The most obvious example of the Packers' poor luck in Veterans is their record: 0-6. That cruel run includes the following gems.
Eagles 10, Packers 9 – Sept. 9, 1997: When the Packers returned to Earth after the orbit of Super Bowl XXXI, they landed with a thud on the carpet and concrete surface of The Vet. A lackluster performance in Week 2 of the '97 season ended when a sudden cloudburst soaked then-rookie kicker Ryan Longwell's spot on the already slick turf. As time expired, he missed a 28-yard chip-shot, which stands as the shortest outright miss of his career. (He had 28-yarders blocked in 1999, 2000 and 2002) The loss ended a 9-game streak which peaked with the Super Bowl and dated back to a Nov. 18, 1996 loss to Dallas in Texas Stadium – another venue which could crumble without causing much duress up Green Bay way.
Eagles 31, Packers 0 –Dec. 16, 1990: Fighting for their playoff lives, the Packers were coming off a tough loss to the Seahawks when they limped into Philly. When they emerged, their postseason prayers were in ruins along with their pride. The loss was the worst shutout defeat in nearly 20 years and, fortunately, hasn't been matched in the 14 years since. Lowlights included Michael Haddix's team-best 31 yards rushing and a 1-2 quarterback punch of Anthony Dilweg and Blair Kiel, neither of whom approached 100 yards.
Eagles 36, Packers 14 – Dec. 1, 1974: Remember this one? Probably not. The Packers' forgettable John Hadl-led loss in their Veteran Stadium debut dropped them to .500 and started a three-game skid to end the season. They finished 6-8, posting back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since Lisle Blackbourn and Scooter McLean accomplished the task in 1957-58. The loss may have had a positive effect in the long run. It helped usher out the architect of the Packers' 70s demise, Dan Devine, who coached his last game with the Packers two weeks later.
Personally, I have my own crummy memories of The Vet. Crossing the field en route to the press box elevator in 1997, I tripped on a ragged seam and piece of upturned carpet. Funny thing was, it wasn't on the sidelines – the fairly obvious obstacle was near the middle of the field. Up in the press box, the conditions weren't as treacherous, but they were definitely gross. Souvenirs remained from the previous evening's Temple tilt. A few puddles of beer, overflowing garbage cans and a broken chair or two weren't as bad as the on-field obstacles. I wasn't one of the unlucky ones seated near the leaky window.
Like siblings who get their own rooms after years of begrudging sharing, the Eagles and Phillies finally get spaces of their own. The Phillies will open Citizens Bank Park April 12. The Eagles began playing in their new football-only home, Lincoln Financial Field, last season. Without going into too much detail, Packer fans know that a painful history has been forged there already.
The spot where the Vet once stood will become a 5,500-space parking lot. The Phillies announced they plan to paint an outline of the former playing field. While they're at it, they may as well add a symbolic chalk outline of a Packer. For Green Bay fans, that would be a fitting tribute.