Much has been made of the Packers’ fearsome reputation at home in cold weather. Being the analytical sort, I decided to dig into the numbers to see if I could find some truth to it.
First, I wanted to know what the Packers’ overall record was at Lambeau Field. I first went back to 1957, the year the stadium opened, and gathered their home records from every season. I then went and subtracted all of the games played in Milwaukee between 1957 and 1994, the last season the Packers played home games anywhere other than Lambeau Field.
What I found is that the Packers are a pretty fearsome 280-155-8 at home over the years, for a winning percentage of 64.10%. In Milwaukee, the Packers achieved a 69-40-3 record, a 62.95% win percentage. This means the Packers were even better in Lambeau, with a 211-115-5 record, for a win percentage of 64.5%. Any way you slice it, the Packers are a tough draw in Lambeau.
Next, I went and used the Pro Football Reference Game Finder tool to find any games that started at or under 40 degrees. Data was not available from 1957-1959, so I used my best judgment and added the games played in Lambeau in November (which weren’t many: The Packers in those days tended to end their season in late November on the road in Los Angeles and San Francisco after playing most of late September and October at home) for the three years data wasn’t available.
In cold weather in Lambeau, the Packers are 84-41-2, a 66.93% clip. This is slightly better than their record overall at home, and it does show there is at least a slight advantage for the Packers in the late season weather in Green Bay.
However, much of the “Frozen Tundra” reputation stems from their playoff dominance at home. Are they truly blessed with home tundra advantage?
To determine this, I went through all 446 playoff games in the NFL and AFL since 1957. Home teams are 300-146 at home, a 67.26% winning percentage.
How about the Packers? They are 15-5 at home in Lambeau in the playoffs, 75%. The numbers show there is an advantage here too. Are the numbers telling the whole story, though?
I may be asked to turn in my cheesehead for admitting this, but I’d have to lean toward a “no” answer, at least recently. At one point, the Packers were 11-0 in Lambeau in the playoffs, with the reputation forged from The Ice Bowl and their dominant home run in the mid 1990s.
Since Michael Vick led the Falcons to a shocking 27-7 victory in the first round of the 2002 playoffs, the Packers are just 4-5 in Lambeau during the playoffs, with losses coming to Minnesota, the New York Giants (twice, and I should point out the Giants are 2-1 in Lambeau in the playoffs), and San Francisco. Seattle, however, has had issues in Lambeau, losing the “We Want the Ball and We’re Going to Score” game as well as a game played in a heavy snowfall a few years later.
Minnesota also lost in Lambeau after having to start their backup QB on short notice, and Dallas lost the “Did Dez Catch It?” game. With two of the four wins over the past decade-plus being of the cliffhanger variety, I can’t imagine opponents fear the “Frozen Tundra” as much as they used to.
In conclusion, while the full history of Lambeau shows an advantage, recent history hasn’t been so kind – something to keep in mind the next time the term “Frozen Tundra” gets thrown around.