Bottles of alcohol sit on a table while Packers fans tailgate before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Nov. 10, 2013. / Lukas Keapproth/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay police officers scuffle with a fan while making an arrest during a Packers-Vikings game Nov. 11, 2007 at Lambeau Field. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette
The only times in the past decade where more than 20 people have been ejected from a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field, the Packers were playing a division rival — in the dead of winter.
Regular-season and playoff games with the most arrests from Lambeau Field in the past decade:
• 25: Dec. 25, 2005, vs. Chicago Bears
• 21: Dec. 25, 2011, vs. Bears, and Jan. 6, 2013, vs. Minnesota Vikings
• 18: Dec. 9, 2012, Detroit Lions
• 16: Jan. 9, 2005, vs. Vikings; Sept. 13, 2012 vs. Bears; and Dec. 22, 2013, Pittsburgh Steelers
A total of 84 arrests were made during the 2013-14 season. Most were for unlawful conduct at a public event, but there were a handful of drug and trespassing arrests.
Regular season and playoff games with the most ejections from Lambeau Field in the past decade:
• 91: Jan. 6, 2013, vs. Minnesota Vikings
• 60: Oct. 24, 2010, vs. Vikings
• 59: Jan. 5, 2014, vs. San Francisco 49ers
• 58: Nov. 4, 2013, vs Chicago Bears
• 56: Jan. 15, 2012, New York Giants
Green Bay Packers regular-season and playoff games with the fewest fan arrests in the past 10 years.
1: 2013 Washington Redskins, 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2008 Indianapolis Colts, 2006 New England Patriots.
The most recent game with zero arrests was the first 2013 preseason game, against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Packers have had four games in the past 10 years where fewer than seven fans have been ejected. All took place in October, against teams from outside the NFC North Division.
• 3: Oct. 2, 2011, Denver Broncos
• 6: Oct. 8, 2006, St. Louis Rams; Oct. 14, 2007, Washington Redskins; and Oct. 17, 2010, Miami Dolphins
— Press Gazette research
A record number of Green Bay Packers fans passed through the Lambeau Field turnstiles during the 2013-14 season — but the number arrested or ejected for bad behavior still fell short of the previous year’s total.
The eight regular season home games and one playoff game in the 2013-14 season saw 308 fans removed by police, according to Green Bay Police reports compiled by Press-Gazette Media. That’s less than the 344 booted out during the nine games of the 2012-2013 season, even though the stadium now holds about 7,600 more people. Those totals don’t include preseason games.
While the ejection figure represents a tiny fraction of the typical crowd this season of about 78,000, officers said their hands were full during games against Pittsburgh, division rival Chicago and particularly against playoff opponent San Francisco this month.
In each of those games, police had to eject more than 50 people from the historic venue at 1265 Lombardi Ave.
The first ejection in the San Francisco game took place about two hours before kickoff. But officers got truly busy later when the windchill made it feel like well below zero and hours of drinking took their toll on some fans.
The 59 ejections from the game on Jan. 5 was the fifth most in the decade.
“It’s usually not too bad, but that Sunday it got to the point where officers had trouble getting on the radio because there was so much traffic on it,” said Green Bay Police Capt. Paul Ebel, who oversees Lambeau policing during Packers games.
There is no simple way to tell how the numbers for arrests and ejections from Packers games compare with the rest of the National Football League. Many departments that provide police services for other NFL teams do not publicize ejection figures like the Green Bay police.
However, Ebel said police from a West Coast city with an NFL recently visited Green Bay and noted that it’snot uncommon for them to eject 200 to 300 people on a game day.
Several factors drive the number of Lambeau ejections upward, according to Ebel and the Press-Gazette review. The major influences are:
• Game times: Later start times yield more ejections because fans have more time before the game for alcohol consumption. Not including the preseason contests, three of the four games that began after 3 p.m. this season saw more than 50 ejections — the Packers-Browns game was the lone exception. None of five noon games yielded more than 32.
• Temperature: Cold weather tends to beget high ejection totals. Of the six games that produced 50 or more ejections in the past two seasons, four occurred in December or January.
• The opponents: While ejection totals can vary for games against divisional rivals, such as the Vikings and Detroit Lions, police know they had better bring their “A” game when the Packers host the Bears. During Chicago’s past three Lambeau visits, a total of 162 fans were ejected. The franchises, based about 200 miles apart, have been rivals since the 1920s.
The Monday night game this season against the Bears prompted 63 ejections, second-most in the past 10 Packers seasons. The only time there were more was Jan. 5, 2013, when 91 people were thrown out as the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings in a playoff game.
Both the police and the Packers stress that they work hard to enforce National Football League rules designed to provide a good fan experience.
Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey said the team sends regular “enjoy the game responsibly” messages and facilitates a designated-driver program. Spectators are not allowed to buy more than two beers at a time, and the Packers end beer sales at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Still, some fans start drinking at home or at tailgate parties before the games. Some interfere with the ability of others around them to enjoy the game.
The first complaint about fan behavior typically brings a visit from stadium security officers. Repeat offenses get police response — 83 Green Bay officers and 10 supervisors work a game — and often removal from the stadium. The Brown County Sheriff’s Department, Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department and Green Bay Metro Fire Department also have personnel working at the stadium.
The total number of ejections being reported now is higher than police had reported during the season; the week-by-week figures are approximates that get revised as records are processed following each game. For example, the number of ejections from the Dec. 22 Pittsburgh game increased by about 10 after the paperwork for ejections from a busy part of the game was processed.