What do you get when you combine 220 diehard Giants fans on a private charter, a Super Bowl MVP, and a playoff game in Green Bay in the middle of January? You get Big Blue Travel.
Their 16th year of service, Big Blue Travel once again ventured out to The Frozen Tundra this past weekend for the Giants divisional round playoff game with the Green Bay Packers that ended in victory. As hundreds of New Yorkers descended upon Green Bay, here is a recap of their 72-hour journey:
FRIDAY 11:30 a.m. Fans check in at Atlas Airlines at Newark Airport and receive their VIP credentials for the trip. 1 p.m. President Mike Martocci leads the group of 220 people onto Big Blue One as it takes off for Green Bay. First of many "Let's Go Giants" chants erupts on the plane.1:37 p.m. Flight attendants come around serving drinks while Big Blue travelers get their pencils and paper ready for the trivia portion of the flight. Ten questions for 10 different signed pieces of memorabilia are asked. The bonus question was "How many yards did Ottis Anderson have in Super Bowl XXV as well as how many touchdowns?" To give the answer, none other than the MVP himself rose from his seat in the front of the plane and took over the emcee duties on the cabin's loudspeaker. After calling out a flight attendant who was an Eagles fan, Anderson regaled the passengers with his 102-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Bills in 1991. He then made his way around the cabin, chatting with the rest of the diehard fans as the plane continued west. 2:44 p.m. (Central Time) Big Blue One touches down on the frozen runways in Titletown, USA. 3:17 p.m. Travelers get their first glimpse of Lambeau Field in the distance from the buses en route to the hotel. 3:33 p.m. Buses arrive at the hotel. The rest of the day and night is free to roam Green Bay.
SATURDAY 2:45-3:00 p.m. Gather in the lobby for the transfer to Lambeau Field for tours of the stadium followed by a cocktail party. Talking to some of the travelers about why they chose to take the trip, a lot of them said it was on their bucket list to see a Giants playoff game, especially at such an historic venue. One traveler, Sharon from New York, said, "Baseball has Yankees Stadium. Football has Lambeau Field."3:26 p.m. Buses arrive outside of the Lambeau Field Atrium. Giants and Packers fans mingle as they take photos in front of the giant Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau statues. 4-6 p.m. Stadium tour groups embark. The highlight of the tour is walking through the players tunnel and onto the field. Meanwhile, both Green Bay and New York fans gather around TVs watching the 49ers-Saints game…Both sides clearly were rooting for San Francisco for a potential NFC Championship matchup. 6 p.m. As the tours wrap up, travelers take the escalators up to the Legends Club for an inclusive gala and cocktail party. Fans help themselves to food and drinks while taking pictures and speaking with Ottis Anderson on the eve of the Divisional Round bout. 7:02 p.m. San Francisco wins a thriller over New Orleans. "Let's Go Giants" breaks out once again and fans start planning (and hoping) for a possible trip out west in a week's time. 8:15-ish Party wraps up and the Big Blue travelers congregate at the Lombardi statue again for a group picture. Buses depart to the hotel and sights are starting to set on game day.
GAME DAY, Noon. Pregame party at the hotel ballroom. The anticipation builds as they check out of their rooms, load up the buses for the flight home, and head over to the stadium. 2:12 p.m. Feeling like players, the group buses make their way to Lambeau field for the game. 3:30 p.m. Kickoff. Giants win handedly, 37-20. Buses leave straight from the game to the airport and fans arrive back in Newark just in time to book another round to San Francisco.