Packers fans still bitter about Fail Mary from last year
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- As 13,000 people filed into Lambeau Field on Wednesday morning for the Green Bay Packers' annual shareholders meeting, spirits were high. Fans cheered as the team disclosed its record-breaking profits and loudly supported the announcement that the new south end zone seats gave the Packers the third-largest stadium in the NFL.
Then things took a dark turn. A photo was shown on the Lambeau Field video boards of the infamous final seconds of Green Bay's Week 3 loss last season to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
Call it the Fail Mary or the Inaccurate Reception, but Packers fans weren't over it. The stadium filled with boos as team president and CEO Mark Murphy explained his reason for bringing up that touchy moment in franchise history.
Murphy told the live crowd -- along with another 11,500 shareholders watching online -- a story he recalled from the morning of that game. About 14 hours before the NFL's replacement referees gave the Seahawks credit for a game-winning touchdown, Murphy said he mentioned during breakfast that it might take a huge mistake to end the league's lockout with its regular officials.
"I didn't think it'd happen to us later that night," Murphy said, as the crowd's boos began to cease. "I'm very proud of how our organization handled a very difficult situation, especially (head coach) Mike McCarthy.
"At least it ended the lockout."
This was just one item of a long list that Murphy and other franchise executives shared with stockholders. As the NFL's only community-owned team, the Packers discuss details of their financial earnings publicly.
"I would hope they would take away or walk away from the meeting knowing a lot more about the Packers from a business standpoint, as well as on the football side," Murphy said following the meeting. "Hopefully they leave feeling that the organization is in good hands, well run and set up well for the future."
During fiscal 2012, the Packers reported $54.3 million in profit from operations and a net income of $43.1 million, both of which are franchise records.
Murphy also revealed to shareholders -- all of whom have spent at least $250 on what is essentially a piece of memorabilia, as it carries none of the normal advantages of buying stock -- that Lambeau Field was voted No. 1 in overall fan experience in the NFL.
The Packers became No. 1 in another category as well, topping the NFL's list of local market TV ratings, beating out the New Orleans Saints.
Recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Dave Robinson was in attendance, and when Murphy told the crowd that the former Packers linebacker was there, fans gave the 72-year-old an extended standing ovation.
"I thought it was a really nice day," Murphy said. "I thought the meeting went well."
Follow Paul Imig on Twitter