Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Way Back to the Thirties We Go

We’re delving way back into the realm of the obscure here today in Packerville. Above is an “action” photo of Russ Saunders, who played for the Packers in 1931. Saunders, captain of San Diego High School’s 1925 Southern California champions, started as a blocking back for the University of Southern California in 1927 and played on USC’s first national championship team in 1928. Switching to tailback, he led the 1929 Trojans to a 10-2 record and was Player of the Game in the 1930 Rose Bowl. He passed for a then unheard of 297 yards, completing his first three passes for touchdowns, and ran for another as USC demolished favored Pittsburgh 47-14.

Saunders played one year of pro football, helping Green Bay win the 1931 championship, then became an executive with Warner Brothers. Russ was the model for USC’s “Tommy Trojan” statue.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mr. Bill Curry

Our photo for today features former Packers center Bill Curry. A 1965 graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in industrial management, Curry starred at center for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team from 1962 to 1964. Curry played professional football in the N.F.L. from 1965 to 1974 with the Green Bay Packers, the Baltimore Colts, the Houston Oilers, and the Los Angeles Rams. He was a Pro Bowl center with the Colts in 1971 and 1972. Curry was the starting center in three Super Bowls, for the Packers in Super Bowl I and for the Colts in Super Bowl III and Super Bowl V.

Curry is the current head coach at Georgia State University, which began competing in college football in 2010. Curry also formerly worked as a football analyst for ESPN and as the director of the Leadership Baylor program at Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Previously, Curry served as the head football coach at the Georgia Institute of Technology (1980-1986), the University of Alabama (1987-1989), and the University of Kentucky (1990-1996). He played football at Georgia Tech (1962-1964) and then played for ten seasons in the National Football League with four different teams: the Green Bay Packers (1965-1966), the Baltimore Colts (1967-1972), the Houston Oilers (1973), and the Los Angeles Rams (1974).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Here We Are in 1979

In our travels back through the Packers’ history, today we’re stopping at Milwaukee County Stadium on October 14, 1979. The Detroit Lions are in town to play Green Bay and we’ve just bought a program from a vendor out in the parking lot (can you smell the wafting scent of grilled bratwurst?). Let’s thumb through the program and see what was going on with the team in ’79.

Here’s some background on where the teams stood at this point in that season, and what was expected in the game.

Bart Starr was in his fifth season as Packers’ head coach, and he had a 23-40-1 overall coming into this contest with the Detroit Lions.

The kids’ might want to put a few of these items on their Christmas list. N.F.L. merchandise has come a long way since the late Seventies, hasn’t it?

A nice full-page photo of DE Mike Butler to cut out and hang with your other sports stars on your bulletin board.

Apparently part of a series, we have a fine illustrated portrait of DE Ezra Johnson.

The latest in 1979 gaming technology.

Here’s your 1979 Green Bay Packers numerically, with tiny portraits.

And here’s all the statistical data in roster form for your ’79 team.

This is an interesting article about how N.F.L. teams traveled in the olden days. There are some anecdotes about the Packers within the story.

This “Packers Flashback” looks back at the 1965 Western Conference Playoff. We hope the defender was flagged for interference on this play... or was mugging legal in those days?

The program finishes with some game action photos from the ’79 season. Here we have RB Terdell Middleton.

RB Eric Torkelson goes high on special teams to try and block a Minnesota field goal.

LB Rich Wingo hunts down Vikings’ RB Rickey Young.

On this 56-degree day at Milwaukee’s County Stadium, the Packers beat the Lions 24-16 in front of 53,930 fans, improving their season record to 3-4 as of Week 7. They would go on to finish with a 5-11-0 record on the year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kramer Leaves the Game

Today we see Packers guard Jerry Kramer leaving a game on the road because of what appears to be some sort of injury to his left hand/arm. During his career, Kramer had a few major injuries. Among these were surgery to remove sizable wood fragments embedded in his abdomen from a teenage accident, and a badly injured ankle suffered in 1961. In all, Kramer played in 129 regular season games; he also had 22 surgeries in 11 seasons, including a colostomy, which he described as “a horror movie that hasn't been made yet.” Despite these setbacks, Kramer was selected as an All-Pro five times (1960, 1962, 1963, 1966, and 1967).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Order Those ’63 Playoff Tickets!

Up for today is the letter sent out to Green Bay season ticket holders in December of 1963, encouraging them to purchase playoff tickets. Had the Packers not lost to the Chicago Bears twice that year, they would’ve likely won a third straight N.F.L. title. Then their season ticket holders could’ve enjoyed another championship game in Titletown, with the tickets purchased in response to the letter shown above. Alas, it was not meant to be, and the Bears went on to beat the New York Giants in the championship game following the that season.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The 1929 “Throwbacks” Team

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our U.S. readers of Packerville! In two weeks (December 5th), the Packers will wear the 2010 version of their “throwback” uniforms when they play the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field. The uniforms are modeled to be representative of the 1929 Green Bay team’s uniforms, which was the first Packers team to win an N.F.L. title. Above, we present a great panoramic image of the actual 1929 team.

Neither the Packers nor the New York Giants lost a game during the first nine weeks of the 1929 season. When they met at New York's Polo Grounds on November 24th, the Packers were 9-0-0 and Giants were 8-0-1. “Whether New York or Green Bay, Wis., will hoist the 1929 National Professional Football league pennant to the top of the flagstaff will probably be determined here Sunday when the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers, both undefeated teams, meet,” an AP report noted, adding “Although both the Packers and the Giants play other games before the end of the season, past performances indicated that tomorrow's game will be the crucial contest for the league's standings.” Verne Lewellen's pass to Herdis McCrary, and Bo Molenda's extra point gave Green Bay a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. A pass from Benny Friedman to Tony Plansky gave the Giants a chance to tie in the third quarter, but the point after failed, and New York trailed 7-6. Green Bay added two touchdowns in the last quarter to win the game, 20-6 to take a one-game lead. Neither team lost their remaining games; the Packers finished at 12-0-1, the Giants at 13-1-1, giving coach Curly Lambeau and the Packers their first league title.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1961 Pre-Championship Rally

Here’s the program from an event we’d not heard about before. Eight days prior to the 1961 N.F.L. championship game between Green Bay and the New York Giants, there was a Saturday afternoon rally at the Brown County Memorial Arena across from the stadium to salute the Packers and their accomplishments in that season. Many awards were given out, and the league’s commissioner, Pete Rozelle, was there as well. Here is the program from that event for your pre-Thanksgiving enjoyment.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Seasoned Packer fans will spot a couple of strange things in this photo from 1972. Rookie quarterback Jerry Tagge (left), a Green Bay native, works out with quarterbacks coach Bart Starr, who was an assistant coach for that single year. Tagge is wearing #14 before he switched to #17 for the rest of his stay in Green Bay. Why? Someone finally figured out that the #14 was Don Hutson’s number, which had been retired in 1951. Oops. The other thing that is strange in this photo is that this is the only known shot of Bart Starr wearing a helmet with a modern-style 1970’s face mask. Starr wore the single- and later double-bar face mask during his playing career. That helmet looks a bit small for you too, Bart…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wood Interception

Appropriately enough, after yesterday’s quality defeat of the Minnesota Vikings, we present a photo of Packers’ great Willie Wood having intercepted a pass against the same team many years ago.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wrigley in 1963

The photo above appeared in a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, showing our Packers playing the Chicago Bears in Wrigley Field in 1963. Football returned to Wrigley this past Saturday, when Northwestern played Illinois. The Bears played there from 1921 through 1970 before moving permanently to Soldier Field by the lakefront in downtown. The Wrigley football field ran along the third base line, and temporary stands were erected in the center and right fields to go along the East sideline.

The year this photo was taken turned out to be Chicago’s championship year, their last until 1985. The Packers lost twice to the Bears that season, ensuring that the Bears would win the conference.

How about that win today over our enemies from across the St. Croix?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bob Jeter

Robert DeLafayette Jeter, Jr., played cornerback in the N.F.L. most famously for the Green Bay Packers and later the Chicago Bears. He was raised in Weirton, WV where he attended Weir High School. He played college football at the University of Iowa. As a halfback with the Hawkeyes, Jeter rushed for a Rose Bowl record 194 yards on just nine carries, including an 81 yard touchdown run, another Rose Bowl record. Jeter was the 1959 Rose Bowl MVP.

Jeter was part of the Packers' teams that won the 1965 N.F.L. Championship and Super Bowls I and II. During this time, Packers defense led the league in fewest points allowed in 1965 and 1966, fewest total yards allowed in 1964 and 1967, and fewest passing yards allowed from 1964-68. In eleven seasons, Jeter had 26 interceptions for 333 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 25 yards.

After football, Bob worked for the Chicago Park District alongside former Big Ten (Illinois) grappler Patrick Heffernan, coordinating citywide sporting events for kids. His son, Rob Jeter, is the head men's basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His brother, Tony Jeter, played two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jeter died on November 20, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois of a heart attack.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The 1932 Green Bay Packers

The 1932 Green Bay Packers season was their 12th in the National Football League. After winning the N.F.L. title for three seasons in a row, the club posted a 10-3-1 record under coach Curly Lambeau, earning them a second-place finish despite winning three more games than the champion Chicago Bears. With only one loss, the Bears' winning percentage was calculated by the league at .875, as ties were discarded, compared to the Packers' .769. In 1933, the N.F.L. began an annual Championship Game to decide the league's crown.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moore Runs to Daylight

Green Bay running back Tom Moore takes full advantage of the huge hole opened by the Packers’ offensive line. Forrest Gregg (#75), Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston (#63), and Jerry Kramer (#64) are directly responsible for the yardage gained by Moore on this play against the Baltimore Colts in City Stadium.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Falcons Can’t Stop Anderson

In this undated photo, Green Bay running back Donny Anderson gains some yardage against the young Atlanta Falcons franchise. If it’s from one of the two games played in Milwaukee’s County Stadium in 1966 or ’67, the Packers whipped them pretty good both times. Looking on is tight end Marv Fleming (#81).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Losses in Packerville

Two players of the Lombardi era have left this mortal coil recently — Lew Carpenter (#33, above left) and Ken Iman (#53, above right). While not household names as some other players of those 1960’s teams, they contributed nonetheless to the glory years in Green Bay.

Carpenter, a versatile role player on Vince Lombardi’s earliest Green Bay Packers teams and later an assistant coach for the Packers, died Sunday. He was 78. He visited Green Bay during the team’s annual alumni weekend in September, played in 66 games for the Packers from 1959 to 1963. Wearing No. 33, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder played both wide receiver positions, tight end, halfback and fullback. Lombardi traded for Carpenter, a five-year NFL veteran, as he started to rebuild the Packers after being hired as coach in 1959. Carpenter and defensive end Bill Quinlan came to Green Bay in a trade that sent end Billy Howton to the Cleveland Browns. Carpenter was brought to Green Bay because he knew how to win. He was a rookie with the Detroit Lions when they won the NFL title in 1953. He won titles with the Packers in 1961 and 1962. He also played in NFL championship games in 1954 with the Lions, in 1957 with the Browns and in 1960 with the Packers. Carpenter played in the NFL for 10 seasons, starting with three seasons in Detroit (1953-55) and two seasons with the Browns (1957-58). He was in the Army during the 1956 season. His statistics with the Packers were modest. He had 64 carries for 359 yards and a touchdown, along with 17 receptions for 213 yards. He also had 28 punt returns for 339 yards and 18 kickoff returns for 348 yards. After retiring as a player, Carpenter immediately became an assistant coach in the NFL, starting with three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He was on Lombardi’s staff with the Washington Redskins in 1969. When Bart Starr became the Packers’ coach in 1975, he hired his former teammate as receivers coach. Carpenter also was in charge of the Packers’ passing game from 1975 to 1979, overseeing a powerful passing attack that included James Lofton, a future Pro Football Hall of Fame player. Carpenter coached the Packers’ receivers for 11 seasons, from 1975 to 1983 under Starr and in 1984 and 1985 under coach Forrest Gregg, another former teammate. He also was an assistant with the Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Oilers, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, retiring in 1994. An Arkansas native, Carpenter starred in football at the University of Arkansas and was drafted by the Lions in the eighth round of the 1953 draft. Survivors include his wife, Beverly Ann; four daughters and other family members. Services will be Wednesday night at Pennington Funeral Home in San Marcos, Texas.

Iman, the backup center for the Green Bay Packers on their first two NFL championship teams under coach Vince Lombardi, died Saturday at his home in Springfield, Pa. He was 71. Iman was signed in 1960 as an undrafted rookie out of Southeast Missouri State. Wearing No. 53, the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder played in 54 games for the Packers over four seasons, backing up starter Jim Ringo. In 1964, Iman was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for quarterback Zeke Bratkowski. He spent the rest of his 15-year NFL career with the Rams and was their starting center for 10 years, retiring after the 1974 season. Iman was offensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1986, then worked in sales for the Eagles. He had a serious heart attack about 10 years ago and had speech and mobility issues after that. Survivors include his wife, Joyce, who is an accountant with the Eagles. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stop ’Em, Defense!

Posting one image from the golden era of Packers football won’t make up for a Sunday without a Green Bay game here in 2010, but it won’t hurt either. Above, Dave Hanner (#79), Henry Jordan (#74), and Willie Wood (#24) put in some hard effort to stop a Baltimore Colts offense intent on scoring at City Stadium in the early 1960’s. With no game today, it was hard to cheer for the Bears to beat the Vikings, but that’s what happened. It would be better if both of those teams could lose when they play each other.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Last Sunday in Green Bay

We’ve been trying to get around to doing a large post of our trip to the Packers-Cowboys game last Sunday, and today finally provided the opportunity. Since there’s no game tomorrow (it’s the bye week), maybe this will inject some Green Bay Packers into your weekend. For those of you who live far away from Wisconsin, we’ll start off with what it’s like to drive through the state on the way to Titletown. Above, this is driving through Milwaukee, ready to take the exit and continue on 43 North towards Green Bay.

Heading North from downtown Milwaukee, with very light traffic. Usually, it’s much heavier for our “Gold” package season ticket games (mostly people from Milwaukee who had season tickets when they used to play in County Stadium). But on Sunday, we went up in the morning for the 7:30 p.m. game.

This is what you see mostly between Milwaukee and Green Bay along interstate 43. This is Wisconsin... this is the heartland... this is America.

After just over 3 hours of travel time, we’re here!

Let’s get off at the next exit.

Thar she blows! The mecca of pro football... Lambeau Field.

One of the reasons we came up early was to spend some quality time (and money) at the Packers Pro Shop at Lambeau Field.

We’ve seen this fellow at many Packers functions... from Fan Fest to the Shareholders’ Meeting, to game days.

People are starting to mill about around the Lambeau Atrium.

Things are pretty quiet inside the Atrium in the early afternoon.

Let’s go in the Pro Shop and see what they have that we can’t do without.

Two stories of everything Packers-related!

Need a jersey anyone?

Even thought the game is 6+ hours away, there are plenty of people hanging around.

Similar to Wrigley Field in Chicago, Lambeau is right in the middle of a residential area, so when you’re driving down Ridge Road, for example, suddenly there it is. How’d you like to have the Packers as your neighbors?

A few hours later, after settling into the hotel and watching the second half of the Vikings’ game on TV, it’s off to the game. Night games are always quite festive, and it’s neat to approach the stadium with all of the lights on.

Since it was the game a few days before Veterans’ Day, there were many military people on hand (as seen in the foreground above).

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” crew were set up behind the Cowboys’ bench area to do their pre-game broadcast.

Upon entering, each fan was given a yellow “Supporting Our Veterans” flag, which they were encouraged to wave for the cameras.

As at each home game, the Packers bring back alumni to be honored in the pre-game ceremonies and other events through the weekend. Above, Jess Whittenton was introduced. Whittenton was a playmaking cornerback for six seasons (1958-1964) in Green Bay, tallying 20 interceptions in just 88 games and recorded a career-high six interceptions in 1960. A three-time All-NFL performer and two-time Pro Bowler, Whittenton was a member of two Green Bay championships (1961 and 1962).

Tom Brown, a two-time Super Bowl champion, led the Packers defense for five seasons at cornerback. Playing in 70 games, Brown finished his career with 13 interceptions and six fumble recoveries. In 1968, he led the NFL with two non-offensive touchdowns — a fumble and punt return for a score.

Forrest Gregg, who was described by Vince Lombardi as “the finest player I ever coached,” played in 187 consecutive games (1956, 1958-1970). Named All-Pro eight times and selected to nine Pro Bowl appearances, Gregg was voted to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team in 1994. Gregg continued his career with the Packers as head coach from 1984 to 1987.

Members of the military hold a giant American flag for the National Anthem.

With the game underway, the Cowboys’ offense tries to get things going.

This is the NBC remote-control camera that can be flown all around the field on a series of guide wires.

The Packers’ offense goes to work.

Jon Kitna tries to get the ball off under pressure.

Working the other end of the field (near the south end zone), the Packers look to score.

The Packers’ defense goes at the Cowboys.

This is what is going on at the game while you’re watching commercials at home. Just a bunch of standing around.

Aaron Rodgers drops back for a pass.

Rodgers handing the ball off to John Kuhn.

Getting ready to let one fly.

Brandon Jackson gets his chance.

The Green Bay bench area.

The Cowboys approach the end zone with scoring in mind.

There’s one in every crowd.

Rodgers sees that it’s about time to get out of that pocket.

Along the Cowboys’ sideline.

Rodgers passing again.

Jon Kitna still trying to get the Cowboys going with the game well out of hand.

Scott Wells yells instructions to his teammates about the Dallas defense.

Rodgers passes again.

Breaking the huddle as the game is winding down.

Two of the Packers’ best current defensive stars — Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson.

That’s it! What a classic butt-whipping of a disliked opponent.

Some of the crowd hanging around after the game to savor the victory.

That’s it. It was back to the hotel, and then a morning drive home to get back to work. We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at game day in Green Bay.