Fields Across America: Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field is found at 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304
Lombardi Ave is named after another famous coach of the Packers, Vince Lombardi. If you are familiar at all with the game of football that name should sound familiar. Lombardi was also immortalized by the NFL when they named the trophy given to the Super Bowl winners after him. After all, he did lead the Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls ever played.
The Name Behind the Stadium
If you do not already know Lambeau Field is home to the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are an NFL team that make up part of the NFC North. Lambeau Field was not always Lambeau Field. When the stadium first open in 1957 it was known as City Stadium. During this time the stadium could only hold around 32,500 people. The stadium did not receive its iconic name until a few weeks after its namesake, Curly Lambeau, died.
So what exactly did Curly Lambeau do to get a stadium named after him? Everything. Curly Lambeau is the reason the Green Bay Packers exist as an NFL team today. He founded the team in 1919, and named it after the Indian Packing Company. Not only did Lambeau found and play for the Packers he coached them as well. In fact he is the most winningest coach in Packers history. He also lead the Packers to six NFL championship titles, this was before the time of the Super Bowl.
Apparently naming their stadium after Curly Lambeau wasn't enough for Green Bay. If you visit the stadium you will find Curly's Pub in the atrium. This restaurant spans nearly the entire length of the field and showcases artifacts from the Packers' past. Lambeau's jersey number, 14, was the first number to be retired by the Packers franchise, and hangs immortalized in the stadium. Also, in 2003 renovation of the stadium a statute of Lambeau was placed at the entrance to Lambeau Field.
I terms of capacity Lambeau Field is the third largest stadium in the NFL and is able to hold over 80,000 people on game day. Though, in terms of seating and standing room Lambeau is only the fourth largest field. Lambeau Field is the third oldest stadium to house one team, only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field have been in operation longer.
Since opening the stadium has gone through three renovation periods: 1961-1995, 2001-2003, and 2012-2015. With each renovation the occupancy total for the stadium increases and the stadium itself is made more modern.
In the most recent renovation high definition score boards, a new sound system, and additional seating above the bowl was added the the stadium. The most interesting thing about the most recent renovation is how it was paid for. The City of Green Bay and the Green Bay Professional Football District own Lambeau Field. However, neither paid for the renovations. The Green Bay Packers themselves paid for all of the renovations. As a result the Packers opened stock sales to the general public, this had only even been done twice before.
The second part of the 2012-2015 renovation will be on the atrium itself. The hall of fame is being moved out of the basement and to a larger room. Curly's Pub and the Packers Pro Shop are switching locations in order to provide fans with easier access to Curly's.
Lambeau Field has other names that it is commonly called.
- The Frozen Tundra (In reference to the famous game against the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship in 1967. This game is referred to as the Ice Bowl, and was the coldest game to ever be played with a starting temperature of -15 degrees with a wind chill around -48.)
- Title Town, USA (This actually refers to the entire City of Green Bay and not just the stadium. In the 1960s this phrase became a registered trademark of the Green bay Packers. The funny thing is; this phrase was used for Green Bay before before they won the first two Super Bowls)
Currently the atrium at Lambeau Field is under renovation, but all work should be completed by 2015. When you first enter the stadium you walk into the expansive room that is the atrium. So, what exactly will you find when you enter the atrium at Lambeau Field? Currently the atrium is home to the Packers Hall of Fame, Curly's Pub, the Packers Pro Shop, is the meeting place for all stadium tours.
The Packers Pro shop is where you will find everything Packers related. This is where you can purchase the famous cheese hat worn by many fans during games. This is also where you can get custom printed jerseys. However, for those many Packers fans outside of the state of Wisconsin you can always use the Pro Shop's website to order anything at the store. At Curly's you can enjoy Wisconsin eats like cheese curds and brats. Nearly everything on the menu is just like you would expect food in the northern part of the midwest to be: hearty.
Update 8/26/17: There have been many changes made to Lambeau Field and Curly's is no longer around. It has been replaced with 1919 (the year the Packers were founded). It is very similar to Curly's and a full menu can be found here.
The stadium tours are popular amongst all fans, not just Packers fans. This is because of the rich history of the stadium and the team it supports. The tour will lead you through the same tunnel the Packers use to entire the field on game days to give you a player-view of the stadium and up into the private box seats. In the hall of fame you can even try your every own Lambeau Leap.
How likely are you to visit Lambeau Field?
In field itself in Lambeau Field is something extraordinary. In the early days local high schools used the field on Friday nights to play. However, that ended when two local high schools played on a rainy Friday and left the field too tore up to be of use to the Packers on Sunday.
Today the field is a mix of real grass and synthetic grasses. This ensures that the field is always covered with grass during all seasons. Underneath the field is a hydraulic heating system. This system is in place to prevent the ground from completely freezing. This ensures the safety of the players as well as the integrity of the field. However, it is still possible for snow to stick to the field during games despite this heating system.
When the field is not in use it is covered by a large tarp to ensure easy removal of snow and to avoid damage from tours. During the season the franchise actually pays fans to come into the stadium and remove snow from the seats and field.
If you have ever seen a Packers game played at Lambeau on TV then chances are very good that you saw the Lambeau Leap. If a player makes a big play, like say a touchdown or a pick six, they will jump into the stands around the end zone. This jump has to be at least six feet since the wall around the stands is six feet high. LeRoy Butler was the first Packer to ever do the leap and it as has been done nearly every home game ever since.
There have been several opposing players to attempt the leap in Green Bay. They are typically not successful. Fans will push opposing team players off the wall and have even been known to pour their drinks on them.
Every summer Lambeau Field is home to the annual shareholders meeting. Lambeau Field is the only venue large enough to hold the event. Though, with over 100,000 owners even Lambeau Field would not be big enough to house everyone should they choose to go.
Each year Lambeau Field hosts the Fourth of July Fireworks for the City of Green Bay.
During training camp the children of Green Bay line up with their bikes in hopes of a Packers playing choosing to ride their bike from the looker rooms to the training field. They do this morning and night. It is has been a tradition for decades and it helps to strengthen the bond between players and the community. This is a fan owned team after all.
Inside the Hall of FameClick thumbnail to view full-size
- There is an estimated 30 year waiting period for season tickets (this is one of the reasons why the Packers are one of four teams that have never been blacked out on TV for home games)
- Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band were the last preform at Lambeau. The concert was in 2011, the last concert before them was Survivor in 1985. The reason concerts are not regularly held at Lambeau is simple: they don't want to damage the field.
- There have been hockey games played at Lambeau
- There are no team cheerleaders. Any cheerleaders you see at Lambeau are from the University of Wisconsin. There is also no mascot for the team.
- During the last renovation the number of women's restrooms dramatically increased (going from 180 to 556). Which is a fantastic response to the increase in female fans.
- One of the only stadiums left in the NFL to have bleacher seating. (That's right the fans are all sitting on metal benches and they like it that way.)
- Lambeau Field currently hold two spots on list top five coldest NFL games ever played.
- There is a heating system under the field to prevent another Ice Bowl from ever happening. That's right, the frozen tundra isn't really all that frozen.
Around the Stadium
It is not just the stadium that is full of team pride. If you drive around the City of Green Bay near the stadium you will notice that everything is green and gold. Even the fire hydrants! The homes that are near the stadium also show their Packers pride by showcasing the colors as well as other team mementos. Can you imagine living walking distance to a foot ball stadium? Well, a lot of people do and they take pride in their hometown team.