|Green Bay Packers|
|Established 1919 |
Play in and headquartered in Lambeau Field
Green Bay, Wisconsin
|Team colors||Green Gold & White
|Fight song||Go! You Packers! Go!|
|Owner(s)||Green Bay Packers, Inc. (112,158 stockholders)|
|General manager||Ted Thompson|
|Head coach||Matt Lafleur|
|League championships (13)†|
|Conference championships (9)
|Division championships (13)
|† - Does not include the AFL or NFL Championships won during the same seasons as the AFL-NFL Super Bowl Championships prior to the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger|
Split games between Milwaukee and Green Bay (1933–1994)
The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Packers are the current NFL champions. Green Bay is the second-oldest franchise in the NFL.
The Packers are the last vestige of "small town teams" that were once common in the NFL during the 1920s and 1930s. Founded in 1919 by Earl "Curly" Lambeau (hence the name Lambeau Field on which the team plays) and George Whitney Calhoun, the Green Bay Packers can trace their lineage to other semi-professional teams in Green Bay dating back to 1896. In 1919 and 1920 the Packers competed as a semi-professional football team against clubs from around Wisconsin and the Midwest. They joined the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1921, the forerunner to what is known today as the National Football League (NFL). The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States.
The Green Bay Packers have won 13 league championships (more than any other team in the NFL), including nine NFL championships prior to the Super-Bowl era and four Super Bowl victories—in 1967 (Super Bowl I), 1968 (Super Bowl II), 1997 (Super Bowl XXXI) and 2011 (Super Bowl XLV). The team has historic rivalries with the Chicago Bears, whom they have played in over 180 games, and the Detroit Lions, whom they have played since the 1930s. The Packers also share a fierce blood rivalry with the Minnesota Vikings, who also reside in the NFC North along with the Packers, Bears and Lions in what is known as the "Black and Blue Division" due to the intensity of the rivalry between the four teams. The Dallas Cowboys have historically been known as the Packers' largest playoff rivals after the Packers defeated them in the famous Ice Bowl.
Beginning with the 1992 season, the Packers had 13 consecutive non-losing seasons (their worst record being 8–8 in 1999), two Super Bowl appearances, and one Super Bowl win (Super Bowl XXXI). Three seasons later, they returned to playoff form with a winning campaign in 2007 (13–3), followed by winning seasons in 2009 (11-5) and 2010 (10-6), culminating in a victory in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011, under head coach Mike McCarthy.
- 1 Founding
- 2 Notable seasons
- 2.1 Record 13 NFL World Championships
- 2.2 1929–1931: Lambeau's Team Arrives
- 2.3 1935–1945: The Don Hutson Era
- 2.4 1946–1958: Wilderness
- 2.5 1959–1967: The Lombardi Era and the Glory Years
- 2.6 1968–1991
- 2.7 The Brett Favre Era: 1992–2007
- 2.8 The Aaron Rodgers Era: 2008–Present
- 3 Public company
- 4 Fan base
- 5 Nickname, logo, and uniforms
- 6 Stadium history
- 7 Statistics and records
- 8 Players of note
- 9 Coaches of note
- 10 Radio and television
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes and references
- 13 External links
The Green Bay Packers were founded on August 11, 1919 by former high-school football rivals Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. Lambeau solicited funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company. He was given $500 for uniforms and equipment, on the condition that the team be named for its sponsor. Today "Green Bay Packers" is the oldest team-name still in use in the NFL, both by its nickname and by virtue of remaining in its original city.
On August 27, 1921, the Packers were granted a franchise in the new national pro football league that had been formed the previous year. Financial troubles plagued the team and the franchise was forfeited within the year, before Lambeau found new financial backers and regained the franchise the next year. These backers, known as the "Hungry Five", formed the Green Bay Football Corporation.
Record 13 NFL World Championships
League annals show 13 World Championships, the most in the NFL (the next closest team is the Chicago Bears, with nine). The first three were decided by league standing, the next six by the NFL Title Game, and the final four by Super Bowl victories. The Packers are also the only team to win three consecutive NFL titles, having accomplished this twice (1929-30-31 under Lambeau and 1965-66-67 under Vince Lombardi).
1929–1931: Lambeau's Team Arrives
After a near-miss in 1927, Lambeau's squad claimed the Packers' first NFL title in 1929 with an undefeated 12–0–1 campaign, behind a stifling defense which registered eight shutouts. Green Bay would repeat as league champions in 1930 and 1931, bettering teams from New York, Chicago and throughout the league, with all-time greats and future Hall of Famers Mike Michalske, Johnny (Blood) McNally, Cal Hubbard and Green Bay native Arnie Herber. Among the many impressive accomplishments of these years was the Packers' streak of 30 consecutive home games without defeat, an NFL record which still stands.
1935–1945: The Don Hutson Era
The arrival of end Don Hutson from Alabama in 1935 gave Lambeau and the Packers the most-feared and dynamic offensive weapon in the game. Credited with inventing pass patterns, Hutson would lead the league in receptions eight seasons and spur the Packers to NFL championships in 1936, 1939 and 1944. An iron man, Hutson also led the league in interceptions in 1940. Hutson claimed 18 NFL records when he retired in 1945, many of which still stand. In 1951, his number 14 was the first to be retired by the Packers, and he was inducted as a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
After Hutson's retirement, Lambeau could not stop the slide of the Packers, and departed after the 1949 season. Gene Ronzani and Lisle Blackbourn could not coach the Packers back to their former magic, even as a new stadium was unveiled in 1957. The losing would crescendo to the disastrous 1958 campaign under coach Ray "Scooter" McLean, whose lone year at the helm resulted in a 1–10–1 mark, worst in Packer history.
1959–1967: The Lombardi Era and the Glory Years
On February 2, 1959, the hiring of New York Giants assistant Vince Lombardi as Packers head coach and general manager represented the beginning of a remarkable, immediate turnaround. Under Lombardi, the Packers would become the Team of the 60s, winning five world championships over a seven-year span, including victories in the first two Super Bowls. During the Lombardi era, the stars of the Packers' offense included Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Carroll Dale, Paul Hornung (as halfback and placekicker), Forrest Gregg, and Jerry Kramer. The defense included Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, Willie Wood, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, and Herb Adderley.
In their first game under Lombardi on September 27, 1959, the Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 9–6, in Green Bay. After winning their first three, the Packers lost the next five before finishing strong by winning the rest. The 7–5 record represented the Packers' first winning season since 1947. Rookie head coach Lombardi was named Coach of the Year.
The next year, the Packers, led by Paul Hornung's 176 points, won the NFL West title and played in the NFL Championship against the Philadelphia Eagles at Philadelphia. In a see-saw game, the Packers trailed the Eagles by four points late in the game, when Chuck Bednarik tackled Jim Taylor just nine yards short of the goal line as time ran out. They claimed that they did not "lose" that game; they were simply behind in the score when time ran out on them.
The Packers returned to the NFL Championship game the following season and faced the New York Giants in the first league title game to be played in Green Bay. The Packers scored 24 second-quarter points, including a championship-record 19 by Paul Hornung, on special "loan" from the Army (one touchdown, four extra-points and three field goals), powering the Packers to a 37–0 rout of the Giants, their first NFL Championship since 1944. It was in 1961 that Green Bay became known as "Titletown."
The Packers stormed back in the 1962 season, jumping out to a 10–0 start, on their way to a 13–1 season. This consistent level of success would lead to Lombardi's Packers becoming one of the most prominent teams of their era, and even to their being featured as the face of the NFL on the cover of Time on December 21, 1962, as part of the magazine's cover story on "The Sport of the '60s". Shortly after Time's article, the Packers faced the Giants in a much more brutal championship game than the previous year, but the Packers prevailed on the surprising foot of Jerry Kramer and the determined running of Jim Taylor. The Packers defeated the Giants in New York, 16–7.
