A Look to the East With Envy

The pro football fan base admires the Green Bay Packers, the NFL’s only publicly-owned team. Plus Lambeau Field is The. Mecca. Even this Minnesota Vikings diehard languishes and laments their legends and legacies.

It started as a young Minneapolis kid watching what was very little network TV coverage in the early ’60’s. Even back then, The Pack “moved the needle” and were shown A LOT. So much so, it felt like they played the L.A. Rams every other Sunday.

Mind you, this was nearly a decade before Commissioner Pete Rozelle. During his tenure, the NFL grew from 12 teams to 28. He helped organize large television-rights deals and ushered in Monday Night Football. He oversaw the 1970 NFL-AFL merger and the creation of the Super Bowl, plus moved the NFL move from a 12 to 16 game schedule. By his retirement, many people considered him the most powerful commissioner in sports. Rozelle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

While a heartbreaking loss this past Sunday, it was especially sad on the heels of the passing of former GM Ted Thompson. Very reserved and polarizing, at the helm for 13 years, he maintained the Green Bay traditions formed by Vince Lombardi and Ron Wolf. Many on the current roster are the core of one of the league’s top teams, MVP QB Aaron Rodgers being the obvious focal point. Thompson was often criticized for not being very active in the free agent market and trades but from where this Vikings fan sits, I’d gladly exchange for that history. Here’s to next season!

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