|The Frozen Tundra, Titletown USA,
The Shrine of Pro Football
Exterior in 2011
|Former names||City Stadium (1957–64)
(renamed August 3, 1965)
|Location||1265 Lombardi Avenue
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54304
|Owner||City of Green Bay and Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District|
|Operator||Green Bay Packers|
|Record attendance||78,200 (October 6, 2013)|
|Surface||Kentucky bluegrass reinforced with DD GrassMaster|
|Broke ground||October 11, 1956|
|Opened||September 29, 1957|
|Expanded||1961, 1963, 1965, 1970, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2003, 2013|
($4.7 million in 2014 dollars)
$295 million (2003 Renovation)
($378 million in 2014 dollars)
Ellerbe Becket (2003 renovation)
|General contractor||Geo. M. Hougard & Sons|
|Green Bay Packers (NFL) (1957–present)|
Lambeau Field is an outdoor athletic stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the home field of the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. It opened in 1957 as City Stadium, replacing the original City Stadium at East High School as the Packers' home field. Informally known as New City Stadium for its first eight seasons, it was renamed in August 1965 in memory of Packers founder, player, and long-time head coach, Curly Lambeau, who had died two months earlier.
The stadium's street address has been 1265 Lombardi Avenue since August 1968, when Highland Avenue was renamed in honor of former head coach Vince Lombardi. It sits on a block bounded by Lombardi Avenue (north); Oneida Street (east); Stadium Drive and Valley View Road (south); and Ridge Road (west). The playing field at the stadium sits at an elevation of 640 feet (195 m) above sea level.
The stadium completed its latest renovation in the summer of 2013 with the addition of 7,000 seats high in the south end zone. About 5,400 of the new seating is general, while the remaining 1,600 seats are club or terrace suite seating. With a capacity of 80,978, Lambeau Field is the fourth largest stadium in the NFL with standing room, but is second in normal capacity. It is now the largest venue in the state of Wisconsin, edging out Camp Randall Stadium (80,321), located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Since 1925, the Packers had played at 25,000 seat City Stadium, located behind East High School. However, by the 1950s, it was considered inadequate for the times. It was built almost entirely of wood, and East High's locker room facilities were considered inadequate even in the 1920s; visiting teams often dressed at their hotel. Officials in Milwaukee, 120 miles to the south, where the Packers had played part of their schedule since 1933, knew that City Stadium was less than ideal as an NFL venue. They built Milwaukee County Stadium in 1953 in hopes of luring the Packers there full-time. As originally built, County Stadium was double the size of City Stadium. Soon after County Stadium opened, the other NFL owners threatened to force the Packers to move to Milwaukee unless they built a new stadium. In August 1955, the Packers announced plans for a new stadium in Green Bay, with a seating capacity of 32,000. In April 1956, Green Bay voters responded by approving (70.3%) a bond issue to finance the new stadium. The original cost in 1957 was $960,000 (paid off in 1978) and its seating capacity was 32,500.
The new stadium was the first modern stadium built specifically for an NFL franchise. At that time, the other eleven NFL teams were playing either in facilities shared with Major League Baseball teams, or in other pre-existing shared facilities.
The site, now bordered on three sides by the village of Ashwaubenon, was selected because it had a natural slope, ideal for creating the bowl shape. The nearby outdoor practice fields (Clarke Hinkle Field and Ray Nitschke Field) and Don Hutson Center are in Ashwaubenon, as was the Packers Hall of Fame until 2003.
The new City Stadium was officially opened on September 29, 1957, as the Packers beat the Bears 21–17, in front of a capacity crowd of 32,132. In a ceremony at halftime, the stadium was dedicated by Vice President Richard Nixon. Also in attendance on the platform were reigning Miss America Marilyn Van Derbur, NFL commissioner Bert Bell, and Bears' owner George Halas, on a brief leave from coaching.
