Green Bay Packers
The Origins of the Lambeau Leap and the Cheesehead
Ever wonder why Packers players always leap up into the stands after they score a touchdown? Or why so many Green Bay Packers fans are donning big pieces of cheese on their heads? When people think of the Packers, they think the Lambeau Leap and Cheeseheads. These are two of the greatest pastimes in Packers history, but where did these traditions come from???
Let’s start with the Lambeau Leap. Lambeau Field is named after the Packers founder, Curly Lambeau. The celebration is so legendary that even with the league’s strict touchdown celebration rules, this one stays legal. Surprisingly enough, the Lambeau Leap was first completed by a defensive player. Back on December 26, 1993 in a game against the Oakland Raiders, safety LeRoy Butler stripped the football. Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White scooped up the ball and headed for the end zone. However, an Oakland player tracked him down. Just as White was being tackled he pitched the ball back to Butler who took it in for the score. It was Butler’s first touchdown as a pro and he was so excited he pointed to a fan behind the end zone and leaped up over the wall. Several fans pulled Butler up into the stands and the Lambeau Leap was born. A few other things you should know about the Lambeau Leap; you can now purchase tickets in the “Jump Zone” where players perform the iconic celebration. It’s harder than it looks! At its highest point, the wall reaches 6 feet, 2 inches high. The player known as the best leaper of all time? Donald Driver, the ex-Packers wide receiver had over 40 inches of vertical leap and is heralded as the best at the Lambeau Leap.
Now for one of the more peculiar traditions in sports, the Cheesehead. The Cheesehead hat came to life out of a purely random event and while it is known largely as a Packers tradition, it was first worn at a Brewers game. Originally the “Cheesehead” name was a derogatory term the eventual creator read in a Chicago newspaper referring to the Brewers and their “cheesehead” fans. After seeing this, longtime Wisconsin fan Ralph Bruno created a cheese hat out of some extra foam when he was reupholstering his mother’s couch. He burnt some holes in it, painted it yellow, and had the perfect accessory to show off his love for his Wisconsin teams. When he first pulled it out at the Brewers vs. White Sox game in 1987 his friends thought he was crazy, but after a girl asked him to try it on Bruno had trouble getting it off his buddies’ heads. After that he quit his job and started manufacturing his Cheesehead hats. There are several different styles available now, but the original is still the most popular. Packers fans really made the tradition their own and you can see hundreds of Cheesehead hats being worn at every game.
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