The Last Lambeau Leap? Packers tight end Robert Tonyan reflects on unusual distinction
GREEN BAY – Dec. 8, 2019 was a chilly day at Lambeau Field, 37 degrees at kickoff, with the wind chill making it feel like 30.
Fourteen minutes, 26 seconds into the game, Robert Tonyan took off on a corner-post route into the end zone between two Washington defensive backs in a Cover 3 look. He was wide open and faced no contact.
Tonyan said there was a bit of luck in it for him also. The Packers had practiced that play all week, but he subbed in for Jimmy Graham at the start of the play – and then the call came in.
“It was perfect timing,” the 26-year-old said of his second career score.
“The first thing I’m thinking about is jumping into the stands,” he said with a laugh.
It is now the Last Lambeau Leap, at least for the foreseeable future.
On June 24, the National Football League told its teams it would have to tarp off the first six to eight rows to keep potential fans from getting close to the sidelines. Sheets with a large “G” and “Packers United” logos, along with team and league sponsors, now stretch over the first rows of the lower bowl inside Lambeau Field.
They will remain there even if a limited capacity is eventually allowed into the stadium for the rest of 2020.
“I did not know I had the last one,” Tonyan told PackersNews.com. “Then my mom (Tammy) I think hit me up a couple of weeks ago. She heard about it.”
The Packers scored three more regular-season touchdowns against Chicago on Dec. 15 and four playoff touchdowns against Seattle – all by Aaron Jones and Davante Adams.
Neither player took to the stands, however.
And even though Jaire Alexander and Allen Lazard practiced their own versions of the leap during a 2020 training camp scrimmage in the stadium, Tonyan said the team will find another way to have fun and energize one another after scores until the fans return.
“When you come to Lambeau Field, you think of the Lambeau Leap right away,” Tonyan said. “Right outside the pro shop, you see it. The fans come and take pictures doing the Lambeau Leap with the statue.
"I think that it is a big loss for the team and obviously the touchdowns and the fan thing. I think until they’re back in and do it the right way, then we can’t do it, you know? There’s no reason to do it.”