On the sidelines with Rich: Monday night madness
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – I normally don’t get photo credentials for prime-time Packers games, so I was excited to be one of the almost 78,000 fans in attendance when Green Bay hosted the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football Sept. 20.
It’s probably the most “famous” people I’ve seen at any one game.
In no particular order, I saw former San Francisco quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young, reporters Suzy Kolber, Booger McFarland and Adam Schefter, said hello to Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy and got some great photos.
Kolber once interviewed New York Jets Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath on the sidelines during a 2003 game.
Namath had a little too much to drink that night, and the whole world saw it.
Kolber handled it with class – something I won’t ever forget.
Namath, the Super Bowl III winning quarterback and now 78 years old, recently said that interview with Kolber saved his life – he hasn’t had a drink since.
Arriving at Lambeau Field about an hour before kickoff, I soon realized I needed to get there earlier.
In a nice gesture this season, the Packers make arrangements to get me my credentials ahead of time so I don’t have to park a mile away.
Getting to the stadium that close to game time got me stuck in traffic, so next time, I’ll be leaving my home sooner.
Hearing Packers public address announcer Bill Jartz made me smile.
A day before hearing him at Lambeau Field, I got to see him in Denmark at a church auction/car show.
A Clintonville native, Jartz was the honorary auctioneer for the event.
The flyover before the game was awesome – a single jet flew over the stadium as the National Anthem played.
As for my photos, I’ve found a home in the end zones.
I don’t see much of a need to run up and down the sidelines anymore – I park myself in the end zones where most of the action is.
The rain held off most of the night, but there were times it was pouring.
One of my photographer friends had an extra plastic sleeve he gave me to cover my lens, so that helped – I don’t want to worry about the nice piece of equipment getting ruined because it got wet.
Detroit started fast and jumped out to a 17-14 lead at halftime, but that was all the offense the 0-2 Lions could muster.
The Packers, who improved to 1-1, outscored their NFC Central rival in the second half, 21-0.
I got some great pictures of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones.
After a slow start during Week 1, Rodgers ended the game 22-of-27 passing with 255 yards and four touchdowns, three of which went to Jones.
Jones did a Lambeau Leap about 10 feet away from me – it was cool to see.
I’ve always liked Detroit quarterback Jared Goff, who came to the Lions this past offseason in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams.
One of my favorite memories with him is how he helped prank the Ventura College football team in California a few years ago.
Goff came to practice as “the transfer,” but only he and a few of the coaches knew what was going on – none of the players had a clue who this NFL quarterback was because he wore a wig, got some fake tattoos and had a fake mole put on his cheek.
After a slow start where he purposely missed his wide receivers, Goff turned up the heat and impressed everyone.
The quarterbacks for Ventura thought they had played their last games – until Goff revealed himself as a real NFL quarterback.
The video on YouTube will make you laugh and smile.
It currently has more than 26 million views.
Traveling to San Francisco Sunday, Sept. 26, the Packers return home Sunday, Oct. 3, in a matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I hope my luck continues and I get credentials for that game, too.