Passage To The Past


When the Green Bay Packers decided to renovate Lambeau Field rather than push for the construction of an entirely new stadium, it was done with the idea of giving the organization the best in professional football facilities, while keeping much of the team's tradition intact.

But no one expected that when walking through the halls of Lambeau Field's brand new east wing, that they might pass through a doorway once used by legendary coach Vince Lombardi. At least, no one expected that except current GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman.

With less than a month to go until he and his football staff are moved into their new office spaces, a wall of Sherman's current office contains what is an obvious patch job. It only takes a moment to notice that something else used to be there.

That something else was Lombardi's office door.

For Sherman and a number of Packers head coaches before him, various building renovations had rendered the door more of a wall decoration than a functional entrance, but soon that will change.

Although yet to be reinstalled, Sherman asked that Lombardi's old door and door frame be preserved and relocated to the Lambeau Field addition to serve as the primary entryway for his new office.

"I just never want to take the history and tradition of this franchise for granted," Sherman said. "I feel that a door that Coach Lombardi walked through on a regular basis was worth preserving.

"By placing it in the doorway to my office in the new building, I'm hopeful that some of Coach Lombardi's aura will rub off on me. It would also be a daily reminder to me of the huge responsibility I have to this franchise and to the fans, based largely upon the results of the efforts of this particular predecessor and the teams he coached."

Sherman isn't the only one who will get such a reminder. Players will get one, too.

While various aspects of the stadium renovation will have Packers teams taking the field from a tunnel in the southeast corner rather than from the north end starting in 2002, even the new tunnel will boast some significant Green Bay tradition.

Per Sherman's request, roughly 45 square feet of concrete from the floor of the old tunnel was removed in slabs to be preserved and reinstalled at a later date within the players' new inlet to the field.

"There have been too many great coaches and players to walk through that tunnel to not attempt to preserve part of it," Sherman said. "Hopefully, this will continue to connect us to past teams that have made this franchise such a historic one."

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