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What an amazing day! I must have a horseshoe lodged in a strategic place, because I am one lucky guy. In three whirlwind days, I went from planning to watch the game at home to not only watching the game live Lambeau but interviewing three NFL Hall of Famers before the game! I'll post my interviews later this week (lots of questions and answers to transcribe from my voice recorder), but I thought I'd share my photos and highlights for now.
I could write a novel about everything I saw, heard, and felt yesterday, but I'm way too exhausted to actually do so. Instead, I'll give you the Cliff's Notes version of my trip:
- If you've never been to Lambeau for a game, you need to go as soon as possible. It's roughly 800 times the experience that the Metrodome is for NFL games. And I LOVE going to the Dome for games. Even though my pictures are pretty awesome, they don't do the experience justice at all.
- We arrived in Green Bay around 9:30 AM (getting up at 3:30 Sunday morning was awful, but totally worth it) and parked in the K Mart lot across the street from the stadium. After picking up a digital voice recorder at K Mart (I figured I might as well pretend I'm a member of the press if I was going to do interviews), we started socializing with our fellow tailgaters.
- My friend Koryeah was nice enough to hook me up with an extra ticket she had to the game. I felt bad that the ticket was available only because her boyfriend came down with the flu...but not THAT bad. :) She's a diehard Packer fan along with being one of the loudest people I know. Let's just say I'm very, very, very glad the Vikings won yesterday.
- If you want to confuse people before a Vikings game, walk around a parking lot with a Packers fan. I lost count of how many times a Packers fan asked Koryeah some variation of "What the hell are you doing hanging out with that guy?" and vice versa with me and Vikings fans. High comedy.
- The JCPenney/Van Heusen Hall of Fame event didn't start until 1:00, but I wandered over to the stage around noon to make sure everything was lined up. And of course, full disclosure, I was a wee bit nervous for my interviews since I had never done anything like this. I talked to Steve, the PR guy for the event, and he reassured me we'd get some time for interviews before the more structured, hosted public event.
- The event was emceed by some guy that has been on some of those VH1 "Best Week Ever"-style shows. Can't remember his name, but you might recognize him in the pictures. I just found it odd that he was hosting the event. (UPDATE 11/3: I did some research and his name is Nick Stevens. Here's his bio. Don't feel bad if you don't recognize him.)
- A little after 12:30, Paul Krause, Jan Stenerud, and Bart Starr emerged onto the stage. As part of the "press", I got to stick my voice recorder inches from their face and even ask each of them a few questions. It was an absolutely surreal experience. Who would have thought that I would ever be interviewing NFL royalty alongside "legit" TV cameras and news anchors?
- After the interview session flew by, we were whisked off the stage and the public event began. I recorded the first part of the Q&A session, but they were all the same questions that we had already covered. I also couldn't get too close since a big group of people had formed near the stage while I was conducting the interviews. After about 25 minutes, it looked like the event was dying down, so I jetted off to meet up with a bunch of people at the bars a few blocks from the stadium for some pregaming. After a few rounds in a couple insanely packed bars, we trekked back to the stadium for the game.
- We took our seats just in time for the player introductions/boos. There doesn't seem to be a bad view from any seats in Lambeau, but holy crap they pack you in there like sardines. It's all bleacher seating, and there aren't any cupholders. Good thing I just kept beers in my hand until I was finished with them.
- Lambeau may be the Mecca of NFL stadiums, but the lines are probably worse than the Metrodome. Luckily, I heard all of this second-hand because I didn't leave my seat once during the game. (That's right, three stadium beers with zero bathroom breaks. I'm a camel.)
- You guys saw the game so I won't rehash any play-by-play, but it goes without saying that the game was awesome. Besides that dicey second half run by the Packers, it was fun being a vocal Vikings supporter amongst a sea of green and gold. (Although I'd say around 20-30% of the crowd donned purple.)
- The opinion about Favre among Packer fans seemed generally split between generations. Most of the older fans I talked to still appreciated everything Favre did for the Packers, while most of the younger fans considered him a traitor. (Including my friend as you'll see in the photos.)
- Maybe I just lucked out, but I was surprised that the vast majority of the Packer fans I encountered weren't all that terrible. Besides the obligatory good-natured trash talking, I didn't see any complete douchebaggery. Maybe this would have been different had the Packers won, but Green Bay was a near-shockingly tolerable environment for me.
Below is a slideshow I made from all the pictures and videos I took. You can click the link below the slideshow to head out to my Webshots site and look at them individually. Like I said, I still have to transcribe all the interview Q&A from the Hall of Famers, but I hope to have then done within the next day or two. So in the mean time, enjoy the visual evidence of how much fun I had yesterday watching the Vikings go 7-1!!