Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine man shows Packers’ pride with rare collection of memorabilia

When Super Bowl XLV was played in Arlington nearly five years ago, Glen Christensen’s home became hallowed ground for Green Bay Packers fans.

There were 10 television stations that did stories on the Packers’ shrine and there would have been tour buses rumbling through his Grapevine neighborhood if not for a nasty ice storm.

“They were showing up at Willhoite’s in downtown Grapevine asking for directions to my house,” Christensen said. “They couldn’t get up the hill because of the ice.”

Still, Christensen estimates 200 people traipsed through his home that week, enough to cause the plaster on the ceiling of his garage to crack.

Though living deep in the heart of Cowboys’ country, Christensen’s mini-museum is considered one of the best collections of Packer memorabilia outside of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

There are mementos from all four Packers Super Bowl victories, autographed footballs and a life-sized statue of legendary Packer quarterback Bart Starr.

There’s also a 12-by-12 chunk of the Packers’ end zone turf from that 2011 Super Bowl in Arlington, when Green Bay beat Pittsburgh 31-25. Christensen tracked down the company that bought the turf and was planning to sell one-inch chunks for $100. He told them he wanted the “P” from the Packers’ endzone and was willing to pay.

“I don’t recommend this but I’ve had some people come in here, kneel down and kiss that turf,” Christensen said. “Have you ever looked at what players do on the field? They’re always spitting. No thank you.”

He’ll be in Green Bay Sunday

Christensen also has plenty of memorabilia from the Vince Lombardi days, including a bench from the Dec. 31, 1967, Ice Bowl between the Cowboys and Packers when temperatures reached 13 degrees below zero. The only other known bench from that game is in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

It won’t be freezing in Green Bay Sunday when the Cowboys play the Packers — forecasts call for rain and a high in the mid-50s — but Christensen will be at Lambeau Field, sitting in Section 407. He’s a Packers season-ticket holder and owns shares in the publicly owned team.

“I don’t miss the Cowboys-Packers games, primarily because of the lore of the Ice Bowl,” Christensen said. “Those games mean a lot to me, especially when they play up there. I had to deal with the Packers losing to the Cowboys over and over in the ’90s. It seemed like we were never going to win.”

Christensen comes by his Packer fandom honestly.

Born in Green Bay, his grandparents' store was just blocks from Lambeau Field, where he heard the crowds roar as a child. His mother was a majorette for the Packers during the 1940s.

He’s become more of a historian, marveling at how the small-town team survived.

He has Packers linebacker Ray Nitschke's contract that shows he made just $33,000 in 1968 and a Sept. 11, 1929, letter regarding the team’s ticket drive just weeks before the October 1929 stock market crash.

“If they hadn’t got the money in for those ticket sales, the team would have gone under,” Christensen said. “I’m blown away the Packers made it. When I read some of the history it was like, ‘Wow it was that close.’”

Finding a prized possession

One of his most prized possessions is probably one of the least valuable.

Sitting on a coffee table is an autographed football by Packers receiver Don Hutson, who played in the 1930s and ’40s with the Packers.

When Christensen’s brother, Craig, was born, Hutson brought the football to his mother in the hospital. Christensen’s father worked at Hutson’s car dealership.

For years, the ball sat in a bedroom that Christensen shared with his brother, Craig.

That football, along with his mother’s stories about her days with the Packers, probably helped fuel his desire to collect. His mother was the head majorette and baton twirler for the Green Bay Packer Lumberjack Band.

When Christensen moved to Texas in 1984 and started acquiring Packer memorabilia, the football disappeared.

“My brother was mad at me for moving down here,” Christensen said. “He sold it.”

As the years went by, Christensen kept telling collectors he was looking for the ball. About a year and a half ago, it was found in San Francisco, and a dealer sold him to it at cost.

“I cried when I saw it,” Christensen said. “It had made it home.”

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

Watch it

The Cowboys play at the Packers at 3:25 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised on KDFW-FOX 4.