Jan 172012
 

Teams from the New York City area have participated in both the latest college and pro football games played at Lambeau Field. Two days ago the New York Giants pulled off a road playoff upset against the Green Bay Packers. Over 10,000 days ago Fordham University from NYC lost to St. Norbert College from De Pere, WI in what has been the last college football game played at Lambeau Field.

Lambeau Field has hosted hundreds of football games, and the Packers have played just about all of them. But in 1982 and ‘83 Lambeau Field hosted two college football games.

These weren’t ordinary college football games. To end their 1982 and ‘83 seasons, Fordham and St. Norbert closed their seasons by playing in the Vince Lombardi Memorial game at Lambeau Field. The games raised money for the Vince Lombardi Colon Clinic. The two schools were planning on moving the game to Giants Stadium in 1984 or ’85, and alternating the game between Green Bay and New York in future years but nothing ever materialized.

It was appropriate that Fordham participated in these games, as that is where the legendary Vince Lombardi played college football. At the time Fordham was a Division III program, and the trips to Lambeau were Fordham’s first non-club football trips outside the eastern time zone since 1954; a game in Milwaukee vs. Marquette. In 1982 and ’83 the trip to Green Bay was a quite hop for Fordham.

St. Norbert’s strong ties to the Packers go back to 1958, when the Packers moved their training camp to St. Norbert’s campus in De Pere; where their camp is still held today. St. Norbert was also the only college football program in the immediate Green Bay area, making it an appropriate host school for the Lombardi Memorial game.

St. Norbert triumphed in both games. In 1982 they won 14-10, and in ’83 they won 18-9.  Neither game was a marquee matchup. Both Fordham and St. Norbert finished with losing records in 1982 and ’83.

Despite it being held in November, the 1982 Lombardi Memorial game marked only the second football game played at Lambeau Field at that point in the season, due to the NFL strike. The only game before that was a Packers exhibition game in August vs. another New York team, the Jets.

An estimated crowd of 5,200 attended the game in 1982. A large crowd for a Division III game featuring two schools with losing records, but a crowd that hardly filled up Lambeau Field.

There hasn’t been a college football game at Lambeau for over 28 years, but back in 2010 the Packers expressed interest in hosting the Big Ten title game. Perhaps college football will be played on the “Frozen Tundra” sooner than later.

 

Additional Info

  • Lambeau Field was the host to dozens of high school football games in the 1960’s to 1970’s.
  • In 1960 Lambeau Field was the host to a unique football experiment.  Three local high schools (Green Bay East, West, and Premontre) all played each other in the same game. The game was played over six quarters and the schools alternated playing each other each quarter. You could call Green Bay West the winner of the unusual matchup. As they defeated East 7-6 and Premontre 13-0. East and Premontre tied 7-7.
  • In 1960 Lambeau Field (then known as City Stadium) hosted St. Norbert’s 29-14 homecoming victory against Minnesota State-Mankato.

 

Linked Sources: The Milwaukee Sentinel, 7/14/1982 pg. 9, Thomas Rogers – New York Times, 8/9/1982, The Milwaukee Journal, 11/21/1982 pg. 27, Adam Rittenberg – ESPN.com, 7/15/2010, Saint Norbert 2010 Football Media Guide, Game Scores Retrieved from the College Football Data Warehouse

Non-Linked Sources: The Sheboygan Press, 9/15/1960 pg. 42 from NewspaperARCHIVE