Tag Archives: Vince Lombardi

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

Green Bay Packers Number One Draft Choices 1936 to 2017

Since the first NFL Draft in 1936, the Green Bay Packers have had 91 number one draft choices. Of those, 7 have been quarterbacks plus 2 tailbacks in the era when tailbacks were the forerunner of quarterbacks, 3 centers, 11 defensive backs, 14 defensive linemen, 19 running backs, 4 guards, 13 linebackers, 3 tight ends, 10 offensive tackles and 4 wide receivers. 2017 marks only the fifth time the team has not had a number one pick. Read about the epic successess and failures of the Dan Devine and Vince Lombardi years in our books on Amazon, now available in paperback and ebook.

Here’s the full list of Green Bay’s numbers ones by year.

Packers First Round Draft Choices

SEL #  PLAYER  POSITION  SCHOOL
2017  No Pick  —
2016  27  Kenny Clark  NT  UCLA
2015  30  Damarious Randall  DB  Arizona State
2014  21  Ha Ha Clinton-Dix  FS  Alabama
2013  26  Datone Jones  DE  UCLA
2012  28  Nick Perry  LB  USC
2011  32  Derek Sherrod  T  Mississippi State
2010  23  Bryan Bulaga  T  Iowa
2009  9  B.J. Raji  NT  Boston College
2009  26  Clay Matthews  LB  USC
2008  No Pick  —
2007  16  Justin Harrell  DT  Tennessee
2006  5  A.J. Hawk  OLB  Ohio State
2005  24  Aaron Rodgers  QB  California
2004  25  Ahmad Carroll  CB  Arkansas
2003  29  Nick Barnett  MLB  Oregon State
2002  20  Javon Walker  WR  Florida State
2001  10  Jamal Reynolds  DE  Florida State
2000  14  Bubba Franks  TE  Miami (Fla.)
1999  25  Antuan Edwards  CB  Clemson
1998  19  Vonnie Holliday  DE  North Carolina
1997  30  Ross Verba  T  Iowa
1996  27  John Michels  T  USC
1995  32  Craig Newsome  CB  Arizona State
1994  16  Aaron Taylor  G  Notre Dame
1993  15  Wayne Simmons  OLB  Clemson
1993  29  George Teague  FS  Alabama
1992  5  Terrell Buckley  CB  Florida State
1991  19  Vinnie Clark  CB  Ohio State
1990  18  Tony Bennett  LB  Mississippi
1990  19  Darrell Thompson  RB  Minnesota
1989  2  Tony Mandarich  OT  Michigan State
1988  7  Sterling Sharpe  WR  South Carolina
1987  4  Brent Fullwood  RB  Auburn
1986  No Pick  —
1985  7  Ken Ruettgers  T  USC
1984  12  Alphonso Carreker  DE  Florida State
1983  11  Tim Lewis  DB  Pittsburgh
1982  22  Ron Hallstrom  T  Iowa
1981  6  Rich Campbell  QB  California
1980  4  Bruce Clark  DT  Penn State
1980  26  George Cumby  LB  Oklahoma
1979  15  Eddie Lee Ivery  RB  Georgia Tech
1978  6  James Lofton  WR  Stanford
1978  26  John Anderson  LB  Michigan
1977  9  Mike Butler  DE  Kansas
1977  28  Ezra Johnson  DE  Morris Brown
1976  23  Mark Koncar  T  Colorado
1975  No Pick  —
1974  12  Barty Smith  RB  Richmond
1973  21  Barry Smith  WR  Florida State
1972  7  Willie Buchanon  DB  San Diego State
1972  11  Jerry Tagge  QB  Nebraska
1971  9  John Brockington  RB  Ohio State
1970  2  Mike McCoy  DT  Notre Dame
1970  16  Rich McGeorge  TE  Elon
1969  12  Rich Moore  DT  Villanova
1968  5  Fred Carr  LB  Texas-El Paso
1968  26  Bill Lueck  G  Arizona
1967  9  Bob Hyland  C  Boston College
1967  25  Don Horn  QB  San Diego State
1966  Jim Grabowski  RB  Illinois
1966  Gale Gillingham  OG  Minnesota
1965  Donny Anderson  RB  Texas Tech
1964  Lloyd Voss  DE  Nebraska
1963  Dave Robinson  LB  Penn State
1962  Earl Gros  RB  Louisiana State
1961  Herb Adderley  DB  Michigan State
1960  Tom Moore  HB  Vanderbilt
1959  1  Randy Duncan  QB  Iowa
1958  Dan Currie  LB  Michigan State
1957  Ron Kramer  OE  Michigan
1957  1  Paul Hornung  HB  Notre Dame
1956  Jack Losch  HB  Miami (Fla.)
1955  Thomas Bettis  LB  Purdue
1954  Veryl Switzer  HB  Kansas State
1954  Art Hunter  C  Notre Dame
1953  Al Carmichael  HB  USC
1952  Babe Parilli  QB  Kentucky
1951  Bob Gain  DT  Kentucky
1950  Clayton Tonnemaker  LB  Minnesota
1949  Stan Heath  QB  Nevada-Reno
1948  Jug Girard  HB  Wisconsin
1947  No Pick  —
1946  Johnny Strzykalski  HB  Marquette
1945  Walt Schlinkman  FB  Texas Tech
1944  7  Merv Pregulman  C  Michigan
1943  Dick Wildung  OT  Minnesota
1942  Urban Odson  T  Minnesota
1941  George Paskvan  FB  Wisconsin
1940  Hal Van Every  TB  Minnesota
1939  Larry Buhler  FB  Minnesota
1938  Cecil Isbell  TB  Purdue
1937  Ed Jankowski  FB  Wisconsin
1936  Russ Letlow  G  San Francisco

