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'People would consider it pure blasphemy': The history of Lambeau Field’s unbuilt dome

“People would consider it pure blasphemy” A glimpse into the history of Lambeau Field’s unbuilt dome
Posted at 8:49 PM, Dec 31, 2023
and last updated 2024-01-01 00:17:12-05
  • A timeline of each time execs seriously considered putting a dome over Lambeau Field
  • Packers' historian, Cliff Christl exposes the real reason why the organization abandoned the idea
  • Curly Lambeau first discussed as far back as the 1940s

The Packers and Vikings played Sunday night’s New Year’s Eve game under the comfort of a climate-controlled dome, but did you know there was once serious consideration of building a dome over Lambeau Field? A stadium synonymous with cold weather. Let's dive into the history of this proposed dome and explore the real reasons why the organization abandoned the idea.
I asked the authority on Packer’s history, Cliff Christl, the Packer’s historian.

"In 1943 [Curly] Lambeau told a reporter for the United Press that within five years, once World War II ended, that he expected pro football owners to begin building roofs over their stadiums to reduce the hazards of bad weather," said Christl.

Legendary Coach Curly Lambeau predicted the use of domes in the NFL as far back as the 1940s. It was only speculation back then, and construction of the Houston Astrodome didn't begin for another 20 years.

"In August 1966, Lombardi admitted consideration has been given to building a dome over Lambeau Field, and I think that's the first time the subject was ever discussed. He said it was architecturally feasible as long as the ends of the stadium remained open," Christl added.

But again the idea of building a dome over Lambeau Field was just in the talking stages.

It wasn't until the 1980s that the Packers commissioned an architectural study of the dome project. Christl, who covered the story at the time for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, says members of the Packers Executive Committee toured the Silverdome in Michigan to gain a better understanding of what would be involved if the Packers decided to build one.

However, it was the high cost of the project that made the idea fizzle out.

Perhaps the main reason why putting a dome over Lambeau never took off was built on the pride of playing in such harsh conditions.

“The Packers are so now so closely identified with playing outdoors and cold weather and it's just part of their identity. I remember covering Vikings vs. Packers games at Bloomington at the old outdoor Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. When Bud Grant was coaching the Vikings and I truly believe that that's been one of their issues is that they kind of lost their identity once they moved indoors,” Christl says.

With the legacy that followed the Ice Bowl on New Year's Eve in 1967, weather has become the identity of the Green Bay Packers.

"I think now people would consider it pure blasphemy if they put a dome over Lambeau Field," Packer’s historian, Cliff Christl says.

Knowing Packers players can withstand just about anything remains a testament to our resilience, connecting with fans in a way no dome ever could.