Although they now had a modern facility in Green Bay, the Packers continued to play two or three regular-season games in Milwaukee. Starting in 1995, expansions to Lambeau Field (see below) made it financially realistic for the Packers to play their entire regular season in Green Bay for the first time in over 60 years. Former Milwaukee ticket holders receive tickets to a preseason game and games 2 and 5 of the regular season home schedule, in what is referred to as the "Gold package". Green Bay season ticket holders receive tickets to the remaining home games as part of their "Green package".
Demand for tickets at the new stadium easily outstripped supply, not coincidentally after the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi in 1959. In 1961, four years after it opened, the stadium's capacity was increased to 38,669.
Since then, the Packers have been regularly increasing the seating capacity. The bowl was increased to 42,327 in 1963, to about 50,837 in 1965 with the enclosure of the south end zone, and to 56,263 in 1970, when the north end zone was enclosed to form a continuous oval bowl.
Construction of 72 private boxes in 1985 increased the seating capacity to 56,926, and a 1990 addition of 36 additional boxes and 1,920 theatre-style club seats brought the number to 59,543. In 1995, a $4.7-million project put 90 more private boxes in the previously open north end zone, again giving the stadium the feel of a complete bowl and increasing capacity to 60,890.
By the end of the 1990s, the Packers believed that they needed to update the facility to remain financially competitive in the NFL. Rather than build a new stadium, Chairman/CEO Bob Harlan and President/COO John Jones unveiled a $295 million plan to renovate Lambeau Field in January 2000. It was to be paid for partly by the team via the 1997-98 stock sale, which netted more than $20 million. Most of the proceeds were to be paid through a 0.5% sales tax in Brown County and personal seat license fees on season ticket holders. After their plan won approval by the Wisconsin State Legislature, it was ratified by Brown County voters on September 12, 2000 by a 53%-47% margin. Construction began early in 2001.
The massive redevelopment plan was designed to update the facilities, add more premium and suite seating, yet preserve the seating bowl, keeping the storied natural grass playing field of the "frozen tundra". The project was completed in time for the 2003 season, bringing the capacity to 72,515. Construction management was conducted by Turner Construction Sports, and proved to be of remarkably little disruption to the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
Lambeau Field is the oldest continually operating NFL stadium In 2007, the Packers completed their 51st season at Lambeau, breaking the all-time NFL record set by the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field (1921–70). (While Soldier Field in Chicago is older, it was not the home of the Bears until 1971.) Only the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley have longer active home-field tenures in American professional sports.
Although the capacity has more than doubled since Lambeau Field was opened, demand for tickets remains high. The Packers have sold out every game since 1960, and more than 81,000 names remain on the waiting list (with a reported average wait time of 30 years). The sell-out streak has had the effect (intended or not) of ensuring that all Packers home games are televised in Green Bay and Milwaukee, a streak that started in 1973 (prior to that time, local telecasts of home games were disallowed regardless of how many tickets were sold); the Packers are one of four NFL teams (the others being the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, and Pittsburgh Steelers) that have not had a home game blacked out since the current blackout rules were put into place.
In 2009, The Sports Turf Managers Association named Lambeau Field the 2009 Field of the Year.
At the end of the 2013 season, the Packers have compiled a 208–111–5 regular season mark at Lambeau Field.
As of the 2013 season, there are three NFL teams that have never won a game at Lambeau during its existence, which are the Arizona Cardinals (0–7), the Baltimore Ravens (0–3), and the Denver Broncos (0–4). On the other hand, the Kansas City Chiefs (3–0) and Houston Texans (1–0) remain unbeaten at Lambeau.
In 2010, plans were announced by the Green Bay Packers to install new high definition scoreboards in place of their current scoreboards; plans for a new sound system were announced as well. Later the plans were expanded to include adding as many as 7,500 seats both inside and outside as well as viewing platforms and lounge areas. On May 5, 2011 the Packers sent out an online survey to 30,000 season-ticket holders, club-seat holders and individuals on the season-ticket waiting list to get feedback from the fans on several concepts being considered for the south end-zone development. On August 25, 2011 plans were officially announced to add 7,500 new seats to the south end zone. The new seats are outdoors with the exception of one indoor row. The seats include heated areas that melt snow as it falls (a concept tested on a small scale during winter 2010), intending to solve the logistical problem of shoveling snow from an "upper deck" seating area. The snow that falls into the original bowl area is shoveled by compensated volunteers from the community using a system of temporary chutes placed in the aisles and carts to remove the snow from the stadium.
