Tag Archives: Bart Starr

Coming Off The Bench, All we are saying, is give Brett Hundley a chance.

Brett Hundley Green Bay Packers

Yes fans, the season may be over, but let’s think positive that we’ve got a young man who can prove to be a winner. Let’s remember the great relief pitchers in Green Bay Packers history.

Zeke Bratkowski won 8 games including one in the playoffs in relief of Bart Starr from 1965 to 68.

David Whitehurst quarterbacked 16 wins between 1977 and 81 when Lynne Dickey went down.

Matt Flynn set single game records and passed for more than 2,500 yards backing up Aaron Rodgers from 2010 to 2013.
Let’s hope that Brett Hundley will soon join this illustrious company.  His name is Brett and he’s very the Majik Man’s old jersey, so knows what could happen. Our Super Bowl hopes may be dashed, but we can still make a run at the playoffs.
You can read the history of these great ballplayers in Stanton Greene’s books on Amazon. #Packers

Is the NFL throwing the ball more, but getting less out of it?

The answer is yes. The NFL passing game now dominates offensive strategy, but the excitement has gone out of the game as the short pass, or as we used to derisively call it back in the seventies, the dump pass, has taken over the game.

A dump pass is a short throw designed for an easy completion and guaranteed to pick up no more than 5 or 6 yards. In the seventies, the recipient was a running back coming out of the backfield. Today, it’s the slot receiver.

It’s a high percentage throw that’s about an exciting as a fullback diving up the middle of the line and it has supplanted much of the running game in the NFL. It’s also taken away a lot of the excitement from the game. No one throws the long bomb anymore. No one takes a chance unless it’s a Hail Mary at the end of a game.

Bart Starr was famous for throwing the bomb on third and one and faking the defense out of its shoes. Though the 1960s Packers threw the ball less than anyone in the NFL, when they did put it up, they got big numbers.

The result of today’s ultra-conservative passing game has resulted in incredibly high completion percentages, ridiculously low interception rates and made the game, all too often, a yawn. Here’s  a chart that demonstrates the decline of the downfield passing game using the number that tells it all, yards per completion. We begin in 1946, the decade the passing game began to emerge in professional football. The number cited is the yards per completion by the top, qualifying quarterback in the NFL every ten years through 2016.

Year       Yards Per Completion
1946       16.6
1956       17.4
1966       15.8 NFL
1966       17.5 AFL
1976       15.1
1986       14.9
1996       13.3
2006       14.7
2016       13.3

And here’s the entire league average for those same years.

Year       Yards Per Completion
1946       15.0
1956       12.8
1966       11.9 NFL
1966       13.5 AFL
1976       11.1
1986       11.5
1996       10.8
2006       10.7
2016       10.7

The decline of .8 yards per completion from 1986 to the present day may not seem like much, but it points out a steady decline that began in the Dead Ball Era of the seventies. Hiding within that current number is the fact that far fewer throws are being made downfield while the safety valve throw to a running back, another name for the dump pass, has also all but disappeared from the NFL. Consider this, in the seventies, quarterbacks on bad teams relied on the dump pass due to the bump and run defense which basically allowed defensive backs to mug wide receivers and racked up miserable numbers in the process, bringing the overall league average down.

On the other hand, teams with receivers able to get open deep like Cliff Branch in Oakland or Isaac Curtis in Cincinnati, gave those teams a more wide open attack which put them head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL. So that 11.1 average from 1976 consists of an inordinate number of 5 and 6 yard throws to running backs balanced by deep throw to wide receivers.

Today’s NFL has virtually eliminated the traditional dump pass, replacing it with 7 and 8 yards crossing patterns to wide receivers, but eschews the deep throw, meaning that today’s average is composed of fewer bombs. It would take a PHD with a Supercomputer to sort it out, but it goes something like this:

Throws to RB average 7 yards
Throws Downfield average 15 yards
League average 11 yards

Throws to Slot WR average 9 yards
Throws Downfield average 13 yards
League average 11 yards

Downfield throws average in the seventies were likely the result of 20 plus yard bombs combined with 10 yard possession catches while in 2016, completions downfield are much rarer and the average is the result of a higher percentage of intermediate throws.

