The Best Place In America For (Pro) Football Fans! (Green Bay, WI) “DAY 50” – 8/23/10

August 24, 2010 - 8:18 am - (WI) “DAY 50”  (Very long post. If you love football you're good!)

I got up this morning at 10 am (went to bed at 6:30 am) because I had to get to Green Bay, Wisconsin by 1 pm.  This is so I can get a ticket for a stadium tour of LAMBEAU FIELD (the website says they sell out daily).

A Place to Stay
The cool thing is, I have a place stay when I get there because Riccio’s parents (Tom and Diane) live 20 or so miles from the stadium and Riccio is going there for the week (just a coincidence).  Sometimes... things just work out! 😉  Thank you guys!

Lambeau Field - Green Bay, Wisconsin
The ride is only 90+ miles or a little less then two hours (not a bad drive).   As I was pulling up toward the stadium, I had to take a picture.  So while I was driving, I pulled out my camera (cell phone) and did the best I could.  

Parking wasn’t a problem as I found a spot right next to the stadium.  I guess it’s not selling out today.  Nice... I’ll get a ticket!

As I approached the front of the building, you could see two huge statue’s as far as the eye can see.  They are of Vincent Lombardi and Curly Lambeau, two Green Bay legends!  The statues were so big that when I stood next to them... I looked like an ant.  They are big!

I rushed inside to get a ticket for the tour, afraid they might not be available.  They were and I got one for the stadium tour as well as for the Packers Hall of Fame.  The two tickets combined cost $18 with my college I.D.  Not bad... thanks Kean U.!

Ron

Stadium Tour
My tour started at 12:45 pm, so I found my group and got ready for Ron (tour guide) to show us around the stadium.  He was a older friendly man who knew everything about the Packers and Lambeau Field.

The tour started outside the stadium as you learn about the rich history of the franchise.  He told us how Curly Lambeau owned the team and went to the town for money to keep them here.  The town responded as they pulled all their money together to keep the Packers in Green Bay.  

This happened over 40 years ago and still to this day... the Packers are owned by the townspeople of Green Bay (they are the shareholders).  It is the only pro sports team owned by the people, really cool!

Anyway, after that we walked around the inside of the facility where we saw all the Packer greats.  On the wall (somewhere) there was picture of the Acme Packers (before their name was Green Bay), it was a cool to see them in their original jersey.  (They are wearing it this year in a throwback game, not sure which one.)

Then, I saw a banner of two of the greatest defensive players ever to put on pads... Ray Nitschke and Reggie White.  Two very bad men!  As we kept walking, I spotted a end table with Nitschke on it, standing over a downed opponent while snarling!  Nasty!

After that, we kept moving until Ron spoke about a huge signed picture on the wall of Paul Horung (Hall of Fame - running back).  Underneath his signature is another one of wide receiver, Max Magee.

Magee signed there because if you look closely... his arm is right behind Horung’s in the picture.  Apparently, he has a sense of humor.  Pretty funny! 🙂

Right next to the picture, in a glass casing was Horung’s 1956 Heisman trophy that he was awarded for being the best player in college football that year.

From there we went into a luxury box and got to see the field from... luxury!  It cost 100 K for the season and holds 24 people.  Wow!   That’s a lot of money per ticket when you figure it out ($520. 83 per seat).

From this area, I was able to get some cool pictures of the field.  If you look at the picture to the left, you can see two American flags at opposite ends of the of end zone.  

The wild thing is... they are on the same side of the field but the flags are waving in different directions (they are waving toward each other).  Kicking field goals must be a nightmare!

Then, we headed down to the field where we walked out of the tunnel on onto Lambeau Field.  This was by far, the best part of the tour for me.

As I looked around the stadium, I imagined what it would be like to do a Lambeau Leap into the stands.

Ron gathered us all together (10 of us) and told us to yell “Go Pack Go” in the stadium.  It is so acoustic, that our chant echoed back from the other end of the stadium.  So cool! 🙂

We left back through the same tunnel, as we headed on to the next phase of the tour.  During this time,

Carol

I met a employee named Carol.  She was moving something big inside the stadium.