The new sound system was completed in time for the 2011–2012 NFL season. On August 25, 2011 Packers president Mark Murphy announced that the expansion of Lambeau would not be paid by taxpayers but by the team itself. After construction was completed on the south end zone seating in the summer of 2013, Lambeau became the 3rd largest stadium in the NFL, with a capacity of 80,750. Additional construction included two new tower gates for the north and south end zone. Lambeau Field also installed Mitsubishi Diamond Vision Video Boards, as well as a rooftop viewing terrace in the north end zone for club seat holders during games. The rooftop viewing terrace and video boards were completed in time for the 2012 season.
On December 13, 2012, Lambeau Field was damaged by a minor fire when construction workers were cutting a metal beam, and the sparks from the cutting ignited. The damage cost $5,000 in repairs.
In 2013, the Packers announced a new $140.5 million renovation project for the Lambeau Atrium entrance, that will be entirely paid by the Packers without public funding. The project began in March 2013 and is expected to be completed in June 2015.
The Packers removed ground between Bob Harlan Plaza and Lombardi Avenue, which is now the basement of the atrium. The Pro Shop has been moved to the new ground level, and a set of escalators was installed on the western side, leading to the atrium and the entrance of the Miller Gate. The Packers Hall of Fame will move to the second floor of the atrium where Curly's Pub is currently located. Curly's will move to the main floor where the Pro Shop was previously held. This renovation project is referred to as "Phase II", with the first phase considered as the 7,500 seats that were installed previously. Curly's will be accessible from Harlan Plaza and the Hall of Fame will have more room for exhibits. The new setup will be easier for fans to get to Curly's as it was difficult for fans in the past.
Phase II also included the following:
Curly's Pub and the Packers Hall of Fame will be closed temporarily during some part of the project, probably in 2014, but the Pro Shop will remain open.
The renovation project is expected to create approximately 1,500 jobs and pay more than $60 million in wages. Team president and CEO Mark Murphy said 95 percent of spending on the project will be done in Wisconsin and 69 percent in northeastern Wisconsin.
The original name of Lambeau Field lasted through the 1964 season. Officially "City Stadium", the name "New City Stadium" was used informally to distinguish it from its predecessor at East High School.
Besides founding the team in 1919, Lambeau played for the Packers in their early years and was the team's coach for 31 seasons through 1949. He shares the distinction with rival George Halas of the Chicago Bears of coaching his team to the most NFL championships, with six. Lambeau was inducted as a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 1963.
On November 7, 2000, two months after Brown County voters approved a sales tax to fund Lambeau Field's renovation, a second referendum was presented to the same Brown County voters. This referendum asked whether naming rights to the renovated stadium should be sold in order to retire earlier the 0.5% sales tax created to cover construction costs. The referendum passed 53% to 47%, the exact percentage by which voters approved the sales tax.
After the vote passed, the Packers entered talks with the City of Green Bay, which owns the stadium, to further explore the options. The City and team agreed to sell the rights if a price of $100 million could be realized, although no buyer has been found.
The Packers, although agreeing to be bound by the will of the voters, have consistently stressed that they would prefer Lambeau Field keep its traditional name, honoring the club's founder.
The Packers have sold naming rights to the eight entrance gates. From the north going clockwise, they are: Bellin Health (north gate), Miller Brewing (atrium gate), American Family Insurance (northeast gate at parking lot level), the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (east gate on elevated plaza facing Oneida Street), Shopko (south gate), Mills Fleet Farm stores (southwest gate), Associated Bank (west gate and private box entrance), and Verizon (northwest gate). Miller Brewing is also a sponsor of the atrium, and has a section in one end zone called the "Miller Lite End Zone", giving away tickets in that area with various beer promotions.
