ESPN cam­eras love Lam­beau

Packer Plus - - News - Ken­dra Mein­ert

— When it came time for ESPN’s “Mon­day Night Count­down” pro­duc­ers to de­cide which NFL cities on the sched­ule this sea­son would be a good fit for an ex­tended pregame live broad­cast, Green Bay was at the top of the list.

“Mon­day Night Foot­ball” was in town for the Green Bay Pack­ers-San Fran­cisco 49ers game at Lam­beau Field on Mon­day with live cov­er­age from out­side the sta­dium to cap­ture the game-day tail­gat­ing scene for view­ers at home.

Green Bay was one of only three cities last sea­son to get the bonus tail­gat­ing seg­ment. Let’s just say Pack­ers fans de­liv­ered.

“The at­mos­phere that was out there, it was re­ally a no-brainer for us to come back and try and take ad­van­tage of what goes on in and around Green Bay and give our view­ers that per­spec­tive,” said Matthew Gar­rett, co­or­di­nat­ing pro­ducer for the show.

“It’s so unique and so much dif­fer­ent than al­most ev­ery other NFL city ... Who knows how many foot­ball fans ever get the op­por­tu­nity to go to a game at Lam- beau Field, so we love to give peo­ple at least a lit­tle bit of a taste.”

“Count­down” in­cludes host Suzy Kol­ber and an­a­lysts Charles Wood­son, Matt Has­sel­beck, Randy Moss, Steve Young and Louis Rid­dick.

For Gar­rett, who has been to NFL sta­di­ums all over the coun­try, it’s the in­ti­macy of the Lam­beau game-day

ex­pe­ri­ence that both sets it apart from other cities and makes for good tele­vi­sion.

“It’s a smaller town. It’s a sta­dium that’s ob­vi­ously steeped in his­tory. It feels a lit­tle more prob­a­bly like what a col­lege en­vi­ron­ment feels like than a lot of NFL games,” he said. “It kind of feels like you’re at a big fam­ily re­union, like the en­tire city of Green Bay is hav­ing a fam­ily re­union on a Mon­day night for ‘Mon­day Night Foot­ball.’ It’s a cool feel­ing you don’t nec­es­sar­ily get at ev­ery sta­dium.”

While other sta­di­ums also stand out for Gar­rett — the Louisiana Su­per­dome after Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina, the loud­ness of Seat­tle Sea­hawks fans at Cen­tu­ryLink Field, the Min­nesota Vik­ings’ new U.S. Bank Sta­dium — Lam­beau’s neigh­bor­hood set­ting is spe­cial.

“The sta­dium is right next to some­body who has lived in a home for decades,” he said. “Most sta­di­ums are sur­rounded by park­ing lots for how­ever far. In Green Bay, it backs up to some­body’s back­yard. There’s a kid who plays on his play­ground in his back­yard and when he turns around he may be star­ing at Lam­beau Field, one of, if not the

It’s fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory for Wood­son, the former Pack­ers de­fen­sive back who played for seven years in Green Bay. His con­nec­tions to the sta­dium and the city are many.

His younger brother, Jonathan Pat­ton, owns Cover 2 Sports Bar and Lounge on down­town’s Wash­ing­ton Street, where they proudly pour Charles Wood­son Wines. When the Pack­ers won Su­per Bowl XLV in 2011, Wood­son cel­e­brated with a tat­too at Tat­toos by Rick on Mil­i­tary Av­enue. He lived in a condo down­town as a player and en­joyed the lo­cal din­ing scene.

“Repub­lic Chop­house. I had to eat there at least two or three times a week. Black & Tan (Grille) was there, and then Koko’s (Sushi Bar & Lounge) re­lo­cated and they came down­town, so I had some of my fa­vorite spots within walk­ing dis­tance,” he said. most, hal­lowed sta­di­ums in the NFL.” Wood­son en­joys the trips back

ADAM WES­LEY/USAT

Former Packer and cur­rent ESPN an­a­lyst Charles Wood­son poses for pho­tos in 2017.

MARK HOFF­MAN / JOUR­NAL SENTINEL

Fans keep an eye on the Pack­ers and the Brew­ers-Dodgers game on Mon­day night.

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