METAIRIE, La. – There’s Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in baseball.
There’s Estadio Azteca, Camp Nou and Old Trafford in soccer.
And in the NFL, there’s Lambeau Field, on the league’s oldest and most historic venues.
Though the New Orleans Saints played there just a year ago, the feeling of playing where Brett Favre played and Vince Lombardi coached is still one that stands out.
“The first time I went there, I went with Jon Gruden and we walked off the bus and he said, ‘Aaron, come on, let’s walk this thing,’ and talked about the history of that stadium,” Saints interim head coach Aaron Kromer said. “It’s a special place and we are looking forward to going there.”
The Packers’ long-time home has been a historically tough place for opponents to play. Green Bay is 201-112-4 at Lambeau Field, which opened in the late 1950s and was renamed for former coach Curly Lambeau.
The collegiate feel makes it a tough atmosphere to play in, though special.
“Obviously Lambeau is another one of those hallowed grounds so to speak for football,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “I do love those opportunities to go places like that where there’s so much history and tradition. It’s a part of our games and just makes you appreciate the situation you’re in.”
Though the Saints have played Green Bay 11 times in Wisconsin, New Orleans has visited Lambeau Field only four previous times. The other games were played at Milwaukee County Stadium.
New Orleans is 1-3 in those contests in Green Bay, including last season’s thrilling 42-34 opening night loss to the reigning Super Bowl champions.
But while Brees and Kromer both have spent time at the historic stadium, there are always those who haven’t seen the stadium.
Saints rookie Akiem Hicks played college football at the University of Regina in Canada. While he played in several Canadian Football League stadiums, none of them match the history and grandeur of Lambeau.
“Playing at Lambeau Field – that’s going to be an amazing experience,” Hicks said. “I couldn’t say I could ever really, honestly envision it but it’s going to exciting to be there and be able to compete and be in the game. It’s going to be an exciting experience.”