Mark Tauscher grew up a Green Bay Packers fan, but never in his wildest dreams would he have fathomed being inducted into their hall of fame.
But that’s just what will happen next summer as he, along with former kicker Ryan Longwell, will become the newest members to join the coveted hall of one of the most storied franchises in the National Football League.
“I was humbled and incredibly excited,” said Tauscher of hearing the news. “Growing up in Wisconsin [Auburndale] and to able to play for the Packers was a dream come true. It really means a lot to me that I’m going to be a part of it.”
Tauscher and Longwell will be inducted during the 2018 Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame ceremony in the Lambeau Field atrium on July 21.
“When people go through the Packers Hall of Fame and see the history of the Green Bay Packers, to be one of the guys in that hall of fame is incredibly humbling,” Tauscher said.
Tauscher selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin. He played 134 games, starting 132 of them, during his 11-year NFL career — all with Green Bay.
“I’ve watched them growing up and was a fan of both teams [Badgers and Packers], but the coolest part was my parents, my family and my friends could not only come to games at Wisconsin but for the Packer games — that they could make a lot of the games, it just makes it that much more special,” said Tauscher.
Tauscher now calls Sun Prairie home, having lived here the last seven years.
“My wife worked on the east side of Madison and I had friends that lived in Sun Prairie, it’s just a really nice community,” said Tauscher, who along with his wife. Sarah, is raising a son, Max, and a daughter, Eleanor. “When we moved down there it was more of a convenience thing, but as you start doing stuff like going to the Prairie Athletic Club, Buck & Honey’s and the schools are good. We’re happy to put our roots down in Sun Prairie.
“It’s a great place to live.”
Tauscher does a daily radio show with former Wisconsin State Journal writer Jason Wilde called Wilde and Tausch, airing 9-11 a.m. on 100.5 FM.
Tauscher remains close to the Badgers and Packers, as a guest on the Packer Radio Network on gamedays, as well as analyzing Wisconsin Badger games along with doing speaking engagements.
Tauscher had the fortune of blocking for three of the biggest icons in Wisconsin football history, and maybe all of college and NFL history, Ron Dayne, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
“For anyone to have individual success you need to have great teammates, and I have been blessed beyond belief. For me to be a part of Ron Dayne and what he was able to do at Wisconsin, and then [play with] two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, A: it makes your job a lot of fun because you win a lot, and B: it’s really cool to say you played with icons,” Tauscher said.
Tauscher and Longwell were teammates for six seasons.
“It’s an honor to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame, but it’s really cool to do it with Ryan, he was a great teammate and is a great friend,” said Tauscher. “I can remember him hitting the game-winner up in Minnesota to win the division on Christmas Eve. It will be cool to share this with him and his family.”
Tauscher was part of some pretty memorable games, both at Wisconsin and in Green Bay.
“The Rose Bowl, obviously, and then the Iowa game when we were able to clinch the Rose Bowl berth and Ron breaking the all-time rushing record while securing the Heisman. That was an awesome day,” said Tauscher.
And in Green Bay … “The snow-globe game when we beat the Seahawks in the Divisional Playoffs,” he said.
But his greatest memory was his first NFL game, on Sept. 17, 2000 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“The playoff games will always trump everything, but from an individual standpoint I’ll never forget being announced as a starter,” Tauscher recalled.
Green Bay went on to win the game 6-3, on none other than a 38-yard Ryan Longwell field goal with :03 remaining.
Tauscher was part of the Packers Super Bowl XLV winning team, even though he didn’t play in the 31-26 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers due to injury.
“Every time you’re part of a team, there’s different roles. Obviously, I would have loved to play in that game, but I started four games that year and was part of the team; you can sit there and kind of kick yourself, or you can say that you were part of a team that was able to go the whole journey and cap it off with a win. Those things are hard to do.”
Information about tickets for the banquet, which begins with a cash bar at 4:30 p.m., with dinner and program to follow at 7:00 p.m., is still being finalized and will be released in the near future at www.packershalloffame.com.