A Weekend In Green Bay

The BBC's Neil Reynolds details his trip to Green Bay for the first-ever broadcast of an NFL game to the UK from American soil.

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22 comments, Last at 19 Nov 2009, 7:34am

1 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

I wonder what the author thought of Leinenkugel beer. That is the featured beverage at Lambeau Field.

2 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

A trip any fan should make, and not just Green Bay fans...

4 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

In reply to by Keith (1) (not verified)

How friendly are the locals to fans of the other team? They are such rabid fans, I was wondering if it spilled over into their off field behavior?

11 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

In reply to by Antique Furniture (not verified)

Local fan. Been to two (soon to be 3) games.

The last game was vs. Dallas in 2008 or 2007. We were next to a Dallas fan, and we chatted throughout the game. He said fans in New York were horrible.

First game was the game vs. the Jets in 2006. That game was cold as balls. December 3, 2006. Gamebook says it was 19 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff, with 18 mph winds. And the Packers got destroyed, losing 38-10.

Now it could be worse against divisional rivals, but I still don't expect it to get past the level of teasing. Of course there are always drunk fans who may go beyond the bounds of civility.

Hopefully I will be at the game this weekend vs. San Francisco. And hopefully I finally get to see a win.

13 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

From stories I've read/heard as long as you don't wear Bears gear (for the short future I'm sure you can count Vikings gear too), the fans are pleasant. Even if you do wear Bears gear it's usually just a few drunk idiots that hassle you, most are friendly.

19 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

I had a friend who went there and had a great time (wearing Eagles gear). Of course, he's the same guy who went to the Dawg Pound and had a great time there too (also in Eagles gear). Guess it's a lot easier when you're a friendly guy, and the home team wins. BTW, after the second trip, his wife wouldn't let him go away anymore, because she said he was jinxing the team.

20 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

My first game there, I met a nice older couple from the area. The second time I went, they housed me and drove me to the game, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT GOING THAT DAY.

From two hours out.

Nice people.

3 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

I love that it's a "tiny town with a population of about 100 000 people." If I add all four of the places I've lived in my life before my current city (minus the two years in Boulder, which means I'm still covering 22 years), it comes out to about 20 000.

It doesn't really mean anything, but I find it humorous nonetheless.

5 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

Yeah, the Brits tend to imagine America as a succession of endlessly sprawling metropolises, separated by vast stretches of nothingness in which the only signs of life are a few beaten-up old ranches.

Blame the TV.

14 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

It's not just the Brits. I'm on a team that goes to Japan to support the Navy. We made friends with a bar owner in Nagasaki and after a while, pooled our Frequent flier miles to bring him and his wife over to visit. His only knowlege of Philly was that it was between NY and DC, so he thought it would be like Tokyo - 100 miles of nothing but city. He was more than a little surprised that we had farms and trees and dissapointed he couldn't hop on a subway to get to Manhattan.

15 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

I'm reminded of someone online I know from Britain who was going to visit New York for a week. He told me he was considering popping over to Denver for a day, maybe two. It didn't really occur to him that it's kind of hard to "pop" almost 2,000 miles away; it's further from NYC to Denver than it is from London to Moscow.

17 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

Yeah I have had a lot of experience with Europeans totally underestimating the size of the US. My dad had some friends who wanted to visit for a 2 weeks or something like that. Their plan was to fly into New York, then drive to Chicago, then to Texas, then back to the east coast.

Then they have the gall to make fun of our internet infrastructure. /unrelated coming close to breaking rule #1 mini-rant.

7 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

Well, compared to other cities with professional sports franchises, it's incredibly tiny. Which is why I love the NFL--an intelligent revenue sharing and salary cap plan allows them to be successful, regardless of how big the city is. What's the next smallest, Jacksonville? A quick wiki shows 1.3 million in that area. Huge difference.

9 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

To be fair, I doubt an expansion team could survive in a place the size of Green Bay, especially not if there were two other teams in state, as is the case for Jacksonville. The Packers have a fanbase vastly larger than the population of the city ought to permit, for historical reasons and because they're the "local" team for fans in Milwaukee, a much larger population centre.

16 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

While revenue sharing helps small markets do better in football than baseball, the key difference for a city of 100,000 is that football games are once-a-week events. Fans can and will drive in from over 100 miles away for 1 game a week, ensuring sellouts. For other sports, which play multiple games a week, you need people who live relatively close buying the majority of the tickets every night.

18 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

Different sizes, different concepts. We have in Hungary the joke about the Chinese official visiting Hungary. When he hears that our total population is only 10 million, he says: surely everybody knows everyone here.

10 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

I love this exchange:

Me: "What do you like to do on game day here at the stadium?"

Fan: "Drink."

Me: "What is so special about a game day experience in Green Bay?"

Fan: "The drink."

Me: "But there's some good food out here as well. Is that an important part of the day?"

Fan: "Sometimes it can be. But if you eat too much, you get full - and then you can't drink."

Moving swiftly on, I found some more people to interview and continued to work my way around the exterior of the stadium. About 10 minutes later, drunk guy's friend came running up to me and apologised terribly. They had not asked me to join their group and have a drink with them and they felt really bad about it.

21 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

In a previous post, mm is quite right that Packer fans are not just Green Bay residents. The whole state of Wisconsin takes inordinate ownership of the accomplishments of The Pack. There is a Packer bar in every NFL city where Packer fans can go and be assured of carousing with like-minded spirits.

Mr. Barnwell is also right to note that we senior citizens are sometimes rejuvenated by the success of our team. He is right again to note that drink is not an insignificant contributor to our jollity. We have embraced Oscar Wilde's observation that work is the curse of the drinking class.

22 Re: A Weekend In Green Bay

I enjoyed the talkitive tone and style of the article. I had the opportunity to visit Ireland for work a few years ago, and the sportswriting is much more this chipper, gosh golly let's hear from the team captain type of writing. Very entertaining. This article immediately reminded me of some of the cricket articles I read during my trip.

Visiting fans are treated well. Packer fans take it as a point of pride to be polite, although alchohol takes its toll on the manners of some.

The bench seats will not change either. It's a football game, not the opera! I've been to several games where the high temp was under 5 degrees and one quickly appreciates being jammed shoulder to shoulder with his neighbors. Two rules set in stone for stadium modifications: no dome, ever, and keep the bench seats.