A Blast from the Past

P1000497Sometimes you just happen to fall into an embarrassment of riches. Case in point: a portal to the past I discovered in the form of a drawer stuffed full with Packers-related media materials from two decades ago, the highlight of which was this souvenir Gameday magazine from December 18, 1994, the day the Packers played their final game at Milwaukee County Stadium.

Having the magazine itself is awesome. The fact that it's autographed by Packers' radio legends Jim Irwin and Max McGee makes it even better. And just as good as that? The little anecdotes hidden between the game previews and team bios.

For instance, did you know that Ron Wolf's first job in football was as a writer?

His first job in the field was with Pro Football Illustrated, a publication based in Chicago, in 1961. He subsequently returned to the University of Oklahoma in 1962, he sad :and then Al Davis called me in 1963, after I'd taken my last final examination at Oklahoma...The very day, he called me."

Or that Brett Favre was putting up some insane numbers that year?

Brett Favre is second in the NFC with a career-high passer rating of 89.3. He has also thrown a career best 28 touchdown passes and has only 12 interceptions.

Okay...maybe they were insane for 1994. An 89.3 passer rating wouldn't even have gotten Favre in the top 10 this year, although 28 touchdowns would have put him in a tie for seventh. He'd finish the year with 33, which would have ranked third in last year's NFL.

Well, if we can't have great stats, what about amusing stories? Marge Paget, the woman who handled the tickets for the Packers' games at County Stadium for 23 years, has two good ones about people who had serious problems with their season tickets.

Then there was the time a man had purchased 40 tickets for a bus load of fans. While cutting his lawn the day before the game, he bent over to adjust something and dumped the wad of tickets out of his shirt pocket and into the mulcher. He showed up with thousands of tiny pieces of tickets looking for help. Luckily, Paget was able to accomodate the group.

But the job has its serious moments, too. Paget recalls a man coming in to see her some years ago and telling her his father had passed away and that he wanted to change his late father's season tickets over to his name.

"He didn't have an obituary with him but he gave me all the particulars and we trusted him and made the change over," Paget said.

Imagine her surprise when the father showed up a month later wondering why he hadn't received his tickets yet. "I remember the rather feeling just terrible that his son would do that," Paget said.

And then there are the pictures. I hardly know what to say.