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Lambeau Field timeline

Jul. 21, 2010 6:51 PM
 
Lambeau Field after its renovation in 2003.
Lambeau Field after its renovation in 2003. / File/Press-Gazette
Green Bay's City Stadium on opening day in September 1957. File/Press-Gazette
Green Bay's City Stadium in 1962. File/Press-Gazette
Green Bay's City Stadium in 1963. File/Press-Gazette
Lambeau Field in 1970. File/Press-Gazette
Lambeau Field in 1985. File/Press-Gazette
Lambeau Field in 1990. File/Press-Gazette
Lambeau Field in 1997. File/Press-Gazette

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A short history of Lambeau Field, year by year, from the 1950s to today.

Packers seek a new stadium

1955: After having had to listen to other NFL teams grumble about old City Stadium, the Packer Corporation tells the Green Bay City Council that it wants a new stadium.

Voters OK new City Stadium

1956: By a vote of 11,575 to 4,893, Green Bay residents approve a $960,000 bond issue on April 3. Green Bay architect John E. Somerville is hired to design a new city stadium, which will be built by Geo. M. Hougard & Sons of Green Bay. The cost of the stadium is shared by the city and the Packers.

Stadium dedication

1957: New City Stadium, with a capacity of 32,150, is dedicated on Sept. 29. Vice President Richard Nixon attends the game. The Packers beat the Bears 21-17. Surprisingly, there are 18 no-shows. Packers average 26,850 per home game in three Green Bay games and three Milwaukee games.

Sold out for the season, forever

1960: Let the waiting list begin! All season tickets are sold out for the first time and have been ever since. More than 200,000 people see the Packers play at home for the first time. The team responds by winning the Western Conference championship.

Glory returns under Lombardi

1961: The first Vince Lombardi-era NFL title, with the Packers beating the New York Giants 37-0 in the NFL championship game at Lambeau Field on Dec. 31. Stadium capacity is increased to 38,669.

More seats added

1963: The Packers add 3,658 seats to capacity, bringing total to 42,327. More than 300,000 people attend Packers home games in Green Bay and Milwaukee.

Stadium's new name

1965: E.L. "Curly" Lambeau dies in Sturgeon Bay on June 1. City Stadium is renamed Lambeau Field. Seating capacity is increased to 50,852.

Another title at home

1966: The Packers beat the Cleveland Browns 23-12 in the NFL championship game at Lambeau Field on Jan. 2. It's the last game for Cleveland running back Jim Brown, a Hall of Famer.

Heating the field

1967: Heating coils are installed under the playing surface, but they fail to work on Dec. 31 as the Packers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in the NFL championship game -- which comes to be known as the Ice Bowl, the coldest recorded game in NFL history. Temperatures dip to 13 degrees below zero with a wind chill of minus 46. Though official seating capacity is 50,852, official attendance is announced at 50,861.

Bowled in

1970: The bowl around the stadium becomes complete; capacity is increased to 56,263.

Stadium is paid off

1978: The city of Green Bay becomes the owner of Lambeau Field as the original mortgage is paid off. The Packers pass 400,000 in home attendance for the first time.

Only one game in '82

1982: Packers are beaten by the Detroit Lions 30-10 on Dec. 12. It is the only regular-season game at Lambeau Field that season because of the NFL players' strike.

Elite seating

1985: Private boxes — 72 of them — are added to Lambeau Field by Jacob C. Basten Construction Co. of Green Bay. Most boxes are on the east side; a few are on the west side, flanking the press box. Capacity increases to 56,926. The Selmer Co. of Green Bay builds the press-box addition.

Luxury seating

1990: Capacity is increased to 59,543 with the addition of 36 luxury boxes and 1,920 club seats in the south end zone.

Going jumbo

1993: The Lambeau Leap is born when safety LeRoy Butler tries jumping into the stands after returning a fumble for a touchdown in a December game against the Los Angeles Raiders. The first of Lambeau Field's ultimate big-screen TVs — the $1.7 million Sony Jumbotron color replay board — is installed in the north end zone.

What an honor

1994: Lambeau Field is adorned with the names of Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and dates of the Packers' 11 NFL championships.

In Green Bay for good

1995: The Milwaukee portion of the movable football feast ends. For the first time since 1933, the Packers play all their home games in Green Bay. Capacity increases to 60,890 with the addition of 90 private boxes and an auxiliary press box. New $210,000 sound system is installed.

Scoreboard renovation

1996: With a price tag more than three times what it cost to build the stadium in 1957, new scoreboards are added for $3.5 million.

