhn’s potential successor and fellow redhead, Aaron Ripowski, aka “The Ripper.” Jack Ryan of “Sixteen Candles” fame is also an intriguing middle linebacker to watch – if not this season, then the next.

4. The Vikings have really had a hard time getting Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater both into rhythm at the same time. By that, I mean that the offense has yet to fire on all cylinders in 2015. This Dom Capers defense has had ups and downs this season, and I'm wondering if you think the Vikings are most likely to find success through the air or on the ground?

Ha! I mean, what do you think? Despite his decent weapons, if Teddy has above-average success through the air it would probably be a surprise to everyone. #5 is still growing but you have to wonder if there’s much ceiling left to reach? Of course it’s the ground game that’s the concern. Even though we’ve won the majority of the matchups, Peterson has almost single-handedly kept you in the game. If he’s semi-contained, I don’t see you winning through the air.

5. Look, I understand that divisional games are always hard-fought, and they can be as unpredictable as they are difficult to win. Still, the Green Bay fans seem to be taking last week's loss to the Lions particularly hard. To those fans that seem to think the sky is falling in Wisconsin, what message would you like to relay?

At 6-3, many other teams would gladly trade to be in our shoes. That said, we’ve set the bar high and expect more. Fans should know the upside of this team by now and that if we get into the playoffs, there’s a helluva a good chance we can make this season special. Go troll your boat somewhere else.

BONUS: Have a prediction for the outcome of Sunday's game?
Hard-fought 27-20 Packers victory.

Our question for Vikings Territory: If the Vikings were sitting at .500 or below at this point, what would be the initial offer to Ragnar to come back and save the Vikings’ season?

Vikings Territory: Unlike the Packers, the Vikings are not that dependent on any individual, nor do we live in “What If” Land and dwell on the past. The fact is that we currently sit atop the NFC North and the Minnesota Vikings, not the Green Bay Packers, are the present and motivated to place Green Bay firmly in the past.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Packers' Defensive Mystery Has Been Solved

At some point, someone decided that a team's defense should be judged on yards given up. That's cool. I mean, offenses get bonus points for yardage milestones during NFL games, so if you don't give up yards you limit these opponents' bonus points. What? That's just fantasy football? Oh. So total defense is just yards? Huh. Seems like scoring usually determines the victor of any given football contest. Am I right on that? I am? Okay, good.

Hello, what have we here? The Packers have the best scoring defense in the NFL? Interesting. Sometimes it's hard to hear over the "Fire Capers" chants, so I'll repeat, the Packers have the number one scoring defense in the NFL. This got me wondering, "How is the defense this good?" Being the inquisitive type, I started asking around hoping to find some clues as to the defense's emergence. I got nothing but dead ends. No one was talking. 

Finally, I followed up on one last lead. It was a long shot. I contacted a security guard at the Hutson Center whom I had helped recover a Travis Jervey autographed cheesehead for a few years ago. We'll call him "Tommy". Unfortunately for Tommy, his dog had eaten it, so the recovery operation was suboptimal. Anyway, Tommy owed me a favor. I texted him over the bye week to see if he had noticed anything different during his time around the practice facilities. His reply was brief. All his text said was, "Follow the Clay."

Following the Packers' best defensive player seemed like a good, and fairly obvious, place to start to get to the bottom of this excellent defensive start for the team. So during the bye week, I tailed Clay Matthews to see if I could find his secret. While he did his best to conceal his activities, he was no match for my superior sleuthing skills. What I found was shocking. 

Clay Matthews was training actual bronco. Amazing. His ability to physically outmatch and mentally destroy his enemies was the product of training against his LITERAL opponents. This explained so much. It was all becoming apparent. The mystery of Packers stingy defense has been solved.

As you can see from the photo above, Matthews seems more than ready to take on the Broncos tonight. It's going to be a bloodbath. Packers 34, Broncos -15.

***Disclaimer: Neither The Packer Ranter nor Clay Matthews will accept liability for your health or safety if you decide to take on a similar training regimen. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Catching Up on Some Correspondence

Usually during the bye week, I divide my time equally between replenishing my cheese stores, taking bratwurst inventory and telling Robert that I would finally sit down and write a Rant. Well, the bye week is almost gone. I have a house that smells like Gruyere, Gorgonzola and goat cheese, a solid handle on my remaining bratwurst supplies and zero inspiration to weave a cogent, yet brilliant, analysis of the Green Bay Packers. I told Robert this. His reply: "Do it, or you're fired."

He's right. Time to get motivated. I sat down with a brick of Havarti, hit "play" on my Tracy White training montage video and waited for the creative juices to start flowing. Three hours later, I awoke from my cheese coma. The answer had come to me in a dairy-induced dream: "What's the easiest way to find something to write about? Make someone else think of it." I'll sort through some emails and share my responses. I believe it's called a "Mailbag".

Right on. Here we go.