The stadium's nickname was spawned by the Ice Bowl between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, played on December 31, 1967. The game was played in temperatures of −15 °F (−26 °C) with sharp winds. Journalist Tex Maule associated Lambeau Field with the term tundra in his article summarizing the game in Sports Illustrated.
Lambeau Field is alleged to have gotten its nickname, The Frozen Tundra, from The Greatest Challenge, the Packers' authorized version of the highlight film written by Steve Sabol. In the Cowboys' authorized version of the highlight film, A Chilling Championship, also written by Sabol, Bill Woodson used the term the Frozen Tundra when narrating the film to describe Lambeau Field. Prior to the 1967 season, an underground electric heating system had been installed but it was not able to counter the effects of the cold front that hit Green Bay at the onset of the Ice Bowl. The field had been covered overnight with the heater on but when the cover was removed in the sub-zero cold the moisture atop the grass flash-froze.
The underground heating and drainage system was redone in 1997, with a system of pipes filled with a solution including antifreeze replacing the electric coils. After the 2006 season, the surface, heating, and drainage system was replaced. The new grass surface has synthetic fibers woven into the sod. Even the new video boards, installed in 2004, have been influenced by the field's nickname, being called "Tundra Vision". These video displays, installed by Daktronics out of Brookings, South Dakota, measure more than 25 feet (7.6 m) high by 46 feet (14 m) wide. An artificial lighting system, based on technology used in Dutch rose-growing greenhouses, was tested in 2010 and purchased for use in the 2011 season. It operates 24 hours a day from October to early December to extend the growing season for the field's grass. The system is also used in some soccer stadiums where shade from stands and partial roofs are a problem for the turf, not the cold and short growing season found in Green Bay.
More famously a nickname for the city than its football field, "Titletown, USA" became popularized in 1961, even before Vince Lombardi won any of his championships. At the 1961 NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants, which the Packers won 37-0, fans hung up signs around the stadium that read Welcome to Titletown, USA. Then-Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle joked that the honor was for him, just that his name was misspelled. By the mid-60s, Titletown, USA was registered as a trademark of the Green Bay Packers, Inc. Lambeau Field has been home to seven NFL world championship seasons, five under Lombardi, one under Mike Holmgren and one under Mike McCarthy, surpassing the six world championship seasons witnessed by its predecessor, City Stadium, under Curly Lambeau.
Lambeau Field has frequently given a significant postseason home-field advantage for the Packers. Playoff games at Lambeau Field typically feature cold Wisconsin winters. The most famous example is the aforementioned Ice Bowl. More recently, in the 1997 NFL playoffs both the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoffs and the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game struggled to adapt to the muddy and the cold conditions respectively. The temperatures during the 2007 NFC Championship Game (in which the Packers lost in OT, 23-20, to the New York Giants) reached as low as −4 °F (−20 °C), with a wind chill of −24 °F (−31 °C). From its opening in 1957 until January 2003, when they fell 27–7 to the Atlanta Falcons, the Packers had never lost a postseason game at Lambeau Field. However, the Packers hosted just one postseason game (in the ad-hoc round-of-16 in the strike-shortened 1982 season) during a lean stretch of 27 years between the Ice Bowl of 1967 and a wild-card game in December 1994. Although the Packers have won only three of their last eight playoff games at Lambeau Field, their overall home post-season record is a respectable 14–5. The stadium has hosted five championship contests: three NFL title games in 1961, 1965 and 1967 (the "Ice Bowl"); two NFC championships after the 1996 and 2007 seasons.
Many Packer players will jump into the end zone stands after scoring a touchdown, in a celebration affectionately known as the "Lambeau Leap". The Lambeau Leap was invented by safety LeRoy Butler, who scored after a Reggie White fumble recovery and lateral against the L.A. Raiders in December 1993. It was later popularized by wide receiver Robert Brooks.
It's not known precisely when the celebration was first coined the "Lambeau Leap", but one of the first possible mentions was by broadcaster Al Michaels, who mentioned during a Monday Night Football broadcast in 1996, "It's a new tradition in Green Bay, Robert Brooks leaping into the stands."
