Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Visit to Old County Stadium

We are visiting Milwaukee County Stadium this time, with a lengthy posting from the 1976 N.F.L. Films production “Six Days to Sunday.” From November 1 to November 7, 1976, N.F.L. Films kept its eye on the New Orleans Saints as they struggled to find their winning ways and prepared to travel to Milwaukee to face the Green Bay Packers. This project, however, was shot down after the Saints fired head coach Hank Stram after the 1977 season. We have viewed it this week, and are going to present a few scenes from the film. Taking images from streaming video is not the best way to get quality, but we hope you’ll enjoy it anyway.

In his hotel room at the Milwaukee Hilton, New Orleans’ head coach Hank Stram watches the weather report on local television. Perhaps a Milwaukee reader of this blog can pass along who this might be, or what station it was on — WTMJ Channel 4?

We assume this is the station’s sportscaster, who was shown giving a little plug for the game on Sunday.

The usual between-segments banter between the broadcast news staff, which was before the days of female broadcasters — at least on this station in the Milwaukee area.

A shot of the bottom part of the County Stadium scoreboard is used as a lead-in to the game day segment of the film.

A view of the south end zone in the foreground, looking towards the north end which was situated along the third base line.

We’ve never seen the locker rooms at County Stadium depicted, and in this film the cameras are in the visiting Saints’ dressing area before the game.

Coach Hank Stram visits with his players as game time approaches.

He is seen giving his team the traditional “pep talk” before they take the field.

Also interesting to see is the team making its way to the field via the tunnel area shown here and below.

Being a baseball park primarily, the teams take to the field via the dugouts.

The Saints are seen coming out, and it’s interesting to note that the baseball diamond has not been sodded after the season. Not sure why.

Second-year head coach Bart Starr leads his team out of their dugout and onto the field. One other trivia piece about County Stadium is that both teams were on the same sideline, in what was the outfield side. This was to make the game easier to see by those in the lower box seats along the first base line.

Packers’ running back Eric Torkelson (#26) runs with the ball on a first-half play.

And he winds up in the end zone for a touchdown!

On a defensive play, defensive back Johnnie Gray (#24) scoops up a loose ball, as linebacker Fred Carr (#53) looks on.

Green Bay quarterback Lynn Dickey (#10) gets ready to let one fly.

Tight end Rich McGeorge (#81) gets in position to make a reception. Just to the left of the Saints’ linebacker (#58) is where your Packerville U.S.A. editor’s season ticket seats were located.

The reception went for a touchdown, as signaled by the referee here. Behind him are the baseball outfield bleachers, which were along the sideline where both teams stood.

McGeorge celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Ken Payne (#85).

In the background, the little chalet on top of the beer barrel where “Bernie Brewer” used to slide down after a Brewers’ home run can be seen.

On another play, we can see defensive end Clarence Williams (#83) in on the tackle.

Here’s another shot where we can see most of the outfield and the scoreboard.

The Saints, with quarterback Bobby Douglass (#10) — yes, THAT Bobby Douglass — formerly of the Chicago Bears, are set at the line of scrimmage.

On a tipped ball pass play, Packers’ linebacker Fred Carr grabs the interception and runs it into the south end zone for a Green Bay touchdown!

Carr spikes the ball in celebration.

This was 15 years before the “Lambeau Leap” was invented, but it looks like Carr is preparing to launch himself into the outfield bleachers.

The Packers have prevailed on this November Sunday in their second hometown, Milwaukee.

The clock winds down on a Green Bay victory. They would only win one more game this season — the finale in Atlanta. For the year, they ended up with a 5-9-0 record, which earned them a last place finish in the Central Division.

Two N.F.L. legends shake hands after the game — both head coaches — Bart Starr and Hank Stram. In Super Bowl I, these two opponents met on opposite sides of the ball as well. Stram was the Kansas City Chiefs head coach, while Starr was the Packers’ quarterback and M.V.P. of the game.

Packers’ cornerback Perry Williams (#45) shakes hands with Stram after the game. When was the last time you heard Smith’s name? We thought so.

After the game, Hank Stram answers reporters’ questions somewhere in the bowels of Milwaukee County Stadium.

Steve Sabol of N.F.L. films is the man to thank for letting us see this glimpse into the game as it was in the Seventies.

As much as we love going to games in Lambeau Field in Green Bay, County Stadium still holds a special place in our football hearts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a Saints fan and that's my favorite era. I recently bought the program from this game off EBAY. All I can say is that was a tough loss.

Thanks, excellent post.