I know, it’s a bit of tortured logic which I can’t back up and I doubt anyone can refute either, but it’s how I remember the game and tapes of contests from the seventies backup what I’m saying.

Examples of the long ball throwers

Joe Namath of the New York Jets had 2,816 yards on 162 completions for a 17.4 average in 1972 including a record setting 496 yards on only 15 completions with 6 touchdowns in a  44-34 shootout against Johnny Unitas in game two of that season. If you exclude the last two, miserable, years of Namath’s career, over his first 11 seasons he averaged an astonishing 15.1 yards a completion picking up 25,967 yards. Namath paid for this with one of the highest interception percentages and a completion average of barely 50%, though neither were terribly bad numbers in the AFL-NFL of the era. Namath took the Jets to the playoffs twice during those years and won Super Bowl III.

Bart Starr’s prime years from 1959 to 67 under Vince Lombardi saw him average 14.2 yards a completion with 20,099 yards while winning 5 NFL Championships. But while Namath was a true gunslinger and interception prone, Starr was also accurate, completing a league high 57.9% of his passes during those same years with the lowest interception rate of quarterbacks with comparable numbers.

By comparison, Tom Brady has averaged 11.7 yards a completion during his career in New England while winning 5 championships and has topped 13 yards a completion only once, in 2011 with 13.1. Drew Brees has averaged 11 yards a completion during his long career, with his best season 12.4 yards.

When you take away the chance of an interception by playing it ultra-safe, some of the adventure goes out of the game. The more high percentage throws you make, the less exciting the passing game becomes.

The NFL in the seventies could be a stifling bore with the dominance of defenses and the running game, but when they did put the ball up, it could be a blast as it was in the 1968 AFL Championship Game between the Jets and Raiders or when Roger Staubach bombed the Vikings in the first round of the 1975 playoffs. In the end, it’s just an observation and nostalgia, but it’s worth remembering.

Buy Stanton Greene’s Book Lombardi’s Men on Amazon Kindle and Paperback

Five Time NFL Champions

Congrats to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots on winning their fifth Super Bowl win. But amid all the hoopla, there’s one thing missing; an acknowledgement of the men who came before them. While Brady and Belichick have surpassed Terry Bradshaw, Chuck Noll and Joe Montana’s four Super Bowl wins, they have in fact, only equaled Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi’s accomplishment of winning five NFL Championships. To hear all the media blabber, you’d think the NFL didn’t exist before Super Bowl I in 1967 and that is sad.

And it’s not just the NFL, it’s the sports media in general. Whenever Sports Illustrated runs a piece about the history of the game, it usually cuts off its research at the 1970 merger of the NFL and AFL. I think it’s pure laziness. In a story about the winningest Quarterback-Coach combinations they ran a couple years ago, their 1970 beginning date conveniently cut out Vince Lombardi-Bart Starr and Hank Stram-Len Dawson who would have both been in the top ten even after half a century.

So while I give a tip of the hat to Brady and Belichick, it would be nice if someone in the media made even a small allusion to the fact that what they have done, has already been done fifty years ago in a little town in Wisconsin called Green Bay.

Read Lombardi’s Men on Amazon Kindle, the true story of every member of the 1960s Green Bay Packers

The Dan Devine Dilemma

hunterYou either loved him or you hated him and to listen to most of his ex-Packer players today, they hated him. But in 1972, when Green Bay won the Central Division Title, most of them, if not loved, at least backed their coach, while many the young men who played for Devine at Missouri and Notre Dame came away with a lifetime admiration.

So how do you reconcile the dichotomy? Is it just a matter of once the Packers started losing in 73 that his players turned on him? Not so. Many on the team backed Devine to the last pitiful gasp, a 10-3 loss on a muddy field in Atlanta in December 1974 that followed a week in which a vote of confidence had been called for in support of the coach by the faithful on the team, while the other half threatened to boycott the game in a mutiny. Though most Packer fans prefer to write Devine off as a villain of epic proportions in Green Bay history. the answer to the mystery of Dan Devine is complex.

