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Packers' 'Frozen Tundra' won't actually be frozen for playoff game

CREATED Jan 4, 2013

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  • Photo: Jay Sorgi

GREEN BAY - "The Frozen Tundra at Lambeau Field."

It's a fun term to kick around, but say it to Lambeau Field grounds crew director Allen Johnson, and you might get a knuckle sandwich.

Johnson has been making sure the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field stays unfrozen for 16 years.

That might be easy in San Diego, but it takes a heck of a lot more work in a climate of extremes such as Green Bay.

This turf is no ordinary grass.
 
"We have synthetic fibers stitched into the sand," Johnson told Newsradio 620 WTMJs Greg Matzek. 

"They go seven inches deep.  They're spaced three-quarters of an inch apart.  In comparison to what we used to do in the past - sod as needed - we don't have to do that anymore."
 
Under the grass blend is a foot of sand, not dirt.  Sand is better for drainage.

Under the sand is a heated coil system that keeps the field thawed.

"They're plastic tubes.  They span the field.  They're about a foot deep.  They sit on top of a bed of pea gravel.  They're spaced about six inches apart.  They circulate antifreeze," explained Johnson.
 
But what happens if one of those coils springs a leak?
 
"It's happened once.  We had to dig the area up, depressurize the system and have the pipe fixed."
 
Anderson explained the kickers take a specific interest in field conditions, as does Mike McCarthy.

He can even picture the coach heading up a grounds crew of his own one day.

As for Anderson's yard at home, does he have any crabgrass?
 
"Not one piece.  It's OK."