Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lambeau Field (The Frozen Tundra!)

(Oconto, WI) Hi 92 Lo 71 - Today's blog is for the football fans out there. This was a fun day, for me anyway. We went to Green Bay to visit Lambeau Field, the home of the 13-time world champion Green Bay Packers. It's such a legendary place - it's to pro football what Yankee Stadium is to baseball. And it's the oldest NFL stadium that's been in continuous use. (Chicago's Soldier Field is a little older, but the Bears played in Champaign, IL while they renovated the stadium, hence it hasn't been in "continuous use.") Anyway, enough history... on to the photos.

Lambeau Field looks very imposing when you approach it. It sits in the middle of a blue collar residential area. And it's the biggest thing in a city of only 100,000 population.

We got to the stadium around 10:30 when the first tour of the day was starting. We bought two tickets to the first available tour, which was at 11:30. So we had an hour to look around at the fabulous atrium area, which contains a sports bar, the Packers Hall of Fame, and the Packers Pro Shop.

The Pro Shop covers two stories, and is without a doubt the largest and finest sports team memorabilia shop we've ever seen! You name it, you can buy it, with a Packers logo on it.

A little before 11:30 our tour was called. It started at the two statues just outside the Atrium. One is the legendary Vince Lombard, coach of the Packers from 1959 through 1967, when they won 5 world championships (including the first two Super Bowls).

And the other is Curly Lambeau, first owner of the Packers and namesake of the stadium. It was pointed out that he's pointing directly at the window of the Packers Coach's office in the administrative area of the Atrium. Coincidence? Maybe, but it probably puts a little extra pressure on the coach.

We were taken up to the Club Level to experience what it's like to watch a game from a luxury suite. In a word... sweet!

Dee is enjoying the view.

We were then taken by elevator down six levels to the hallway outside the locker room. We weren't allowed inside the locker room, but we got to walk down the hallway and out through the tunnel to the field, just like the players. They played recorded crowd noise to make it feel like game day. A little cheesy, but hey... it's Wisconsin, land of cheese!

It really was cool to walk down the dark tunnel toward that bright light, and then out into the sunlight and see the beautiful stadium bowl all around us.

We were led to seats on the 50-yard line so we could experience what it's like to sit on "18 inches of heavenliness." That's what they call the bleacher seats (with no seat back).

I asked why, during all the renovations, they didn't install chair seats. Our guide said, to do that would reduce the seating capacity, which wouldn't be wise with thousands of folks on the season ticket waiting list. (Every Packers home game since 1960 has been sold out on a season ticket basis.) Also, bleachers are easier for snow removal. They just push the snow down the row onto chutes, then gravity takes over.

Here's the view from the best seats in the house.

I handed the camera to Dee to get one more picture...

...before we exited back out to the Atrium, and the tour was over. It was a great experience to see so much tradition. I'm a Miami Dolphin fan, but I've always had tremendous respect for Packer fans. After all, they own their team... the Packers is the only professional sports team that's publicly owned. Driving around Green Bay you can just see the Packers are a treasured part of the community, with that "G" logo everywhere! A fun day... I hope you enjoyed tagging along.  Written by Jim


Jim and Sandie said...

Thanks for the tour. I didn't realize that Green Bay only had 100,000 people. Had to laugh about shoveling the snow off the seats. The AZ Cardinals stadium has a roof that opens and closes. You would think Lambeau Field would be the more likely place to have a roof over head.

Gail and Rick (Gypsy Turtles) said...

Jim, great tour! Thanks! I've always wanted to see Lambeau and you've given me a nice taste. Guess I'll have to go myself if I want to see more :)
Too bad the frozen tundra was so hot today :) I'ts been brutal here too...97 today :(

Pat said...

You didn't get to go in the lockerroom? It's July, what could they be doing in there?

I love baseball stadium tours. Don't think I'd do a football stadium, except for Lambeau Field.

Glad you had a grand time.

squawmama said...

We loved that tour when we were there... They are a legend!!! The guys even tried to do the Lambeau Leap but just didn't look as good as when the players do it! LOL Glad you had a great day and the photos were awesome.
Have fun & Travel safe

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

What a great tour! Let's hope they reach an agreement with the NFL and get started on practice.

Note to Pat remark above: they SHOULD be practicing right now every day and using the locker rooms. The tradition is to leave the locker rooms, hop on bikes owned by kids waiting at the door... and ride a kid's bike over across the parking lot to the Don Hudson center where they practice. Kids are "honored" to have a player choose their bike as the kid trots alongside!

Then crowds gather just to watch the practice and they set up bleachers all along the side of the practice field for the "Railbirds" to watch all day long.

Quite a community tradition!

Karen and Steveio
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

Jeff & Barbie said...

The Packers and Lambeau have such traditions. Loved the tour!

Gin and Syl said...

Now they play football like it should be played...outdoors!! I grew up on NFL Football when it was played in the mud. I kinda miss that. Hope they have NFL this year. College football isn't quite the same.

Kevin and Evelyn said...

It sure looks different in the summer. I was fortunate to attend a game there several years ago, but it was late October and drizzling. Not the pretty blue sky you had. Glad you're enjoying our home state. Wisconsin really is a beautiful place!