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Big chill and hot tickets

Sports Den

January 18, 2008
By Dennis Grall -
ESCANABA — As the temperature plummets, ticket prices are rising for Sunday’s NFC championship game at Lambeau Field.

Which leaves the question, why would anyone in their right mind pay hefty prices just to freeze their fanny?

The easy answer is that football fans in general, and fans of the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs in particular, are not normal. They are avid, frenzied, energetic, enthusiastic, die-hard, loyal, fervent, etc.

A little cold weather and astronomical ticket prices are just minor details to contend with to follow their favorite team. Cubs’ fans of course don’t have to worry about cold weather, that is left for Packer Backers.

A ticket at face value is $148 Sunday when the Packers host the New York Giants. Prices up to $1,500 have been heard for that game.

The last time the Giants played at Lambeau Field in a playoff game was 1961, with the Packers winning 37-0. It was 21 degrees that day with a wind chill of five degrees.

The last time the Packers hosted an NFC title game was 1997, when they beat Carolina 30-13. It was three degrees with a wind chill of minus 13.

By the way, that is the latest a football game has ever been played at Lambeau Field, which was matched Saturday when the Packers belted Seattle 42-20 in balmy 28 degree weather and picture-card snowflakes.

The coldest game at Lambeau Field — and in NFL history — was of course the fabled Ice Bowl in 1967, when the Packers beat Dallas 21-17 on Bart Starr’s legendary quarterback sneak with 16 seconds to play. It was 13 below zero at kickoff and the wind chill was minus 46.

The ticket price for that game was only $10. The ticket for Ice Bowl II is decidedly higher, and I will be much better equipped for the conditions after visiting T & T True Value Hardware and Supply Sergeant Thursday.

I’ve attended every playoff game held at Lambeau Field, which is something maybe 5,000 people at best can claim, and have sat through all kinds of weather conditions.

In 1965 more than three inches of snow was removed from the field before the Packers beat Cleveland 23-12, and in 1997 the temperature was 34 degrees and it was raining when the Packers dunked San Francisco 35-14.

Fans who survive Sunday’s game, be they Packers and Giants, will really have to dig deep to attend the Super Bowl Feb. 3 in Phoenix.

The face value for those tickets is $700. That does not include transportation, lodging or food.

According to articles I’ve read this week, packages covering a ticket, transportation and lodging range from $3,481 on TicketsNow to $4,900 from Premiere Sports Travel.

That price is before Sunday’s championship games. Ticket brokers and travel people figure it will increase substantially if the dream matchup occurs between the Packers and New England Patriots.

If that game happens, there may not be a ceiling to the ticket price. After all, it would be a game pitting the legendary Packers against the Patriots, who would be chasing an historic unbeaten season. Those teams met in 1997 in New Orleans, and we paid $1,200 for the ticket and one-day, round-trip air.

A year later we went to San Diego and the price was $1,900, which included four nights lodging and air fare.

We have talked about a trip to Arizona in two weeks, if the Packers win, but as the prices skyrocket our fervor has cooled and common sense may force us to watch on TV at home.

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Dennis Grall has been the Daily Press sports editor since 1970.



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