The Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour stop in Merrill on Saturday was a huge success, drawing nearly 1,000 fans to the MARC’s Smith Center for fun Q & A and autograph sessions with current Packers Mason Crosby, Brad Jones and Jarrett Bush, former greats Lynn Dickey, James Lofton and Paul Coffman, as well as Green Bay president and CEO Mark Murphy. Fans flocked to the event from as far away as Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.
The group first met with sponsors at Kathy and Cal’s Club 64, where platinum sponsor AGRA Industries added $12,000 to its initial pledge of $5,000. All proceeds from the event will help make the River Bend Trail phase one a reality.
Quotes from representatives of the Packers included:
“I didn’t get drafted, I didn’t get a scholarship. You can’t measure what’s inside a man, the drive, the dedication, the willingness to pay the price. That’s why I tell my kids I can’t put in you what I want you to do, but there’s something in there, and when you find it, go after it with all your heart.”
–Paul Coffman, three-time pro-bowl and Packers Hall of Fame selection
“That was a fun game. The first quarter of that game, O.J. Anderson ran for 58 yards in the first quarter, then one of his guys fell on his ankle. If he hadn’t have gotten hurt, that would have been a hard game to play, because he just kept running through our guys, 8-10 yards a carry.”
Lynn Dickey, GB quarterback on the 41-16 triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1982 playoffs.
“Over the years we’ve raised $1.1 million dollars for charity with this tour. We hope to raise a lot of money for the River Bend Trail. That is a great, great project. It will be wonderful for your community, to bring people together.”
Mark Murphy, Packers president and CEO
“We used to only bring current players, but about four years ago we started to bring former players and it’s been really popular. Many of our fans have great memories of these players. Our former players all played offense in the 80’s and I can tell you first-hand that they were outstanding, very tough to stop. All of them are in the Packers Hall of Fame.”
Mark Murphy, Packers president and CEO, and former all-pro defensive back for the Washington Redskins. He played safety for Washington in the highest-scoring Monday Night Football game in history, a 48-47 Green Bay victory in 1983. Murphy led the NFL with nine interceptions that season.
“I go through the same thoughts every time. Once we cross midfield, I go to kick the ball in the net. With our offense, we’re usually in scoring position in no time. I do my normal routine. Hopefully I’ve done all my details right and that last kick goes through. There’s nothing better in the world. It’s a great feeling.”
–Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby on what goes through his mind when he has a game-winning field goal attempt.
“I speak for everyone when I say we’re all looking forward to getting a piece of (Collin Kaepernick).”
Brad Jones, Packers inside linebacker.
“Imagine your 25th high school reunion, when you get together with your three-four best buddies. Getting together with Paul (Coffman) and Lynn (Dickey), that’s what it’s been like the last four nights.”
James Lofton, 8-time pro bowler, 4-time All-Pro and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.