Saturday, December 27, 2014

Infographic: Packers vs. Lions

Not to be outdone by ESPN, continues its excellent series of infographics, previewing tomorrow's clash with the Lions at Lambeau Field.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bonus Infographic: ESPN's "Game of the Week"

ESPN is getting into the infographic game - here's their take on the "Game of the Week", as the Lions come to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers for the NFC North title.

Check it out, along with their take on other featured games this weekend, here.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The "Captain" Patches Revealed as Even Dumber Than I Thought

Well, I was wondering what the Packers would do with Aaron Rodgers's captain patch now that he's topped the five consecutive seasons it was designed to represent. Thanks to the Packers' naming their postseason captains early, we now know: absolutely nothing.

Gold C above four gold stars, the exact same as last season.

Originally, the whole point was to honor multiple years of "service". The more years as a captain, the more gold stars. Then when they ran out of gold stars, they colored the C gold to match. Now... I guess Rodgers has topped out, and there are no more honors to bestow upon him.

I can't tell you how stupid I think this whole thing is.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Infographic: Packers at Buccaneers

Here's's look at Sunday's game in Tampa Bay:
This week's infographic features a look at the Packers-Buccaneers all-time series, the statistical leaders for each team, and the Packers' playoff scenarios heading into Week 16. Also, WR Jordy Nelson has made some history by putting together back-to-back seasons of at least 80 receptions and 1,300 yards.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Packers Name Post-Season Captains

According to Sports Illustrated, the Packers have already named their playoff captains. They don't usually do this until after the regular season ends, preferring to rotate the captaincies week-to-week, which is why they've never worn those silly patches in the regular season.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Here's the story:
Packers name their playoff captains before making the playoffs

Despite being among the league's elite teams, the Packers have not yet clinched a playoff spot and could need a 2-0 finish to make the postseason. But that hasn't stopped the team from choosing its playoff captains.

Coach Mike McCarthy announced that the six captains for the team are Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson on offense, Julius Peppers and Morgan Burnett on defense, and Randall Cobb and Jarrett Bush on special teams.

McCarthy is apparently not familiar with the concept of jinxing oneself.

The Packers can secure a spot in the playoffs this weekend with a win at Tampa Bay, as well as an Eagles loss or a Cowboys win. Which retired quarterback could lead the Cardinals on a Super Bowl run?

On Pro Football Now, Super Bowl champion Amani Toomer, Sports Illustrated senior writer Don Banks, and NFL writer Andrew Perloff discuss their picks for which retired quarterback would lead Arizona to a championship.

- Brendan Maloy
Interesting motivational technique.

It also remains to be seen what Rodgers's patch looks like. The basic patches have a white "C" over one gold and three white stars; each subsequent white star is colored gold in the next season, indicating how many years that person has been a captain. After all four stars are en-gold-ened, the C itself is turned to gold.

Last year, Rodgers was the first Packer to be named a captain in five different seasons and consequently the first to wear the all-gold patch. Now he's in his sixth, so we'll see if the NFL is doing anything different for him or if the whole silly enterprise is so poorly thought through that they didn't consider somebody might actually break the five-season mark. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Special Today - Ram Chops"

Fifty-three years ago today, the Packers faced off against the Los Angeles Rams. This was the program cover:

Oh, man. What a beauty.

We have Lombardi's Packers, represented by a hearty-looking butcher wearing the "G"-logo helmet introduced in that season. He stands next to a meat counter displaying the remains of their vanquished opponents: "Minnesota Mince Meat", "Roundly Ground Lion", and my favorite, "Brisket of Bear". Today's special is "Ram Chops", and he's ready with his cleaver to hack off a nice chunk for you.

But wait - check out the note in the upper-right corner: this program was for the Packers' annual visit to Los Angeles! I can't think of another time when a program proudly proclaimed that the home team was about to get slaughtered.

The clever cover illustration was done by Karl Hubenthal, who was then the editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Examiner. Hubenthal drew all the Rams' program covers that season, each featuring a ram (or Ram) taking on the opponent of the day:

Amazing design. I love the typography, and his use of bold imagery set against the varying opponents' colors.

What's also interesting is that on every other cover, Hubenthal portrayed the home club as prevailing, or at least holding its own; de-fanging the Bear, bowling over the Browns, or poking the Giant in the eye with the football. Even on the 49ers' program, where the ram is staring down the barrels of a shotgun, he's literally staring down the barrels, and the Niner is visibly nervous despite having his finger on the trigger. Only the program for the Lions game betrays any hint of danger, and even there the bandaged Ram player is brave enough to stick his head back into the cat's mouth. So what's up with the Packers cover?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the 1961 season. At the time they were preparing to face off against the Packers, the Rams were 4-9 and in sixth place in the NFL Western Division. Only the lowly expansion Minnesota Vikings were beneath them, and even that by just a single game. The Packers, on the other hand, came into LA that week with an impressive 10-3 record. They had already clinched the division and were just two weeks away from demolishing the Eastern Division-champion Giants 37-0 in the title game, bringing Green Bay their seventh championship (and first in nearly twenty years).

Given the disparity, Hubenthal's prediction doesn't really seem all that bold, and in fact the Packers did prevail 24–17 in the Coliseum that day. A solid win, if not the predicted slaughter. It's charming that the Rams would allow him to poke a little fun at their expense.

Hubenthal's covers are simply gorgeous, a marvelous product of their time. The groovy typography hints at the new decade, with the design revolution to come. This is highlighted when his efforts are contrasted with the generic football scene on the Packers' program from the previous month, when the same teams played in Green Bay.

The Packers were still using overlaid stock graphics in 1961, and save for a few minor changes in equipment that cover could have been found on a program back in the 1940s. Nobody even bothered to change the teams' colors.

The Packers' cover, sadly unsigned, is also trying to be whimsical—the punter's kick circles back behind him for a field goal, to the amazement of a bug-eyed ref—but the joke is labored, where Hubenthal's drawings are both whimsical and immediate.

The Rams might have been no match for the mighty Packers on the football field in 1961, but they sure knocked the stuffing out of them at the program stand.

(h/t: Todd Radom)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Infographic: Packers at Bills

Here's the preview for Sunday's game in Buffalo:
In addition to the usual information on the Packers-Bills all-time series and the top statistical performers, this week's infographic also takes a closer look at Head Coach Mike McCarthy's standing amongst coaches in Packers history. Plus, there's a glance at a key turnover statistic related to the Packers in 2014.

Wow. Hadn't realized Coach McCarthy was on the verge of such a milestone. You'd think that the Bills would offer a great chance for him to notch that 99th win, but there are no gimmes in the NFL. Buffalo's defense is solid, and this has all the makings of a trap game. Go get 'em, Coach!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Infographic: Packers v. Falcons

Monday Night Football is coming to Lambeau Field, and here's how the Packers' graphic team sees the matchup against the Atlanta Falcons:
This week's infographic features a review of the Packers-Falcons all-time series and each team's statistical leaders through the season's first 12 games. Also, there's a special look at Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' 100th career start, plus a noteworthy statistical achievement by Green Bay's receiving corps in last week's game.