Green Bay Packers, professional football team and
one of five teams in the Central Division of the National
Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football
League (NFL). Under the league’s realignment
plan, which will take affect in 2002, the Packers
will move into the North Division of the NFC. The
Packers play at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin,
and wear uniforms of dark green, gold, and white.
The team, the NFL’s only publicly owned franchise,
takes its name from a local packing plant that provided
the club with uniforms in 1919. The Packers first
played on a couple of small fields in Green Bay and
then in 6,000-seat City Stadium beginning in 1925.
Eventually, the City Stadium capacity reached 25,000.
On September 29, 1957, the Packers dedicated a modern
$1,000,000 stadium with a 32,150-seat capacity. Subsequent
expansions and renovations have brought the Green
Bay facility, officially named Lambeau Field in 1965,
to its current capacity.
Off the field, the Packers remain a financially sound
and competitive and historically rich franchise. On
the field the glory years are back. In 1996, the Packers
returned to the top of the pro football world when
they won Super Bowl XXXI.
From 1929 to 1944 the Packers earned six NFL crowns
under head coach and team cofounder Earl “Curly”
Lambeau. A skilled halfback during his playing career,
Lambeau became one of only five NFL coaches with more
than 200 career victories.
After Lambeau left the team in 1949, the franchise
declined. During the 1960s, however, head coach Vince
Lombardi transformed the team into one of the most
powerful dynasties in professional football history.
Star-studded lineups featuring quarterback Bart Starr,
halfback-kicker Paul Hornung, offensive lineman Forrest
Gregg, linebacker Ray Nitschke, and running back Jim
Taylor captured five league championships in seven
seasons—a record unmatched in NFL history.
In 1996 the Packers put together a 13-3 win-loss
record behind quarterback Brett Favre and defensive
tackle Reggie White en route to a Super Bowl victory
over the New England Patriots. A season later the
Packers again reached the Super Bowl but lost to the
The Packers predate the NFL. The team was founded
in Green Bay on August 11, 1919, by two young players,
George Calhoun and Curly Lambeau. The Indian Packing
Plant, Lambeau’s employer, donated uniforms
and the use of an athletic field. During the team’s
first season in 1920, players earned their salaries
by passing hats among spectators.
In 1921 Lambeau’s Packers joined the new American
Professional Football Association, which soon became
the NFL. Lambeau played until 1927, becoming an early
master of the forward pass. Green Bay won three consecutive
league titles from 1929 through 1931, and three more
crowns in 1936, 1939, and 1944. Many of the club’s
players would later be elected to the Pro Football
Hall of Fame, including quarterback Arnie Herber,
fullback Clarke Hinkle, tackle Cal Hubbard, end Don
Hutson, guard Mike Michalske, and halfbacks Tony Canadeo
and Johnny “Blood” McNally.
Hutson, credited with inventing detailed pass patterns,
led the league in receptions eight times and in yardage
seven times. In 1942 he became the NFL’s first
receiver to amass more than 1000 yards in a single
season. With Hutson as his primary target, Herber
became the league’s first great long passer;
the two helped build one of professional football’s
first sophisticated offensive attacks. Lambeau left
the Packers in 1949 having posted 26 winning records
in 29 seasons, including 14 straight during one stretch.
The team’s stadium, built in 1957, is named
Green Bay experienced relative instability from 1950
to 1958, changing coaches three times and failing
to produce a winning record in any season. In 1959
former New York Giants assistant coach Vince Lombardi
took over the Packers club, which had just suffered
its worst season in franchise history. In his first
season Lombardi delivered the team’s first winning
record since 1947 and was named the NFL coach of the
year. In Lombardi’s second season the Packers
won the Western Division, and a year later the Packers
won the 1961 NFL crown.
Lombardi built strong lineups on both sides of the
line of scrimmage, and under his guidance the Packers
won five league crowns from 1961 to 1967. They also
won the first two Super Bowls, humbling two American
Football League (AFL) champion teams: Following the
1966 season the Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs
35-10 in the 1967 Super Bowl, and a year later they
beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14.
On the field, Bart Starr led the team. He collected
three passing titles and two Super Bowl most valuable
player (MVP) awards. Starr was among ten future Hall
of Fame members who played for Lombardi—five
each from offense and defense. Others included Paul
Hornung and Jim Taylor. Hornung ranks among the greatest
all-around talents ever to play the game. His 176
points scored during the 1960 season remain an NFL
record for the most points scored in a single season.
Taylor rushed for 1000 yards five times in his career.
During his nine seasons in Green Bay, Lombardi’s
teams won more than 75 percent of their games, including
nine of ten playoff contests. Lombardi’s .740
career winning percentage is the highest among coaches
with at least 100 victories.
From 1968 to 1992 the Packers appeared in the playoffs
only twice, in 1972 and 1982. Former players Starr
and Gregg each served stints as head coach. Notable
individual achievements during this period included
running back John Brockington’s three 1000-yard
seasons from 1971 to 1973, quarterback Lynn Dickey’s
NFC yardage title in 1983, and wide receiver James
Lofton’s five 1000-yard efforts during the early
In January 1992 the Packers hired Mike Holmgren,
a former offensive coordinator for the San Francisco
49ers, as the team’s head coach. Sparked by
wide receiver Sterling Sharpe’s 1000-yard seasons
in 1993 and 1994, Green Bay earned wild-card berths
to the playoffs. In 1995 the club won the division
crown and advanced to the NFC Championship Game, losing
to the eventual Super Bowl—champion Dallas Cowboys.
Wide receiver Robert Brooks broke the club record
for yardage that season; quarterback Brett Favre led
the league in passing yards (4413) and touchdown passes
(38), and was named player of the year.
Green Bay’s success continued as Favre threw
39 touchdown passes to lead Green Bay to 13 victories
and its second consecutive division title in 1996.
In the playoffs the Packers captured the NFC championship
and defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 in Super
Bowl XXXI. The following season the Packers continued
to dominate the NFC, with another 13 wins and the
Central Division title. After defeating the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers in the
playoffs, however, Green Bay faltered in the Super
Bowl and lost to the Denver Broncos.
1967 Super Bowl I Defeated Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10
1968 Super Bowl II Defeated Oakland Raiders, 33-14
1997 Super Bowl XXXI Defeated New England Patriots,
1998 Super Bowl XXXII Lost to Denver Broncos, 31-24
Club Records >>
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