For Elk Grove resident and retired Sac Metro Fire Department captain Curt Cozad, being a fan of the Green Bay Packers isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
The upstairs area of Cozad’s home is adorned with autographed and framed Packers memorabilia, accounting for a time span between the 1960s and present day. From Bart Starr to Aaron Rodgers, the walls in his Packers room, known as “Lambeau West” (a tribute to the team’s stadium in Green Bay, Lambeau Field) are filled with priceless and timeless artifacts from signed photos to game-worn jerseys and gloves.
And to think it all started with the color of a jersey.
“I’ve been a Packer fan since I was five years old. I started in 1963,” Cozad said. “What started it was the color of the uniforms, and I stuck with them through thick and thin.”
He began collecting Packers memorabilia in a more serious manner starting in 2004, which at the time consisted of items located in an office space within his home. Over time the need for more wall space grew, and Cozad converted the upstairs area of his home into a shrine dedicated to his favorite football team. Fortunately for Cozad, his hobby-turned-obsession was encouraged by his wife, allowing him to create one of the most impressive Packers fan rooms this side of the frozen tundra.
“I think I was really helped along by my wife,” Cozad said. “She’s enabled me quite a bit to get whatever I wanted to. Every year it would grow and eventually it outgrew the office. Then we moved it upstairs, and it’s almost outgrown upstairs now.”
For all the items taking up virtually every inch of wall space in the shrine room, there’s one particular item that not only stands out, but sparked the entire collection. A framed and signed game-worn jersey by Packers and NFL legend Reggie White is the centerpiece of the room and collection, and was certainly a no-brainer purchase according to Cozad.
“That was the piece that got everything rolling,” he said. “I got it at a really good price, and everything has snowballed from there.”
Cozad will be spending 10 days in the Green Bay area soon as the Packers are set to begin their training camp for the upcoming season. Training camp is the easiest way for fans to get an up close and personal look at their team, and is by far the best way to obtain autographs. Each year, Cozad attends training camp as well as a handful of games at Lambeau Field, and has mastered the art of obtaining autographs, or as he calls it, “The Hunt.”
“I tell everybody, it’s about the thrill of the hunt,” he said. “It takes patience, it takes perseverance, and it takes time. You may sit out there for six hours and not get anything.”
Although some fans may strike out at games or practices when trying to add to their collection, it certainly appears that Cozad does not have that problem.