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1959 Green Bay Packers season
Head Coach Vince Lombardi
General Manager Vince Lombardi
Home Field City Stadium
Milwaukee County Stadium
Results
Record 7–5
Place 3rd NFL Western
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1958 1960

The 1959 Green Bay Packers season was their 39th season in the National Football League and 41st overall. The club posted a 7–5 record in the 1959 season under first-year coach Vince Lombardi to earn a third-place finish in the Western Conference.

It was the Packers' first winning season in a dozen years, the last was a 6–5–1 mark in 1947. Green Bay had just one victory during the previous season in 1958 with the worst record in the 12-team league, and were 3–9 in 1957, tied for worst.

OffseasonEdit

NFL DraftEdit

Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team
11Randy DuncanQuarterbackIowa
213Alex HawkinsBackSouth Carolina
325Boyd DowlerWide ReceiverColorado
555Andy CverckoGuardNorthwestern
661Willie TaylorCenterFlorida A&M
773Bobby JacksonBackAlabama
783Gary RaidTackleWillamette
885Buddy MayfieldEndSouth Carolina
895Bob LarabaBackTexas Western
997George DixonBackBridgeport
10109Sam TuccioTackleSouthern Miss
11121Bob WebbBackSt. Ambrose
12133Larry HallGuardMissouri Valley
13145Jim HurdBackAlbion
14157Ken KerrGuardArizona State
15169Dick TeteakGuardWisconsin
16181Dan EdgingtonEndFlorida
17193Tom SeculesBackWilliam & Mary
18205Dick NearentsTackleEastern Washington
19217Bill ButlerSafetyChattanooga
20229Charley SampleBackArkansas
21241Dave SmithBackRipon (WI)
22253Charlie AndersonEndDrake
23265Ben LawverTackleLewis & Clark
24277Joe HergertCenterFlorida
25289Leroy HardeeBackFlorida A&M
26301Ken HigginbothamEndTrinity (TX)
27313Timothy BrownRunning BackBall State
28325Jerry EppsGuardWest Texas State
29337Jack FlaraBackPittsburgh
30349Dick EmerichTackleWest Chester
  • Yellow indicates a future Pro Bowl selection

The Lombardi Era beginsEdit

On February 4, 1959, Vince Lombardi seized his opportunity and began building his football dynasty in Green Bay. He arrived after both phases of the draft (December 1 and January 21),[1][2][3] and started by trading away the Packers' best receiver of the decade, Billy Howton, to the Cleveland Browns. To bring some much-needed leadership to the defensive backfield, Lombardi obtained future Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell from the New York Giants. He also acquired Fuzzy Thurston from the Baltimore Colts and defensive tackle Henry Jordan from Cleveland by the start of training camp. In all, 16 veterans from the previous season were sent packing as Lombardi installed a new attitude in the Packers' locker room.

Training campEdit

Lombardi borrowed from the Giants model — the players had to feel like champions. The team traveled first class under the philosophy that "you can't be a winner unless you feel like one." The change in culture was pronounced. Lombardi had to find a quarterback, and he was resistant to making Bart Starr the quarterback. Starr was in his fourth year in the league and hadn't won a game in which he'd played four quarters. "Did Bart tell you how bad he was?" a player was to later quip to biographer John Eisenberg. Former Razorback Lamar McHan beat out Starr, while veteran Babe Parilli was cut in mid-September, along with rookie running back Alex Hawkins, the thirteenth overall selection in the 1959 NFL Draft.[4]

Master planEdit

Through his now legendary coaching style, Lombardi whipped the underachieving Packers into instant winners. He set his plan immediately into action at his very first team meeting. "I have never been on a losing team, gentlemen, and I do not intend to start now!"

Dramatic improvementEdit

The results of Lombardi's approach were dramatic. In the season opener against the Chicago Bears, the Packers held on to win 9–6 and celebrated the victory by carrying their new head coach off the field. In his first year on the sidelines, the Packers posted their first winning record since 1947. The team's quick turnaround netted Lombardi unanimous honors as NFL coach of the year.

