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The Lambeau Leap is a celebratory jump into the stands located near the end zone after a Packers’s touchdown scored at Lambeau Field by the Packer who scored the touchdown.
Lambeau Field is an outdoor stadium located in Green Bay, Wisconsin; it serves as the home field for the Green Bay Packers. Building on the stadium was finished in 1957 and served to replace the old City Stadium. In 1965, the field would be renamed to Lambeau Field as a tribute to the franchie’s former long-time coach, player, and founder Curly Lambeau. It is currently the oldest continually operating stadium in the NFL.
No one is quite sure who is the first person to coin the phrase, but possibly one of the first people to mention it was broadcaster Al Michaels, who mentioned it during a Monday Night Football broadcast in 1996.
How The Lambeau Leap Got Started
It is believed that the very first person to execute a Lambeau Leap was strong safety LeRoy Butler on December 26, 1993 in a game the Packers played against the Rams.
Hall of Famer Reggie White was moving towards the end zone, with the ball in his hands, hoping to give the Packers a three touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter of the game. The Rams had just turned the ball over. He was about to be tackled and looked around for other options when he found Butler, and flipped the ball to him, who ran the ball in and scored his first touchdown. Butler jumped up the short wall that divides fans from the field, but could not quite get all the way up, but waiting fans helped pull him up to get him over the wall.
The Lambeau Leap is the only allowed celebration in the NFL, making it the stuff of legend.
The NFL decided it wanted to ban all excessive celebrations in the year 2000, commissioner Paul Tagliabue decided not to ban the Leap because it does not show up the other team, in his opinion. He felt that it showed appreciation for the fans being a part of the game.
It quickly became a tradition.
Most believe that the best “Leaper” is former Packers receiver Donald Driver.
In the years after Butler’s first Leap, a few players have failed to pull off a successful leap. Brett Favre teetered up on the wall in a game against the Cardinals. John Kuhn could not even get lift off. B. J. Raji hit the wall, never getting high enough. At least two opponents have tried the famous leap (Chad Johnson and Fred Smoot). Donald Driver even failed once in a Championship game against the Giants.
The Legacy of the Lambeau Leap
The Leap has been immortalize in song and dance by Robert Brooks (a wide receiver), which became popular in Wisconsin.
The Leap was named the second best touchdown celebration of all time by the NFL Network’s NFL Top 10 show.
There is even a statue outside of Lambeau Field where you can jump up and do your own Leap. It features likenesses of four Packers fans that are ready and waiting for you to leap up to them, a space in the middle for you, and a padded stadium wall; there is even a plaque that encourages fans to take part in the Leap, take pictures, get friends and family involved, and make the leap a legendary one.
You can also have your friends or family join in as though they too are fans and take pictures. All to allow Packers fans to get in on the fun of the Lambeau Leap, but this time, have them be the Packer that just scored a touchdown. Most believe that there is no better way for fans and players to interact with one another than the Lambeau Leap.
Lambeau Leap today
There are some horrors that go along with doing the Leap. The current prolific Leaper is receiver Randall Cobb who had beer, ketchup off the cheese curds, and popcorn spilled on him. Clorox decided to start a promotion to make a commercial on this quite unlikely marketing opportunity. They clean the jersey and make sure no one gets ketchup on the Cobb.