Minneapolis, MN. (WBAY) - WBAY-TV has spent the week in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. This is a roundup of what we learned while talking to national media members, former and current Green Bay Packers players/coaches.
Jerry Kramer voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
Former Packers guard Jerry Kramer’s wait is over. Kramer was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. It was his 11th nomination as a finalist and missed out as a Seniors Committee finalist in 1997 after he failed to get enough votes to get in. This time around, he got in.
WBAY News’ Jeff Alexander talked to Kramer immediately after finding out he got in but the wait was a long one. The senior finalists were voted on earlier in the day on Saturday by the 48 members of the selection committee. So when Kramer was the last one to get a knock on his hotel room door from President and CEO of the Pro Football HOF David Baker, he got worried. He did receive an unlikely knock earlier in the day.
"I had started to consign myself to defeat, seemed like the clock was ticking and time was going by and in my mind I assumed if we were early in the morning that we might be some of the earliest notifications," said Kramer.
"So I figured if we were in we would get a notification within 10-15 minutes, and so the whole half hour went by and then a little more went by and I'm going man it's not to be, it's not going to be and then the room got a little quiet and people didn't know what to say and it started to get awkward, and the maid knocked on the door, wow, so we all rushed the maid, and she goes what the heck, what's going on, so we got through that and it was a few minutes before Mr. Baker arrived and knocked on the door, but he was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a long time."
Kramer played with the Green Bay Packers from 1958-68 and anchored the offensive line of for head coach Vince Lombardi. Kramer will be enshrined into the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018.
Rodgers unhappy with loss of QB coach and worried he may have to play somewhere else if he wants to play into his 40s
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spent the weekend at the Mall of America in anticipation of Super Bowl LII. Rodgers appeared on multiple national programs but his most interesting comments came on ESPN’s ‘Golic & Wingo.’
"My quarterback coach didn't get retained. I thought that was an interesting change … really without consulting me. There's a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach. And that was an interesting decision," Rodgers said.
Rodgers is referring to QB coach Alex Van Pelt who now is with the Cincinnati Bengals. Van Pelt was Rodgers QB coach for the past four seasons. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy went a different direction and hired Frank Cignetti Jr.
Rodgers also told the Associated Press he has started to acknowledge if he wants to play into his 40s like Patriots QB Tom Brady he may have to leave the Packers.
"I think you have to be humble enough to realize if it could happen to Brett, it can happen to you," Rodgers said.
Rodgers contract extension coming soon?
Rodgers has two more years left on his contract but talks about a possible contract extension have started to take place according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter said Rodgers and the Packers has started some discussions which would make him the highest paid QB but the deal is “far off” and that the deal would get done shortly before the season.
Here’s what the national media and former Packers think about a Rodgers contract extension.
(ESPN National Correspondent Sal Paolantonio): “There have been a lot of examples recently where teams have gone to the bank and give the quarterbacks a lot of money and it hasn’t paid off. Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco is pretty good example where they overpaid … If you are Aaron Rodgers you have to understand the economics of building a successful team and what it takes for the entire team and you don’t want to price yourself out of a Super Bowl.
(Mike Holmgren, Former Packers Head Coach – 1992-98): “it’s astonishing. It’s really remarkable what these guys get paid but the leagues make a lot of money. Clubs make a lot of money. The players earn their money and the quarterback position is the most important position on the team so in Aaron Rodgers case as an example you have got to pay him whatever the market bares. You have got to do that. When you read about (Tom) Brady or another quarterback that has that has given the club (some help), you have to read between the lines just a little bit because they are going to get their money one way or another somehow but I think you have to pay the quarterback.”
Thoughts on the Packers new GM Brian Gutekunst.
(Cris Collinsworth, NBC Super Bowl LII Color Commentator):“I think there’s always a danger of getting too comfortable. There always is. In any business. In any organization. In any structure. And I know there are some really smart people that are making the decisions up there and Mike (McCarthy) is a good leader of that football team and Aaron’s fantastic. It will be interesting to see what happens to him now without Dom (Capers) on the defensive side. What new look, what signature will come out of that defense?"
(Tyler Dunne, Bleacher Report): “I think if you are a Packers fan, you are really encouraged what you heard out of Brian Gutekunst in that first address in that they want to go out and try things that the previous regime wasn’t trying and that’s signing free agents, taking some chances. I don’t know if it’s to make a name for himself but I really think you can do both. I think you can sign players, sign veterans that are going to help you now while still accumulating draft picks and building through the draft. I don’t really look at it as one or the other.”
(Mike Holmgren, Former Packers Head Coach – 1992-98): “I’ve known him and of course through Ted (Thompson) and the guys there, (John) Dorsey and those guys. Of course I knew the name and knew him and bumped into him but I’m sure as he’s come in and been developed in the system, he’s been there for a while, I don’t think they’ll skip a beat.”
“Ted worked for me for a long time and of course with the Packers and he was really outstanding at his job. He’s a very good talent evaluator. He had a certain philosophy on how he wanted to build a football team. It will be interesting to see if Brian sticks with that philosophy in other words, free agency, Ted would cherry pick but he was more draft and these are guys that are going to be with us for a long time.”
(Albert Breer, MMQB.com): “I know the big complaint Packers fans have always had is they are not aggressive enough with free agents. They are not aggressive enough with trades. They are overly reliant on the college draft so I think that’s one area that’s going to be interesting to watch the way that (Gutekunst) goes about running the team.
Thoughts on new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
(Mike Daniels, Packers Defensive Tackle): "I love him. I absolutely love him. He's a really angry, no BS Jersey dude. He's going to hurt some people's feelings and we need that. I'm excited to get to work with him. And he's excited. He's going to get after you.
"I met with him. We talked. He's definitely the kind of guy that we want, the kind of guy that we need. I'm going to say he's going to do really great things for us. And he already is. I'm excited. I can't wait to go back.
"We've always had the pieces, and now he's ready to put them together. He just has the attitude we've been missing. We've been missing it. He has it. He's ready to bring it out. He told me that himself. It's going to be an interesting film room with him. He's not afraid of holding guys accountable. And if you want to debate if you had a good play or not, he'll go right to the tape."
(Albert Breer, MMQB.com): “The big thing with him is the way he runs his defense is very, very difficult to prepare for. It’s complex…He gets guys playing fast. If you want to watch what Rex Ryan’s defenses have done over the years you see it’s simpler for them and more complex for the opponent.”
(Tony Dungy, NBC Super Bowl Analyst): “I remember Mike when he was at Cleveland. (He’s a) very good coach. I think he’s going to be motivated and geared up and ready to go. He’ll help them. No doubt.”