GRAPEVINE, Texas — Glen Christensen loves a great story. Certainly one of his favorites comes from the son of a former Inexperienced Bay Packers’ assistant tools supervisor within the 1960s.
“Him and his brothers labored for the Packers, I feel for a greenback a sport or one thing,” Christensen stated. “They’d be runners and they’d assistance on the sideline. There have been six sport balls for the championship for the Ice Bowl [1967 NFL Championship game] and for the ’65 championship, and Inexperienced Bay Packers balls have been extraordinarily sought-after again then. On the finish of the sport [the brothers’] job was very particular: seize each ball, get it on this bag and lock it up in dad’s workplace. That’s what occurred. They gathered the six balls, put them within the bag.”
The Ice Bowl, maybe essentially the most well-known sport in NFL historical past, was performed by the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys in frigid situations at Lambeau Discipline in Inexperienced Bay, Wisconsin, on December 31, 1967, with temperatures reaching 13-below zero. The situations have been so brutal that Lambeau Discipline earned the nickname “The Frozen Tundra” because of this. A day or two after the sport, the balls have been taken to an area Inexperienced Bay enterprise to be lettered. The inscription: “N.F.L. Champs” on one line. The subsequent line: “1967.” The ultimate line: “Packers 21, Cowboys 17.”
“One of many balls was given to the assistant tools supervisor and it stayed of their household till final yr,” stated Christensen, who lives in Grapevine, Texas.
The son of the assistant tools supervisor occurred to maneuver to Dallas in 2019 and he and Christensen acquired linked. Christensen’s ardour for Packers memorabilia shortly shined by means of and the 2 struck a deal for Christensen to buy the ball. It was simply essentially the most cash Christensen has ever spent on an merchandise for his assortment.
“I do know of solely two which might be in existence and one is fairly nicely locked up on the Packer Corridor of Fame,” Christensen stated. “Clearly, being a collector of memorabilia and a historian, I’ve frequented the Corridor of Fame for years and I’d at all times have a look at that Ice Bowl ball and I’d go, ‘Oh my God.’ That’s only a dream. No person would ever have that.”’
That game-used Ice Bowl soccer is now a centerpiece of essentially the most spectacular Packers memorabilia assortment for a person on this planet. That the gathering rests in Texas, residence of the Cowboys who the Packers defeated quite a few occasions in epic video games, provides an ironic twist to Christensen’s assortment.
As well as, Christensen owns sport balls from the 1965 championship sport and two from Tremendous Bowl II. His assortment additionally options NFL Participant of the 12 months trophies for Ray Nitschke and Paul Hornung.
Christensen, who was born in Inexperienced Bay however didn’t attend his first Packers sport till the 1990s, has two rooms jam-packed with Packers prized possessions. A yellow turnstile used at Lambeau Discipline from 1985-2007 connects the rooms. It’s the right contact to Christensen’s mini museum.
Christensen figures he has a pair thousand gadgets on show and “5 occasions” that many items in storage.
“It’s type of mind-blogging some days once I come up right here, particularly once I give a tour to pals or family that come into city,” Christensen stated. “I begin trying it over and I’m like, my God, I don’t keep in mind half the stuff I’ve in right here. Simply to see the look on their faces once they have a look at the gathering. I’m in my very own little world right here and once I see individuals’s response to the gathering I’m identical to, wow, that is extra particular than I even give it credit score for.”
How his assortment began
Christensen’s memorabilia rooms are his residence away from residence. He definitely misses Inexperienced Bay. “Once I come up right here, it’s type of like going again to my childhood,” he stated.
Christensen was born in 1960 in the course of the period when Vince Lombardi was resurrecting the historic Inexperienced Bay franchise. Underneath Lombardi, the Packers grew to become the face of the NFL because the league was first rising on TV. The Packers received 5 league championships, together with the primary two Tremendous Bowls, throughout Lombardi’s 9 years as coach from 1959-67.
Residing in Inexperienced Bay – the place his grandparents owned Christensen’s Money Grocery, simply down the highway from Lambeau Discipline – Christensen couldn’t assist however be a Packers fan.