Lombardi’s Men – A Biography Of Every Green Bay Packer From 1959 To 1967 & Their Lives After Football Now Available in Paperback

The best selling Lombardi’s Men is now available in both Kindle ebook and paperback on Amazon.

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.

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.

Devine

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

Lost Packer Tickets

In this political season that so closely resembles 1964, I was browsing some headlines from 52 years ago and came across this. In the weeks in-between the Republican and Democratic conventions, the search for the bodies of the three murdered/martyred civil rights was ongoing while LBJ and company were cooking up the Tonkin Gulf incident that would convince Congress to give the administration unlimited funding for a no-win war as the Chinese and Soviets threatened intervention in Vietnam. And Goldwater seemed every bit as whacked out as Trump, though I would come to admire him, to an extent, as a senator in later years for his willingness to buck the party line. The world and the country seemed to be teetering on chaos. But out of all of this, what did I come across? Look closely, scanning to page two, take a look, lost Packer tickets! All I can think of is, did they ever get them back?196408-06-64Lost Packer TicketsL 08-06-64

The Green Bay Packers The Dan Devine Years 1971-1974 Kindle Edition

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.
In his time, Dan Devine was a lightning rod for opinion, generating either intense loyalty or extreme loathing. Some have called him the worst coach in Packer history, but his record belies that. He turned around one of the sorriest teams in professional football in a single season, earning NFC Coach Of The Year honors in 1972. But by the end of 1974, Devine had so polarized the Packers that a group of players had mutinied and threatened to try and forfeit the season closer. Even legendary quarterback Bart Starr had gotten in on the intrigue as he maneuvered to take over the Packers.
Devine also pulled the trigger on perhaps the worst trade in NFL history, giving up five top draft choices to the Los Angeles Rams for a sore armed 34 year old quarterback. Little remembered is his equally brilliant dealing which brought NFL Hall Of Fame linebacker Ted Hendricks to the Packers that same year.
Using contemporary sources, the author has pulled together a never before told tale of glory, ineptitude and intrigue that will shed new light on Devine’s tumultuous years in Green Bay. Plus a myriad of facts, trivia and statistics. A must read for Packer fans.
Cover