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Washington makes a rare trip to Lambeau Field on Sunday to face Aaron Rodgers and company in Green Bay.
Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and most of his teammates will be making their first trip to Lambeau Field today as the Redskins face Green Bay. “You can feel the tradition when you come into the place,” Washington linebacker London Fletcher said.
Associated Press | File 2011
Players line up at Lambeau Field during an NFL preseason game between the Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs in Green Bay, Wis. Most of the Redskins players will make their first trip to historic Lambeau today.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. - They are two of the game's most storied franchises, but the paths of the Redskins and Packers have rarely intersected.
Sunday marks the first time Washington has played at Lambeau Field since 2007, and the Redskins will be seeking their first win there since 1988.
The long gap between visits means most of Washington's current players have not yet visited the stadium, one of the most famous in sports.
"You're on the bus out in the middle of nowhere, and it's just suburbs and farms and stuff, and then boom, it's a whole new world in the stadium," Redskins linebacker Nick Barnett said.
Barnett played for the Packers for several years, and still lives in Green Bay during the offseason.
He cited the devotion of the fans, thousands of whom visit the stadium annually from all corners of the globe. For Packers coach Mike McCarthy, it's a great environment to build a team in.
"I don't know if you've ever been to Green Bay, but it's pretty much about football this time of year," he said. "The day these young men walk into our city, they are recognized, and there's a support group that is put around them and that really helps keep them focused on football."
Players seem to agree. Of the 53 players on Green Bay's team, 50 of them have played only for the Packers.
The atmosphere in the stadium is one reason why.
"It's definitely evident when [opposing] players come out of the locker room, just the respect they have for our history and tradition," McCarthy said.
Today's game will be played in front of a record-setting crowd of 80,750, as the Packers expanded their seating this offseason.
One of those spectators will be Washington running back Alfred Morris' father, Ronald, a lifelong Packers fan who will be making his first trip to Lambeau - though he'll be rooting for the visitors.
Other Washington players also have ties to the team. Tight end Niles Paul is the nephew of former Packer Ahman Green. Paul worked out with Green each summer, and remembered attending one game, though he said it was so cold he spent as much time in the bathrooms, which were heated, as he did on the field.
Linebacker London Fletcher is one of the few current players who has been there, and said he's looking forward to his teammates being able to experience a game in Green Bay.
"I think they'll be very impressed," he said. "It's really like a college atmosphere. You can feel the tradition when you come into the place. The whole city shuts down, and everybody is at the Packers game."
Barnett will be playing the role of host, having requested 20 tickets for friends and family in the area.
He won't be able to spend the night at his house, though - the team is staying at a hotel in nearby Appleton, Wisc.
He said the Redskins and Packers organizations are similar in that you can feel the history within both.
Washington has its Super Bowl trophies on display in the lobby at Redskins Park, while in Green Bay, they're in a museum at Lambeau.
"It's a great tradition, with all the Super Bowl trophies," Barnett said. "You feel obligated to uphold that standard."