Family Night's a steal of a deal for fans

The team's linebackers enter the field.

Nearly 60,000 fans, many of them children, filled Lambeau Field Saturday night for the team's annual Family Night intrasquad scrimmage. PackerReport.com's Dylan B. Tomlinson offers his thoughts on why the intrasquad scrimmage is a much better deal than any preseason game.

With each day that passes, the NFL prices itself out of the reach of most families. Even the Green Bay Packers, who have historically had among the most affordable prices in the league, charge between $59 to $72 for game tickets.

That's why the Packers' Family Night, which the team held on Saturday, is such an outstanding event. For $8, less than price of an adult movie ticket, families can experience the Packers and Lambeau Field.

Think about the other options. To go to a regular season game, if you're lucky enough to get tickets at face value, a family of four would be looking to drop almost $300 and that's not counting parking, drinks, food or souvenirs. In fact, regular-season Packers tickets are usually so tough to get that the only way a lot of people can get tickets for face value is to go to a preseason game.

If Family Night is one of the great bargains in the NFL, the preseason is the great ripoff. Fans have to purchase preseason tickets in order to get regular season tickets and while it may seem reasonable to shell out $70 for a December game against the Vikings or Bears, I can't imagine such an overwhelming demand to see the Jacksonville Jaguars visit Lambeau in a mid-August preseason showdown.

It would be ideal if the Packers were able to bring in another team for the Family Night scrimmage as they did with the Buffalo Bills in 2005. Unfortunately, most NFL teams aren't willing to make regular visits to Green Bay unless the Packers agree to a return trip. Because of the amount of money training camp brings to the city of Green Bay, don't expect to see the Packers hit the road for any scrimmages or practices anytime soon.

While Family Night may have just been a glorified intrasquad scrimmage, the fans who attended may have seen as much or more of quarterback Brett Favre than the fans who will attend the two preseason games. Favre typically plays at least a half in most preseason games, but as he gets up there in age, Packers coach Mike McCarthy may get to the point where Favre plays just a series or two before getting pulled.

Imagine if you shelled out $300 to bring your family to a preseason game only to see Favre pulled after 10-12 plays. That wouldn't be McCarthy's fault, he would be doing what is best for the team, not necessarily what is best for the fans. He's not going to risk having an overzealous rookie take an unnecessary shot at his quarterback just to let him play for another series or two.

That's not an indictment in any way of the Packers. They do business in a much more family-friendly manner than most of the NFL's 32 teams. Few teams care more about their dedicated fans than the Packers.

That's why there should be more events like Family Night. There's nothing better than seeing a younger generation get introduced to the Packers so they can continue to support the team with the same loyal fanaticism that their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did.


Dylan Tomlinson

Dylan Tomlinson is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at dylan1226@gmail.com.

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