In the course of researching my book, The Green Bay Packers The Dan Devine Years 1971-74, a common thread among the men who played for Devine is that they came away feeling he had deceived them, which is not a usual result of a player-coach relationship. Disappointment at failure, frustration and outright hatred, are not uncommon, but the phrase liar is an unusual one. I’ve heard it applied to NFL Hall of Fame Coach George Allen as well. What did Devine and Allen have in common? Like Vince Lombardi, they often used emotional ploys to motivate their teams, which is what led to some conclusions about the evolution and eventual devolution of Dan Devine’s relationship with his players in Green Bay.

Devine was a College Football Hall of Fame coach. And in order to succeed at that level, you have to be able to deal with adolescent young men who are often times little more than boys. In the process, Devine, no doubt, developed psychological tactics to motivate and manipulate his college players. Remember the Green Jerseys Game at Notre Dame? It sounds silly, but it worked. Devine employed these same devices in Green Bay to great success in 1972, but when the program went south on him in 73, it left a bitter taste in his player’s mouths.

So what happened? Just exactly what did Devine do or say that pissed these guys off so much? The common thread seems to be that he treated them like 18 year old college freshman instead of professional football players. Here’s a prime example. Devine was the first NFL head coach to schedule an off season mini-camp. At the inaugural session in 1971, he honked off the Lombardi veterans, who still numbered a dozen, by showing them film of his Missouri squad and telling them that this was how football was to be played. Oh-oh.

Devine struggled in the shadow of Lombardi. He did not pay proper homage to the great man either, complaining that it irked him to have to drive to work every morning on a street named for his predecessor. This unattributed expression of frustration may have been taken out of context or misquoted, but you get the idea. Lombardi had left behind an enormous legacy. It had devoured Phil Bengtson as it would Devine. But in 1972, Devine pulled off a miracle, coaching the Packers to 10-4 Central Division winning season. But the shine was off the trophy before the season even ended.

In the first round playoff game versus Washington, Devine took away the play calling duties from Quarterback Coach Bart Starr who had been n integral part of the team all year. The resulting 16-3 loss may have been inevitable as the Packers were overmatched on offense by the veteran Redskins’ defense, but it upset many of the players and led to Starr’s resignation after the season.

Another factor in the Devine-Starr season ending feud may have been that Starr was getting an inordinate amount of credit for the team’s success in the press and among the fans. Devine stated that he tendered a letter of resignation to the team’s Executive Committee after the season, an indication of the pressure he was feeling and pique he was already exhibiting, chafing, not only, under the legend of Lombardi, but the specter of Starr, the heir apparent in waiting.

Back to the 72 season, I’ve talked about that in detail in a blog you can find here, but to briefly recap, Devine benefited from a smattering of Lombardi veterans, including Dave Robinson and Ray Nitschke who provided locker room leadership as well as on field skill. Defensive Coordinator Dave Hanner, another Lombardi holdover, and Starr, who was the de facto offensive coordinator, or co-coordinator with Devine, were also major assets. But the strength of the team was a cast of young pros that included all-stars running back John Brockington, cornerback Willie Buchanon and kicker Chester Marcol. Youth dominated the team and according to contemporary newspaper accounts and quotes from the ballplayers themselves, Devine provided inspirational leadership.

By 1974, nasty, vendetta-like rumors about Devine’s personal life were swirling around Green Bay. Devine would later blame disgruntled ex-employees of the team. At the same time, a campaign to replace Devine with Starr was underfoot. All the while, Devine was employing a myriad of college tropes to attempt to motivate his team, which had in the span of two years, gone from one of the youngest in the league, to old by football standards.

What’s not common knowledge is that Devine was a tough coach in the Lombardi style, a man who sought to motivate by criticism and pushing his players hard, even taking his gripes about ballplayers to the press, which naturally didn’t sit well. Just ask Joe Montana who was benched numerous times due to breaking Devine’s stringent rules at Notre Dame. Ed Blaine, who played for Devine at Missouri in the early sixties and later for Lombardi, said that Devine’s style was much in the tradition of Lombardi, which in itself, was not uncommon in that era. He pushed his team hard and when it collapsed at the end of the 74 season, the players mutinied.

