Thursday, February 06, 2020

Hall of Famer Willie Wood Dies at 83

By Alex Butler  |  UPI
February 4, 2020

Feb. 4 (UPI) — Former Green Bay Packers great and Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Willie Wood has died. He was 83.

Wood died Monday at an assisted living facility in Washington, D.C., after battling an advanced stage of dementia for at least a decade, the team said.

"The Green Bay Packers family lost a legend today with the passing of Willie Wood," Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "Willie's success story, rising from an undrafted rookie free agent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is an inspiration to generations of football fans.

"While his health challenges kept him from returning to Lambeau Field in recent years, his alumni weekend visits were cherished by both Willie and our fans. We extend our deepest condolences to Willie's family and friends."

Wood played his entire 12-year NFL career with the Packers, joining the team in 1960 and retiring after the 1971 season. He won five NFL Championships, went to the Pro Bowl eight times and was a five-time All-Pro.

The University of Southern California product had 48 interceptions for 699 yards, 16 fumble recoveries and two scores in 166 NFL games. Wood led the league in punt returns in 1961, averaging 16.1 yards per run back, and his 1,391 career punt return yards are the most in Packers history.

The star safety mostly played as a run-heavy quarterback at USC, while spending some time in the secondary. After he was passed over by every NFL team in the 1960 draft, he sent several postcards to NFL franchises asking for a tryout. Legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi was the only one interested in signing Wood.

Wood never missed a game during his NFL tenure and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

"The game has lost a true legend with the passing of Willie Wood," Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker said. "He had an unbelievable football career which helped transform Green Bay, Wisc., into Titletown, U.S.A. Willie was a rare player who always fought to be a great teammate and achieve success. He entered the league as an undrafted free agent and became one of the greatest to ever play the game. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations."

Wood became the defensive backs coach for the San Diego Chargers in 1972 and was later the head coach of the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

Wood is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Friday, January 24, 2020

It Was Quite A Ride

The sting has worn off enough for us to be able to thank our team for the 2019 season.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Packers Thank You

Here is a full-page ad that the Packers placed in the Green Bay Press-Gazette and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (and perhaps other Wisconsin papers) this morning.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Doug Hart Passes Away at 80

Douglas Wayne Hart Sr.

Trout, Salmon and Bonefish around the world are swimming with less fear in their hearts after learning that the fly rod of Douglas Wayne Hart Sr. has finally been laid to rest. Doug died at age 80 on January 1st 2020, due to complications from Alzheimer's. Doug was a lifelong hunter, fisherman, father, business executive and Green Bay Packer. Doug had a zest for life, he enjoyed the outdoors, laughing, smiling, having a nip of Jack Daniels and being around family and friends.

Doug was born June 3rd, 1939 in Handley, Texas. Doug graduated from Handley High in 1957 and was a walk on try out for the Arlington State College football team where he obtained a scholarship and played out his college years. After failing to get picked up in the 1963 NFL draft, Doug received a call from the Green Bay Packers requesting he fly up for practice. Doug left Texas for Wisconsin (he had to ask someone on the plane to explain where Green Bay was). He played on the Taxi Squad during the 1963 season and was signed in 1964 where he played until 1971 having earned a World Championship title, two Super Bowl rings and a t-shirt proclaiming, "I survived the ice bowl!". Perhaps more profoundly he developed a sense of duty, discipline, purpose, tenacity, character and commitment to excellence he would carry with him off the field. Like many players on that team, Vince Lombardi's leadership had a profound impact on Doug's beliefs and life philosophies. Echoes of Coach Lombardi's words were heard by Doug's children throughout their lives (at times reluctantly).

In 1963, Doug married Arlington, Texas beauty queen and modern dancer Marilyn Kay (Lewis) Hart. Together they raised 3 strong, successful children, learned to navigate winters in the north and lost their southern accents. He is survived by: Marilyn, Tracy (Hart) Grandstrand, Douglas Hart Jr (Chip), Kelly Hart, son-in-law Corey Grandstrand, daughter-in-law Lucy Hart and grandchildren Blake, Damyan, Collin, Gabriel, Mila, best friend John Lunseth and packer buddy Jerry Kramer.

Following his career in football, Doug went on to become Vice President for Artic Cat snowmobiles and then President of Satellite Industries for 20+ years when he and Marilyn finally retired to Estero, Florida. Never one to sit still, Doug opened a fly casting and guiding business called, Fly Fishing the Flats. He obtained his Merchant Marines captains license and was tickled to know he may one day be called upon to guard the waters of the United States. From that point forward he demanded everyone call him Captain Doug (which may have been one of the reasons he and Marilyn divorced).

In 2006, Doug met Cindy Sheffield, who proved to be the salve to his soul. Cindy shared a relationship with Doug for 14 years. In 2013, Doug was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and his mental capacity diminished more each year. Cindy continued to provide love and support to Doug throughout this time period and was somehow able to resist his charm and daily proposals of marriage.

In 2017, Doug began to require full time care and companionship. He was blessed to meet two individuals that remained by his side for the next several years: Cindy's nephew Jason Curry and Mark Forsberg. As the disease progressed and Doug's needs changed, Doug moved into an assisted living facility. Both Jason and his wife Quincy provided companionship and care to Doug until his passing.

Doug was a living example of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps: he came from nothing and created a successful life for himself and his family. He had a good life filled with travels and excitement. We wish Doug well on this next great adventure. For those of us left behind, our lives will be dulled without the brightness of his smile and the sometimes startling and unexpected "yee-haws" in our lives.

In lieu of flowers please consider donations to Alzheimer Foundation of America or Trout Unlimited.

Friday, January 03, 2020

2019-20 NFL Playoff Schedule

Jan. 4, 2020
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans, 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots, 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)

Jan. 5, 2020
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:40 p.m. (NBC)

Jan. 11, 2020
Lower NFC seed at San Francisco 49ers, 4:35 p.m. (NBC)
Lower AFC seed at Baltimore Ravens, 8:15 p.m (CBS)

Jan. 12, 2020
Higher AFC seed at Kansas City Chiefs, 3:05 p.m. (CBS)
Higher NFC seed at Green Bay Packers, 6:40 p.m. (FOX)

Jan. 19, 2020
AFC Championship Game, 3:05 p.m. (CBS)
NFC Championship Game, 6:40 p.m. (FOX)

Feb. 2, 2020 
AFC champion vs. NFC champion, 6:30 ET (FOX)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy Ice Bowl Day!

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the legendary Ice Bowl — the NFL Championship game on December 31, 1967, played in frigid sub-zero Green Bay, Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve. It was the last championship of the Vince Lombardi era, and is consistently ranked as one of the top two games in NFL history. Please visit our comprehensive post on the 50th anniversary of the game here.

Watch the ENTIRE GAME HERE, with original radio play-by-play from WTMJ radio in Milwaukee. This is an incredible production, since the original television broadcast was recorded over later (standard practice in those days).