The clincher

1997: The Packers advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in 29 years, beating the Carolina Panthers 30-13 in the NFC championship game at Lambeau Field on Jan. 12.

Field upgrades

1997: New $1 million playing surface is installed. It includes heating, drainage and irrigation systems.

Another stock sale

1998: The Packers raise more than $24 million in a stock sale and commit the proceeds to improvements to Lambeau Field and player training facilities. Packers' executives meet with architects to determine what renovations can be made to the aging stadium.

Renovation halted

1999: The team puts on hold a major renovation of Lambeau Field, saying it can't afford it, given the rising cost of staying competitive. Packers President Bob Harlan says a new stadium may be needed within a decade. Fans press for another look at renovation.

Another request

2000: Harlan announces plan to renovate Lambeau Field for $295 million, funded largely by a 0.5 percent Brown County sales tax and a seat license fee paid by season-ticket holders. An atrium would be built to accommodate year-round use of the facility. On Sept. 12, Brown County voters pass the sales tax 53 percent to 47 percent.

Let the renovation begin

2001: Work on the renovation begins in January, but the official groundbreaking is delayed until May 19 in deference to warmer weather. As part of the ceremonies, 872 people form a semicircle from the south end zone to the 50-yard line for a group hug, coming just short of a world record for group-hug participants but raising almost $30,000 for Special Olympics.

Almost done

2002: The preseason welcomes fans to a new-look Lambeau Field. The luxury boxes are finished, the upper and lower concourses are open except on the north end, and the Atrium forms a new main entrance to the stadium, although many of the Atrium's amenities will await the 2003 season.

Party time!

2003: A weeklong series of festivities marks the stadium's rededication. The fully renovated Lambeau Field hosted its first regular-season game on Sept. 7, against the Minnesota Vikings with the Vikings beating the green and gold 30-25.

Welcome back

2004: Family Night, established by the Packers for fans who didn't have tickets to allow them to get into the stadium and take their children, returns to Lambeau Field after a two-year hiatus because of the stadium renovation. The event takes place during training camp.

New tradition begins

2005: Fan Fest, a first-time event held in March, sold out all 3,000 tickets in 2˝ hours. The three-day event included autograph and photo sessions from current and past Packers greats, question and answer sessions with selected Packers, a tour of the football facilities, children's activities and much more.

Family Night popularity continues

2005: This year's Family Night event, which included a scrimmage with the Buffalo Bills during August's training camp, also proved extremely popular. The team sold out the stadium in several hours. It was the first time in 14 years the Packers hosted another team for the scrimmage, and the event included a fireworks show, entertainment and the "shirt off our back" ritual, with Packers players removing their jerseys after the scrimmage and giving them away in a random drawing to fans in attendance. The event was telecast on the NFL Network.

The frozen tundra indeed

2006: Lambeau Field hosts the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic in February. The game between the University of Wisconsin and Ohio State -- won 4-2 by the Badgers -- draws 40,890 fans, the fourth-largest hockey crowd in history. The event includes youth hockey games, public skating and the Stanley Cup and Lombardi Trophies displayed in the Atrium.

Shareholders back to Lambeau

2006: The Packers move their annual meeting from the Resch Center to Lambeau Field. The last time it was held in the stadium was 1999. A tour of the locker room proves great incentive. More than 20,000 shareholders and friends turn out.

Other teams don't matter

2006: The Packers return to an intrasquad scrimmage for Family Night, after hosting the Buffalo Bills in 2005. Doesn't matter. More than 60,000 people turn out.

New turf

2007: Soon after the 2006 season ends, crews begin digging up Lambeau in preparation for installing new underground draining and heating systems topped with a natural grass playing surface supported by synthetic GrassMaster fibers. The surface is available for the 2007 season.

Murphy named Harlan's successor

2007: Packers Chairman and CEO Bob Harlan has second thoughts about his appointed successor, team President John Jones. Four days before Jones is to be made CEO in May, the board of directors, at Harlan's urging, changes its mind.

The search begins for a new successor for Harlan, who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. In December, the board of directors names Mark Murphy, athletics director at Northwestern University and a former Washington Redskins defensive back, to be the team’s 10th president.

Collective bargaining face-off

2008: National Football League owners vote to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association. Packers representatives say failure to reach a new labor agreement with the players could imperil the Packers’ ability to compete in a league where they are the only team without private ownership, but also said the agreement was costing owners too much money.

More shopping space

2008: The Packers Pro Shop at the northeast corner of the stadium and the Game Day Pro Shop on the west side of the stadium are expanded.

Updated July 2010

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
572 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
22%
850 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1011 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1268 votes

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports