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Football weather briefly arrives
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A week after a heat dome encompassed the region in sweltering temperatures, autumn temps made a brief appearance in time for the final week of the NFL’s preseason.

I was lucky enough to procure a pair of tickets to Lambeau for the Packers’ final exhibition of the season against Seattle. I asked my 12-year-old son if he wanted to go, since he’d never been to an NFL game. He freaked out in excitement.

Normally, attending NFL games aren’t my jive — especially preseason games that are going to be played 80% or more by reserves. It also doesn’t help that I live in a region of Bears, Packers and Vikings fans, and I support none of those teams. 

But for my 12-year-old? Yes. I will make that trip.

He wore a Packers hoodie with black sweat pants and an Aaron Jones jersey with a Packers hat. I, not a Packers fan (sacrilege in these parts, I know), wore black gym shorts, a green “Keep Calm & Zig Zag” t-shirt, a white Tecmo Super Bowl hoodie and a baseball hat with an original Nintendo controller embroidered on the front.

When we finally arrived, Gabe was a little too awestruck to find much criticism with the stadium or staff, other than the lack of t-shirt jerseys at the merch stores and $8 sodas. I noticed, however. I had just read a blog post from an NFL writer that listed the top stadiums in the league, and perched in the top five was Lambeau Field. I hadn’t been inside the stadium for a game in 20 years, but the concourse was a mix of Camp Randall and Miller Park (ahem, American Family Field). 

When I say a mix, I don’t mean the best of both. For a top five NFL stadium, it was a little bland. The old school murals of footage from generations ago weren’t there with captions to memorialize the first century of the game’s greatness, but instead to say “look here, it’s a still frame image from a game a long time ago, now quickly turn your head to the right and pick out a $15 beer.”

Concrete with concessions is the Camp Randall comparison, the beer prices and *some* older images resembled Milwaukee’s Am-Fam Field. However, the Brewers did it right by making much of the concourse similar to that of a museum. From the Wall of Fame, to large banner posters, wall decor, historical tidbits and large team stores, the Brewers play in a stadium dedicated to the fan and the game. Lambeau’s concourse is generic and kind of dull.

Inside, the stadium is gorgeous, however. I have to give it that. All of the built-up press boxes and scoreboards keep all eye on the field. I yearned a bit for the days when someone in the top rows could look across the field, beyond the stands and see the city and maybe the bay off in the distance. Now, it is only the stadium in view.

As a 38-year-old, these are the things I recognize and look for with my wandering eyes. Gabe, well, he just couldn’t believe he was in the stadium that once was home to former stars like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Davante Adams. Then again, Gabe’s historical knowledge of the team includes “long since retired” players like Jordy Nelson, and only really goes as far back as Brett Favre.

I brought up some of the older names from much older generations, let along guys I watched play: Ray Nitschke, Don Hutson, Jim Taylor, Bart Starr, Reggie White, Don “Majik Man” Majkowski, Robert Brooks, Bob Nelson, Sterling Sharpe, Charles Woodson and Ahman Green. Then I threw in some other “Let’s Remember Some Guys,” names like Frank Winters, Travis Jervey, Anthony Dilweg, Doug Peterson, Matt Hasselbeck, Ryan Grant, Michael Haddix and Edgar Bennett. Even one of my favorite all-time players, who had a quick stop in GB for its return to Titletown just so he could get a ring: Andre Rison.

Ah, an eras tour it was.

When the game started, all Gabe could talk about was his new favorite Packer — the guy fighting for the No. 3 running back spot. Meanwhile, I was watching new QB Jordan Love’s poise, the route running and breakaway ability of the young WRs, Christian Watson dropping yet another deep pass, and the tackling of the LBs. I wanted to see how the team reacted in the hurry-up, two-minute drill offense, and if the rookie kicker could make a big kick (at 57 yards, which would be the second longest in history, that answer is ‘yes’).

The game ended with Green Bay’s third-string secondary intercepting Seattle’s third-string QB in the end zone late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Cue the fireworks and high fives.

While an exhibition is normally not my jive, watching my kid have an out-of-body experience literally the entire day was worth it. He heads back to school next week, so it was pretty much the final hoorah for the summer for him.

Well, that is until the next heat dome arrives later this week. Don’t forget your swim trunks or your sun screen this time.

— Adam Krebs is the editor of the Times and can be reached at