Steelers visit Titletown

November 7th, 2005

Steelers visit Titletown

Want to know how important football is in Green Bay? Even the geese head North to Lambeau Field in November.

One of the wonderful things about traveling to away games is the opportunity visit other great stadiums. I felt I couldn’t truly experience football without making a pilgrimage to Green Bay. A trip to Lambeau Field was one of the main reasons I decided to continue Sixteen Sundays for another year. Over the years I became aware of the large cheese-head fan base, but knew little about the history of the team. So before I packed my bags I decided to read up on the Packers and found their story as interesting as the Steelers heritage. (To find out more about the Packers please see the articles on the links page.) Pittsburgh was dubbed the City of Champions because it is home to three championship teams: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. Green Bay’s distinction as Title-town comes solely from the Packers.

As you drive through Northern Wisconsin you’ll know you are in Packerland. Once you reach the towering green structure that bears the name of Curly Lambeau, you’ll realize that football holds a place of reverence to the people of Green Bay. Even as a Steelers fan I felt welcome to be in a place where everyone is passionate about football. And tailgating is such a part of life that the neighborhoods surrounding Lambeau Field probably host more parties than the parking lots do.

As I walked around the monument to football, I saw numerous mixed couples and groups of friends whose team loyalty differed. Packer girls walked hand-in-hand with their Steeler boyfriends. Fathers escorted their sons dressed in either number 7 or number 4. Here there was no animosity or bitter rivalry but mutual respect for one another. (This may not always be the case though, since I have heard stories of the Packer tradition to moon the opposing team. Remember Randy Moss’s controversial pantomime “moon” of the crowd?) All in all Steelers fans were welcomed and received with hospitality which makes for an enjoyable atmosphere. (I don’t think Bears fans receive the same treatment though)

One of the statistics of a loyal fan base is their attendance. Losing teams with fair-weather fans, generally have empty seats. Winning teams fill seats. So what does it say about a team when it fills its stadium with 70,607 people while it has a 1-6 record? It clearly shows the fans are loyal. And because Brett Favre was at the helm, nobody left until the game clock read 0:00. This is how football should be, but in cities without generations of football in their blood, it’s hard to replicate.

Besides Lambeau, and the Polamalu fumble recovery, the real treat was to see Brett Favre in action. This hasn’t been a great season for him, but his ability to make plays made me nervous throughout the whole game. I must confess, that when the Steelers where ahead, I caught myself cheering for Brett Favre a little. Perhaps it was because I was sitting next to a nice group of Packer fans, or else it was because they beat New England in Super Bowl XXXI. Any fan with a healthy respect for the sport should be able to appreciate a good play, even if it was made by the opposing team.

If you get the chance I would recommend visiting Lambeau. Remember to pack your mittens. At least I know that if Pittsburgh were destroyed by a giant meteor, there is at least one other place in the world where people are passionate about professional football.

Steelers defeat Green Bay Packers 20-10

Steelers visit Titletown

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