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The Green Bay Packers have been around for years so it’s no surprise that the franchise has several interesting facts and secrets to share. For example, how did JFK help the Packers win the NFL title in 1961? Or what the fact that it was the Bears who helped start the “cheesehead” tradition.
OK, these facts won’t necessarily knock you on your butt but they’re interesting nonetheless. Trust us when we say you’ll learn a thing or two.
7. Did Lombardi Really Say It?
Vince Lombardi is credited as saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” But apparently that wasn’t the case. His original quote was revised. He actually said, “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing.”
Lombardi has many other memorable quotes regarding winning and success but none of the other ones are misquoted as much as his “winning isn’t everything” quote.
6. But Why Put Cheese on Your Head?
If you attended game during the Lombardi era, you did not see “Cheeseheads” in the stands at Lambeau. So how did it get started? Well, it was actually started by Chicago Bears fans. After the Bears won the 1985 Superbowl, Bears fans gave Packers fans the nickname “Cheesehead.”
But rather than taking the comment as an insult, a fan named Ralph Bruno decided to attend a Milwaukee Brewers game in 1987 wearing a cheese-shaped hat made out a piece of foam from his mother’s couch. Others became interested and wanted one too and a new business was born. Bruno now has a company named Foamation, Inc. which supplies Packers fans with cheese-related products.
5. The Fans Own the Team
In this world of greedy and rich sports franchises, the Green Bay Packers stand alone with one unique characteristic: they are the only non-profit franchise in American sports. The Packers are publicly owned and the fans are stakeholders in the team.
You would never hear that said about the Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees. So when fans show up at Lambeau on Sundays, they are doing so as invested stakeholders… but more importantly as loud supporters.
4. Who Started the “Lambeau Leap”?
The original Lambeau Leap occurred on Dec. 26, 1993 when Packers safety LeRoy Butler caused a fumble against the Los Angeles Raiders. The ball was scooped up by the late Reggie White who headed towards the end zone. Before he could get there he was being brought to the ground but alertly flipped the ball to Butler who finished the job. After Butler scored, he pointed to a fan in the stands and ran towards him.
His attempt to jump into the stands fell halfway short but other fans helped pull him up, thus starting a new tradition as the Lambeau Leap. And in case you wondered why the Packers don’t get penalized for the celebration today, it’s because then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, grandfathered it in as a celebration.
3. The President Makes the Final Call
In 1961, Paul Hornung was called up to the Army but there was a problem. The team was scheduled to play in the NFL Championship Game. Hornung was vital to the team so head coach Vince Lombardi decided to reach out to someone who could help — President John F. Kennedy. JFK came through and granted leave to Hornung to play in the game against the New York Giants.
JFK was quoted as saying, “Paul Hornung isn’t going to win the war on Sunday but the football fans of this country deserve the two best teams on the field that day.” For those interested in the outcome, the Packers won 37-0 and Hornung scored 19 points.
2. Season Tickets? I Don’t Think So
While it’s not necessarily difficult to purchase tickets to Packers home games on the secondary market, it’s nearly impossible to get season tickets. That’s because Lambeau Field season tickets have been sold out since 1960. And if you think you’re patient enough to wait for a spot to open up, then you’ve got 40 years of time to waste. Yep, you read it right, 40 years.
According to published reports, 99 percent of Packers fans renew their season tickets meaning that only 100 to 200 tickets are sold to those lucky soles at the top of the list. So if you’re wanting to attend a game, say before 2055, better login to StubHub.
1. The Frozen Tundra Controversy
Many fans don’t know that Lambeau Field, also known as the Frozen Tundra, has a heating system below the surface that can heat the field on extremely cold days. The system was installed in 1967 and was in place before the infamous “Ice Bowl” between the Packers and Cowboys. During the game, the temperature dropped to -15 degrees F. But as far as the field was concerned, no problem, right? Wrong.
Apparently the heating system failed and many to this day believe the system was turned off intentionally to give the Packers the ultimate home field advantage. But according to the Packers, they still insist that the system malfunctioned. And those are the cold, hard facts.