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Packers jump to top spot in ESPN’s franchise rankings

A year ago, the Green Bay Packers were ranked by ESPN as the ninth best franchise in professional sports.

One year and a Super Bowl championship later, the franchise heads the list.

ESPN the Magazine released its ninth annual Ultimate Standings, which “measure[s] how much MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them.”

With that criteria in hand, it came as no surprise that the Packers took the top spot. The rankings are based on eight different major categories, each weighted differently, and averaged out into one number. Here they are and analysis of how the Packers fared in each.

1. Bang for the Buck (24.3%) — Packers ranked 4th: The biggest category, which measures “wins during the past three years per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules,” was big for the Packers. Since a 6-10 2008 season, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have given fans a 25-12 record and, oh yeah, that Super Bowl championship in 2010.

2. Players (16.6%) — Packers ranked 5th: When Ted Thompson took over as general manager, he said he would only bring in players labeled as “Packer people.” Such has been the case, as players like Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji have all stayed out of trouble while working hard on the field. Outside of Johnny Jolly, whose tenure in Green Bay is all but over, the Packers have had a squeaky clean track record, and their performance on the field speaks for itself.

3. Fan Relations (16.5%) — Packers ranked 10th:

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June 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Bay Packers receive Super Bowl rings

The Green Bay Packers received their Super Bowl rings Thursday night during a private ceremony held at Lambeau Field. Despite the current lockout generally forbidding staff and players from having contact, the team was given special permission from the NFL to hold the event. While there are still uncertainties about the upcoming season, this night was all about reliving the memorable 2010 season, culminating in a world championship.

The Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 on Feb. 6 to win Super Bowl XLV, highlighted by 304 passing yards and two touchdowns from MVP Aaron Rodgers and a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown from safety Nick Collins. That next Tuesday the team held a “Return to Titletown” celebration in Lambeau Field, but that marked the last time the team and staff all had been together, prior to Thursday night.

Here are the details of the Super Bowl ring, per a press release from the Packers:

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June 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lambeau Field ranked toughest venue in NFL by ESPN.com

ESPN.com continued its Top 10 lists Tuesday when it ranked the toughest venues in the NFL.

Lambeau Field, home of the 13-time world champion Green Bay Packers, was ranked No. 1 by a panel of eight NFL bloggers. It received four of the eight first place votes, two second place votes, a fourth place vote and a ninth place vote.

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June 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

How will the Packers’ draft picks contribute in 2011?

The makeup of the Packers’ 2011 roster could look very different than it does right now, considering that the NFL lockout has halted free agency to this point. Players such as defensive end Cullen Jenkins, wide receiver James Jones, and running back Brandon Jackson still do not know whether they will be wearing a Green Bay jersey on Opening Night.

So for now, we can only project what the ten Packers’ 2011 draft picks will do this season. Here’s a look.

Derek Sherrod, LT: Chad Clifton rebounded nicely in 2010 and was selected as an alternate to the Pro Bowl, and it looks as though he will be back protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blindside again this season. If the Packers truly believe Sherrod can be the left tackle of the future, then Bryan Bulaga will stay at right tackle and Sherrod will learn for a year under Clifton.

Randall Cobb, WR:

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June 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Ranking the most underrated Packers for 2011

ESPN.com’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert ranked the most underrated players on each team in the division last Friday. His selection for the Packers, right guard Josh Sitton, came as no surprise. Staying with that trend, here are the top 10 most underrated Packers.

1. Josh Sitton, right guard: Left tackle Chad Clifton has been given much of the credit for the Packers’ recent successes in the Packers’ passing attack, as the offensive line allowed just 38 sacks in 2010, down from 51 a year ago. But for as good as Clifton was last season, being selected to the Pro Bowl and being voted as the 99th best player in the league by the players, Sitton is the foundation of the offensive line. The fourth year guard was called for just two false starts and one holding penalty in 2010, and unofficially did not allow a sack. He excelled in the ground game as well and was a Pro Bowl alternate. John Clayton ranked him as the most underrated right guard in the NFL.

2. Sam Shields, cornerback: The secret is out Shields after his performance in the NFC Championship Game, including the game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter, but Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams still shadow the rookie corner. Unofficially, Shields allowed 37 receptions on 63 passes intended on his receiver and committed just one pass interference penalty. He defended seven passes and intercepted four more, and the quarterback rating on passes on him was 80.7, just four points worse than Woodson’s 2010 mark. He is not on the level of Woodson or Williams, but for an undrafted rookie with just one year of defensive skills, Shields was a major success. He also helped on special teams, averaging 21.5 yards on 21 returns. Shields should make Woodson’s inevitable retirement in the next two or three years that much easier.

3. Brandon Chillar, inside linebacker:

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June 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Top 100 Players: Safety Nick Collins next at 96

In the wake of labor disputes and the reality that part of the 2011 NFL season may be lost, NFL.com has polled current players to rank the top 100 players in the league.

Left tackle Chad Clifton was the first member of the Packers to appear on the list, followed closely by safety Nick Collins at No. 96.

A starter since day one, Collins has more than lived up to his potential as a second round draft pick in 2005. After intercepting four passes his first three seasons, missing just three total games (all in 2007, knee), Collins broke out in 2008 when he intercepted seven passes, returning three for touchdowns.

He also set a Packers’ single season record with 295 return yards on those interceptions, breaking Bobby Dillon’s mark of 244 yards set in 1956. 2008 also marked the first of three straight Pro Bowl selections for the Packers’ safety.

A year later, Collins picked up right where he left off, intercepting six passes and recovering two fumbles. He also wound up starting in the Pro Bowl because former Packer and then-safety for the Saints Darren Sharper was playing in the Super Bowl.

Collins was instrumental to the Packers’ league-leading defense in 2010, as he intercepted four passes and finished with 70 tackles. His biggest play of the season, however, came in Super Bowl XLV when he intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass and zig-zagged his way 37 yards into the end zone to give the Packers’ a comfortable 14-0 lead. He finished the Super Bowl with four tackles and a pass defended.

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June 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The Top NFL Players of 2011: Chad Clifton sneaks in at 99

In the wake of labor disputes and the reality that part of the 2011 NFL season may be lost, NFL.com has polled current players to rank the top 100 players in the league.

Sneaking on the bottom of the list at No. 99 was Packers’ left tackle Chad Clifton, one spot ahead of Washington quarterback Donovan McNabb.

The recognition came after a fantastic bounce-back season from the 11-year veteran, who was called for just one holding penalty and was in charge of Aaron Rodgers’ blind side during the Packers’ run to Super Bowl XLV.

It was quite the accomplishment for Clifton, who many believed was a thing of the past after the Packers selected offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga with their first round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Following a sub-par, injury-filled 2009, Bulaga was expected to challenge Clifton for the left tackle starting gig. Clifton eventually won the job, with Bulaga moving to right tackle.

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June 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment