Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tom Moore Gains a Few Yards

In a photo from the Packers-49ers game on November 24, 1963 at Milwaukee County Stadium, running back Tom Moore (#25) fights for yardage. This game was played despite some feeling it was inappropriate to proceed as usual in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination the previous Friday.

The NFL played its full schedule of games (untelevised due to uninterrupted coverage of the assassination), only two days after President Kennedy's assassination, while the rival American Football League (AFL) postponed its games out of respect for the fallen president. Rozelle soon came to regret his decision to have the NFL play, and frequently stated publicly that it had been his worst mistake. However, Rozelle and then-White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger had been classmates at the University of San Francisco years before, and Rozelle consulted with him. Salinger urged Rozelle to play the games. Rozelle felt that way, saying that "it has been traditional in sports for athletes to perform in times of great personal tragedy." He also said that football was Kennedy's game and the late president thrived on competition.

On that Sunday, the Packers beat the 49ers 28-10 in front of 45,905 fans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bart Starr Sells the NFL

A scan from a 1963 NFL promotional booklet is our subject for today. Besides extolling the virtues of every team in the League, and the benefits of playing for the NFL (instead of the rival AFL), several key players present their own testimonials to the job of playing professional football. Packers’ quarterback Bart Starr is one of the players picked to give his opinion.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Franklin Field

For the second day, we present a stadium of an opposing team that has Packer ties. Franklin Field in Philadelphia, PA, was the site of the 1960 NFL championship game between the Eagles and Packers. The Eagles won that day 17-13 — the only playoff or championship game lost by Lombardi’s Packers.

Franklin Field is the University of Pennsylvania's stadium for football, field hockey, lacrosse, sprint football, and track and field (and formerly for soccer).

It was also the home of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1958 through 1970. On August 23, 1958, the first Canadian Football League game played on American soil between two Canadian teams was played at Franklin Field, as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Ottawa Rough Riders, 13-7.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Metropolitan Stadium — 1962

Why, oh why would we be featuring a photo of the Minnesota Vikings’ original stadium — Metropolitan Stadium — on our all-Packers blog? Well, for two purposes. One, we love the old-time stadiums and the era they represent, and two, this is an aerial photo of the 1962 meeting between the Vikings and Packers. This is the October 14, 1962 contest between the teams, and the Packers won handily 48-21 in front of 41,475 fans in 75-degree temperatures.

Two other things to note are that the baseball season is now over and the Twins were not involved in post-season play, so the baseball infield has been sodded over for the rest of the football season. The same thing was done in Milwaukee County Stadium for Packer games once the Brewers’ season was over.

Also, this game is being played on the same day that American U-2 spy planes took photos of the build up of Soviet missiles on the island of Cuba. The “Cuban Missile Crisis” that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war began with those photos taken on this day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Kicking Lineman?

Yes... that’s Packers’ offensive guard Jerry Kramer (#64) kicking a field goal during the 1962 season. How many of today’s lineman could do that double duty? Kramer served as the team's place kicker in 1962, 1963, and part of 1968. In 1962, he kicked 38 out of 39 PAT’s and made 9 of 11 field goals for 65 total points. He also kicked three field goals and one extra point in the Packers 16-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL title game. Overall as the Packers’ place kicker, he made 29 field goals and 90 PAT’s, for a total of 177 points.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Defense at Detroit — 1963

In a season where they were not able to three-peat their NFL title because of two losses to the eventual champion Bears, the Packers face Detroit here in today’s posting. In the second meeting with the Lions that year in Tiger Stadium, Green Bay ended up tying Detroit, 13-13 in front of 54,016 fans on Thursday, November 28 — Thanksgiving Day. The previous Sunday, they had played the 49ers in Milwaukee after Pete Rozelle’s controversial decision that all games must go on despite President Kennedy’s assassination on the Friday before. They would win the final two games after the Detroit contest, but fall one game behind the Bears in the final Western Conference standings for a record of 11-2-1. In today’s photo, we see Henry Jordan (#74) ready to assist his unidentifiable teammate who has already wrapped up Lions’ halfback Dan Lewis (#45). Willie Davis (#87) comes in from the right to make it a gang tackle.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Coach Phil

Today we present another shot of head coach Phil Bengston on the sidelines, making decisions with the information from up in the assistant coaches booth. Formerly the defensive coordinator, Bengston — you may recall — had the particular misfortune of taking over for Vince Lombardi in 1968. In the next three seasons, Bengston’s Packers underwhelmed the fans’ expectations and compiled a 20-21-1 record.

