Family Night Features More Fun Than FootballPosted:Aug 4th, 2012 2:01 pm
The Head Cheese packed up the family and headed to Titletown for my first ever visit to Family Night and while there wasn't a lot to be learned about the 2012 Packers, it was a great way to usher in the new season.
For my kids, it was their first time at Lambeau and they soaked up the noise, music and fun. My twins wore Packer jerseys (Rodgers for Dylan and Jennings for Aly). Older brother Jackson was talked out of wearing the Percy Harvin jersey and opted for his favorite, DeSean Jackson. His buddy Payton, a Packer fan, went with Jennings as well.
It's crazy to see lines snaking around the stadium to enter, as if it's a regular season game, but the lines moved quickly. After loading up with burgers and brats, we settled into our seats in section 110. The kids loved the Army parachutists who landed on the field and were wowed by a stirring rendition of the national anthem by a young girl.
Then the scrimmage started and it was sloppy. Replacement refs got their first chance at calling live action and they seemed very interested in testing out their whistles--either that, or the team really needs to work on pre-snap patience. There were many penalties called on both sides of the ball for false starts/off sides.
The dumbest whistle of the night came after Rodgers engineered a scoring drive on his first series. James Starks crossed the goal line and the whole offense ran to the wall to do a Lambeau Leap. The zebras called excessive celebration. Really? What's the point?
It's tough to garner too much from what we saw: the #1 offense faced the #2 defense and vice versa. Graham Harrell looked mediocre against the #1 unit, which is to be expected. He also shared time with rookie BJ Coleman. The best pay of the night was a 33 yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Jennings, which #85 grabbed from near the turf and took to the end zone.
The biggest cheers of the night were for Donald Driver, whose popularity has clearly exploded since winning Dancing with the Stars. When they played the song that won it for him over the P.A. system, the place went nuts. Clearly Ted Thompson will have a very tough decision to make when it comes to WRs. With youngsters Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley chomping at the bit, Driver needs to have a strong camp--and he has so far. He also made a strong catch and looks as young and spry as he did five years ago.
Mason Crosby kicked about a dozen field goals during the scrimmage, trying to get a feel for how the winds have changed with the new expansion in the south end zone. The scoreboard there looks great and the seats are starting to be inserted. It makes for quite a different look and will definitely alter how the winds affect the kicking game.
Following the scrimmage, there was a field goal "competition" between the offensive and defensive linemen. Josh Sitton and TJ Lang carried the day, nailing 25-30 yard field goals, while their counterparts, Anthony Hargrove and Jarius Wynn barely got the ball off the ground.
All in all, a fun night. The kids had a great time and the fireworks were a fitting finale. All it did for me was wish the 49ers were coming to town next week. I am definitely ready for some football.