Still, nearly half the club was in Devine’s corner, including future Hall of Fame linebacker Ted Hendricks. A vote of confidence was held, but did not carry the day. Still, everyone thought he would be back to fulfill the last year of his contract in 1975. Instead, Devine shocked the team by leaving for Notre Dame the day after the season ended. Apparently, he did not even make an announcement to the team. They were informed through the press. You can imagine how the guys who’d backed him felt.

Devine had used a variety of contract extensions and carrot and stick, praise and demeaning tactics to motivate his players. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. It certainly had in 1972 and in key games in 1974 that included upset victories over Minnesota and Los Angeles who would meet in the Conference Championship Game that year. But when it failed, it failed big. Coupled with Devine’s callous farewell, it’s difficult to find a player willing to say anything good about him today, though there are a few.

Safety Jim Hill, who became an immensely successful broadcaster in California, has nothing but praise for Devine. Ted Hendricks remained a friend throughout the rest of Devine’s life. Then again, Ted got out of Green Bay after that one season and went to the Raiders where he was part of three Super Bowl Championship teams, while the rest of the Packers were stuck in Siberia, as Green Bay was known in those days. Scott Hunter, who suffered more than most from Devine’s carrot-stick psychology, is a class guy whose only public criticism has been concerning the play calling in the 72 playoff game. Most of those who supported Devine during his tenure, are now muted, saying tepidly that he wasn’t cut out for the pro game, while the majority are outspoken in their contempt for the man.

And then of course, there’s the infamous 1974 mid-season trade for John Hadl that cost the team a slug of draft choices. Devine’s early brilliance in drafts and trades was linked directly to Personnel Director Pat Peppler, who left for Miami after the 72 Draft. On his own in 73 and 74, Devine stumbled badly, scoring only once, though it was huge, when he scooped up Ted Hendricks for a song and a dance. And even when Starr failed to sign him, Hendricks defection to Oakland bought the Packers two number one draft choices in the days when the NFL was busy stomping down free agency.

But in strictly looking at Devine’s coaching in Green Bay, it was a mixed bag.  In 1972 and for much of 74, Devine did an outstanding job of coaching. 1971 and 73 were a washout and the team’s collapse at the end of 74 may have been a result of factors beyond Devine’s control due to an unprecedented battle for control of the team at all levels, from the locker room to the coaching staff and Executive Committee.

From this, a mythology of incompetence has attached itself to Devine in Green Bay and is perpetuated by his ex-players and the Green Bay sports press who are ever willing to let the former demi-gods of Green Bay make unquestioned statements and print them as fact. The Green Bay press has, in fact, gone out of its way to try and belittle Devine as a college coach as well; a thesis that does not bear out.

Devine was deeply flawed as  a professional coach, but he battled against almost insurmountable odds in Green Bay due to a fan base, Executive Committee and press that were worshiping at the altar of Lombardi. A less thin skinned individual might have handled it better, but the personality quirks that Devine is excoriated for in Green Bay, are virtually synonymous with college coaches who have achieved his level of success. Check out Woody Hayes, Frank Kush and Joe Paterno to name just a few.

Why do I continue to write about Dan Devine? Because his 72 Green Bay team was the one that made a Packer fan out of me for life and it seems that everyone still alive who was associated with that team is determined to rip it apart because of their personal issues with Devine. In the words of Don Henley and the Eagles, I think it’s time to Get Over It and instead of grousing, honor this amazing team and everyone involved with it, which includes Dan Devine. Thank you and that’s my rant.


Lombardi’s Men – The Green Bay Packers 1959 to 1967 Kindle eBook Trailer

Lombardi’s Men – A Biography Of Every Green Bay Packer From 1959 To 1967 & Their Lives After Football. The Ultimate Packer Book. Buy it on Amazon Kindle.

