And with a 34-7 victory to finish a well-spentafternoon, the action and excitement on the field was not the only enjoyment fans participated in at Lambeau.
Sure, securing a victory is always the main goal come game day. However, it is equally important to ensure that all those entering the gates of Lambeau have the ultimate fan experience. From pregame tailgating fun in the Tailgate Tundra Zone to the ‘Roll out the barrel’ sing-along after the half, there is always something in store for the die-hard Packers fans.
In typical fashion, fans filled the streets and lots surrounding Lambeau to start the 2010 home season off right. Two committed fans, Chris Leair and Matt Copen traveled all the way from Orlando, Fla., to show their support for not only the current Packers, but also for the legends that returned for Alumni Weekend, one of Sunday’s highlights.
“We try to make it up to at least one game a year,” Leair said. “But we were especially glad to make it up here for alumni week. Yesterday we got a chance to see Lew Carpenter, Steve Odom, and Paul Hornung up here at the Pro Shop. We didn’t get their autographs, but it was still pretty cool to see those guys. It was a great weekend to make it up here.”
And as fans rose from their seats in admiration during the alumni presentation at the half, it was clear fans shared in Leair and Copen’s admiration and demonstrated the legacy created by these men is one that will last a lifetime.
Of the 80 alumni that returned to Lambeau, former center Frank Winters (1992-2002) knows he can expect a good time and a warm welcome when making a visit.
“It’s always great to come back here to Lambeau,” Winters said. “It’s a great tradition here and is always a fun time when you get to come back here and see the guys you used to play with 10 to 15 years ago.”
Eddie Garcia, a former kicker who played for Green Bay from 1983-84, not only enjoys the company of his former teammates when visiting Lambeau, but remains thankful for the opportunities the Packers’ organization continues to provide for all its alumni.
“The NFL has a great program with its alumni,” Garcia said. “But the Green Bay Packers’ program especially. There is so much history with this team and they truly do the best job of any team in the NFL, in my opinion, of taking care of the alumni and bringing them back.
“It was great seeing all of these guys again today. Look at Bart Starr, the legend, the Hall of Famer, and my former coach during my years with the team. Just understanding that history and having had the opportunity to play for such a legend is something I will never forget.”
In addition to alumni weekend, Garcia also expressed his gratitude to the NFL and the Packers for its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. This promotion, which aims to keep fans from all parts of the world connected to the game, is one Garcia appreciates, as his family is originally from Honduras.
“I think it’s important to get more people aware of the NFL’s Hispanic Month and to get people of all races and heritages involved in the NFL. The Packers and the NFL do so many great things for fans and this is another promotion that will really help reach out to all different races and heritages.”
Other highlights fans enjoyed Sunday…
Debut of a new video on the TundraVision, Lambeau Field’s giant replay boards above the stadium in both end zones. The video, which features the defense, appeared in middle of the third quarter and energized the crowd prior to a Bills possession which ended with a three-and-out.
The new piece, edited by Packers assistant video director Chris Kirby, consists of a multitude of bone-jarring hits and electric defensive highlights from a variety of players. Music from Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands On Me” complements the exciting images.
One fan who enjoyed the new Lambeau feature was Sue Gregoire from Chicago, Ill.
“We absolutely noticed the new TundraVision video during the third quarter and we totally loved it,” Gregoire said. “My husband and I both commented on how we liked the change from the usual commercials and advertisements to the new clip played when the guys were on defense.
“It was really neat to see the clips coming right at you,” she said. “It definitely seemed to help fans get pumped up when the Packers were on defense.”
Among the numerous activities fans relish with the Lambeau gameday experience is a military flyover in conjunction with the playing of the national anthem. Sunday’s home-opener kept with tradition by using the flyover to help stir the crowd’s excitement with the thundering roar of the jets.
As expected, it proved exhilarating again.
“The flyover was awesome,” Scott Manthei from Eau Claire said. “I was entering the stadium at the time so I didn’t see it, but you could definitely hear it.”
Another fan, Gerry Steele from Milwaukee, who also caught the flyover while entering the stadium, proudly held up her ‘It’s my 50th birthday today’ sign during the flyover.
“We came up from Milwaukee to celebrate my 50th birthday and support our Packers,” Steele said.
In another promotion Sunday, fans showed more than just their support for their team, but also their long-standing commitment to the community. More than 480 coats and $10,100 in donations were collected for Coats for Kids. Area volunteers collected the coats at each of the stadium’s four entrances while additional volunteers circled the stadium to help raise donations.
Among the many first-time attendees to a game at Lambeau Field was tennis star Andy Roddick. He treated his father, a long-time Packers fan, to a game.
“It’s great…it’s fantastic,” Roddick said of the experience.