“That they had fuel pumps there, and I might sit on the curb on Sundays and I might hear the gang roar from a budget seats the place I sat,” Christensen stated. “I might at all times inform the Packers have been doing nice. It’s very odd being younger and the way a lot that that was simply engrained in me. I’m at all times grateful I used to be born in Inexperienced Bay since you at all times hear the time period that you simply bleed inexperienced and gold blood, however I actually really feel like I’ve it in me simply from these years.”
A giant motive the Packers grew to become so essential to Christensen was due to his mother. Germaine Pirlot was a majorette at Inexperienced Bay East Excessive College, which is identical highschool Packers co-founder and coach Curly Lambeau attended.
“Lambeau noticed her as a excessive schooler on the halftime sport for East Excessive College,” Christensen stated. “He stated he wished so as to add a fairly blonde to the Packer band. So, he had Wilner Burke, the director, rent my mother as a band majorette. I feel she instructed me she made $2 a sport.”
Pirlot grew to become a baton twirler for the Packer Lumberjack Band from 1939-44. Throughout halftime, it was her time to shine. However in the course of the sport, it was Packers greats and future Corridor of Famers Lambeau, Don Hutson and Tony Canadeo who stole the present throughout that period.
“Rising up, we’d get greeting playing cards at Christmas from the Hutsons, and I had no thought who the heck the Hutsons have been,” Christensen stated. “I’d give something to have these Christmas playing cards current. I’d hear all these tales rising up they usually simply didn’t register with me as a result of I used to be too younger.”
Christensen’s mother shared phenomenal tales together with her son, and in 1994 handed down priceless keepsakes from her time with the band: batons, uniforms, area passes for video games, packages and footage of her with the band on the sector at Previous Metropolis Stadium in Inexperienced Bay.
Christensen didn’t need the gadgets ruined in storage at his home, so he determined to show them on the partitions of his residence workplace. He additionally remembered he had quite a lot of Packers items from when he was rising up: a Packers helmet, bobblehead, a pair pennants and an electrical soccer set.
On the time, the Christensen sport room was stuffed with Coca-Cola gadgets and a pool desk. Glen approached his spouse, Gayle, with a proposition. “I stated, ‘You already know, I ‘d actually prefer to put my Packer assortment up there,’” Christensen stated. “She agreed to it. I blame her for this getting uncontrolled.”
Christensen—who for the final 20 years has owned Craftmark, a printing enterprise in Fort Value, Texas—has this important room devoted to classic gadgets and former Packers legends. So as to add a museum contact, Christensen made a set of six wood lockers with nameplates of his childhood Packers heroes: Jerry Kramer, Donny Anderson, Ray Nitschke, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor and Bart Starr. The lockers function autographed jerseys of every participant, signed footballs, helmets and game-used cleats for a few the blokes.
“As I collected, I seemed for gadgets that might go of their locker—definitely a number of the first issues I seemed for have been jerseys,” stated Christensen, who want to move alongside his assortment to his son. “And again then, there wasn’t eBay or something, so a whole lot of it I acquired signed in particular person. I’d go to card reveals or I’d go to signings that they have been having right here or there. That type of crammed up these areas. Then I went on to getting helmets. Over time, I’ve been fortunate sufficient to search out game-used helmets of most of the gamers and sport jerseys.”
Positioned in Nitschke’s locker is his unique participant contract from 1968, signed by Nitschke and Lombardi. Nitschke, a Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame linebacker, made $33,000 per yr. In Starr’s locker is his cold-weather sweater he wore on the sidelines. After buying it, Christensen despatched it to Starr, who signed it.
The oldest items in Christensen’s assortment embody bulletins and pennants from the early 1920s, which will be extraordinarily uncommon to trace down. “I completely love accumulating classic pennants,” Christensen stated. “From 1920 to 1968, I’ve about 120 totally different pennants. That’s fairly substantial when you consider a whole lot of these, some have been hand-painted, printed very crudely, some have been sewn letters on them, and for them to make it by means of the years is simply superb due to moths and basements.”
When Christensen’s son, Tom, went off to varsity, he determined to make his child’s adjoining room into an prolonged Packers’ shrine. This room is devoted extra to modern-day Packers gamers. It’s his “new locker room.”
