Friday, April 30, 2010

Indeed, Who Can Stop Green Bay?

After a week of no posts (we apologize — time got away from us), we present another article from the Pro Football 1967 magazine we featured in our last blog entry. We hope you enjoy these looks back in time at how our team was covered in the Lombardi era.

By the way, don’t forget to vote in our weekly polls in the right hand column!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back to 1967

Today, after a couple of days off to enjoy the 2010 NFL Draft, we present a new feature here in Packerville. We’re digging back into our archives to share not just historic photographs of Green Bay Packers history, but also media coverage as it was at various times. We start with a football preview magazine from the start of the 1967 season, when the Packers were going to try and win their third straight NFL title. The focus of this issue — Sports Review’s 1967 Pro Football — was “Bart Starr — Is He Really That Great?” We’ll let you read the article and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Three Days ’Til Christmas — 1965

We are at the Green Bay Packers’ practice on Wednesday, December 22, 1965, as our team prepares to meet the Baltimore Colts in the Western Conference Championship. The game would be played the following Sunday at Lambeau Field. According to the Packers’ current media guide: “Don Chandler’s game-winning field goal, at 13:39 of sudden death, ended the Packers’ first-ever overtime game, and their only such Playoff contest until 2003. His 25-yard kick sent Green Bay to the NFL championship, after both the Colts and Packers ended the regular season 10-3-1.

“Chandler’s first field goal, a game-tying 22-yarder with 1:58 in regulation, remains controversial. Baltimore loyalists, led by coach Don Shula, claimed it sailed wide right. The kick, which flew high above the upright, actually triggered the League to extend the goal posts’ height for the following season.

“The Colts, playing without starting quarterback Johnny Unitas (knee) and his backup gary Cuozzo (dislocated shoulder), used halfback Tom Matte as a fill-in. Matte completed only five passes, but did gain 57 yards rushing.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

McGee on the Reception

Former Packer receiving star and radio color commentator Max McGee is seen today having caught a pass from Bart Starr and struggling with a Eagles defender. Also seen in this undated photo from Philadelphia’s Franklin Field is the Eagles’ Chuck Bednarik (No. 60), known as one of the most devastating tacklers in the history of football and the last two-way player in the National Football League.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

1940’s Field Goal

We travel further back in time today... twenty years more than we’ve been visiting lately. We find ourselves at old City Stadium behind East High School on Green Bay’s east side in the 1940’s. The Packers’ opponents have driven down the field, but have been held short of the goal line, necessitating the kicking of a field goal. We don’t know the date, opponent, or result, but we do find it a bit odd that the official closest to us has already signaled a successful kick before the ball has neared the goal posts. Perhaps there was a rule used in those days that we’re not aware of sixty-plus years later. Anyway, we hope the Packers won on this day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Award from a Fan

Today we visit the late Sixties again, and we see coach Vince Lombardi receiving what appears to be a home-made award from a Green Bay Packers fan. This would probably be after the 1966 season, when the Packers won their fourth championship of the Lombardi era by defeating Dallas at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day — January 1967. We wonder if that award still exists anywhere in Packerville...

Friday, April 16, 2010

From Behind the Purple Curtain

Since today’s blog update is being posted from the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis-St. Paul, we bring you an image of Packers’ fullback Jim Taylor running for yardage against the Vikings in 1961. Your Packerville staff is here on family business, and doesn’t feel a need to visit these parts during football season. It’s nicer to do it now in the Spring. We’re having a fine time, but still wish the Minnesota team nothing but the worst come September (with apologies to certain family members).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Huddle Up, Men

This is another great LIFE Magazine archives shot of a 1960’s Green Bay Packers’ huddle at a home game in Titletown, Wisconsin. Bart Starr, down on one knee and partially obscured at center, gives his teammates the play. We’d love to have a microphone in there — heck, we’d love to be one of the other ten guys standing there listening to the master.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Always Our All-Starr

There’s not much that needs to be said about today’s image... a photo of the Green Bay Packers’ legendary Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr in action. Five National Football League titles. That alone speaks for itself with no other stats needed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Ill-Fated Toburen

Head coach Vince Lombardi is seen today with Packers’ linebacker Nelson Toburen in this practice image from 1962. Toburen was a 14th round pick from Wichita State who played with the team for two seasons — 24 games in 1961 and 1962. He was the Packers' 14th-round draft pick out of Wichita State in 1961. His career ended when he broke his neck (according to the 1963 Packers Yearbook, it was a “serious back injury”) while tackling Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas in the Packers' 17-13 win over Baltimore at new City Stadium on Nov. 18, 1962. He spent a year in a body cast, then attended law school — with Lombardi’s kind help, some say — and became a lawyer and judge in Kansas.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

1962 Sideline

We take a visit to the 1962 Green Bay Packers sideline today, while they were visiting Chicago’s Wrigley Field — home of the Bears. Players that can be identified are RB Elijah Pitts (#22), LB Dan Currie (#58), G Ed Blaine (#60), and WR Gary Knafelc (behind Blaine’s left shoulder). This photo was taken on November 4th, when our boys manhandled the Bears 38-7 on a 30-degree day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Practice Huddle

Today we see coach Vince Lombardi listening in to the offensive huddle in practice to see that his plays are called correctly. This is on the Oneida Street field that is still in use today as one of two practice fields. This one is mainly used now for in-season practices, which are closed to the public. The newer practice fields, behind the Don Hutson Center, are used mainly during training camp.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sideline Pep Talk

Here’s another of our sideline shots, and we’re able to nail it down to either 1961 or 1962 now, because we believe that is Gary Knafelc sitting next to Bart Starr, listening intently to coach Vince Lombardi. Knafelc, as we’ve stated before, went on to become the long time P.A. voice of Lambeau Field, retiring just a few seasons ago. Another thing that we’ve pointed out in the past, and can be reiterated in this image, is the complete lack of Green Bay Packers licensed merchandise and apparel in the crowd. This is back in the days when you dressed up to go to an NFL game, and the gentlemen wore nice hats. How things have changed.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Coach and Quarterback

Who can get enough of great photos from the Green Bay Packers’ 1960’s sidelines at City Stadium/Lambeau FIeld? We know we can’t, and here’s another one from the LIFE magazine collection. Most of their photos, sadly, are not labeled by year, so we often have to guess or do some other sort of detective work. We’re just going to state that this one is from the early Sixties based upon Bart Starr’s single-bar helmet face mask.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Politics and Football

Two-term Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson, at left, is seen attending a Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions game with gubernatorial candidate John W. Reynolds, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and 8th District Congressional candidate Owen Monfils on October 7, 1962. Of these Democratic candidates, Reynolds won his election and served one term as Wisconsin’s Governor, while Monfils was defeated in his attempt to unseat Republican John W. Byrnes. On that day, the Packers barely squeaked out a victory over the Lions by a score of 9-7, on their way to a repeat NFL title from the year before.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Coach Watches His Last Game

Our image for today is an outstanding shot of Vince Lombardi watching his Packers play in his last game along the Green Bay sideline as head coach. It is January 14, 1968, and America is in the midst of the chaos of the late Sixties, but all is ordered and right with the Green Bay Packers as they defeat the Oakland Raiders 33-14 for their fifth NFL title of the Lombardi era.

In the first quarter, the Packers opened up the scoring with Don Chandler's 39-yard field goal after marching 34 yards on their first drive of the game. Meanwhile, the Raiders were forced to punt on their first two possessions.

The Packers then started their second possession at their own 3-yard line, and in the opening minutes of the second quarter, they drove 84 yards to the Raiders 13-yard line. However, they once again had to settle for a Chandler field goal to take a 6–0 lead. Later in the period, the Packers had the ball on their own 38-yard line and they made a big play with a play action pass. Starr faked a handoff in the backfield and then threw a pass to receiver Boyd Dowler. The Raiders defensive backs were fooled by the fake handoff, allowing Dowler to slip by the man covering him, catch the pass, and outrun the defense to score on a 62-yard touchdown completion, increasing the lead to 13–0.

After being completely dominated until this point, the Raiders offense finally struck back their next possession, advancing 79 yards in 9 plays, and scoring on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Daryle Lamonica to receiver Bill Miller. The score seemed to fire up the Raiders' defense, and they forced the Packers to punt on their next drive. Raiders returner Rodger Bird gave them great field position with a 12-yard return to Green Bay's 40-yard line, but Oakland could only gain 1 yard with their next 3 plays and came up empty when George Blanda's 47-yard field goal attempt fell short of the goal posts. Oakland's defense again forced Green Bay to punt after 3 plays on the ensuing drive, but this time after calling for a fair catch, Bird fumbled punter Donny Anderson's twisting, left footed kick, and Green Bay recovered the ball. After 2 incomplete passes, Starr threw a 12-yard completion to Anderson (who also played running back in addition to being the punter) to set up Chandler's third field goal as the half expired, giving the Packers a 16–7 lead.

At halftime, Packers guard Jerry Kramer said to his teammates (referring to Lombardi), "Let's play the last 30 minutes for the old man.”

Any chance the Raiders might have had to make a comeback seemed to completely vanish in the second half. The Packers had the ball three times in the third quarter, and held it for all but two and a half minutes. On the Packers first drive of the second half, Starr completed a 35-yard pass to receiver Max McGee (McGee's only reception of the game, and the final one of his career), eventually setting up Anderson's 2-yard touchdown run, making the score 23–7. The Packers increased their lead to 26–7 on their next drive after Chandler kicked his fourth field goal. Early in the fourth quarter, Starr was knocked out of the game when he jammed the thumb on his throwing hand when sacked by Davidson. (Starr was replaced by Zeke Bratkowski, who would be sacked on his only pass attempt.) But later in the period, the Packers put the game completely out of reach after defensive back Herb Adderley intercepted a pass from Lamonica and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown, making the score 33–7. Oakland did manage to score on their next drive after the turnover with a second 23-yard touchdown pass from Lamonica to Miller, set up by Pete Banaszak's 41-yard reception on the previous play. But all the Raiders' second touchdown did was make the final score look remotely more respectable, 33–14.

At the end of the game, coach Lombardi was carried off the field by his victorious Packers in one of the more memorable images of early Super Bowl history. It would in fact be Lombardi's last game as Packer coach and his ninth consecutive playoff victory.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Coach Lombardi Makes His Point

It’s 1964, and Packers coach Vince Lombardi is making his “point” known on the sideline of an unknown game. Comparatively, Green Bay had a “poor” season that year, although still posting a winning record at 8-6-1, and it would be the last year that they did not play in an NFL title game under Lombardi’s watch. They would indeed win the next three in a row — 1965, 1966, and 1967.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Yankee Stadium — 1962

From the 1962 NFL title game held in the frigid confines of New York’s Yankee Stadium, we present today’s photo of the Packers’ sideline. Head coach Vince Lombardi watches his defense in action with some of his offensive stars, the most recognizable being quarterback Bart Starr (#15), and tight end Ron Kramer (#88). The Packers were victorious that day 16-7, for their second consecutive NFL title.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Practice in the Cold — 1962

In a late-season 1962 practice, coach Vince Lombardi points to a spot on the turf that has some significance to Packers’ offensive linemen Forrest Gregg (to the right of Lombardi) and Jerry Kramer (far right). Attention to detail in both practice and games that year brought Green Bay their second NFL title in a row.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Lombardi’s First Victory

We’ve had a couple of posts before on coach Vince Lombardi’s first victory in 1959, with a photo of him being carried off the field by the players, but today we present the win as covered by the Milwaukee Journal. Above, a couple of fans rush to congratulate Lombardi after the game, a move that would get them arrested and an $800 fine these days. Here is the coverage of the game as reported in the next day’s newspaper in Milwaukee:

Lombardi's Sweetest

Victory Over Bears Crowned Coaching Career

By Oliver E. Kuechle, The Milwaukee Journal
September 28, 1959

GREEN BAY — Vince Lombardi has coached football a long time. Vince Lombardi has also won more than his share of games — big ones and little ones. Vince Lombardi never, though, has won any like Sunday's against the Bears. A whole career of coaching was crowned — 21 years of coaching. This was Lombardi's debut as a head coach in pro ball. This was his first game against a team Green Bay almost hates. And this was his victory, in the last seven minutes of play, after an almost unholy succession of frustration for 53 minutes. The nectar of triumph never tasted sweeter.

There was little question, just looking on, which was the better team on this day. Consider if you will the statistics: Green Bay 176 yards rushing, Chicago 75; Green Bay 101 yards passing, Chicago 96; Green Bay a punting average of 46 yards, Chicago 32 yards. And so on. Yet with only seven minutes left, Green Bay was not the best team on this day — on the scoreboard. Chicago was. The Bears led 6-0, on two long field goals by John Aveni, one of 46 yards with the wind and the other of 42 against it. Had the game ended so, George Halas, the Papa Bear, probably couldn't have run fast enough to escape the community pitchforks brought out to chase him out of town.

The Packers muffed opportunities until it hurt. They moved smartly most of the time against a team some think is the best in the western division of the league and then inexplicably and suddenly bumbled. On the very first play from scrimmage, after recovering the fumbled kick-off on the Bears' 20, they overthrew a simple pass with the receiver in the clear for a touchdown. They overthrew another pass a little later with the receiver in the clear again for a touchdown. They muffed simple field goals from 19 and 14 yard lines — missed them. They balled up another field goal attempt from the 26 when the man who was to hold the pass from center dropped it. They lost “position” in the midfield when a man attempting a fair catch fumbled and the Bears recovered. They had a short pass intercepted on the Bears five yard line. They lost valuable possession, and once “position,” too, when they dropped interceptions they should have had. The is Frustration Inc., for 53 minutes, but they hung in there — and they won.

(Milwaukee Journal editor's note: The Packers scored their go-ahead touchdown with 7 minutes, 15 seconds to go when Jim Ringo recovered Richie Petitbon's punt return fumble on the Chicago 29, leading to Jim Taylor's five-yard sweep for the score. Then, with 47 seconds left, Dave Hanner dumped Ed Brown in the end zone for a safety.)

The defense was immense, from the red dogging to the rush on the kicker, and the victory, as things finally turned out, revolved principally around it. When last were the Bears held without a touchdown — the Bears of Rick Casares' power, of Willie Galimore's speed, of Ed Brown's or Zeke Bratkowski's passing, of Harlon Hill's or Jim Dooley's receiving? They were held without a touchdown here and they were licked. Only once, really, did the Bears penetrate into a threatening position. They reached the 17 yard line in the first quarter and there on fourth down with a yard to go, they were swarmed over. Bratkowski was stopped on a sneak. The defense was magnificent.

The Packers themselves, and not unexpectedly after what they had shown in the exhibition campaign, came largely by land. They didn't exactly rip the Bears apart, for this was a good Bear defense, too, but they did enough to leave no question which was the better team on this day. It was almost appropriate that the touchdown which wiped out the Bears' lead should have been scored on the ground from five yards out. Jim Taylor was both the workhorse and the bomber of the day with 22 carries and 98 yards — and the game's lone but big touchdown. Paul Hornung gained 61 yards in 19 carries.

So the Bears were licked — the Bears, whom the Packers have played more than any other team in the league, the Bears who can stir this good community like a plague of measles and the Bears who for the last quarter of a century haven't lost very often in this little citadel of pro ball. Vince Lombardi has never had a sweeter victory.

P.S. Caution: One drink does not a jag produce or one victory, even if over the Bears, a championship. There's still a lot of rebuilding to do.