After a turbulent 1970 season filled with labor disputes, blowout losses, and the final merger of the AFL and NFL, the Packers had only their second losing season since 1959. Thoroughly frustrated, Phil Bengtson resigned two days after being shut out in the season finale against the Detroit Lions. It was obvious the organization and the community craved the high standards of winning established a decade earlier.

The 1970 season was also the final season of Forrest Gregg as a Packer, a year later he returned home to play for the Dallas Cowboys where he joined his own former Green Bay teammate Herb Adderley.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Johnny “Blood” McNally

A 1930’s publicity shot of Packers’ great Johnny “Blood” McNally is our offering for today. McNally played in the National Football League for 14 seasons, with five different teams. In his prime, McNally was 6'1" and 188 lbs., known for his speed, agility, and pass-catching ability. He got his professional start in 1925 with the Milwaukee Badgers, where he became famous as the "Vagabond Halfback" for his off-the-field behavior and spontaneity. In 1926 and 1927 he played for the Duluth Eskimos, and in 1928 he played with the Pottsville Maroons. Between 1929 and 1936 he played with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he won four championships. In 1937, he moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers (then called the Pirates), where on his first play he ran back a kick 92 yards for a touchdown. He ended his NFL career in 1939 as the head coach of the Pirates. From 1950-1952, he coached football at Saint John's where he amassed 13-9 record during his three year stint.

McNally's spontaneous and bizarre behavior didn't stop with his football career. Upon one occasion, out of boredom, he climbed to the top of a train, walked to the engineer's car, dropped through the ceiling, and spent the rest of the trip entertaining the drivers.

In the Second World War, McNally served as a cryptographer in India. McNally returned to Saint John's at age 42 to finish his economics degree and write a textbook on the subject.

McNally was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. Johnny Blood's life and career are the basis for the character Dodge Connolly in the movie Leatherheads, which opened April 4, 2008. The character is played by George Clooney. McNally died in 1985.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

John Brockington in a Frozen Met Stadium

Today we see Packers’ running back John Brockington (#42) about to collide with or elude the Vikings’ Paul Krause during a frozen game on December 10, 1972. The Packers beat Minnesota that day, 23-7, in front of 49,784 frigid fans in Metropolitan Stadium — where the “Mall of America” now stands. In zero degree temperatures, with a nine-mile-per-hour wind making it feel like minus-eighteen, Green Bay clinched the Division title for the first time since 1967.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MacArthur Lane Gains Yardage

MacArthur Lane was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1st round (13th overall) of the 1968 NFL Draft. A 6'0", 220-lb. running back from Utah State University, Lane played in 11 National Football League seasons from 1968 to 1978 for the Cardinals, the Green Bay Packers, and the Kansas City Chiefs. Lane was a Pro Bowl selection in 1970 when he led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 11. During the 1976 season, Lane led the NFL in receptions with 66. He played in 41 games for the Packers from 1972-1974.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Scott Hunter in 1972

Scott Hunter played for the Green Bay Packers, the Buffalo Bills, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Detroit Lions. He played college football at the University of Alabama. Because of his similarities in pedigree with the aging Green Bay legend Bart Starr, the Packers drafted him out of the sixth round in 1971. Hunter played most of the 1972 season, leading the Packers to their last divisional title until the Brett Favre era.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

On the Bench

A photo close-up from the Packers’ bench is our photo offering for today. We believe it is from the 1960’s.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How The Scouts Watch Football

Today we feature an article in a 1962 Packers game program. It is written by Norb Hecker, Green Bay’s Defensive Backfield Coach of the “World Champions from 1961.”

On February 23, 1959, Hecker began his coaching career by signing as an assistant under new Green Bay Packers' coach Vince Lombardi. Inheriting a team that had won just once in 1958, Lombardi finished with a winning record in his first season, then narrowly missed capturing the NFL title the following year. In each of the next two campaigns, the Packers won the championship, then added another in 1965. The latter title resulted in Hecker being hired by the expansion Falcons as their first head coach on January 26, 1966.