Lombardi’s Men – A Biography Of Every Green Bay Packer From 1959 To 1967 & Their Lives After Football Kindle Edition

Lombardi's Men
Lombardi’s Men – A Biography Of Every Green Bay Packer From 1959 To 1967 & Their Lives After Football Kindle Edition

It’s the cult of Lombardi. When writers talk about the men who played in Green Bay from 1959 to 67, they’re usually cast as supporting players in the life of Vince Lombardi with the asterisk that all of their success as professional football players and after was due to their association with the legendary coach, to which the players themselves would readily agree. But Lombardi himself would not be happy with this distorted history. He knew that once his men took the field, it was all on them. He prepared them, physically and emotionally, but the men on the field won the games and they continued winning after they left Green Bay.

We’ve all heard the stories of Bart Starr and Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Willie Davis. Among the accomplishments of just those few are bestselling author, Super Bowl Head Coach and board member of MGM Studios. But there were 108 men who played football for Vince Lombardi and each one of them contributed to the success that built the legend of St. Vincent and the Green Bay Packers. This book attempts to tell the story of all of those men. Among them are physicians, attorneys, nuclear engineers and a federal marshal. Two ended up homeless and battling to recover their lives.

Vince Lombardi has been the subject of dozens of books, but until now, no author has undertaken the mammoth project of tracking every player who took the field for him in Green Bay or written the narrative drama of every season game by game.

Stanton Greene has followed and written about the Green Bay Packers for five decades. He is the author of The Green Bay Packers The Dan Devine Years 1971-1974 and Brett Favre – Hall Of Fame A Game By Game Chronicle Of A Green Bay Packers Legend, also available on Kindle.

By it on Amazon Kindle

I Coulda Been A Contenda! The Green Bay Packers 1968 to 91

Ah, Marlon Brando’s lament from On The Waterfront. It brings to mind those God awful Packer teams of the 70s and 80s. To hear people talk about them, you’d think that they never won a game. But in reality, several of them were contenders, though sometimes for only a few games into the season. In the 24 years 1968 to 1991, the years between Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren/Ron Wolf, the Green Bay Packers posted 5 winning seasons, 4 breakeven and 15 losers with 2 playoff appearances. Within that dismal record, how many of those 24 clubs actually contended? Here’s the breakdown:

Phil Bengtson 1968-70 W-L 20-21-1


1968 – 6-7-1 – Despite the losing record, Bengtson’s first team finished only a game and a half out of first place behind the 8-6 Minnesota Vikings and were in contention until the close of the next to last game of the season.

1969 – 8-6-0 – The Vikings had become a powerhouse by 69, but the Pack hung tough, battling until a week nine loss to Minnesota dropped them to 5-4 and three games out of first place. Even so, they held together and finished with a respectable winning record.

1970 – 6-8-0 – After an ugly 40-0 opening loss to the Lions, Bengtson’s last club battled back pushing their record to 4-2 including an upset win over the Vikings. But the air went out of the tires the second half of the season as the Pack stumbled to a 2-6 record the rest of the way, prompting Bengtston to resign before the executive committee could fire him.

Dan Devine W-L 25-28-4


1971 – 4-8-2 – Rookie college coach Devine fielded a mixed bag of vets and rookies who never gelled. A 2-1 start gave brief hope, but the team sputtered 2-7-2 from there, never really contending, though they weren’t mathematically eliminated until late in the season.

1972 – 10-4-0 Central Division Title Lost in first round of playoffs. This club was never out of first place all season long. The only things that kept them from a serious run at the Super Bowl were an experienced quarterback and a wide receiver. Well, that’s a lot I suppose.

1973 – 5-7-2 – After five weeks Devin’s club was 2-1-2 with a defense that had given up only 60 points, but the offense was sputtering. The wheels came off in week six when All Pro cornerback Willie Buchanon broke his leg and the offensive line collapsed, giving up a record two safeties to the Rams Fred Dryer, who would find fame as TV’s Hunter. During a midseason stretch, the Packer offense resembled something out of the 1920s, barely topping a hundred yards offense in three consecutive games. Somehow they pulled themselves together enough to go 3-3 over the last six weeks, but this debacle would prove Devine’s undoing.