Now, we weren’t allowed to go into the stands area so I asked Carol if she would take a picture for me of a awesome sign I could see from afar.  She accepted, thank you! (Carol's pic is to the right. :))

It was now the end of the tour and the last stop, as always, was the gift shop.  I didn’t buy anything but I did look around at all the cool stuff they had.

In the middle of the shop is a Packer pick-up truck.  It was actual size, so I put on my “cheesehead” and took a picture with it.  From there, I spotted a Packer Monkey hanging around (Justin is a Packer Fan! Huh?:))  Then, I saw something I would want in my living room.

Well... that’s if I ever have my own living room. 😉

Anyway, it was a football chandelier.  It hung over the gift shop as you could see it from almost any angle of the shop.  F$&King great!   There was a lot more I saw, but I can only write so much.

I haven’t even told you about the Hall of Fame or practice yet.

Exploring The Town
I got finished with the tour between 2-3 pm.  I still have a ticket to see the Packer Hall of Fame and I planned on watching practice later but that didn’t start until 6:30 pm, so I had a lot of time to kill.

Brett Farve’s Steakhouse
I was hungry but didn’t want to pay concession prices, so I got into my car and hit the town.  As I drove around, I spotted Brett Farve’s Steakhouse.  It was on the corner of Farve St. and Holmgren Way (no shit).

I knew I wasn’t gonna eat there but I had to check it out anyway.  It was a really nice place with all the fine dining touches.  I did learn something about Farve though... he loves himself!  The place was splattered with pictures of him everywhere you looked!

Now, I know it’s his place but really... it was ridiculous.  You couldn’t turn around without seeing a painting, picture, or magazine cover of the once Packer great.

There was even a newspaper article from China/Japan on the wall (not sure which one, I don’t speak either :)).  That should give you a idea of just how much Farve stuff was there.

I then picked up a menu to see what the prices were.  Again... the menu had a huge picture of Farve on it.  Nobody was paying attention (the place was dead), so I took the menu and left the restaurant.  Thanks Brett!

I got back into my car and kept driving around.  There were huge monuments of Ex-Packer legends randomly place on the street all over the town.

The first one I noticed was Farve’s but that was in front of his restaurant, so I thought it was just Brett being Brett. 🙂 LOL

Lunch
But then I saw one of Nitschke, Horung, etc...  It was super cool!  Following the path of monuments, I came upon a bar with a huge mock Super Bowl trophy out front.  It was called “The Stadium View”.  They must of named it that because from the patio... you can see the stadium!  Ah ha!

I went in and asked if they had any lunch specials.  The waitress I spoke with said they had 2 specials, both for under $6.  Cha-ching!  The perfect price!

I ordered the beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and to be honest... it was the best meal I have had since I left NJ.  The meat was so tender.. it tasted like my Grandma’s brisket (but not that good ;)).

I know had some energy, so I went back to Lambeau to see the Packers Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame
It was now a little after 4pm, so I had two hours to spend before I headed off to watch practice (6:30 pm).  As soon as I walked in, I saw Bart Star and tried to sack him.  He’s just to good and threw a TD pass anyway. 🙂

There was so much to see in here and I have so many great pictures, but I will try to limit it to the just highlights.

When you think of the Packers... you think of Vince Lombardi (Head Coach- 1959-69).  If you don’t know who he is... then I can’t help you.. Google him :).

Anyway, one of my favorite things about Lombardi was his quotes.  They are messages you can and should live by.  He used in them in football but they apply in every area of life.

Coach Theo

There are so many but some of my favorites are... “Fatigue makes a coward of us all.”  And appropriately enough for my journey “The harder you work the harder it is to surrender!”

As I walked around, all I could hear in my head was my high school football coach (Coach Theo) saying all of these quotes but in his Theo way!  It’s irrelevant to this post but he was a great football coach, teacher, and man!  Thank you Coach Theo.  And Coach Jones too!  Can’t forget you.

Anyway, in the museum they had Lombardi’s desk with everything he would have had on there.  I had to... So I took a seat at his desk and asked somebody to take a picture for me.  “I expect hustle, hard work, determination, and most of all... VICTORY Boys!”

There was everything you ever wanted to know about Vince Lombardi and more.

