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Horse Tracks: A Broncos fan guide to visiting Lambeau Field

To Broncos fans, there’s no place like home, but when it comes to football history few places rival Lambeau field.

This past week, I had the incredible opportunity to visit with one of my oldest Broncos fan friends at his home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For those unfamiliar with the greater Wisconsin area, Oshkosh is a short drive down the road from the home of the Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field. After pleading with my buddy’s extremely pregnant wife, she allowed my buddy and I to sneak away for an afternoon to tour the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

First off, everything you hear about the stadium is absolutely true. Literally built in the middle of nowhere, you can see it from miles away. It looms over the housing subdivisions nestled next to it. My buddy informed me that on gameday, homeowners allow fans to park up on their lawns for a fee. A fee that includes a free beer. Not bad.

I used to live in Southern California before relocating to New Hampshire a few years ago and I have some experience with old stadia. For as grand and historic as the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl are, they are downright decrepit in comparison to Lambeau (granted they are both a bit older). This stadium did not have the feel of something that was over 60-years old.

Full disclosure, I wasn’t allowed to see the field or any of the bleacher seats, but the main Atrium, substantially renovated in 2013, was very well done. So much so that they had an area cordoned off and outfitted with tables, chairs, and sparkly chandeliers for a wedding taking place later that afternoon. My buddy and I later met one of the ushers at Krolls, a local Lambeau restaurant tradition, and wouldn’t you know it? He was a Broncos fan from just outside of Boulder. Go figure.

If you’ve made it this far, I know what you’re thinking. Who cares about Packer history?! Broncos fans should! There’s a bunch there that’s relevant to who the Broncos are. Let me show you.

When you first enter the Packer Hall of Fame there is a huge plexiglass display that outlines the founding and folding of every NFL team from the Dayton Triangles, Pottsville Maroons, Los Angeles Buccaneers to the Denver Broncos. What’s interesting about this display is that the Broncos line goes from 1960 to present. This means that the Broncos AFL (non-NFL) days from 1960-67 were credited in their visual representation of the history. When you looked at the Steelers, Colts, and Browns (members of the AAFC competitor league that later folded/merged with the NFL), they only got credit for their years once they joined the NFL. 49ers, Steeler, and Colts timelines didn’t begin in the display until 1950, even though they were founded in 1945 and 1946 (Colts) respectively.

So what does that mean? Either our friends in Green Bay respect the Broncos and the AFL more than they do the teams from the old AAFC or the feller in charge of putting together the display made a big mistake. How big?

“He’s too big!” Okay, maybe not Gilbert Brown big. Whatever you do, do not pass up the opportunity to take your picture with a cutout of Super Bowl XXXII Packer celebrity, Gilbert Brown.

TRIVIA: Who from the Broncos Super Bowl XXXII video proclaims, “He’s too big! He’s too big!” when talking about a winded and ineffective Gilbert Brown?

In case you didn’t figure it out from my dissection of the Packers depiction of NFL team history, I am a huge football history nerd.

Which is why I got so excited to see this:

Who is Al Carmichael and what on Earth could this Packer possibly have to do with the Denver Broncos?

Former MHR writer Brian Shrout noted why here.

The first AFL touchdown came on a 59-yard pass from Broncos’ quarterback Frank Tripucka to Al Carmichael. According to the official game book, the pass was made to the right flat where Carmichael reversed his direction just after crossing the line of scrimmage then went the rest of the distance down the left side. [Ring of Famer] Gene Mingo added the extra point.

To see this seminal moment in Denver Broncos history, go to 15:28 in the video below.

Seriously, I’m sure Carmichael’s contribution to Packers history is terrific, but being the first to score a touchdown for an entire league? That’s serious stuff. Here Al, because you likely don’t get enough credit from the Mile High City.

Mile High Salute, homie

Okay, but as Scotty Payne here at MHR would say, “Who care about all that old stuff?”

Here is probably the most important piece of Broncos memorabilia at the Packer Hall of Fame.

Simply put, without that there would be no this...

As you would imagine, the Packers are very big on their biggest successes. I would never expect sweeping displays for Super Bowls the Denver Broncos lost in their Hall of Fame should they ever decide to do such a thing (cough, cough, were the eff is it Denver?). However, credit to the Packers, they did document their darkest moment and our best like true sportsmen.

Head-to-head, the Broncos and Packers record is even at 6-6-1 with the tie breaker being the greatest Denver Broncos moment in team history (Super Bowl XXXII). However, it’s not enough to see the Broncos succeed, others must fail. So here are the trophies the Green Bay Packers amassed whooping up on our AFC West nemeses.

It’s awesome that the AFL logo is right there on the trophy during those transitional merger years.

What’s also great is that when an NFC team wins the Super Bowl against a team that isn’t us, it’s usually against one of our arch-rivals. So lets revel in the destruction of other AFC foes.

Who is ready for the Broncos to win a fourth Super Bowl so we can figure out how to make our trophies look this awesome?

I will say this about my visit to Lambeau. Everyone was incredibly nice. The people of Wisconsin genuinely respect the history of football and the part that their team has played. I was incredibly proud to wear my Broncos hat while walking the halls of this very special space in Green Bay.

I encourage every Broncos fan to check it out. It’s not just the history of a Wisconsin team that plays in Green Bay, but the history of an entire league. Football is awesome.


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