Have an interesting story about the Green Bay Packers?
Griffin Gotta would like to write about it.
The Green Bay native is overseeing Packerland Pride, Multi Media Channel’s free magazine for Packers fans that will be available at several locations in time for the start of the 2013 season. Multi Media Channel publishes the County Post West, County Post East and Buyers’ Guides serving Waupaca, Clintonville and New London.
Packerland Pride will come out monthly during the NFL season and the first issue will be available in early August.
Instead of recapping each game, however, the magazine will focus on Packers fans, according to Gotta.
“You’re going to see a lot of things you can’t see anywhere else,” he said. “Because we’re a monthly, we’re not going to try to do the beat because it just doesn’t make sense. We’re going to try to do bigger stories, things that are more culturally relevant to Packer fans.
“We’re going to do team stuff, too, especially as the season gets going and we have more things to cover,” he added. “We want to do it from a fan’s perspective: the tailgating experience, where people watch the game, memorabilia, the history of the team. The stories we want to tell are about people and the traditions they have.”
The first issue will include a story about the annual Packers Hall of Fame Golf Classic held July 8 at The Bull at Pinehurst Farms in Sheboygan Falls.
“I was actually a spotter on the course, so I’ll talk about that experience,” Gotta said. “I met a lot of Lombardi-era players and 1990s former players. It was a surreal experience. I met Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, William Henderson, Lynn Dickey, Dave Robinson. When you’re with them, you’re talking to them like normal, but then you remember that they’re big-time former Packers.”
Gotta is no stranger to the Packers, as he’s been a fan as long as he can remember.
“It’s been a family thing,” he said. “We never had season tickets, but we would always go at least once to a game every year. It’s a big part of my life. When we didn’t go to the game, we would watch as a family in the living room.”
His parents now have Gold Package season tickets.
“My parents are huge fans,” he said. “You grow up with that and get used to it and it becomes part of you, too. I was a big Robert Brooks fan. He was my favorite. Charles Woodson is another favorite. I always try to like somebody who’s not the easy choice.”
Gotta said he has probably been to about 30 Packers games over the years and was about 10 years old when the team won Super Bowl XXXI in January 1997.
“We were at a house party,” he said. “I remember driving back home and people were running outside of their cars and honking their horns. It was pretty crazy. I feel like I was born at a lucky time because ever since I’ve known them, there’s been that expectation that they should be good.”
Gotta believes he won’t have any problem coming up with story ideas.
“I think everybody that goes to a game has a story,” he said. “Anybody that goes and tailgates has a certain way that they tailgate. Anybody that doesn’t go to a game has a certain thing that they do. Everybody has a favorite player or different memories.”
Gotta recently returned to Wisconsin after a stint as a sportswriter in Auburn, Ala., where he covered high school sports and athletics at Auburn University.
“I really like the fan perspective and that was one of the things that intrigued me (about Packerland Pride),” he said. “It’s covering the Packers, which itself is an incredible opportunity, but also talking to people who are fans. I think that’ll be interesting for people to read.”
He has most of the stories written for the first issue. Another story he’s working on is comparing the football careers of Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke and current linebacker Clay Matthews.
“There aren’t a lot of defensive stats for Nitschke, but I’ve been doing research trying to get a feel for him,” Gotta said. “I’ll be talking to people at the Hall of Fame that actually knew him personally. I know more about Clay just by watching him. We’re going to do a comparison of the two and not really say who’s better or anything like that, but say how they’re the same and how they’re different.”
Anyone with story ideas is welcome to contact Gotta at email@example.com or 920-609-3488.
“I think fans will like it because it’s different than anything else,” he said. “It’s what I would want to read in a Packers magazine, that’s the way I’ve been trying to think about it.”