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ESPN SportsCenter anchors attend game at Lambeau

By Greg Bates
Correspondent


GREEN BAY – ESPN SportsCenter anchor John Anderson said he’s proud of where he grew up.

The Green Bay native got to show off his roots to a good friend a few weekends ago.

Anderson and fellow ESPN SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross were in Green Bay for the Packers-Pittsburgh Steelers game Oct. 3 at Lambeau Field.

Buccigross grew up in downtown Pittsburgh and has been a Steelers fan since he was a kid.

Anderson, naturally, is a big Packers fan.

Buccigross, ESPN’s resident college hockey nut and announcer, had never been to Lambeau Field.

“I love coming to Wisconsin and doing college hockey in Madison,” Buccigross said. “When I saw the NFL schedule come out, we were doing SportsCenter. I looked at the open computer and said, ‘John, Steelers at Packers.’ I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and am a Steelers fan. I thought this would be a great time for me to go see Lambeau for the first time. I wanted to make it a long weekend, play a couple of rounds of golf and that’s what we did. It was fun.”

The two flew into Chicago from Connecticut four days before the game, then made their way to Milwaukee.

They golfed at the Milwaukee Country Club before getting to Green Bay.

The day before the game, Anderson and Buccigross played a round at the Green Bay Country Club.

The Packers-Steelers game capped off the long, Wisconsin-filled weekend.

While in Green Bay, Anderson and Buccigross stayed at Anderson’s mom’s house.

“I got to meet his mom and make French toast for her at his house,” Buccigross said. “To go to the local establishments and see how proud they are of John and what he means to Green Bay, it was cool. I loved it.”

Anderson said he also enjoyed introducing Buccigross to his mom.

“He made breakfast every day,” he said.

Anderson, a 1983 Green Bay Southwest graduate, said he enjoyed bringing his friend to the local establishments to get the full Wisconsin feel.

“I don’t know if you have to give anybody the experience,” Anderson, who’s only been able to make it back to Green Bay twice since the pandemic hit, said. “You come here, and it washes over you on its own. You don’t have to go too far. The only thing I said to my mom was, ‘We should go to a fish fry on Friday.’ We went to Maricque’s, waited in line and went and sat down there. The rest of it, all you have to do is walk around on a Packers weekend and you get the feel for what it is. You don’t have to go out of your way to show anybody a good time. It’s a home game weekend, right? So, as long as you walk through and you’re in the right spots and the right districts, you’ll get the whole atmosphere of it.”

Buccigross said he loved Lambeau Field, and better yet, seeing his favorite football team in action in the historic stadium.

“It’s so unique,” he said. “I’m sure it’s unique for the players. It probably feels a little different, a little more intimate, like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field with all the history. I love the small hometown flavor of Green Bay as well. I imagine it gives the players almost a high school/college feel for the opposing team.”

Buccigross has visited numerous stadiums, arenas and rinks over the years.

He said he’s extremely high on where Lambeau Field ranks out of the sporting venues in the country.

“This is top five in America,” Buccigross said. “Whether it’s Madison Square Garden and here for football, I mentioned Fenway and Wrigley. This was special. I had a great weekend, and the people were warm and kind. So, yeah, it was awesome.”

Because the Packers are in the NFC and the Steelers in the AFC, the teams won’t play again in Green Bay for another eight years.

Buccigross said he won’t wait that long to come back to Lambeau Field.

“We’ve got more golf courses to play,” he said. “I’ll come for any opponent now – fly into Chicago and work our way up here. It’s an easy flight from Connecticut. I love coming back to Wisconsin. I hope I get to do some Badger games this winter again. I grew up in small college towns in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio, so this is my kind of town. I told his mom, ‘I might move in.’ I love the slower pace and the intimate small town. There’s more McDonald’s than Capital Grille’s, so that’s my kind of town.”

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