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Doing it the right way

It’s what makes the Packers beyond special

February 6, 2011

A day after the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears for the NFC championship, I got a call from my cousin Andy, a security guard at Lambeau Field.

He had Super Bowl tickets and felt compelled to call the usual suspects of family members to see if we were interested in a pair of seats at Cowboys Stadium today.

The cost for face-value seats: $900. It didn't include hotel, airfare, food and was only the price for one ticket.

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Apparently I was wrong when I told him on Facebook I would sell a kidney for a ticket. I'd have to sell both.

The decision was much easier than you might think and I quickly turned down the ticket. My next statement to Andy was, "I figure since you're offering these tickets to me that you are also turning down the $900 price tag for tickets as well?"

Andy's response: "No, the Packers are flying us all down to Dallas and paying for everything. I'm going to the Super Bowl."

Now I knew why Andy was really calling me. It's easier and more practical to use Facebook or Twitter to spread the word about possibly the greatest moment of your life - I'm sure the birth of his daughter is up there too, maybe - but there's nothing like hearing the stunned silence on the other end of the phone when you tell someone you are going to the Super Bowl.

I always thought Andy had one of the coolest jobs in the world, but this confirmed it. He also confirmed what many of us around Wisconsin already know. The Green Bay Packers are one special franchise.

The Packers, like no other franchise in sports, respects the past and its history. That's why Lambeau Field was renovated, not torn down in favor of a fancy new venue - like Cowboys Stadium or the new Yankee Stadium.

Bart Starr, despite his terrible run as a head coach, will always be revered like Vince Lombardi, even long after his time on this Earth has come to an end. I think the same will be said for Brett Favre and Mike Holmgren some day and they too will receive the ovations that Starr does every time he steps onto the frozen tundra.

Team president Mark Murphy knows all this. His regime of general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy have taken a lot of heat throughout their time in Green Bay, especially for jettisoning fan favorites like Favre and Al Harris. It was said they don't respect veterans or the Packers of the past.

The truth is, they respect former president Bob Harlan and respect the past more than any other regime in Packers history.

Andy's boss, the man who signs his paychecks, Mark Murphy, confirmed that to the organization the moment after the Bears were sent packing.

"We were told that Mark Murphy wants us to have the same experience that everyone got the last time the Packers went to the Super Bowl," Andy said. "He wants to do what Bob Harlan did for the employees."

Ted Thompson echoed that sentiment to the Associated Press and because of Andy's quote, I couldn't help but highlight that in The Mining Journal's Super Bowl section this week.

"I don't take any personal satisfaction with the way we do things, because we do things the way Ron Wolf taught us to," Thompson said.

So Andy and his father, my uncle, Randy are in Dallas this week courtesy of the Green Bay Packers, representing the Wellens family at Super Bowl XLV. Their only disappointment prior to the trip was the snow that was following them to Texas, but by the looks of their Facebook photos and updates, the snow has been quickly forgotten.

Andy was especially impressed by the police escort that shut down traffic to guide the group that arrived Thursday from the airport to the hotel in Irving. They were also excited to find a cab driver in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that could drive through the snow.

Am I bit jealous of my cousin and uncle this week? Yes. I'm also proud of them for representing all of us back home down in Dallas.

I'm even more proud of the Green Bay Packers, who win or lose today, will still remain the greatest franchise in sports.

Go Pack Go!

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His e-mail address is Follow him on Twitter at



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