Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Goodbye Curly, Hello 1919.

Rest in Peace, Curly's Pub.

The Packers have unveiled renderings for Lambeau Field's new atrium restaurant, the 1919 Kitchen & Tap. Located on the main level of the atrium, it replaces Curly's Pub, opened in 2003 as part of the extensive stadium renovations.

The interior of the restaurant looks amazing, to be sure.

A contemporary feel and massive improvement over the general TGI Friday's vibe of the old place. I love the clever touch of play diagrams burned into the wood tables.

But if the decor itself is an upgrade, what about the name?

On the one hand, I can't really argue with having an ever-present reminder that the Packers were founded in 1919, no matter what the NFL wants to believe. But on the other, I think it's a shame to lose the really unique "Curly's Pub" branding. "1919" is sterile and gerenic, while "Curly's" was welcoming and had some personality. And when choosing a place to hang out, I'll pick a "pub" over "kitchen & tap" any day.

The logo for 1919 is even worse than the name. It's bland and corporate, lacking all character. It has that sort of general inoffensiveness ad agencies love. This logo would be more at home in a corporate commissary, or a stadium with multiple-tier overhangs and plastic seats.

They couldn't even be bothered to use a font with any relevance to the Packers' own brand: no stencils? No jersey block numbers? Weak sauce.

Not only did Curly's Pub have a better name, it had a fantastic logo:


There's the man himself. Squinting in the sun, master of all he surveys.

It looks even better in monochrome green:

Yelp/Jana H.

Given the general æsthetics of Lambeau Field, that would have been much more appropriate than the regular two-tone version.

So raise a glass to Curly's Pub: you may be gone, but you won't be forgotten.

Yelp/Ricky J.

Monday, April 27, 2015

At Least They Don't Think We Play in Indianapolis

The Packers have unveiled the design for this year's Draft caps:

Ooo, shiny.

On the back, the golden NFL logo they're using this year to mark the Super Bowl 50.

The real treat is the underbrim of the cap. New Era is decorating those with the skyline of the team's host city:

This is a little more effective for cities like New York or Chicago, but it's still kind of fun.

I recognize the Tower Drive Bridge, although Wikipedia informs me that it was renamed the "Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge" in 2002. Shows how often I get back.

As undistinguished as Green Bay's skyline might be, at least we're not Jacksonville fans. Their cap's underbrim looks like this:

Only problem is, that's not Jacksonville's skyline. This is:

Those lovely teal-outlined buildings are actually found in Miami, 350 miles to the south:

The Miami New Times has this handy Photoshop comparison:

Whoops. New Era has fessed up to the mistake and promised it will be corrected by the time the caps hit stores.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Schedule Released

The Packers' 2015 schedule has been released.

Packers.com breaks it down this way:
The Green Bay Packers’ 95th NFL regular-season schedule – highlighted by the Thanksgiving night game at Lambeau Field against the Chicago Bears, the first home Thanksgiving game since 1923, and four other prime-time contests (subject to flexible scheduling) – was released this evening by the National Football League.

The Packers will kick off their season on the road for the third consecutive year. Green Bay will travel to Chicago, opening the season at the Bears for the first time since 1981 and on the road against a division opponent for the first time since playing at Detroit in 2005. Green Bay will spend the following two weeks at home, playing a Sunday night game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 and facing the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football in Week 3. It is the first time since 2008 that the Packers will play their first two home games in primetime.

After a trip to take on San Francisco in Week 4, the fifth time the Packers and 49ers will meet in the regular or postseason since 2012, Green Bay returns home for two games before its Week 7 bye. The St. Louis Rams visit Lambeau for the first time since 2011 in Week 5, and in Week 6 the Packers host the San Diego Chargers for the first time since 2007 and only the fifth time overall.

Following Green Bay’s first Week 7 bye since 2007, the Packers travel to play the Broncos in Denver for the first time on a Sunday night. It will be Green Bay’s seventh visit to the Mile High City during the regular season and first since a 19-13 overtime victory in 2007. The Packers stay on the road for a Week 9 game at Carolina, facing the Panthers in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2007-08.

The second half of the regular season will see Green Bay face division opponents in four consecutive weeks. The Packers will face the Lions at home in Week 10, travel to play Minnesota in Week 11, come home to play the Bears on Thanksgiving in Week 12 and play at Detroit in another Thursday night game in Week 13. It will be the first time Green Bay has played division opponents in four consecutive weeks since 2000 (Weeks 14-17) and the first time the Packers have played on consecutive Thursdays since 2007 (Weeks 12-13).