A peek into Glen Christen’s assortment
Christensen once more constructed lockers, this time trying almost an identical to those at present utilized by gamers at Lambeau Discipline. There are eight locker stalls honoring: Brett Favre, Reggie White, Ahman Inexperienced, Dave Robinson (the exception to the modern-day participant), Donald Driver, Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. Once more, Christensen has each locker full of the participant’s signed jersey and helmet and a few lockers have the participant’s footwear and/or signed footballs.
Christensen owns an excellent piece from Favre. He has the coat the Corridor of Fame quarterback wore after the Packers downed the Carolina Panthers within the NFC Championship Sport to advance to Tremendous Bowl XXXI. Favre’s No. four is sewn on the backside of the coat close to the zipper.
Displayed in White’s locker is the sport ball introduced to him after Tremendous Bowl XXXI. Christensen acquired that prized possession straight from the White household.
Extra eye-popping gadgets
Together with the Ice Bowl soccer, Christensen has some actually one-of-a-kind gadgets. Exhibit A: A Lombardi camel-haired coat with a tag inside from a Inexperienced Bay tailor with the coach’s title on it and the date 11/7/1966. The coat went up for public sale when Christensen first began accumulating and he couldn’t afford to purchase it. Years later, Christensen ended up getting a name from the widower of the one who had bought the coach.
“I waited for it to come back up for public sale and I did get it,” Christensen stated. “That was an merchandise I in all probability was after for 15-20 years, so I acquired that final yr and added it to the gathering. That’s type of a showstopper. Individuals have a look at that they usually’re like, ‘Oh my God, you’ve acquired Lombardi’s coat.’ So, I really like that.’”
Different nice Ice Bowl items in Christensen’s assortment embody a aim line marker, a giant plywood G helmet that was across the fencing of Lambeau Discipline, and a bit of red-white-and-blue bunting that held on the fencing and was signed by Starr. One other actually magnificent merchandise owned by Christensen is without doubt one of the Packers’ benches used within the Ice Bowl. Christensen stated there are solely two or three that exist; one is within the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame.
“That was introduced to me by a man in Inexperienced Bay that occurred to see me on a information broadcast throughout Tremendous Bowl XLV,” Christensen stated. “One of many Inexperienced Bay (stations) got here and interviewed me and he referred to as the station and stated, ‘Hey, I’ve had this bench endlessly. I’d love for him to have it.’ We organized it and he had it trucked down right here.”
The man who had the bench was on the Ice Bowl together with his dad and brother, and when the sport ended, he jumped the fence and ran onto the sector. “They simply seemed for something to seize, like everyone was,” Christensen stated.
One of many showstoppers in Christensen’s second room is a bit more obscure. Christensen and his son attended Tremendous Bowl XLV when the Packers took on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. The pair had seats ultimately zone the place the Packers had their named painted. When Packers security Nick Collins returned an interception for a landing he knelt on high of the “P” ultimately zone. Christensen knew he wanted to have that part of the tip zone. Over the following few days, Christensen was profitable in monitoring down and buying a 10-foot by 10-foot chunk of the synthetic turf “P” on Packers. The turf is on the ground of his modern-day locker room.
“I can’t let you know how many individuals flip out that I’ve the tip zone to a Tremendous Bowl in there,” Christensen stated. “The true, hardcore Packers followers will get down on their knees and kiss it. I by no means say a phrase till they rise up and I remind them what number of occasions gamers spit ultimately zone. It’s nonetheless filled with all of the rubber pellets. It weighs about 350 kilos, perhaps 400 kilos. It took 5 guys to hold it up the steps into my sport room.”
With so many cherished Packers gadgets, there aren’t a whole lot of issues Christensen is seeking so as to add to his assortment. He as three footballs signed by Lambeau and a few of his groups from the 1930s and ’40s; he additionally has sport balls signed by Lombardi and his groups – about 25 of them, in reality. He’ll be the primary to say he doesn’t want one other one.
A pair of Starr’s game-used cleats got here up for public sale when Christensen first began accumulating and he couldn’t essentially afford to purchase them, now they’re on his brief lists of needs. “I’m fairly comfy with my assortment as it’s proper now,” Christensen stated. “There isn’t a heck of so much that you would present me that I’d be like, ‘Wow. I’ve acquired to have that.’ Solely as a result of the issues I actually like are within the Packers Corridor of Fame.”