My name is Michael and I work in marketing at Lands’ End. I’ve been a San Francisco 49ers fan my whole life, but I’ve never been to an NFL game. Growing up in Canada, I never had a local team to watch or cheer for, but I was captivated by Joe Montana and Jerry Rice as a kid. So when my co-worker Rob walked past my desk last week and casually mentioned driving up to Green Bay for the upcoming game, I was all in.
Rob was confident we could get tickets outside the stadium on game-day due to the bitterly cold forecast. I was excited, but the weather report was downright terrifying. But we work at Lands’ End, so this seemed like the perfect chance to test our warmest gear. We grabbed two Expedition Coats and the matching Arctic Gloves and agreed to meet up in Madison Sunday morning for the drive to historic Lambeau Field.
After layering up with a thermal base layer, fleece sweaters, and multiple pairs of wool socks, we hopped in Rob’s car and started our journey. I was wearing my 49ers hat, which elicited a few interesting hand gestures from passing Packers fans on the drive up. Having lived in Texas for 35 years Rob is a Cowboys fan, but he followed the Packers as a kid and decided to wear the Green and Gold for this game. Probably a wise choice over wearing his #9 Tony Romo jersey based on the choice comments from both Packers and Niners fans regarding the Cowboys!
It was definitely cold when we arrived three hours before the game so we put on our coats and gloves and joined the party. Green Bay knows how to handle the cold – as witnessed by the people gearing up in the cars around us. Besides the Green and Gold, blaze orange ruled the day as the locals put on their warmest hunting gear.
We spotted a single ‘Niners fan at a tailgate across the street so we made our way over to chat. He was happy to have some company, as he was surrounded by friends in Packers colors. Turns out he was originally from Guatemala, but moved to Green Bay 19 years ago to start a dry-wall business. He was more than generous, providing Rob and I a free lunch of brats and burgers.
Throughout our tailgating, neither Rob nor I felt the cold – the Expedition coat made sure of that. Aside from the playfully muttered curses, the Packers fans treated me very graciously. I did manage to find a few people in town from San Francisco, who were a little more excited to see me.
Next on our agenda was finding tickets, and we were about an hour from kick-off. We wandered around taking in the sights, sounds and smells of brats on the grill – Cheeseheads everywhere, coyotes fashioned into hats, and beer frozen in glasses. Rob spotted a San Fran fan holding up 2 tickets and thought the fact that I had on ‘Niners gear might get us good deal. He was right! We walked over, began chatting and five minutes and $60 later, we were each holding our ticket into Lambeau. We didn’t know at the time that these seats were primo 50-yard line seats, five rows behind the Packers bench. Rob is a fan of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and said he felt like we had just found our two Golden Tickets.
We were captivated by the energy in the stadium. The frigid cold did nothing to dampen the spirit of the Packer fans, as evidenced by the fact that they stood and cheered their Pack on for the entire game. During the back-and-forth affair, the air got colder and the wind grew stronger. It dropped close to zero and the wind was biting. The players were throwing on parkas every chance they had and the cameramen were dressed for the Arctic. In our Lands’ End Expedition Parkas, Rob and I hardly even noticed. We kept asking each other, “Are you cold yet?” and the reply was always “No!”
We ran into the guy who sold us our tickets after the game and met his father as well. His Dad was a lifelong Packers fan but the son was decked out in 49ers gear. It was very touching seeing how happy they both were to be together in that historic place, despite the fact that they were cheering for opposing teams. It was a good lesson that, as much emphasis as we place on football, it’s still a game and family bonds are so much more important. The last photo we took at Lambeau was of the father and son after the game-winning field goal, Dad giving the thumbs down sign and son giving the #1 sign.
What an awesome experience for my first NFL game and in this instance, I had to side with the son!
Submitted by Michael and Rob – two of our Lands’ End marketing gurus
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