DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – For the first time in 63 years, a Packers season won’t start with St. Norbert move-in day.
The Green and Gold’s longstanding relationship with St. Norbert College in De Pere was put to a one-year halt due to new NFL training camp guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditionally, SNC houses and hosts players for meals, meetings and other activities during Green Bay’s preseason schedule. It’s the longest standing such relationship in the National Football League, and as much as it does for the Packers, it impacts the Green Knights even more.
“People know St. Norbert College, a lot of times if for no other reason, across the country, because the Packers stay here,” said SNC athletic director Tim Bald.
But this year, the league is restricting the vast majority of team activities to each club’s individual facilities, as uncertainty mounts during the approach to the 2020 season.
If it weren’t for the NFL mandate, however, the Packers might have stayed at St. Norbert anyway, considering it’s such a controlled environment just 10 minutes away from Lambeau Field.
“There’s that comfort level of knowing, we know what it is, we know what we can do,” Bald said. “Coaches and administrators are creatures of habit, and I think that lends itself to a lot of it. We know what the plan is, we know what St. Norbert’s all about, so that part’s covered.”
This year, despite the change of plans, that consistency lends itself to a high likelihood the Packers return to St. Norbert in 2021 – along the ability to get away and focus in quiet De Pere.
“One of the novel things is, even after a Super Bowl year when they won it, how much this town just leaves them alone,” Bald said.
“They don’t mob them for autographs when they’re here, they just come and go. And it’s kind of like the Packers just let them do their thing and do their business, so I always found that to be interesting.”
Even without hosting part of training camp, the Green Knights will still support the Green and Gold. But like most everything this year, it’ll be from a distance.