With January weather comes winter conditions and for an outdoor stadium, that presents several potential obstacles teams need to be prepared for. That probably goes double for teams in the midwest, and for stadiums like Lambeau Field in Green Bay, where the Detroit Lions will be playing their Week 18 game against the Packers.
Last week, the Packers hosted the Minnesota Vikings and it was clear that several Vikings players did not come with the proper foot apparel, as they were consistently slipping and sliding all over the outdoor stadium’s field.
ESPN’s Vikings beat writer, Kevin Seifert, noted that “multiple people in the Vikings organization were irritated with how often players slipped on the Lambeau Field turf last week, especially those who didn’t wear the recommended 7-stud cleats.”
Luke Braun, host of Locked on Vikings, even went as far as to clip together a collection of slipping incidents from the game. Note, turn the sound on for some humor, leave it off if you’re in public:
now slip slip slip slide— Luke Braun (@LukeBraunNFL) January 4, 2023
(sound on )#vikings pic.twitter.com/0UtnJfICs7
At the Lions Friday morning press conference, our own Jeremy Reisman asked coach Dan Campbell if Detroit was taking measures to prevent the same situation the Vikings found themselves in.
“Oh, yeah,” Campbell replied. “Yeah, oh, yes. That’s been a big deal. So, I started the week with that. Put up a bunch of clips of players slipping at Lambeau (field), and that’s one of our keys to victory: wearing the proper shoes. And our guys know it, they’re on it—shoot, they’ve worn them the last two days, what they’re going to wear out there (at Lambeau), they’ve worn them on our (practice) field. So, it’s been good and we’ve got a pretty good work out there. The field has been a little moist here, it’ll be moist again today from some of the drizzle we’ve gotten, so really, we’ve got perfect conditions. The only thing is, it’s not quite as cold as it’ll be there, but it’s not like it’s not cold here (too). So, yeah, shoes are big. Slipping is not an excuse this week.”
So why are players reluctant to wear those bigger spiked cleats?
“They hurt,” Campbell continued. “It hurts your feet. It’s like putting rocks in your shoes and then going out there and running around. They just hurt, but that’s a small price to pay to keep your feet and not let your teammate down. They just don’t feel as good as the other ones, that’s the bottom line.”
Nolan Bianchi of the Detroit News, asked Jamaal Williams, a former Packer, for any insight on the field conditions at Lambeau and how to combat the slipping.
“Just put on the studded things and stop trying to look cute,” Williams responded. “That’s it. Just play with the field. I understand people are scared to put them on—I don’t know why—honestly, I feel like it helps a lot. That’s what helps me a lot when it’s raining and it’s muddy and all that. I’m like, ‘just put on the studders and go out there and play ball’ [...] We don’t want excuses, we want to go out there and perform, and go out there with a dub (win). We’ll be ready for the field.”
For those who fear the Lions suffering a similar fate, here’s what Jamaal Williams had to say about this:— Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) January 6, 2023
“Just put on the studded things and stop trying to look cute. … We’ll be ready for the field.” https://t.co/Mr3Tg7IDhk pic.twitter.com/Eut5GZ2sfR