To start with, I know that Green Bay, Wisconsin is not in Door County. But maybe it should be! Green Bay is about sixty-five miles from the farmhouse at Heart of the Door Homestead where we spent the month of July. During our stay we had two occasions to visit Lambeau Field, the home of our football team, the Green Bay Packers. Click here, here, and here for previous posts in this series.
The Packers and Lambeau Field go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Packers played their first game in 1919, it’s the third oldest franchise in the NFL. Curly Lambeau was both a player and the coach in the early years. Later, he was the General Manager until 1949 with total control of the team. After he died in 1965, the home field of the Packers was named Lambeau Field.
The Packers are the only publicly owned team in the NFL. I’ll tell more about that later in the article. It’s located in by far the smallest media market but they don’t act like it. They are one of the most valuable sport franchises in the world. The team has won thirteen world championships and consistently in the running for play off games. Games are always sold out, tickets are a valued asset often passed down from generation to generation. The waiting list for season tickets is 140,000 names long. If you put your name on the list today, it should get to the top in fifty years!
Although my Dad wasn’t a rabid football fan, he was a fan of the Green Bay Packers. He liked their grit and blue collar credentials. I inherited his like of the Packers that grew exponentially when we moved to Wisconsin. Since then it’s been only bay green and cheese gold for me. I’ve passed that down to at least one of my children.
Stadium Tour and Packer Hall of Fame
Our first opportunity to visit Lambeau Field came from an unexpected source. A retired teacher of agriculture friend of our Son-In-Law found out he was going to be in Wisconsin for the month of July. The teacher friend suggested connecting at Lambeau Field where the teacher’s son is the manager of stadium tours. The date was set, met them at the stories high replica of the Lombardi trophy. My Traveling Partner and I were privileged to tag along.
The tour started in the impressive Atrium with a hearty welcome to Lambeau Field.
Our tour guides took us up to one of the large luxury boxes that overlooks the field. They talked about the history and traditions of the Packers and poked good natured fun at the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys (the Son-in-Laws favorite team). The field was being prepared for the first ever soccer game to be held at Lambeau. The match was between the FC Bayern Munich and Manchester City. It was a sell-out crowd. By the way, the Packers are playing the October 9 game in London against the New York Giants. It would be fun to go!
The tour took us through the bowels of the stadium. On one of the walls was a reminder to the team of important games of the past. One of those games I attended with The Eldest, the Son-in-Law, and his Dad. December 26, 2010 was cold. We were dressed warm and watched most of the game standing up. It was too cold to sit on those metal bleachers! I was able to score some great seats on the aisle which gave us a bit more room to move around. It was a great time and a fond memory.
We entered the field through the same gate the team does. You could almost hear the roar of the crowd!
Once on the field, the tour guide warned us not to touch the grass. He told we could look at it but not stare at it! They were only a few days away from the soccer match and wanted everything to be perfect. No grass was touched in the taking of this photo!
After a few photos, we made our way back to the Atrium and went to the Packer Hall of Fall. The exhibits are excellent and several were interactive. My favorite thing in the Hall of Fame are the video highlights of the infamous “Ice Bowl.” Played on December 31, 1967, the Packers were hosting the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Championship Game. The weather in Green Bay on game day was brutally cold, with the air temperature at -15 degrees F (-26 C) with a wind chill at an estimated -48 F (-44 C). The lead in the game went back and forth with the Cowboys up 17-14 with 16 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. The Packers were on the one yard line. Quarterback Bart Starr called a run play, he kept the ball and dove in for the touchdown. After the extra point was good, the Packers were up 21-17 with 13 seconds remaining. The Cowboys got the ball back on their 20 yard line. They needed a touchdown to win. The Cowboys quarterback threw two incomplete passes and time ran out. The Packers won and the game went down in team and football history.
After the tour and visit to the Hall of Fame, we walked over to one of the legendary Packer hangouts, Kroll’s West for a burger and a beer. Thanks to the retired ag teacher for organizing the tour.
Earlier this year, we received four tickets in the mail for the Annual Meeting of the Green Bay Packers shareholders. My Traveling Partner and I were a little perplexed but we knew The Eldest was a shareholder. Maybe she had the Packer organization send the tickets to us. The truth is The Eldest and the Son-in-Law purchased us a share of Packers stock as an anniversary gift. We are now one of 539,000 owners of the team.
Please understand, the $300 paid for the share pays no dividends and cannot be traded or sold. Nor can we call plays or have a say in personnel selections. The two things we can do is buy shareholder only swag and walk around like we own the place, because we do! Along with the 539,000 fellow owners. That’s enough for me!
We arrived for the shareholders meeting about two hours before it started at 11:00 AM. This is so we could enter the Packers pro shop and buy shareholder gear. Just about anything that you can slap a Packers logo on is sold in the pro shop. When we arrived the store was packed! We were walking around butt cheek to butt cheek with what felt like thousands of people. It was hard to look at anything, it was like the Walmart after Christmas sale!
I was impressed by the pickup load of foam cheeseheads. I passed those up, they’d mess up my hair!
My Traveling Partner and I saw a couple of t-shirts we liked and one of the workers found our sizes. The next challenge was the checkout line that wound half way through the store, although it moved quickly. There was a young guy standing at the end of line with a football yard marker.
After about a fifteen minute wait in line, I gave the clerk my shareholder number, he scanned my two items, and I inserted my credit card in the reader. In less than a minute I was on my way out of the store for some clean air. By the way, I wore a mask, the store had to be a super spreader event. By then, the check out line was wrapped all around the large store.
While we waited for The Eldest and the Son-in-Law, my Traveling Partner stood in line to have our photos taken in the “shareholder’s locker room.” While in line, one family took a three generation photo. So cute. Starting off the little guy on the right foot!
This is our photo taken by the line attendant.
And a photo of The Eldest.
It was nearing 11 AM when we joined about 10,000 shareholders for the meeting.
The meeting started on time with opening comments by Mark Murphy, President and CEO of the Packer organization. After the national anthem, we heard reports from members of the board of directors and committee chairs. The General Manager of Football Operations, Brian Gutekunst, reported on the 2021 season and talked about the expectations for the upcoming season.
There was a financial report. We learned the revenue from the recent stock sale was going for new, larger video boards and other updates to the stadium. The one report we were impressed by was the Community Relations Committee Report. We heard details of what the Packers are giving back to Green Bay and Wisconsin. They are doing a lot for youth development that goes beyond sports. We were impressed.
The meeting ended at about 12:30 PM. All of us were so glad we went to the meeting, we plan to go until we are physically unable to perform.
I’ll close with the last photo I took as we were leaving the shareholders meeting. It was a beautiful day, one for the ages.
Go Pack Go!
Until next week, happy travels!