The Packers at Lambeau Field; Home Field Disadvantage?

[caption id="attachment_216" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Packers are just 1-4 in their last five home playoff games after winning their first 12."][/caption]

Constructing a roof to put over Lambeau Field would likely be considered sacrilege, a crime against humanity in Green Bay, Wis.

But when you consider the Packers recent history in home playoff games, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Lambeau opened up in 1957 and for over 40 years, the Packers never lost a postseason game at home going a perfect 12-0.

Opponents – especially those from warmer climates – stumbled into Green Bay with their noses running and teeth chattering, knowing they were in store for a long and miserable day.

That was never more evident than in the 1967 NFL Championship game when the Dallas Cowboys came to town.

It was 15 degrees below zero at kickoff with a wind chill of -48. The stadium’s system for heating the field failed that day and left moisture all over the turf, which turned Lambeau into an ice rink.

The Packers of course went on to win the legendary Ice Bowl and made postseason football look easy at home until 2002.

That’s when a young Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons came to town Wildcard Weekend and led them to a stunning 27-7 victory. The Packers were left looking like the dome team from Georgia.

In 2004, the bad fortune continued as another dome team – this time the archrival Minnesota Vikings – knocked off the Pack 31-17. Daunte Culpepper abused Green Bay’s defense all afternoon, throwing for 284 yards and four touchdowns.

Brett Favre on the other hand, threw four interceptions.

Last season’s 37-20 home disappointment at the hands of the New York Giants was Green Bay’s fourth loss in their last five postseason games at Lambeau Field (they beat Seattle 42-20 in 2007), with the last two coming against the G-men.

It’s no secret that some of the home mojo has worn off in the last decade. Teams no longer fear walking into Lambeau in January.

On the bright side, the Packers showed in 2010 that this particular team doesn’t need to play at home to win the Super Bowl. Some players actually prefer to play elsewhere.

“I'm not opposed to playing here,” Greg Jennings told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Obviously, with our crowd and our fans, that's what we want as a team. But going on the road, being isolated away from everyone, I think the focus level and the sense of urgency is just a tad higher because you're dependent on your teammate. You travel, you're in a hotel - you're all together. It's you guys against everyone else outside of that hotel."

When asked if he would rather play in dome, Jennings added “Absolutely. I mean absolutely, I would be on turf, quick. Dome. Are you kidding me?"

Jennings is no stranger to the cold and wintry weather growing up in Kalamazoo, Mich. He also played his college ball there at Western Michigan.

The Packers past dominance on the Frozen Tundra occurred when the game of football was still centered on running the ball and grinding out tough yards.

Those elements have become almost obsolete in this new age NFL driven mostly by quarterbacks and wide receivers that prefer more of an aerial display.

Except for the Vikings, who just so happen to have a date with the Pack Saturday night to kickoff Wildcard Weekend.

Adrian Peterson put together one of the greatest seasons for a running back in NFL history, coming just nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record.

A.D. steamrolled his way to 2,097 yards and Green Bay witnessed some of that firsthand.

Dom Capers’ defense surrendered 210 yards to Peterson in a vicotry Dec. 2 at Lambeau and 199 more in last week’s loss inside the Metrodome.

If Peterson gets loose again and knocks off the Packers, it will be the third straight home playoff game they’ve dropped and five out of their last six.

Maybe that dome idea isn’t so bad after all.

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