1974 – 6-8-0 – A 3-2 start that included an upset win over the Rams had hopes high, but a pair of close losses to division rival Bears and Lions and a blowout loss to Washington dropped them to 3-5. This was the year of the legendary Lawrence Welk Ah one and a two and a one, two, three trade for John Hadl at the trading deadline. When Hadl finally took the field, Devine looked like a genius as the Packers reeled off three straight wins including one over the division leading Vikings put the Pack back at 6-5 and only one game out of first place. But as usual, things went wrong with an 8 fumble performance on a wet field in Philadelphia that sent the team into a nosedive that ended at 6-8 with some of the players threatening to boycott the season closer in an attempt to force Devine out. Not to worry. Devine had already accepted the head coaching position at Notre Dame before the last game. He would go on to win a National College Championship in 1977 with Joe Montana at quarterback. The Packers would just go on losing.

Bart Starr W-L 53-77-2


1975 – 4-10-0 – This pitiful club started out 1-8. Nuff said.

1976 – 5-9-0 – With new quarterback Lynn Dickey in the fold, the Packers started 4-5 and were looking to make a run at respectability, if not the playoffs, when Dickey separated his shoulder, sending the team into yet another tailspin.

1977 – 4-10-0 – This bunch was beyond bad. They averaged nine points a game offense. Really, I’m not kidding. Dickey broke his leg in game nine, putting him out of action for two years. Unbelievable.

1978 – 8-7-1 Tied for first in the Central Division, lost on tie breakers – After roaring out of the gate at 6-1 with rookie catching sensation James Lofton, the rest of the league caught on to how to stop second year quarterback David Whitehurst, turning him inside out. They went 2-6-1 the rest of the way, but still managed a first place tie, losing the division because of a 0-1-1 record versus the Vikings.

1979 – 5-11-0 – Ugly.

1980 – 5-10-1 – After 12 weeks, the Packers were 5-6-1 and contending for a wild card playoff berth. And, guess what? The wheels came off. The worst of it was a 61-7 loss to the Bears.

1981 – 8-8-0 – After a 2-6 start, everything began to click. Going into the season closer, the Packers were 8-7 needing only a win over the Jets to earn a wild card slot. Final score Jets 28 Packers 3.

1982 – 5-3-1 3rd best in NFC during strike shortened season, won first round playoff game, lost in second round – Starr’s best team was 2-0 when the players went out on strike. After they came back, they were 3-3-1, but good enough to earn a home game in the first round of the playoffs where they creamed the Cardinals 41-16. They gave the Cowboys a merry ride in Dallas the next week, battling to the end in a high scoring shootout before going under 37-26. Hopes were high for the next season.

1983 – 8-8-0 – Going into the season closer with an 8-7 mark, the Packers needed only a win over Chicago to earn a wild card berth. Sound familiar? You should be able to figure out what happened next. Bears 23 Packers 21. Starr was fired after the game.

Forrest Gregg W-L 25-37-1

1984 – 8-8-0 – Gregg brought his tough guy act home to Green Bay after coaching the Bengals to the Super Bowl only three years earlier. No one was buying it. A 1-7 start put the Pack in last place. Though they stormed to a 7-1 finish and second place in the Central Division, they never contended.

1985 – 8-8-0 – How did that old Herman’s Hermits song go – Second verse, same as the first? A 3-6 start coupled with a 5-2 finish, second place, never contended.

1986 – 4-12-0 – Gregg cleaned house in the off season. Things were bad. Three of his players had been accused of sexual misconduct, two were tried and one convicted in three separate incidents. On the field, defensive end Charles Martin used Bears quarterback Jim McMahon for a  pile driver, attempting to plant him head first into the turf. Thuggery on and off the field. This team was an embarrassment in every way possible.

1987 – 5-9-1 – Another strike shortened season. Three games were played with replacement players. They went 2-1, the allegedly “real” Packers went 3-8-1. Gregg left town for his alma mater SMU, whose football program had been given the death penalty for NCAA violations. He never turned them around either.

