We are sharing Wisconsin State Journal writers' favorite work from 2019. From Packers reporter Jason Wilde: When I started on the Packers beat for the State Journal in 1996 — the first of 13 consecutive seasons I covered them for the paper — I had three really great mentors in Green Bay: State Journal Packers beat writer Kent Youngblood, State Journal columnist Tom Oates, and Tom Mulhern, who was at the Appleton Post-Crescent at the time but would later spend more than two decades at the State Journal covering the Packers and University of Wisconsin football. Among the many lessons I learned from them at that young age of 24 was what an incredible responsibility we bore to chronicle the journey of each team we covered each season. Every journey was different, but covering it was no more or less important based on how the season went or how far the journey took that team. In ’96, it took the Packers to New Orleans and the Super Bowl XXXI title, the historic franchise’s first championship since the 1960s glory days.

Now in Year 4 of my second tour of duty covering the Packers for the State Journal thanks to sports editor Greg Sprout, the 2019 season has been — and continues to be, as the Packers ready themselves for an NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on Jan. 12 — a fascinating journey. And it has nothing to do with the franchise celebrating its 100th birthday in August. (Although that was quite the accomplishment. And you should’ve seen the cake.)

From the team hiring Matt LaFleur as its new head coach, to the arrival of flamboyant and dominant pass rusher Za’Darius Smith (and his brother-from-another-mother fellow outside linebacker Preston Smith) in free agency, to 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers’ and the 40-year-old LaFleur’s work-in-progress offense and relationship, it’s all somehow gotten the Packers to a 13-3 record and into the postseason — something Super Bowl-winning head coaches Vince Lombardi, Mike Holmgren and Mike McCarthy couldn’t do in their first seasons.

For my five selections, I tried to pick stories that reflected key mileposts in the 2019 Packers’ journey.

TownNews.com Content Exchange
Read more
Read more
Read more

3 updates to this series since Updated

Locations

TownNews.com Content Exchange