Occasionally, a visiting player will attempt a Lambeau Leap, only to be denied by Packers fans. This happened to then-Minnesota Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown; Packers fans proceeded to throw their beverages on Smoot. During the 2007 NFC Championship game, New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs faked a Lambeau Leap after scoring a touchdown, angering many Green Bay faithful in the stands. Before a game against the Packers on September 20, 2009, Cincinnati Bengals wideout Chad Johnson, then known as Chad Ochocinco, announced he would do a Lambeau Leap if he scored a touchdown, and then followed through by leaping into the arms of pre-arranged fans wearing Bengals jerseys.
The NFL Network countdown program, the NFL Top 10, named the Lambeau Leap the 2nd greatest touchdown celebration of all time.
Originally, music at Lambeau Field was provided by the Packers' Lumberjack Band. The live band has been replaced by recorded music.
The Packers intro music for when they are introduced before each game is "Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited. PA announcer Bill Jartz (also the main news anchor for WBAY-TV (Channel 2)), accompanies this by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, here are your 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers."
The "Go Pack Go" jingle is usually played when the team is on defense or during the start of a drive on offense. A song built around this jingle is "Go Pack Go!" by The 6 Packers.
The House of Pain hit "Jump Around" is often played during one time-out at Lambeau, resulting in widespread jumping around by the crowd. This tradition began due to the popularity of the same song/crowd-participation tradition at University of Wisconsin football games.
The polka standard "Beer Barrel Polka" (also known as "Roll Out The Barrel") is also played at Lambeau Field, usually in the fourth quarter of games. "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas is played when the Packers win a game.
With the 1997–98 sale of stock in the Packers corporation, swelling the number of owners to over 112,000, a large venue was needed for the annual shareholders meeting. The event returned to Lambeau Field in 2006 after several thousand people were turned away from the 2005 meeting at the nearby Resch Center.
When built, Lambeau Field was also slated to be used by Green Bay's public high schools, as old City Stadium had been. However, a key 1962 game between the Packers and Detroit Lions was affected when two high schools played in the rain the preceding Friday, damaging the field. After that, Lombardi asked the schools to avoid using Lambeau, however both Southwest High and West High played there until a high school stadium was built in the late 1970s. In 1970, Green Bay's Premontre High School (the alma mater of Lombardi's son, Vince Jr., which has since been merged into Notre Dame Academy) hosted (and won) the state private school football championship. In 1982 and 1983, St. Norbert College hosted Fordham University (Lombardi's alma mater) in benefit games to fight cancer.
Shortly after the 2006 Wisconsin–Ohio State hockey game (see below), newspaper reports said the Wisconsin football team might be interested in moving a non-conference road game to Lambeau Field.
Following the success of the "Cold War" collegiate hockey game held in 2001 at Michigan State's Spartan Stadium, hockey teams from Wisconsin and Ohio State met in the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic, an outdoor game played on a temporary rink inside the stadium on February 11, 2006. The Badgers defeated the Buckeyes 4–2 before a capacity crowd of 40,890. There were some problems as the ice began to crack during play, but overall it was a success, ending with the Badgers doing the Lambeau Leap following their victory.
In 2004 a snowmobile racing event was held in the parking lot due to a lack of snow. In 2005 the snowmobile racing event took place over the turf, with the right amount of snow cover.
Since the renovation, only one concert has been performed at Lambeau. The last concert to be held at the stadium, prior to the renovation, was Survivor, in 1985 to a crowd of 13,000. Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band performed in Green Bay on June 11, 2011, on their Goin' Coastal Tour. The main reasons for the lack of concerts at Lambeau Field revolve around concerns of the team relating to potential damage of the playing surface and also the more desirable venues in Wisconsin, notably Miller Park and the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee and Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. The market's size also makes playing indoor venues like the nearby Resch Center and Brown County Arena more feasible for concert promoters to play locally.
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|Home of the
Green Bay Packers
1957 – present
|Host of NFC Championship Game
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