The Packers returned to the championship game in 1965 following a two-year absence, when they defeated the Colts in a playoff for the Western Conference title. That game would be remembered for Don Chandler's controversial tying field goal in which the ball allegedly went wide right, but the officials signaled "good." The 13–10 overtime win earned the Packers a trip to the NFL Championship game, where Hornung and Taylor ran through the defending champion Cleveland Browns, helping the Packers win, 23–12, to earn their third NFL Championship under Lombardi and ninth overall. Goalpost uprights would be made taller the next year.
The 1966 season saw the Packers led by an MVP season from quarterback Bart Starr. The Packers went 12–2, and in the NFL Championship, with the Packers leading 34–27, the Dallas Cowboys had the ball on the Packers' two-yard line, threatening to tie the ballgame. But on fourth down, the Packers' Tom Brown intercepted Don Meredith's pass in the end zone to preserve their victory in against Dallas. The Packers went on to win Super Bowl I 35–10 over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 1967 season was the last one for Vince Lombardi as the Packers' head coach. The NFL Championship game, a rematch of the 1966 contest against Dallas, is better known as the Ice Bowl, due to the brutally cold conditions at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Still the coldest NFL game ever played, the Ice Bowl remains one of the most famous football games (college or professional) in the history of the sport. With 16 seconds left, Bart Starr's touchdown on a quarterback sneak brought the Packers a 21–17 victory and their third straight NFL Championship – a feat no other team has matched. The Packers then won Super Bowl II with a 33–14 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Lombardi stepped down as head coach after the game, and Phil Bengtson was named as Head Coach. He remained general manager for one season, but left Green Bay in 1969 to become head coach and minority owner of the Washington Redskins.
After the death of Vince Lombardi in September 1970, the Super Bowl trophy was renamed the Vince Lombardi Trophy, in recognition of his, and his team's, accomplishments. Lambeau Field has had a street address of 1265 Lombardi Avenue since 1968, when Green Bay renamed Highland Avenue in honor of the coach.
For about a quarter century after Lombardi's departure, the Packers had relatively little on-field success. In the 24 seasons from 1968 to 1991, the Packers had only five seasons with a winning record (above .500), one being the shortened 1982 strike season. They appeared in the playoffs twice during that period, with a record of 1–2. The period saw five different head coaches – Phil Bengtson, Dan Devine, Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, and Lindy Infante – two of which were former Packer players in Lombardi's era (Starr and Gregg), and one of which was a former coach (Bengtson). Each of these men led the Packers to a poorer record than his predecessor. Poor personnel decisions typified this time period. A notorious example includes the 1974 trade in which Dan Devine acting as GM sent five 1975 and 1976 draft picks (two first-rounders, two second-rounders and a third) to the Los Angeles Rams for aging quarterback John Hadl, who would spend only 1½ seasons in Green Bay. Another came in 1989, when players such as Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas were available, but the Packers chose offensive lineman Tony Mandarich with the second overall pick in the NFL draft. Though rated highly by nearly every professional scout at the time, Mandarich's performance failed to meet expectations. ESPN has rated Mandarich as the third "biggest sports flop" in the last 25 years.
The Brett Favre Era: 1992–2007
The Packers' performance throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s led to a shakeup in which new General Manager Ron Wolf was hired to take over full control of the team's football operations during the 1991 season. In 1992, Wolf hired San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren to be the Packers' new head coach.
Soon after hiring Holmgren, Wolf acquired quarterback Brett Favre from the Atlanta Falcons for a first-round pick. Favre got the Packers' their first win of the 1992 season, stepping in for injured quarterback Don Majkowski and leading the Packers to a comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Favre started the following week with a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and never missed a start during his time with the Packers through the 2007 season. He would go on to break the record for consecutive starts by an NFL quarterback, starting 297 consecutive games including stints with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings with the streak finally coming to an end late in the 2010 season.
