The Green Bay Packers are one of the oldest football teams in the National Football League. They’ve got one of the most historic stadiums in all of football, and all that history lies in a small, midwestern town.
In 1919, Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun founded the Packers. The Packers have won 13 league championships! Nine of those were prior to the Super Bowl era, and the following four were Super Bowls.
Between 1929 and 1931, Curly Lambeau coached the Packers to three consecutive championships while setting a still standing record of winning 30 consecutive home games. Between 1935 and 1945 was the Don Hutson era. Hutson was an iron man athlete, playing both sides of the ball, and excelling at both. He led the league in receptions for eight seasons, and also, in 1940, he led the league in interceptions. His number 14 was the first number to be retired by the Packers organization and he was inducted into the pro football Hall of Fame in 1963. As you can see, the Packers started off rolling opponents over. However, it wasn’t always the way of the team, unfortunately! Between 1946 and 1958 there were dark days in Green Bay. Curly left in 1949, Lambeau Field was built in 1957, unfortunately, those are the only things of note to talk about in that time frame. Their record got continuously worse until, in 1958, under Ray “Scooter” McLean, the Packers dropped to an all-time low record of 1-10-1. Ouch.
That all changed on February 2, 1959, with the hiring of head coach and general manager Vince Lombardi. 1959 was their first winning season since 1947, eleven years of losing. Under Lombardi, the Packers shined, winning five world championships in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls. Lombardi acquired and coached some of the true greats of Packer history, including Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Carroll Dale, Paul Hornung, Forrest Gregg, and Jerry Kramer. In 1961, the Packers won their first championship since 1944, and that was the year that Green Bay officially got the name “Titletown.” In 1962 and 1965, they also won the world championship. Then, in 1966, the Super Bowl era began, with the Green Bay Packers winning Super Bowl I over the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10. In 1967, Lombardi’s final year as a Packer, was when the “Ice Bowl” took place. December 31, 1967, Lambeau Field, a rematch of the 1966 NFL title game, Green Bay Packers and Lombardi versus the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry. The game time temperature was about -15F degrees, with a windchill of about -48 degrees. The Packers won the game and went on to win Super Bowl II, this time against the Oakland Raiders, 33-14.
Again, another dark age for the Packers. From 1968 until 1991, the Packers struggled, having only five seasons over.500. I became a Packers fan around 1984 or so, right in the midst of this painful time. They went through five head coaches during this period, including a couple of players from the Lombardi hey day, Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg. One particularly low note was the drafting of Tony Mandarich in 1989. Just to get this in perspective, there were a couple of other players to choose from that year, such as a guy named Barry Sanders. Also available in the same draft were Deion Sanders and Derrick Thomas. But, the Packers went with offensive lineman Tony Mandarich, later dubbed the third worst football flop in history by ESPN. Go Pack Go!
In 1991, the Packers hired general manager Ron Wolf. This was a fun time to be a Packers fan. He, in turn, hired San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren as head coach and picked up the legendary Brett Favre. Favre replaced an injured Don Majkowski in September of 1992, started the following game, and never missed a start through the 2007 season. Holding multiple passing records, some good, some not so good, Favre is a household name in Green Bay and throughout the country. He led the Packers through an impressive 1996 season, culminating in the winning of Super Bowl XXXI, over the New England Patriots 35-21, which was their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl II. For a place nicknamed Titletown, that is a LONG time to go between Super Bowls!
Since this is a history of the Packers and not of Brett Favre, suffice it to say that after the 2007 season, Brett Favre was traded to the New York Jets, and thus began the Aaron Rodgers era. He started the 2008 season and had a rough go of it, just not able to win the close games, and the Packers struggled through a 6-10 season. After that dismal season, the Packers hired defensive coordinator Dom Capers and made the transition from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 defense. In 2009, the Packers turned things around and in Rodgers second year as a starter, the Packers went to the playoffs and lost a heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals in the wildcard round. Then, last year, they again made it to the playoffs as a wildcard, advancing to and winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25. Now, to this season. The Packers have been rolling over opponents, and Aaron Rodgers looks to be one of the best quarterbacks playing the game. The Packers are 7-0, just completing their bye week, and looking to continue their winning ways. I’m looking for a repeat!! Go Pack Go!!