Friday, January 08, 2021

NFL Wildcard Weekend

 

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

Saturday, Jan. 9

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills, 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks, 4:40 p.m. ET (FOX)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, Jan. 10

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans, 1:05 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints, 4:40 p.m. ET (CBS, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime)   

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC, Telemundo, Peacock)

First-round playoff byes: Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Saturday, Jan. 16

Sunday, Jan. 17

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Sunday, Jan. 24

SUPER BOWL LV

Sunday, Feb. 7

At Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Susan Lombardi Dies

Susan Lombardi (front), the only daughter of Vince and Marie Lombardi, has passed away at age 73 in Florida. She is survived by her older brother, Vince Lombardi, Jr. (right), who is 78. The following is a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article from 2012, written by Gary D’Amato. At the time, she had recently moved back to the Green Bay area:

A Lombardi revels in Green Bay life again

Susan Lombardi remembers growing up as Packers coach's daughter

By Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
December 8, 2012

GREEN BAY — She lived in Florida for more than 30 years and, sure, there was an upside. The weather. The beach. The sun warming her aching joints.

Home? No, it was never really that. Home was far away, and as the years passed she pined for it more and more. There are few things as powerful as the pangs of nostalgia for the best, most carefree days of your life.

And so, last December, at 64, an age when many retire to warmer climes, she went the other direction: north, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Back, in a sense, to the 1960s.

Her life had come full circle.

Susan Lombardi was home.

"A lot of my youth haunts are gone," she said. "But there's just something about this town and my youth that I couldn't let it go. I really believe that I couldn't have had the childhood I had anywhere else."

Green Bay in the '60s was a magical place. Vince Lombardi was building a dynasty the likes of which the National Football League had never seen and in many ways will never see again.

For his only daughter, however, it was the place where she rode her horse at Oneida Golf & Riding Club, where Hall of Fame football players treated her like a kid sister, where she shared late-night snacks with her father — sliced apples and cheese were a favorite — and ran into his arms when he returned from West Coast games.

It was the place where she once got a speeding ticket and her father went straight to the sheriff and growled, "Don't you ever give my daughter a ticket. You bring her home and I'll take care of it."

It was the place where she sneaked into bars, underage, for her first beers and players saw her and ran the Packers sweep for the exit, worried that she was spying for the old man.

"I wasn't going to rat on them," Lombardi said with a laugh. "I said, 'Stop running away from me. You tell, I get in trouble. I tell, you get in trouble. And the punishment is about the same.' "

Could a teenager have any more fun than Susan Lombardi had in Green Bay in the 1960s?

Paul Hornung, every schoolgirl's crush, hung out in her basement; she has a photo of the Golden Boy with his arm draped around her, an oh-my-gosh look on her face. She had her own car, a Ford Mustang convertible, red with a white ragtop, and an "entourage" - her girlfriends from St. Joseph Academy, many of whom have remained close through the years.

'A Very Hard Man'

That's not to say being the daughter of the most famous football coach in America was always easy. Vince Lombardi was as demanding on his children, Vince Jr. and Susan, as he was on his players.

"He was a very hard man," Susan said.

She rebelled. Her father wanted her to learn how to play golf; she hated the game. She'd tee off on the first hole at Oneida and then, when out of eyesight of the members, go do her own thing. When she complained about having to carry her clubs, he bought her a golf cart. She crashed it in a creek.

There were the parties. The drinking. The cigarette smoking, of which, as a former smoker who had kicked the habit cold turkey, he strongly disapproved.

Once, she was cruising in her Mustang, puffing away, when her father's familiar voice crackled over the radio: "Hi, this is Vince Lombardi. I quit smoking and so should you… " He was talking to her. She quickly snuffed out the cigarette in the ashtray.

"I did a lot behind his back, but he found out," Susan said. "I asked my mom (Marie) after he died, 'Did Daddy know anything I did when I was growing up?' She said, 'He knew everything.'

"I asked her why he never really came down on me and she said, 'Because he knew what it was like to live in a town of 60,000 where your father was god.'

"He gave me a lot of leeway."

Susan Lombardi never wanted to leave Green Bay. In 1968, her father helped find a job for her first husband and announced, "You're moving to Chicago."

"I cried," she said. "I didn't know why he was making us move. His exact words were, 'You'll figure out why.' It took me a long time to figure it out. It was time for Susan to grow up and be away from mommy and daddy."

When Vince Lombardi accepted the job as head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1969, Susan wanted to move her family - by then, she and her husband had a daughter, Margaret - to Washington. Vince told her to stay put. Then he went in for a hernia operation, and doctors discovered the colon cancer.

"He lived 68 days after that," Susan said.

A Move To Sunny Florida

She moved from the south side of Chicago to Schaumburg, Ill., and then to St. Louis after her husband's job got transferred. After 10 years, he lost his job and in the late '70s they moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to be close to her mother, who was living in Palm Beach.