The Packers’ final four regular-season games will be bookended by two home contests, starting with Dallas returning to Green Bay in Week 14. Including the postseason, the Packers have won four consecutive games against the Cowboys. In Weeks 15-16, Green Bay travels west to play the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals. The Packers will host the Vikings at Lambeau to close out the regular season, marking the sixth time the two have met in the regular-season finale and first at Lambeau since 1996.

Green Bay’s schedule includes seven games against 2014 playoff teams. Three of those games (Dallas, Detroit, Seattle) will be at Lambeau Field, while four (Arizona, Carolina, Denver, Detroit) will come on the road.
For more information, head over to Packers.com.

Friday, April 17, 2015

R.I.P. Lee Remmel, Packers Historian

Sad news out of Titletown; Lee Remmel, who has been associated with the Packers since the Curly Lambeau days, has passed away at the age of 90.

Remmel was a true icon in a sport which tends to over-use the word. He started covering Packers games for the Green Bay Press-Gazette in 1945.

Reporters wait while the Packers’ board of directors meets for four hours in the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay on Nov. 30, 1949, deliberating the fate of coach and general manager Curly Lambeau. From left are Lee Remmel, Art Daley and Dave Yuenger of the Green Bay Press-Gazette; Packers publicity director George Strickler, Don Arthur of radio station WDUZ, Bob Savage of radio station WBAY and Earl Gillespie of WJPG, the Press-Gazette’s radio station. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
For nearly thirty years, he reported on the ins and outs of the team, and when he finally left his beat in 1974, it was to join the Packers as their public relations director. Remmel's second career was as long and illustrious as his first, through the lean years of the 1970s and 1980s and finally renewed glory days that continue today. In February 2004, he was named team historian. Aided with an uncanny memory and a true gift for personal stories, he has done as much to educate modern football fans as anyone in the sport.

Lee Remmel stands next to the plaque erected in the Lambeau Field press box after it was named for him in August 2003. (Green Bay Packers archives)
The Press-Gazette has a wonderful gallery of Remmel's life. Of course, there are a few uniform gems in the gallery, including these two glimpses of 1950s uniforms. This period has been almost forgotten, lost between Curly's famous gold-yoked jerseys and the world-famous Lombardi design that endures (with a few tweaks) to this very day.

Packers fullback Fred Cone walks past Press-Gazette sports writer Lee Remmel, left, on the sideline at old City Stadium during the Packers’ 37-14 victory over the Baltimore Colts on Oct. 18, 1953. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
Press-Gazette sports writer Lee Remmel kneels along the sideline during the Packers’ 17-13 victory over the New York Giants in a preseason game at old City Stadium on Aug. 25, 1956. He’s flanked by Packers coach Lisle Blackbourn, left, and end Gary Knafelc. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
It's fascinating to watch the evolution of his career, as he starts out covering the players for the paper and transitions into working with them to manage that paper's coverage.

Press-Gazette sports writer Lee Remmel interviews Packers quarterback Bart Starr after Green Bay’s 13-10 victory over the Baltimore Colts in overtime in the Western Division championship game at Lambeau Field on Dec. 26, 1965. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
He flips from one side of the notebook to the other, but maintains the same intense look on his face.

Packers director of public relations Lee Remmel, second from right, stands between Press-Gazette sports writer Cliff Christl and Packers coach Bart Starr during an interview during the 1979 season. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
I love this look at a Lindy Infante's press conference, partly for the peek at 1989's sideline gear but also the guy next to Remmel wearing a Bucks jacket; you're more likely to find Packer apparel inserted in the background of unrelated sporting events than the other way around.

Lee Remmel, the Packers' director of public relations, stands at second from right as coach Lindy Infante meets the media during the 1989 season. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
For generations, Remmel has been a living link to the club's history. For people of my generation, it was to Lambeau and Lombardi. To younger fans, he was an official witness to those long-ago glory days of White and Favre.

Lee Remmel enjoys a laugh with Packers quarterback Brett Favre in the team's locker room during the mid-1990s. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
The Packers have created a tribute page to Remmel on their site with links to press releases and galleries covering his career (with an emphasis on his most recent recognitions). It's well worth a read.

Longtime Packers public relations man and historian and former Press-Gazette sports writer Lee Remmel talks about his life with the Packers at his home on Feb. 10, 2009. (Press-Gazette Media archives)
It is perhaps inevitable that loss seems to stalk any team with the long history of the Packers, as every year we lose one more human connection to that glorious past. I've long enjoyed reading Remmel's reminisces on that history, and we are the poorer now for his voice being silenced. R.I.P., Mr. Remmel.