Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Packers Hoping for Own Identity

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Packers Hoping for Own Identity

Article excerpt

Some Cheeseheads actually stayed home Sunday - 574 of them. Most are still praying the neighbors never find out.

Yes, it was cold. The temperature never climbed above 8 degrees. The wind-chill index never climbed out of the minus range. But cold is no excuse around here.

Green Bay is a company town in the same way Disney World is a company town. People go to different jobs and different churches, but they all go to see the same show. And the company line runs something like this: If you're not in Lambeau Field in the very depths of winter risking life and lungs for the Packers, maybe you ought to live somewhere else. Especially on this Sunday. "If you live in Green Bay and you turned on the TV, the only thing you could watch all last week was coverage about the NFC championship," Packers quarterback Brett Favre said. "It got so you couldn't even watch `Seinfeld,' " he added. "It kept getting pushed back." Small wonder. Reverence for the Packers runs deeper here than permafrost. It's not just seeing the streets or the elementary school named after Vince Lombardi, the town's most famous resident. Nor even the fact that the stadium still honors Curly Lambeau, the first owner and coach of the franchise. It's more the way that people identify with the legacy, as though the people who fashioned it were still on hand. "The two men who have things named after them in this town were really something," Mike Holmgren, the current Green Bay coach, said after the Packers sent the Panthers packing to Carolina 30-13. "Me? Maybe if things go like this for another 10 years, maybe they'll name a little alley somewhere after me." And if not an alley, at least a tavern. On Saturday night, the regulars at Fuzzy's, a bar on the east side of town owned and operated by former Packer guard Fuzzy Thurston, reminisced about the last time a home game had meant as much as the one about to be played. That was 29 years ago, in the fabled "Ice Bowl," back when Green Bay really was "Titletown. …

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