The Best Way to Green Bay
Week 10, Nov. 14: Seattle at Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 1:25 p.m. Pacific
SPONSORED – I’ve made this trip any number of ways.
I’ve flown in the day of the game and driven up from Chicago. I’ve driven back to Milwaukee through a snowstorm after a playoff loss. I’ve flown into Appleton, and I’ve flown out of Green Bay. There was even a night before a playoff game where I rode home in the trunk of a co-worker’s rental car, but that’s not something we’ll need to discuss any further.
It is hardly the easiest trip on Seattle’s road schedule, but it is absolutely one of the most essential.
Green Bay is quite simply the most unique setting in the 32-team league. It’s a relic from a time when NFL teams were commonly in small towns and often sponsored by companies. In fact, that’s the root of the franchise’s nickname as the Indian Packing Company provided money for jerseys and the use of an athletic field to Earl Lambeau, a shipping clerk with the company whose nickname was “Curly.” Now, the longest continually used stadium in the league bears the last name of that shipping clerk.
The rest of the league’s teams play in cities, this one is set in a town. The population runs just north of 100,000, and yet the stadium has a capacity of 81,441. It’s a place where you can pay a nearby resident to park in their driveway and then walk over to the game. When the weather turns cold, the most common color in the crowd is not green nor is it yellow. It’s blaze orange, the color of hunting gear.
There’s also one specifically delicious tradition that I would like to point out: the Wisconsin fish fry. This is a particular regional specialty can be traced to the religious roots of many Wisconsin settlers and the economic survival of taverns during Prohibition. First, let’s start with the people. Many Wisconsin settlers were Catholics from countries like Germany and Poland. Church policy restricted parishioners from eating warm-blooded meat on Fridays, a rule that was changed in the 1960s when that restriction was limited to the time of Lent.
Then came the economics. Freshwater fish like perch, walleye and bluegill were both plentiful and cheap in Wisconsin and during Prohibition, taverns found selling fish to be a way of staying economically afloat.
And thus provided the all the ingredients necessary for making fried fish a staple in the region that is an essential part of Wisconsin cuisine.
Arrival: There are some options here. If you don’t mind a drive, Alaska Airlines has five flights per day to O’Hare Airport in Chicago (ORD). It’s a three-hour drive from there to Green Bay. Alaska has one daily direct flight to Milwaukee (MKE), which is about an hour closer. If you’re interested in landing as close as possible, you can connect in either Minneapolis (MPS) or Chicago (ORD) and take an Alaska Air partner airline to Appleton, Wisc. (ATW) or Green Bay (GRB).
Stadium: Lambeau Field opened in 1957, making it the longest continually used stadium in the league. That doesn’t mean it has stayed the same, though. It had 32,150 seats when it opened, and it has grown considerably. It now stands at 81,441.
Last time here: Seattle lost 28-23 in the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs in January 2020. It was just the latest setback that Seattle has suffered in that state. Seattle has lost its last nine games in Green Bay with three of those nine losses coming in the postseason. Seattle’s last regular-season game in Green Bay was a 17-9 loss in the season-opener of the 2017 season. The last time Seattle won in Wisconsin? That was back in 1999 when Mike Holmgren was in his first year as Seahawks head coach and the team was still playing its home games in the Kingdome. Seattle beat Green Bay 27-7 at Lambeau Field on Monday night.
Dining: Rustique Pizza (13201 Velp Ave, Suamico, WI). does live up to the name, operating out of a building that’s more than a century old and used to be a cathedral. It takes an old-school approach with a brick oven. Rivert Street Pier (1984 Velp Ave., Green Bay, WI) is the place if you want fish fry in Green Bay.