I kept on walking but couldn’t resist the urge to play football, so I lined up and played left tackle for one play.  I wasn’t as good as Verm (Kean U. buddy who plays tackle) but I didn’t give up a sack! 🙂

There was a area where they had all the lockers from the all time greats.  I took a video and will try to put it up soon.

Then, I looked around the area where they had memorabilia from the 1990’s teams.  This is an era I experienced, so it was cool to see.

In this area was tons of stuff from Super Bowl XXXI (31).  They had Antonio’s Freedman’s shoes and gloves he wore during the game (he caught a 80 yd TD),  George Teague’s bloody gloves and jersey, as well as a host of other things.

I kept moving along and on the wall was a huge display of the Ice Bowl.  This was a legendary game where Green Bay beat the Dallas Cowboys in sub-human temperatures.  They had a video playing next to the display showing clips from the game with commentary.

The tour ends in a room filled with plaques of all the Packers that made “their” Hall of Fame.  In the middle of it all, are the Super Bowl Trophy’s that they have won over the years (Super Bowl I, II, XXXI).

Lauren, Becca, Breanna

Not as many as Pittsburgh has... but they do have more titles over all, so I have give it up to the PACK.  Go PACK Go!

Practice
I walked out of the tour around 6 pm so I could make it to watch practice on time.  As I was walking to the field (across the street) I saw 3 hot girls wearing Packer jersey’s walking in the same direction as I was.

Are they going to watch a Monday night practice?  They were as were about 5-10,000 other fans. Are you kidding me?  I felt like Allen Iverson... “Practice.. we're talking about practice here.. practice...” 🙂 lol

I found out that the players walk or ride bikes over to the field (1/4 mile away) so I headed to the area where they come out from.  I’m so glad I did because this was one of the coolest sports moments I had ever seen!!!

Best Sports Moment You Can Witness
Outside of the locker room area are a countless number of kids who brought their own bicycles for the players to ride over to the field. (I didn’t know it before but these are the bikes I was told about, I thought they were real bikes.)

Anyway, what happens is... as the players walk out, they choose a bicycle from one of the kids and ride it over to the practice field.  The kid then takes the players' helmet and carries it for them or in some cases, the player puts the kid on the bike as they double ride over.

The funny thing is... there are bikes there that the players can't ride... they are just to big, but they do it anyway and it is a riot!

The first player out was #33, cornerback Brandon Underwood.  He was approached by a little boy (3-4 yrs old), with an even littler bike.  Underwood got on the bike and started to ride away with kid.

He was signing autographs and talking with people, so I walked over and chatted with him for a bit.  I took a picture with him and gave him a Rooster card.  Thanks for being cool Brandon... Stay healthy my man!

That was cool for me but there was two “priceless” moments I noticed.  The first was when a 6’6, 300+ lb lineman (#75, Bryan Buluga) walked out and a tiny little girl approached him with her bike (it had training wheels on it- ).  (Picture is to the right.)

He smiled, looked at the bike for second, then just picked it up in the palm of his hand and walked over to practice with it.  In the picture, you can see the little girl carrying his helmet trying to keep up.  It’s as big as she is! 🙂  A perfect sports moment!!!

The second was also another offensive lineman (#69, Chris Campbell).  He was paired up with a kid who also had a little bike but... he tried to ride it anyway.  Two pedals later.... he blew out both tires and almost fell off!  F$&King great!  (pic to the left)

Most of the A-list players must go another way, but I did see (RB) Brandon Jackson and (TE) Donald Lee ride over on bikes as well as Clay Matthews.  There were others too, but people like Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and Arron Rodgers must have gone another way.

Actual Practice
I walked over to the field with the 1000,s of Packer of fans in attendance.  It's really crazy to see this many people at a practice.  There are police directing traffic for Pete’s sake.

Anyway, when you enter the stands they gave each person a different face on a stick.  You were able to choose from Clay Matthews, Donald Driver, Charles Woodson, or local favorite, lineman Mark Trauscher.

Casey

I showed up late because I walked over after practice started, so they only had Trauscher left.  I didn’t mind getting Mark’s face but I wanted one of future Hall of Famer (At least Moose thinks so ;)) Donald Driver.

Green Bay Fans Rock!
I walked around and looked on the ground but couldn’t find one.  I then asked a guy (Casey) if he would sell his to me.  He said he wouldn’t, but then as we were talking, he realized I came from NJ and handed it over to me for free.   Thank you pal!