Lombardi was initially pursued as the first Atlanta coach, but after deciding to stay with Green Bay, was asked for recommendations for Atlanta's first coach. At the time, Lombardi did not recommend Hecker and the Atlanta owner, Rankin Smith Sr., thinking Lombardi was trying to pull one over on him, decided to hire Hecker. The next three years would be an exercise in frustration for Hecker who managed just four wins in his 31 games at the helm. One bad omen of this misery came in the team's first-ever exhibition game when Falcons' kicker Wade Traynham completely missed the ball on the kickoff. Following the inaugural 3-11 season, the Falcons were plagued by injuries in 1967 and declined to a 1-12-1 mark, the lone win coming in a one-point midseason contest against the Minnesota Vikings.

When Atlanta began the 1968 NFL season by dropping their first three games, Hecker was fired on October 1 and replaced by former Viking head coach Norm Van Brocklin. After reaching a settlement on the remaining two years of his contract, Hecker accepted the defensive coordinator position with the New York Giants on February 12, 1969. He had also been under consideration for a post with the Redskins, who had just hired the previously-retired Lombardi.

Following a 6-8 season that began with the preseason dismissal of head coach Allie Sherman, the Giants came close to reaching the postseason in 1970 with a 9-5 mark. However, when the team slipped to 4-10 the next year and gave up 362 points, Hecker was fired on December 23, 1971. He resurfaced at Stanford University, first under Jack Christiansen from 1972 to 1976, then Bill Walsh the next two seasons.
When Walsh was hired as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 1979, Hecker came along as an assistant coach. After struggling for two seasons, the 49ers stunned the NFL by winning the championship in 1981, capping their turnaround season with a 26-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. San Francisco would go on to win three more Super Bowls, with Hecker eventually moving into a front office position until his retirement in 1991.

Hecker closed out his career in 1995 with the Amsterdam Admirals of the World League of American Football, handling both coaching and front office duties. He died of cancer in 2004.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Day After New Year’s in the Mud

Today we have a photo of the 1965 NFL championship game, which we’ve chronicled in the past. The Packers beat the Cleveland Browns that day, 23-12. It also was the last game for Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

1961 Championship Team

This photo of the 1961 NFL championship team is the subject of today’s post here at “Packerville.” The team finished with a record of 11-3-0, which was good for first place in the Western Conference. They steamrolled the New York Giants 37-0 in Green Bay for the title on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1961.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

1961 Pro Bowl Selections

The Green Bay Packers players that were selected for the “All-Star Pro-Bowl Game at Los Angeles” after the 1961 NFL title season are the subject of today’s post. No fewer than eight of Vince Lombardi’s men made the trip to join the Western Conference against the Eastern Conference on January 14, 1962. The “West” squad won by a score of 31-30 in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The Packers’ Henry Jordan (#74) was named the Western’s Most Valuable Player, while Cleveland’s Jim Brown was named MVP of the Eastern Conference.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

1961 Packer Finances

Today we present a page from the September 3, 1962 Bishops Charities preseason game program. This was a re-match between the Packers and the New York Giants, who had squared off for the NFL title game nine months earlier in Green Bay. The Packers won that match-up 37-0. On the day this program was sold at the stadium, the Packers once again beat New York 20-17 in front of 38,669 fans.

The page we’re featuring today depicts the Packers’ administration and directors, etc., as well as the corporation’s finances for the year of 1961. Being the only “publicly” owned team in professional football, they make their finances known each year, whereas the other teams guard these items of information.

This is particularly interesting to anyone who is a Packers’ Shareholder today and sees the costs and income of the modern NFL compared to the early 1960’s.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Administration in 1968

Finishing our posts from a 1968 game program, we see the Packers’ front office administration as it was the year that Lombardi retired from coaching and focused on being solely the general manager. What is curious is the listings of all the Packers’ ticket offices across Wisconsin, since games have been sold out to season ticket holders since 1960. Also shown is the Packers’ Executive Committee at the time, featuring some big names in Green Bay history.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Time Out

There will be a break in the blog through at least Sunday, due to travel.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Phil Bengston Show

Here is an advertisement from a 1968 game program for “The Phil Bengston Show.” All of the coaches from at least back to Vince Lombardi have had their own television shows. Usually produced by a local Green Bay station, the shows aired weekly to review the last game and provide a preview look at the upcoming contest.

