By Nate LoCascio One of the NFL’s longest team traditions, the Upper Midwest Shrine Game kicks off its 69th installment Thursday night. It will be fourth time the Packers have faced the Steelers in the game (1953, 1958, 1996). Green Bay is 35-30-3 all-time in the Shrine Game. Each season, the Packers donate a percentage of the gate to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Shriners’ facilities provide specialized medical
services, helping children with birth defects and other injuries, at absolutely no cost. To date, the series has raised more than $4 million for the Midwest Shrine’s burn centers and hospitals for crippled children.
The series has called three separate stadiums home: Milwaukee’s State Fair Park (1950-51), Milwaukee County Stadium (1952-82, 1984-94) and Lambeau Field (1983, 1995-present). In his first season leading the Packers, Vince Lombardi made an agreement with George Halas to play in the Shrine Game annually. Green Bay and Chicago played each preseason at County Stadium from 1959-73. The Packers annually designate the Shrine Game as the first ‘Gold package’ game for season-ticket holders primarily from the Milwaukee area. The team created the three-game package after moving all of its home games to Green Bay in 1995. Also in the ‘Gold package’ this season are the contests against the Minnesota Vikings (Sept. 16) and the Miami Dolphins (Nov. 11).