Lindy Infante 24-40-0


1988 – 4-12-0 – Ugly

1989 – 10-6-0 Tied for first in the Central Division, lost on tie breakers – This was the year of the Majic Man and pass rushing linebacker Two Gun Tim Harris. It ranked right up there with the 72 squad for most fun during the desert years. The team finished in a first place tie with the Vikings, no, not a again, and, wait for it, lost the division on tie breakers. The following year the NFL expanded to a three team wild card playoff system, which if it had been in place in 89, would have let the Packers into the tournament. And these guys were giant killers. It’s hard telling how far they could have gone.

1990 – 6-10-0 – Majic held out for all of training camp and preseason and the team got off to a slow start. Just as he was playing himself back into form, he suffered a career crippling rotator cuff injury to his passing arm. The team eked out another win to push it to 6-5 before, guess what, the wheels came off, sorry, there are only so many clichéd metaphors we can use here, and the team stumbled out of the season with a five game losing streak. It should be noted that with the expanded wild card setup, an 8-8 mark would have been good enough to make the playoffs.

1991 – 4-12-0 – Yet another season that can only be described as butt ugly. Majkowski’s arm was shot and so was Infante’s career in Green Bay. A fellow named Ron Wolf was hired as general manager with a month left in the season. He was not impressed with what he saw and sent Infante packing.

Final Tally: W-L 147-203-8 winning, or rather losing percentage of 42%

So there you have it Packer fans, in 24 years, eleven teams never pretended to be a contender for even a month. Seven of this worst of the worst lost 10 or more games. Two teams, 70 and 73, contended till about midseason, four others, 69, 74, 80 and 90, made it about two thirds of the way through before they collapsed and seven actually got to the end of the season, or near it, still in the running in 68, 72, 78, 81, 82, 83 and 89.


The Green Bay Packers – The Dan Devine Years 1971-1974

The Green Bay Packers The Dan Devine Years 1971-1974

Visit the webpage for the best set of Green Bay Packers news and history links on the web.

Volumes have been written about the Green Bay Packers detailing virtually every aspect of their storied history except one, the two decades of folly that lay between the legendary reign of Vince Lombardi and their resurgence in the 1990s under Mike Holmgren and Ron Wolf. The most pivotal of those years were the four presided over by college football Hall Of Fame Coach Dan Devine. During those years, the Packers won what would be their only division title between 1968 and 1994. Their decline from that pinnacle was so inexplicable and precipitous that it has defied pundits for four decades, engendering a mythology in Green Bay that has defamed a brilliant coach.

The 14 Men Who Wore Five Championship Rings In Green Bay

We don’t write about football very much on this blog, but once in a while I notice a subject that’s overlooked elsewhere and decide to fill it in. It began when I read this excellent, but sad article about Vince Lombardi’s 60s Packers and their declining health. Afterward, I wondered how many of these men played on all 5 NFL Championship teams between 1961 and 1967 and couldn’t find the answer anywhere, so I did some research on my own and came up with this. 14 players not including coaches, who are slightly harder to track down, though we can obviously include Head Coach Vince Lombardi and Defensive Coordinator Phil Bengtson. In this era of free agency, that a core of 14 ballplayers stayed together for 7 seasons and won 5 Championships including the first two Super Bowls is a real nostalgia kick.

Bart Starr Quarterback
Elijah Pitts Running Back
Boyd Dowler Wide Receiver
Max McGee Wide Receiver
Fuzzy Thurston Left Guard
Bob Skoronski Left Tackle
Jerry Kramer Right Guard
Forrest Gregg Right Tackle

Willie Davis Left Defensive End
Ron Kostelnik Left Defensive Tackle
Henry Jordan Right Defensive Tackle
Ray Nitschke Middle Linebacker
Herb Adderley Left Cornerback
Willie Wood Right Safety

And let’s not forget Running Backs Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung  who played on the first four championship teams in Green Bay.  Marv Fleming Tight End played on 3 Championship teams in Green Bay and 2 more in Miami in 1972 and 1973.
Herb Adderley earned a 6th with the Dallas Cowboys in 1971.
Thanks to ProFootballReference.com for their invaluable resource and research.


1966 Green Bay Packers  Team Photo