Packers: A UK fan’s dream journey to Lambeau Field

Green Bay Packers - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Like many UK fans, the way many of us caught the NFL fever was either through the many Super Bowls through the years or the England international games that happen every year since 2007. I had the pleasure of catching the game on Super Bowl evening with my brother and dad.

I usually only watched the football because of the delicious food that my brother used to make which was homemade Buffalo wings with even better nachos. However, this night was different.

Like every Super Bowl, there is always something different that sets itself apart from the others. My Super Bowl was the thrashing of the Denver Broncos which saw a record-breaking season for Peyton Manning end in flames and give rise to the Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom.

The game ended a staggering 43-8 to the Seahawks. It was the first time that a winning team in the Super Bowl scored over 40 points and kept their opponents from scoring over 10 points.

After this game, I was hooked, and I was itching for more. The Green Bay Packers stood out to me because they were the first team I saw on TV when the new season started, and the rich history of the team captured me because I was doing a History GCSE in secondary school.

Lambeau Field is one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL alongside a franchise that now is over 100 years old. The trophy also being named after one of the great coaches in the NFL Vince Lombardi, what is there is not to like about the Pack. From then on I was a Cheesehead and there was no going back.

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Long awaiting the Packers arrival in London

I had been waiting years for the Packers to make their first appearance in England ever since I started watching the sport and I was not getting any luck. I had watched the Jacksonville Jaguars play multiple times since they were the UK’s team essentially, but no Green Bay.

My prayers would eventually be answered but not in the way I expected.

On January 17, I woke up to an excited family who was eager for me to open my presents for my 21st birthday. At first, the feeling of being 21 was met with a super hangover from the night before but the best was yet to come.

Lots of Packers merchandise was presented to me which included a Super Bowl jumper from when the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a thrilling game that ended in a win for Green Bay with a score line of 31-25.

I noticed that something was sticking out of the Green Bay Packers calendar which wasn’t Randall Cobb’s face. This turned out to be printed emails between the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and my father arranging for me to get a tour from an alumni member.

This was unreal in itself but on top of that, there was another document written by my dad saying to pick a Packers home game to watch in the coming 2022 season. I was in shock for all half a second and then I exploded with excitement. Me? Going to the frozen tundra and watching one of the greats of today’s game and seeing my team whoop the Chicago Bears? How could I not be ecstatic?

The reason this gets even better is that ever since watching football, I have had many people asking me the same question — have you seen them play? In England, watching football (soccer) is extremely tribal and if you have not seen your team play then you were seen as not a real fan but a poser. So when I knew I was going to watch them play at the historic field I finally felt validated as a true fan of the Packers.

Reason number two would be the fact that the Packers are also playing at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London this year for the first time, which gives me a unique opportunity to go from not watching the team at all to watching them twice in two different locations.

One is Lambeau Field, and the other is Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is a state of the art stadium opened in 2019. I have an opportunity to show what the UK Cheeseheads are all about and I can’t wait.