DraftKings, DraftKings, FanDuel, LinkedIn, DraftKings, ESPN Fantasy, LinkedIn, FanDuel, Cheese of the Month Club, FanDuel, Twitter "Follow: @Vikings, @DarrenRovell and @notTedThompson" ...sigh...well, maybe this isn't going to go exactly as...wait a minute, what's this?

SUBJECT: morons 
Dear Kool Aid Drinkers, 

 You're guys are like all the rest of the "media". People bring up actual points about why our team is not as good as people say, and you think you know better than real fans because you have a blog. Wake up it's 2015, and your the only 2 guys too still blog. You just say, there 6-0 in response to everything. 6-0? Means nothing…NOTHING. How many times have we steamrolled in the regular season now to be caught with our pants down in the playoffs? It’s such a waste of talent. Before you know it, Rodgers will be gone with ONE SB and maybe another regualr season MVP. My question…for what?  And the so called other “playmakers”? Lacy—ha! Everyone puts him in commercials after last year and now look at him!... Hurt? MOre like an overweight, plodding has-been after only two years! GIVE STARKS THE DANG BALL! Play that harris guy too. He had a good run this year. We’ve got ONE guy on defense capable of making a play but guess what? He can’t stay healthy! If you get half a season from Clay consider yourself lucky.  And Cobb? Jordy? Those guys are hurt to, look at all that money you wasted that could’ve gone to getting some real playmakers on defense. SIgn a free agent one time. In case you forgot – DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. And we’ve been bottom of the barrel for YEARS in that category. So bad in fact an average QB like Patrick Rivers comes in with no run and throws 500 FREAKING YARDS, a week after a ROOKIE running back goes for 150+!!! Meanwhile just wait until the playoffs when we lose at home. Probnably to the Giants again. ELI MANNING will get at LEAST one more because at the Giants know how to build a winner by drafting that Beckman receiver. Ted "trust Me" Thompson needs to take some lessons from a winner. I’ll take a couple crappy seasons in between if that’s what it takes. Wake me up when its over.Then you'll see us real fans were right. 
Fed up with mediocraty, 

 I didn't know how to respond. First of all, I'm not used to getting fan mail. Secondly, I know another guy with a blog, so it's not really cool to say we're the only two. Sure, podcasts are sweet because you can listen to them when you're at the gym wailing on your pecs but to write on the internet will never not be cool. Also, I haven't actually written anything here since June (it's pretty accurate though), and the last thing Robert did was give some helpful tips about tailgating, so I'm not quite sure where this is coming from. He must have seen, and obviously been frustrated by, our unwavering positivity on Twitter.
I jotted down some initial notes for a response. Labeling anyone who doesn't agree with you as "media" is always a pretty weak start to any argument but comparing them to us is an insult. To them. I mean, they have jobs and are professional, and a lot of times, they are right about things. We usually shoot for a nice 70%, good ol' C average. 6-0? I personally think making it six games into the season is a pretty good barometer of where a team stands, even though things will undoubtedly shift as the year progresses, but to each their own. I'm not sure I know how to respond to the portion on Aaron Rodgers' legacy. I'm not Biff Tannen, I can't consult Gray's Sports Almanac to see what will happen. Falling back to the "Lacy looks big argument"? Well, it could maaaaybe, possibly, slightly be the ankle injury, but I'm no doctor. Defensive playmakers, I'm pretty sure the defense won the Packers a couple games this year, oh well, recency effect of Patrick Rivers, I guess. On Eli Manning...

Ah, forget it, I just take a stab at writing a response.

I really appreciate you taking the time to write to us and share your thoughts on the Green Bay Packers, [REDACTED]. I can tell you are incredibly passionate about the team and care about their long term success. Go, Pack. Go! Am I right? Who is your favorite player on the Packers? I really like Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. Do you have any fun gameday rituals? I wear the same socks every game. Hahaha. What is your favorite tailgate food? If you're from Wisconsin, it must be bratwurst, right? I sometimes make chili though too. Do you like sauerkraut? I love it. You know a lot about football, you must have played. High school? I played tight end and punter. Did you know Tim Masthay's nickname is "Ginger Wolverine"? Pretty awesome, right? Wolverine is my favorite X-Man. Haha. Who is yours? Do you like going to Packers' games? Lambeau Field is so cool, right? It's great when everyone yells, "Go, Pack, Go!" and does the wave. I'll bet you have some good ideas about plays the Packers should run. You should send them to the coaches. Hahaha. Bye weeks are so boring, aren't they? Anyway, it was great to hear from you. Keep up the great work as a Packers fan and Get Loud Lambeau, right? Ha! Did you get one of those shirts? You should they are cool. Go, Pack!
Frank Hillside

I really think I matched the sophistication of the initial email. I hope [REDACTED] writes back. Pen pals are fun. Feel free to use this email as a template when responding to other "passionate" fans.
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