The St. Louis Rams brought a new meaning to the term “going green” at the Edward Jones Dome Sunday.
Though it was a home game for the Rams, the tailgate scene had a predominantly Green Bay Packers green-and-yellow feel. Packers fans flooded to the Dome in hopes of making their team feel like the one with a home-field advantage.
“You would think we’re at Lambeau Field, buddy,” a Packers fan said to his young son walking outside the Dome Sunday morning. “You would think we’re in Green Bay with all the Packers fans.”
Due to their long history of winning and the tradition of great players to wear Packers uniforms – Packers legends Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke and Brett Favre were just some of the names seen on the backs of jerseys downtown Sunday – Packers fans travel very well. The last time the Packers came to the Dome in 2009 the amount of green was a talking point then as well.
Packers fans Nick Pinnola, Josh bosma, Joe Zahalka and David Bower traveled from Chicago for the game to see what Bosma predicted as a “complete takeover” of the Dome. The group said the cost and availability of tickets makes it easier to see games at places other than Lambeau Field, where the waiting list for season tickets often outlasts a person’s fandom (and lifespan, usually).
Tammy Olson is a Packers fan who migrated south from Wisconsin in 1996. She is also a member of the Packer Backers, a group of approximately 200 Packers fans who meet at the HotShots on Manchester for every televised Packers game. The group met at a bar on Laclede’s Landing before the game, where Packers flags were flying high and cheeseheads were the headgear of choice. The most blue seen at many of the tailgates was an Aaron Rodgers jersey from his days at the University of California-Berkeley.
The Packers invasion wasn’t a welcome one for many Rams fans. Ramona Ellmer, a Rams fan, called the influx “horrible,” recalling the first time she attended a Rams-Packers game in St. Louis.
“I thought I made a wrong turn,” Ellmer said. “The entire Dome was filled with green and gold.”
Even Ellmer and her tailgate group was infiltrated by a Packers supporter. Justin Penberthy, who just turned 11, was donning a Green Bay hoodie and cheesehead despite the fact that both his parents are Rams fans. His father Del made sure to note that the younger Penberthy would be made to remove the cheesehead before entering the Dome.
“Every family has a black sheep,” Del Penberthy joked.
Still, it could be worse. The Packers fans have been generally courteous and “know how to party,” Ellmer said. Del Penberthy feared an even worse fate for his son.
“Next thing you know, he’ll be a (Detroit) Red Wings fan,” Penberthy said.
That makes the green and yellow invasion seem…welcome.