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Does 'Lambeau in London' await Packers?

Team eager to see just how many Green Bay fans fill Tottenham Hotspur Stadium


LONDON – The players aren't entirely sure what to expect, but they believe it could go one of two ways.

Either the crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday for the Packers-Giants clash will be a collection of manic sports fans – many of whom have turned out to see one of the NFL's iconic franchises and all-time great quarterbacks – bringing an intensity to the atmosphere similar to a Premier League game.

Or the place is simply going to morph into "Lambeau in London."

"I hope it's like it is here," running back Aaron Jones said before the team departed on the long trip. "That's what I'm imagining. Everything I'm seeing on social media, Twitter, our fans are there."

No one will know for sure until the game kicks off, but there are plenty of indications Jones and the Packers could get their wish.

Given Packers fans across the United Kingdom and Europe have waited 15 years since the NFL began its international series to have Green Bay visit, and with the demand for tickets through the roof, chances are the bulk of the crowd isn't showing up out of some curiosity to see the Packers for the first time.

A lot of these folks could be the Packers' international diehard fans who have been, ahem, dying for this opportunity.

"We have fans in Germany, Italy, France – all across there," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I was in Europe this offseason, in Switzerland, and there were people excited. I met local football team guys and the coach there, was super juiced and loving the Packers. I was in Hungary and got stopped by a guy on a bachelor party from Croatia who is a huge Packer fan. Then I was in Greece and also got recognized.

"So there's Packers fans across Europe. It's going to be fun to go over there. I'm expecting a higher percentage of Packers fans than Giants fans."

Randall Cobb's experiences have been similar.

"I've been to Spain, I've been to France, and been to Italy, and all three of those places I ran into Packer fans," Cobb said. "So I'm hoping they're filling the stadium up."

Head Coach Matt LaFleur has been involved in London games twice, with the Rams and Titans, and said the atmosphere has been different each time. This one might be the most different of all.

"In the previous experiences, you saw every team's jersey there represented," he said. "So hopefully we'll see a lot more Packers jerseys this time around."

As well as other articles of clothing.

"There are Packer fans all over the world, so I'm sure we'll see some cheeseheads out there," safety Darnell Savage said. "That's the cool thing is no matter where we go, it's a chance that it's a home game for us."

The question remains, though, of whether the international fans will know when to be their loudest – third downs on defense – and when to stay a little quieter, such as when the Packers are on offense.

The latter can even be a problem at Lambeau Field at times, so there are no guarantees. In meeting with the media in London on Friday, LaFleur gave a brief synopsis of the preferred noise dynamics while encouraging the fans to "show up in force and be really, really loud."

Whatever transpires, the Packers will be prepared to deal with it in the first London matchup of two teams with winning records.

"I think it's going to be a home game, but a home game with no rules," running back AJ Dillon said. "I think out there it's going to be a ton of energy, ton of excitement, but just all the time. You always feed off the energy of the fans."

For the record, the capacity at Tottenham Hotspur is 62,000-plus, and the five previous NFL games played there, including last week's between the Vikings and Saints, have all drawn just shy of 61,000.

So how many will be Packers fans on Sunday? 40,000? 45? 50!? If it truly does become "Lambeau in London," how would that experience feel?

"Nothing like it. I can't even put it to words," Jones said. "It would really be amazing to see that many Packer fans.

"Green Bay is a small market, but to touch that many people and have that many fans is surreal. It's a small market when it comes to living here, but brand-wise, it's global. That's the best thing to play for this team and get that support."

Rodgers provided the final word of encouragement after the Packers practiced Friday.

"Be loud, be loud," he said. "Show up and be loud."

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