ScheduleEdit

PreseasonEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
1 August 15, 1959 Chicago Bears L 16–19 Milwaukee County Stadium
28,286
2 August 23, 1959 at San Francisco 49ers W 24–17 Kezar Stadium
18,916
3 August 29, 1959 Philadelphia Eagles W 45–28 Portland, OR
25,456
4 September 5, 1959 New York Giants L 0-14 Bangor, ME
20,000
5 September 12, 1959 at Washington Redskins W 20–13 Winston-Salem, NC
15,000
6 September 20, 1959 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 13–10 Minneapolis, MN
18,081

Regular SeasonEdit

Lombardi's first regular season game as Packers coach was on September 27.[5] In front of 32,150 fans, the Packers won the game. In the final seven minutes, the Packers put up nine points to win the game by a score of 9–6. Jim Taylor scored a touchdown to put the Packers on the scoreboard. Max McGee would have a sixty-one-yard punt which would land on the Bears 2-yard line. The punt set up the final score of the game. Hawg Hanner scored a safety on Bears quarterback Ed Brown.[6] After the game, Jim Ringo grabbed the game ball and gave it to Lombardi.

Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
1 September 27, 1959 Chicago Bears W 9–6 City Stadium
32,150
2 October 4, 1959 Detroit Lions W 28–10 City Stadium
32,150
3 October 11, 1959 San Francisco 49ers W 21–20 City Stadium
32,150
4 October 18, 1959 Los Angeles Rams L 45–6 Milwaukee County Stadium
36,194
5 October 25, 1959 at Baltimore Colts L 38–21 Memorial Stadium
57,557
6 November 1, 1959 at New York Giants L 20–3 Yankee Stadium
68,837
7 November 8, 1959 at Chicago Bears L 28–17 Wrigley Field
46,205
8 November 15, 1959 Baltimore Colts L 28–24 Milwaukee County Stadium
25,521
9 November 22, 1959 Washington Redskins W 21–0 City Stadium
31,853
10 November 26, 1959 at Detroit Lions W 24–17 Briggs Stadium
49,221
11 December 6, 1959 at Los Angeles Rams W 38–20 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
61,044
12 December 13, 1959 at San Francisco 49ers W 36–14 Kezar Stadium
55,997

Game summariesEdit

Regular SeasonEdit

Week 1: vs. Chicago BearsEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 0 3 0 3

6

Packers 0 0 0 9

9

at City Stadium, Green Bay, Wisconsin

StandingsEdit

Template:1959 NFL Western standings

RosterEdit

Green Bay Packers roster
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Rookies and first-year players in italics

Awards, records, and honorsEdit

  • Vince Lombardi, Coach of the Year [7]

MilestonesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Johnson, Chuck (January 29, 1959). "Packers name Vince Lombardi head coach, general manager". Milwaukee Journal: p. 11, part 2. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=bh8aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=rCUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6945%2C3786870.
  2. Johnson, Chuck (February 3, 1959). "Lombardi reception warm, despite cold". Milwaukee Journal: p. 14, part 2. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=9TEoAAAAIBAJ&sjid=siUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2271%2C1715341.
  3. "National football League draft". Milwaukee Journal: p. 14, part 2. January 22, 1959. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=1t5QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=rCUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7452%2C772485.
  4. Johnson, Chuck (September 15, 1959). "Babe Parilli is dropped by Packers". Milwaukee Journal: p. 14, part 2. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zwEqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=zSUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6939%2C2878916.
  5. When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 225, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
  6. When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 226, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
  7. When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 228, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
Eastern Conference Western Conference
Chicago Cardinals Baltimore
Cleveland Chicago Bears
New York Detroit
Philadelphia Green Bay
Pittsburgh Los Angeles
Washington San Francisco
1959 NFL DraftNFL ChampionshipPro Bowl

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