Bengtson was a native of Roseau, Minnesota, and played tackle under Bernie Bierman at the University of Minnesota during the 1930s. In 1934, he earned All-America honors with the Golden Gophers, working in tandem with a player who would go on to coaching immortality: quarterback Bud Wilkinson.

Bengtson took his first assistant coaching job at the Missouri in 1935, but soon returned to his alma mater as line coach, staying through the 1939 season. Beginning in 1940, he moved to Stanford where he served as an assistant coach for 12 years. Bengtson moved to the professional level in 1952 with the nearby San Francisco 49ers.

In seven seasons with the Niners, Bengtson would serve under three head coaches (Buck Shaw, Red Strader, Frankie Albert) before being dismissed with Albert after the 1958 season. Soon after, he was one of the first four assistants hired in Lombardi's first week with the Packers in early February 1959.
Phil Bengtson would be the only assistant coach to stay during the entire nine-year tenure of Lombardi (1959-1967). His work as defensive coordinator of the Packers established his coaching ability and put him in line to succeed Lombardi. From 1961-67, the Packers captured five NFL titles, and the first two Super Bowls.

Bengtson did replace Lombardi following the 1967 season. His low-key approach was in sharp contrast to the often-volatile Lombardi. With the aging of key players, this translated into mediocrity for the franchise. Bengtson's Packers were 20-21-1 in his three seasons as head coach. After a 6-8 record in 1970, he was relieved of his duties, replaced by Missouri head coach Dan Devine for the 1971 season. Devine lasted four seasons with the Packers, moving back to the collegiate level at Notre Dame following the 1974 season. Lombardi's former quarterback, Bart Starr, became the head coach of the Packers in 1975.

Bengtson resurfaced with the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots, becoming the interim head coach of the Patriots in late 1972. Later, he was named the team's Director of Pro Scouting, staying through the 1974 season.

Phil Bengtson died at age 81 after a long illness at his home in San Diego on December 18, 1994.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Glory Years on Record

We present an ad today for “The Packers’ Glory Years” LP from a 1968 Green Bay game program. Featuring original game action and narration from WTMJ Packers’ radio announcer at the time, Ted Moore, this has become a favorite for those fans of the Lombardi era. In our “Packerville” collection, we have the original LP, a cassette version, and a more recent release on CD. It is a fine historical product that is very enjoyable to experience.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fans at the Airport

Related to our earlier postings of Packers fans greeting their team at the train station following big out-of-town victories, today we have a photo of early 1960’s fans meeting the team at Austin Straubel Airport.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lambeau Field Press Box

Today, we thought we’d show a photo of what the Lambeau Field press box looked like in the 1960’s. The new press box looks nothing like this, and is probably three times larger (we’ve been inside).

We would also like to acknowledge the correction sent in by one of our regular viewers — “Tom” — who pointed out that our posting from Friday could not be from the 1966 Packers-Vikings game. We don’t pretend to be perfect, but we do strive for historical accuracy. The photo is most likely from 1964 or perhaps earlier. He called our attention to the fact that the Vikings did not wear purple pants in ’66, and that Dan Currie did not play for Green Bay after 1964. Should anyone notice other mistakes here at “Packerville,” please let us know.

If we had taken more time to analyze the image instead of believing the original publication (“50 Years of Professional Football”), we might have caught the error ourselves.

Friday, October 03, 2008

1966 Viking Game Interception

We present today a fine image, with “the Packer defense striking again as #46 Hank Gremminger runs back an interception. Helping out are #58 Dan Currie, #74 Hank Jordan, and #24 Willie Wood.” This game took place on November 6, 1966, and the Packers lost that day, 20-17 in front of 50,861 hometown fans.

Please note: “Packerville, U.S.A. will be off for the weekend, due to travel.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ted Fritsch Takes on the Bears

Always aggressive and determined, Ted Fritsch charges through the Bears on September 29, 1946. The Packers lost to the Bears that day, 30-7. Playing from 1942-1950, Fritsch scored 37 touchdowns, 62 extra points, and 36 field goals. His longest field goal was 52 yards, still tied with Paul Hornung, Chester Marcol, Chris Jacke, Ryan Longwell, and current kicker Mason Crosby for the third-longest in team history. For the 1946 season, Fritsch rushed 128 times for 444 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 13 yards and one touchdown — plus one interception on defense.