Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Beginning Our Football Literary Adventure

--The Packers Literary Corner—

A ‘Cheese Blog’ For Everyone Who Enjoys Great Football Teams and Great Writing

As we search for the best and worst football writing out there, let’s begin our literary adventure with something called:

Krupka's and Byrne's early NFL Preview

These fellows came up with the bizarre and twisted conclusion that the Packers are ranked 31st in the league. And, remember, that’s out of a total of only 32 teams.


Here’s what they had to say:

by Connor Byrne and Eric Krupka of

published June 15, 2006

“31.) Green Bay - Arguably the worst team in the NFL. The front office is becoming a joke, which was evident in its handling of the Javon Walker and Darren Sharper fiascos in recent years. The ridiculous treatment the Packers allow quarterback Brett Favre to put them through, and the strange hiring of Mike McCarthy as the head coach. The only reason to go to Lambeau this season will be to drink beer and see the crumbling of a legend. 27, 28, 29. How many interceptions is that, Brett?”


So, Packer Literary Nation, what’s the matter with this paragraph?

Lack of focus. Starting a statement with the word “arguably” means you are not certain of what you want to say. So why bother saying it?

Lack of clarity. They say: 27, 28, 29. How many interceptions is that, Brett?” It is not at all clear what exactly they are asking our hero. To estimate how many interceptions the less skilled quarterbacks around the league are likely to fling?

Use of confusing slang terms when more elegant words are available. How exactly can the Packers’ front office be a ‘joke’? As far as I am aware, Ted Thompson has never been particularly known for his sense of humor.

Lack of scholarship. You go to “Lambeau Field”. To “go to Lambeau” at this point would require the intercession of the lovely Ghost Whisperer on CBS.

Now, let’s re-write this paragraph for them, using these time-tested football literary principles:

--When sitting down to write, the first thing to do is establish at least a tangential connection between the word processor and your brain.



The “Over Time” NFL Preview and Power Ranking

#1) Green Bay – Without question the best team in the NFL. Under the exemplary leadership of General Manager Ted Thompson, the Packers’ front office is again becoming the envy of the league. He gets particular credit for ridding of the team of deadwood and disruptive malcontents. But no less critical to the Packers’ resurgence in 2006 was the patience the team’s vigorous new Head Coach, Mike McCarthy, showed in allowing Brett Favre sufficient time to reflect and re-energize himself in the offseason. It never pays to rush an American Legend. With the one-year aberration of a losing season behind them, Packer fans can again visit Lambeau Field with the near-certainty of seeing their team win, and enjoy an inexorable march to the playoffs.

And of course, the beer and brats will be great as always.

Now, that sounds much better, doesn’t it...

Notice how there is a cheerful, positive, non-confrontational style. And there are several words that Oakland Raiders fans will have to look up in the dictionary, so we are helping others build their vocabularies. Yes, our friends in Silver and Black, there’s no need to confine your speech to words with just four letters.

Next time, I will provide a suggested reading list for the gentlemen I quoted above, in an effort to help them rid their future literary efforts of that needlessly negative tone.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

For Everyone Who Enjoys Great Football Teams and Great Writing

I love great sports writing. The ability to observe a sporting event and turn it into vivid word pictures is truly an art. The problem today is that—what with the thousands of sports-related Internet sites and numerous Cable TV channels devoted to sports--there is more ‘stuff’ out there than even the most dedicated NFL fan can possibly keep up with. Some of it is gem-quality journalism, a lot of it is noisy, unpleasant junk.

So, how do we separate the good football writing from the bad, distinguish between the words artists and the finger painters?

I had wrestled with this question for years, without getting anywhere close to answering it. Then, earlier this week, it finally hit me! I discovered a rule we can all apply (and the rule is so simple that I am surprised I didn’t discover it before):


In fact, ‘tend to be’ might be too cautious a phrase. Actually, there is a near 100% correlation between writing talent and relentless optimism about the Packers.

My goal is to help you sift through all the football-related content out there and find the very best writing and to help you avoid the very worst.

The Packers Literary Corner will recognize and encourage excellence in football writing and broadcasting.

From time to time I will select one truly deserving writer to receive the partially prestigious:

Over Time’ Literary Achievement Award

There will be several ways a journalist or broadcaster can become eligible to win this award:

--Expressing gushing admiration for Brett Favre, to the point that Chicago Bears fans in the audience begin to get nauseous.

--Describing, at considerable length, why Lambeau Field is the best place to see an NFL game. Extra credit will be given for use of words such as magnificent, incredible, and phrases such as once-in-a-lifetime experience.

--Reminding readers that the Packers have won a league-high 12 Championships, beginning in 1929—no other team is even close to that achievement except the Chicago Bears with 9--and not misleading them with the fuzzy logic that other teams are the true “Dynasties” because they have won more Super Bowls. (An understanding of history is part of what makes a writer great).

--Demonstrating a talent for prognostication. This is the easiest way to qualify for the Over Time Literary Achievement Award. All a writer has to do is maintain Green Bay in the #1 or #2 position in their NFL Team Rankings for 5 consecutive weeks. Consideration will also be given to those writers who recommend the Packers’ entire starting lineup in their Fantasy Football leagues. Even our injured players.

Award winners receive and impressive package of prizes including an autographed copy of the novel, OVER TIME and a gift certificate for delicious Johnsonville Bratwurst.

But what do we do with the clueless, negative scribes? You know these guys. When you read the nonsense they write about the Packers, you’d think they were talking about the NFL’s perennial doormat rather than the team that’s had 12 winning seasons in the last 14 years. You really have to scratch your head when you read goofy things like ‘the Packers will be so bad in 2006 that Brett will regret having come back for another season,’ or truly brain dead predictions such as ‘Green Bay will have the #1 pick in next year’s Draft’.

You have to feel sorry for these people. They are trapped in a mental tar pit of ignorance and no one seems willing to throw them a lifeline. I feel compelled to do something to help these poor individuals get on the path to enlightenment, to help them find their ‘Inner Cheesehead’, if you will.

Let’s visit the Internet, plunge into the digital mire and dredge up some of the most foolishly negative statements about the Packers. Then, we will critique what they had to say, and try to help them become better writers. Help them sharpen their thinking. Smooth out their literary style. And, recommend books they should read to get them back on the right track. It’s the least we Packer fans can do.

That’s why we’re renowned as The Best Fans in the National Football League.