On an afternoon in which Aaron Rodgers raised his powerful arms, flapped them like that cute Angels in the Outfield kid, and hushed a 78,000+ crowd, I thought about all the history that glorious stadium holds.
“Shhhh,” Number 12 said, and then gave us all a thumbs up when we did, “Let the magic of this place turn the tide of the game (and stop chanting Go Pack Go! for a minute so my linemen set and my receivers can hear me).”
The Packers, who trailed 21-7 after a lethargic first half, went on to win in overtime in what ESPN noted was the hottest game ever played at Lambeau.
I had the pleasure of tailgating yesterday with three people who will go down in Packer history as having attended both the hottest game in Lambeau history and its coldest.
Outagamie County Circuit Judge John DesJardins attended the Ice Bowl as a teenager back in December of 1967, and, as a member of the Packer chain gang, he worked yesterday’s game as well. John owns a 2011 Super Bowl ring, awarded to him for his work with the Packers.
Dana Caffey, whose late husband Lee Roy Caffey is a member of the Packer Hall of Fame, attended both the Ice Bowl, as a well-dressed but thoroughly bundled up player’s wife, and yesterday’s scorching game, which I’m calling the Melt Bowl. A loyal fan, Dana traveled all the way from Texas with her family to cheer for the Pack. Lee Roy played linebacker for the Packers from 1964 through 1969 and in 2006, he, Ray Nitschke and Dave Robinson were named one of the best linebacking trios in NFL history.
The third member of the coldest Packer game in history/hottest game in Packer history was my mom, Peggy Kostelnik. Though she said she preferred the coldest game, my mom had a great time at the hottest game, too. It honored Packer alumni and my mom always stands on the bench in front of her and cheers loudly for her friends, the guys who played during the Glory Years.
Here’s what happens when a team cares enough about its history to invest in a 60-year old stadium, to avoid selling the naming rights to that stadium, to build a Hall of Fame, and to honor its alumni every year at a dedicated game: their fans stick and the spirit of all those incredible athletes hangs over that special place.
I wasn’t at the Ice Bowl (apparently, I was a small toddler alone in the hospital at the time, but that’s a story for another day). I am proud to say I was at the Melt Bowl, and I look forward to making more memories at Lambeau as the season rolls on.
Go Pack Go!