So maybe it's not that original, but the phrase "Lambeau Field South" was spoken by a lot of people at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis last Sunday. I'm not sure how the game looked on TV, but I can tell you that from being there, you almost had to do a double take when you saw a Rams fan. It was as close to an away "home" game that the Packers could ever have hoped for.
In case you can't tell, I made the trip to St. Louis this weekend with a group of friends from Fond du Lac, for our first annual Packers road trip. We're trying to stay away from NFC North teams as long as possible, and we'd prefer driving. But as we are learning, there aren't that many teams that we can easily drive to, with much of the NFL being on the east coast or southern California. We've already learned the Packers roadies for next year are Seattle, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and New Orleans. So either we're flying, or the annual road trip doesn't make year two.
When we checked into the hotel Saturday night, it was already full of fans in the Green and Gold. Hell, we stopped at a Wendy's on the way in Bloomington, Illinois (the halfway point), and there was at least 50 Packers fans there for lunch. Before the trip my guess was with the way the two teams are playing, and the way Packer fans travel, the stadium would be around 30 percent Packer fans. But when I hit that Wendys, it felt like we were part of a full scale invasion.
I read today that there were around 10,000 no shows, Rams fans that didn't make the trip, either because they were 3-11, or because there were some pretty bad snow storms in the area. Well, those snow storms didn't stop Packer fans, even the ones that ended up in a ditch by flying across the southbound lane at 75 miles per hour (which would have been me).
People have asked me how many Packer fans I thought might have been at the game, and to give the Rams the benefit of the doubt, I keep saying it was about half and half. But I just don't think there is anyway, with all the fans we saw before, after, and during the game, that it wasn't at least 80 percent Packer fans. Chants of "Go Pack Go" and even "MVP" could be heard almost every fifteen minutes. I'd show you a picture of the crowd here, but sadly my camera broke sometime while enjoying the streets of St. Louis on Saturday Night.
The whole atomosphere of the game felt like we were in bizarro Green Bay. The best evidence of this may have been that when we walked by the Bud Light Tailgate tent around 10:30 that morning it was empty, and when we entered the Miller Light Tailgate tent that was selling brats, it was full. And full of Packer fans of course, even the legendary St. Vince (there's a picture of that too, somewhere).
As for the game itself, the Rams stayed close in the first half, but the Pack pulled away in the second, highlighted by the wide open Greg Jennings touchdown, and Favre's record breaking pass to Donald Driver for the career yards mark just minutes later. The Pack won 33-14, improving to 12-2 (I can't believe it, either) on the season. One note I will say about the game is that in light of all my comments about the dome being filled with Packer fans, there was one time the Pack were caught in a 3rd and ten, and the place was unusually loud. I looked around me, and no one was cheering, yet there was sound coming from everywhere, and the place was rocking. I'm going on record and saying I think the Rams pumped a little crowd audio from 1999 through the speakers sometime in the third quarter (although to be fair, I was the only one that thought this, and my sense of sound may have been distorted at the time.)
One of the cooler things about the game was that a surprising about of Packer fans weren't actually from Wisconsin. We sat by some people from Kentucky, met some people from Nebraska, and even Illinois that came to cheer on the Pack. Of course, there were plenty of natural born cheeseheads in attendance as well, but it was nice to see the nationwide support of the boys from Titletown.
As for the rest of the trip, we never went to the Arch (from what I remember when I was 12, it's kind of scary), I never tried toasted ravoli (the one thing I was told to do), but I did splend plenty of time down near the "Landing", especially with our friends at Joey B's, a place some of us will miss more than others (inside joke about Coyner). I should also mention the rooms at the Crowne Plaza, they were incredible. We found the better spots of how to travel in St. Louis, I'd say.
The trip may have nearly killed me, but it was worth it, one of the better weekends I can say I've ever experienced. The Pack got a big win as they still have the number one seed in their sights, and I was a part of a truly special Packers road game. I recommend a trip like this for any Packer fan. Of course, it's not a trip to Lambeau, but there's something to be said of bringing the show on the road.
See you next year, Nashville.