The stands were packed with fans, many of whom were owners.  Remember the team is basically owned by the town so anybody with shares is an owner.  It’s crazy... I was watching practice with the owners of the team!  Again... so cool!

Practice was scheduled to last for over 2 hours, so I walked around and took in the environment.  I was hungry but didn’t want to spend any money... then... I looked down and saw some money on the ground.  Nice! $3 bucks!

I went over the concession stand and saw a hot dog cost $2.50.  Nice, I get to eat and make .50 cents.  That’s the way it should be. 🙂

Marie

Anyway, at the point I am walking around with a program, schedules, faces on sticks etc... when I notice a booth giving away stuff.  As I got closer, I noticed it was one of them booths where if you buy a subscription... you get a gift.

I talked with the lady running the booth (Marie) and told her where I was from and what I was doing.  She seen all the stuff I was carrying and handed me a Packer backpack.  Are you kidding me?  People are just to nice in Green Bay!  Thank you!

I walked back in and watched the rest of practice, which was about an hour more.  After practice the players that took bikes go back the same way.  It was told to me, that it was at this time you could possibly get some autographs.

Autographs
I waited by the exit of practice where I met and spoke with a guy named Mike.  He was a real cool dude as we talked football and life for 20 minutes waiting for the players to walk out.  (My cell phone was dead at this point, so I don’t have a picture of him.)

The players started to walk out one by one and most didn’t sign anything, but a few did.  One of those players was rookie Texas Tech QB, Graham Harrell (#7).  I approached him and he graciously signed my Stadium Tour Ticket.  Good Luck Graham!

The next player who I got an autograph from was wide receiver Brett Swain (#16), he signed my Hall of Fame Ticket.  Maybe he’ll be in the Packer Hall of Fame someday... that’s a big maybe though :).

The last player I got to sign was rookie safety Morgan Bennett (#42).  He was a beast in college for Georgia Tech and should be a good pro, maybe this autograph will be worth something someday.

He was really cool as I walked next to him while he rode a bike back slowly (he had a little kid walking with him).  I handed him a Rooster card as I wished him success in the NFL as he wished me luck on my trip.  Ball hawk and head hunt my man!

This is the greatest sports place I have ever seen and the best fans in America... hands down!  I’m a proud Steeler fan and we (The Steelers) have fans across the country but I what just witnessed is unparalleled in all of American sports!  (I'm even wearing my Steeler shorts.)

Riccio’s Parents House

Diane, Tom, John (Riccio), Thank You!

I left the Lambeau Field area at 9 pm after 8 hours of Packer madness and headed to Riccio’s parents house.  It was short drive away (30 miles) and I arrived around 10 pm (got some food).

I was exhausted from a long day but was still gonna go to the casino near by (7 miles away).  But when I called over there, they only had one game going (3-6 limit Texas Hold”em).  And... they closed at 2 am... so I packed it in and called it a night.

I went to bed at 10 pm.  the earliest I have gone to sleep in years.

Thanks for reading!

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Comments (8)

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  1. Mike says:

    Nice! Even better than I expected. Great details Dave. Wish I could have seen it, but I’ll take your version! Almost feels like I was there…

  2. Dad says:

    Sounds like there’s more to tell about Green Bay and it’s hospitality. Nice job Dave.

  3. bennervous says:

    Great post, Dave. It didn’t feel that long, as it was just the right level of detail. Now I see what you mean about not having enough time in a day!

    Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you! (I bet you didn’t think I knew such big words.)

  4. Lauren says:

    Thanks for the great blog about the Packers and their fans! We do take great pride in our team!

    – Lauren from the parking lot

  5. Gene says:

    You drove all the way to Green Bay just to find out Brett’s full of himself! Sucker!! lol!

  6. dave says:

    Lauren… you guys are the best fans in America! And you’re hot too (you and your friends)! What a combo… 🙂

  7. Hi Dave, Glad ya had a great time in Green Bay,the best town in america ! hope that Donald Driver Face helped ya…

    nice meeting you

    Casey Rounding
    Windsor On Canada

  8. dave says:

    Thanks again Casey! And yes it is/was a great football city!

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