The NFL’s 32 teams aren’t short on talent or fandom. Some city-jumping franchises may need to work harder to find a stadium and kindle a passionate fanbase, while others may need to grind through lackluster years before making another playoff run at home. What’s rarest in the football league is a stadium that’s both memorable and functional.
The Green Bay Packers’ home at Lambeau Field is synonymous with an idyllic, American-dream NFL experience. From the club itself to the talent roster, to the zealous fans, Wisconsin’s only NFL stadium delivers on atmosphere, functionality, and decades-long traditions.
And it’s easy to love Lambeau Field for another reason: the Packers are a solid team. In the current Aaron Rodgers era, the squad has dominated the NFC North. For the 2020 season, they’ve clinched a playoff spot with a 10-3 record. Though some pundits still favor the Chiefs to take the Super Bowl, the Packers’ NFL betting odds for playoffs are shortening, along with the Saints and Steelers.
For those who’ve never donned the cheesehead hat to be honorarily adopted by local fans, it may be hard to quantify what distinguishes the Packers from other great stadiums, like the Seahawks’ Lumen Field or the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium. Here’s what publications like Sports Illustrated and ESPN stadium rankings took into consideration.
Lambeau Field is one of the oldest NFL stadiums. Barring the controversial age of the Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field, Lambeau is the league’s longest-running stadium with a contiguous NFL team with a construction date of 1957.
The bowl-shaped stadium can fit up to 73,000 fans without compromising on view and quality. Additionally, Packer backers are lax in pre-game moments. Most attendees filter around their bowl section, chatting with one another or standing next to the tunnel to catch a glimpse of the players.
When game time comes, fans get to work cheering with chants like ‘Go pack go!’ and booing on divisive calls from the referees. However, much of the Packers’ passionate atmosphere starts long before the game starts. Outside, tailgaters spend their pre-game hours dolling out food and conversation to passersby on their way to the stadium.
Despite being one of the oldest fields in the league, the Packers’ 2003 renovations mean that Lambeau delivers on history without compromising on quality. Their jumbotrons are some of the best in the league, while their Hall of Fame is a treat for any football fan.
Those looking to learn about the Packers can take their time perusing factoids and exhibits that cover the long history of the Frozen Tundra (a nickname for Lambeau Field). Visitors can also dive into the Packers’ solid record or even take a tour of the field.
But what makes Lambeau Field take the cake as one of the most functional and beloved stadiums in the NFL is its penchant for hosting weddings, business meetings, and even trade shows.
One of the Packers’ most cherished traditions is delivering a beatdown to the Bears or another one of their rivals, like the Minnesota Vikings or the Detroit Lions. Other traditions, in contrast, are more commonplace.
Aside from wearing oversized cheese-wedge hats to flip a derogatory nickname from the Bears, Lambeau Field is also home to the ‘Lambeau Leap’. In a 1993 faceoff against the LA Raiders, Reggie White managed to recover a fumble which he passed to safety LeRoy Butler.
Butler then ran for the endzone… and kept going to leap into the crowd. Butler was embraced by fans who cheered on the touchdown, and a tradition was born. Since then, Packers that score at Lambeau Field make the running leap into fans waiting to congratulate them.
However, the Lambeau Leap isn’t an easy feat. Though the NFL’s top athletes clear the post-endzone wall with grace, the jump is between six to eight feet. There’s a replica in the Packers’ museum for those looking to make the Lambeau Leap firsthand… though not many manage.