Every year for the next 30 years, Susan Lombardi returned to Green Bay for one week to reunite with old friends. She had so much fun that when she went home she'd tell her three children, "Someday, I'm moving back to Green Bay." They didn't get it. What could Green Bay possibly have that Florida didn't?

Her marriage dissolved and she moved her children to Jacksonville. She taught neighbor kids how to swim at the pool in their gated community, and one of the mothers played matchmaker and introduced her to "J.T."

"After a couple dates I asked him what his name was and he said, 'James Taylor,' " Lombardi said. "I almost fell over. I said, 'You know, we had a pretty good ballplayer named Jimmy Taylor.'"

J.T. knew all about the '60s Packers. Jim Taylor was one of his boyhood heroes. But he had grown up in Modesto, Calif., spent 22 years in the Navy and semiretired to Florida, where he managed an apartment complex and drove a taxi. The last place he thought he'd wind up was Green Bay.

The move turned out to be his idea.

"We were here in Green Bay and I was happy," Susan said. "I smiled all week. We were in the hotel room one night and J.T. said, 'I've been giving it some thought and I guess I have to bring you home.'

"The kids had heard it enough times that when I announced I was really moving, none of them were in shock."

All Roads To Lombardi Ave.

Married now for four years, J.T. and Susan live in De Pere, a 15-minute drive from Lambeau Field. Their house is decorated with Packers memorabilia; iconic photos of Vince Lombardi grace the living room walls.

The weather is tough on her. She'll be 66 in February and has had both knees and both hips replaced. She needs the right knee and hip redone. She's got a bad shoulder. An orthopedic surgeon once jokingly asked her what position she played.

J.T. isn't crazy about winter, either.

"I've bounced around," he said with a shrug. "I can live anywhere and adapt."

Once in a while, Lombardi will get turned around in a newer subdivision, but it isn't long before she comes to a street she recognizes and finds her way. In Green Bay, all roads lead to Lombardi Ave.

The main thing is, she is back in the city she grew up in, grew to love… and never outgrew.

"Even though it has changed, I still feel that I live in that little, small town," she said. "The people are just different here. Friendlier."

She has a good relationship with the Packers organization but pays for her tickets to games.

"I think they've done a wonderful job of honoring my father and his players," Lombardi said. "I think a lot of that was (former general manager) Ron Wolf. He really appreciated the history and tradition here."

Often, she'll be in the grocery store or at the gas station and strangers will approach her.

"They'll say, 'You know, you look like Vince Lombardi,' " she said. "I say, 'Yes, I do look like him, because I'm related to him.' "

She smiled.

Yes, there it was. That familiar Lombardi smile. Home, again, in Green Bay.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Susan Lombardi On Favre, Others

Susan Lombardi touched on a number of subjects during a two-hour interview at her home in De Pere. Here are some highlights:

On what her father, Vince Lombardi, would have thought of Brett Favre: "Brett would have been my father's favorite quarterback. Not that he didn't think (Bart) Starr was wonderful. He built his team around him."

But what about Favre's sometimes reckless style of play and all those interceptions? "It wouldn't have happened. My father would have nipped that in the bud. If my father would have been coach during that Giants game (loss in the NFC Championship Game following the 2007 season), I'd have gone and hid in the basement, When he came home after a loss like that - which we didn't have that many - he was horrible."

On Reggie White: "Reggie was a great ballplayer. My father would have loved him. But he loved the ones he had."

On what her father would think of the current Packers: "He'd appreciate the Packers of today. Very, very much so."

On Christmas in 1960: "We went to play the Eagles (in the NFL Championship Game). My mother put up a tree, but we got on a plane and went to Philadelphia. My father had a pre-Christmas party and I walked in the room and I started crying because there wasn't a Christmas tree. My mother sent me to the ladies room to blow my nose. I came back and there was a fully decorated Christmas tree. Now, tell me where my father got that one?"

On politics in the Lombardi household: "I lived in a split house. My father was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. My mother was a Republican. When Kennedy and Nixon ran, my mother put Nixon signs in our yard. She did it as a joke. My father came home and ripped them out. They were mangled. He yelled, 'We don't put these signs in our yard.' Oh, they fought about politics."

On her last name: "I'm very, very proud of my name. I wouldn't do anything to shame it. He (pointing to husband James Taylor) is Taylor. I'm Lombardi. I won't give up my name."


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Our condolences to the Lombardi family and Susan’s friends.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

2020 Packers Team Photo

We haven’t seen this 2020 Green Bay Packers team photo on Packers.com, but it appeared on the back of the Packers Ticket Office Christmas card sent out to season ticket holders.

Week 17 Packers at Bears

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Packers at Bears Preview

Packers seek top seed in NFC, Bears try to make playoffs

Associated Press

January 01, 2020


GREEN BAY (12-3) at CHICAGO (8-7)

GAME TIME — Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST, Fox

OPENING LINE — Packers by 51/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Packers 9-6; Bears 8-7

SERIES RECORD — Packers lead 100-95-6

LAST MEETING — Packers beat Bears 41-25 on Nov. 29 at Green Bay

LAST WEEK — Packers beat Titans 40-14; Bears beat Jaguars 41-17

AP PRO32 RANKING — Packers No. 2; Bears No. 14

PACKERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (3), RUSH (8), PASS (9).

PACKERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (7), RUSH (14), PASS (6).

BEARS OFFENSE – OVERALL (25), RUSH (24), PASS (22).

BEARS DEFENSE – OVERALL (11), RUSH (15), PASS (13).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — The Packers have won five straight games and clinched the NFC North. They can lock up the No. 1 seed and a bye with a win or tie against Chicago, or a loss or tie by Seattle against San Francisco. ... Green Bay has won 18 of 21 against Chicago, including the playoffs. ... Green Bay has scored an NFL-leading 31.6 points per game. … QB Aaron Rodgers has thrown 44 touchdown passes with only five interceptions. He is one off his career high of 45 touchdown passes, set in his first MVP season of 2011. … WR Davante Adams is one of only three NFL players to have at least 100 catches and 17 touchdown receptions in the same season. The others are Cris Carter in 1999 and Randy Moss in 2003. Adams’ 17 touchdown catches are one away from Sterling Sharpe’s team record in 1994. His 109 overall receptions are three behind Sharpe’s franchise mark in 1993. … The Bears, trying to reach the playoffs for the second time in coach Matt Nagy's three season, would get in with a win. They can also make it with a loss if the Arizona Cardinals drop their road game against the Los Angeles Rams. And if both games end in ties, Chicago would be in the playoffs. ... The Bears could join the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals and 2014 Carolina Panthers as the only teams since the 1970 merger to make the playoffs despite a six-game losing streak. ... The Bears have won three in a row, beating Houston, Minnesota and Jacksonville. Those teams are a combined 11-34. ... Chicago has scored 30 or more points in four straight games for the first time since 1965. The Bears haven’t done it in five or more since 1956, when they did it in seven consecutive games. ... QB Mitchell Trubisky has a 99.3 rating in the five games since he returned to the lineup, completing 68% of his passes for 1,243 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. ... WR Allen Robinson has a career-high 100 receptions for 1,213 yards. Only Brandon Marshall (118 in 2012) and Matt Forte (102 in 2014) have caught more passes in a season for Chicago. ... K Cairo Santos has made 24 consecutive field goals, tying Robbie Gould's single-season franchise record in 2006. ... Fantasy tip: Rodgers is 20-5 against Chicago, counting the playoffs. And with plenty riding on this game, expect the two-time MVP to give the Monsters of the Midway plenty of trouble.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy Ice Bowl Day!

Today is the 53rd anniversary of the “Ice Bowl” — the 1967 NFL Championship game. Considered one of the top moments in NFL history, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 with a Bart Starr QB sneak touchdown with only 13 seconds left to play. 

The conditions were less than idea, according to the National Weather Service: “The game was played in brutal cold and windy conditions. The kickoff temperature in Green Bay was -13°F, with a wind chill of 36 below zero. Temperatures were so cold, in fact, that referees had to shout signals so that the metal whistles wouldn't stick to their lips. Even so, nearly 51,000 fans watched the coldest game in league annals.”

We’ve read extensively about the Ice Bowl, and there are varying accounts as to what the wind chill was at its lowest point. From the Packers’ perspective, the cafe under Ariens Hill is named “46 Below,” with this description: “This bistro is named in homage to the Ice Bowl, the legendary 1967 NFL Championship game at Lambeau Field during which the wind chill temperature famously plummeted to 46 below zero.”

Regardless, the game will live forever in NFL lore, but will one day be no longer remembered by the generation which attended it, watched it, listened to it, and read about it at the time. Hopefully, future generations of Packers fans will marvel at what happened that day, and at the ability of fans to watch the game in those conditions without any of the cold weather gear that came about decades later.

For any weather history geeks out there (from the National Weather Service):

— The coldest and longest cold stretch (nine days) during the 1967-1968 winter season began the day of the Ice Bowl. Seven of nine days during that stretch did not exceed 0°F.

— The winter in which the Ice Bowl was played (1967-1968) ranked 2nd all-time for the least snowiest (20.6 inches). The record is 19.2 inches during the winter of 1960-1961.

— The Ice Bowl ranked 1st all-time for the lowest average temperature for any December 31 in Green Bay: -6.5°F for the day.

— The Ice Bowl ranked 1st all-time for the lowest minimum temperature for any December 31 in Green Bay: -19°F reached just before midnight that evening.

— The Ice Bowl ranked 5th all-time for the lowest maximum temperature for any December 31 in Green Bay: +6°F reached at midnight early that morning.

Below are a few video screen captures of crowd scenes just before the game-winning play, from CBS live coverage, of which only a few minutes are know to exist. Networks routinely taped over broadcasts to save money, even if what they taped over was irreplaceable history. The “bottom line” is always the most important thing.

View our 50th Anniversary tribute to the Ice Bowl HERE.

See the 1967 NFL Championship game program HERE