The Packers had a 9–7 record in 1992, and began to turn heads around the league when they signed perhaps the most prized free agent in NFL history in Reggie White on the defense in 1993. White believed that Wolf, Holmgren, and Favre had the team heading in the right direction with a "total commitment to winning." With White on board the Packers made it to the second round of the playoffs during both the 1993 and 1994 seasons but lost their 2nd-round matches to their playoff rival, the Dallas Cowboys, playing in Dallas on both occasions. In 1995, the Packers won the NFC Central Division championship for the first time since 1972. After a home playoff 37–20 win against Favre's former team, the Atlanta Falcons, the Packers defeated the defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers 27–17 in San Francisco on the road to advance to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost again to the Dallas Cowboys 38–27.
In 1996, the Packers' turnaround was complete. The team posted a league-best 13–3 record in the regular season, dominating the competition and securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They were ranked #1 in offense with Brett Favre leading the way, #1 in defense with Reggie White as the leader of the defense and #1 in special Teams with former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard returning punts and kickoffs back for touchdowns. After relatively easy wins against the 49ers in a muddy (35–14) beatdown and Carolina Panthers (30–13) in what was referred to as "Ice Bowl 2", the Packers advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time in 29 years. In Super Bowl XXXI Green Bay defeated the New England Patriots 35–21 to win their 12th world championship. Desmond Howard was named MVP of the game for his kickoff return for a touchdown that ended the Patriots bid for a comeback. Then-Packers President Bob Harlan credited Wolf, Holmgren, Favre, and White for ultimately changing the fortunes of the organization and turning the Green Bay Packers into a model NFL franchise. A 2007 panel of football experts at ESPN ranked the 1996 Packers the 6th-greatest team to ever play in the Super Bowl.
The following year the Packers won their second consecutive NFC championship, returning to the Super Bowl as an 11½ point favorite, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21–7 and San Francisco 49ers 23–10 in the playoffs. The Packers ended up losing to John Elway and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII, by the score of 31–24.
In 1998, the Packers went 11–5 and were eliminated in the first-round of the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers on a last second touchdown by Steve Young and Terrell Owens, moments after Favre led the Packers back with a game leading touchdown. The game would have its share of controversy as many argue that during the 49ers game winning drive, Niners receiver Jerry Rice fumbled the ball but officials stated he was down by contact. This game turned out to be the end of an era, as Mike Holmgren would leave the team days later to become Vice President, General Manager and Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Much of Holmgren's coaching staff went with him. Reggie White also retired after the season (but later played one season for the Carolina Panthers in 2000), and the team struggled for an identity after the departure of so many of the individuals who were responsible for their Super Bowl run.
Ray Rhodes was hired in 1999 as head coach, but dismissed after one 8–8 season. In 2000, Wolf hired Mike Sherman as head coach, who would also assume GM duties when Wolf retired the next year. Sherman coached the Packers to respectable regular-season success, but had trouble in the playoffs. Until 2003, the Packers had never lost a home playoff game since the NFL instituted a post-season in 1933 (They were 13–0, with 11 of the wins at Lambeau and two more in Milwaukee.). That ended January 4, 2003, when the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Packers 27–7 in an NFC Wild Card game. The Packers would also lose at home in the playoffs to the Minnesota Vikings two years later.
The Green Bay Packers released Sherman after the 2005 season, after a season record of 4–12. They then hired Mike McCarthy, the former offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. He was also the former quarterbacks coach for the Packers in 1999.
After missing the playoffs in 2006, Brett Favre announced that he would return for the 2007 season; it would turn out to be one of his best. The Packers won 10 of their first 11 games and finished 13–3, earning a first round bye in the playoffs. The Packers' passing offense, led by Favre and a very skilled wide receiver group, finished second in the NFC, behind the Dallas Cowboys, and third overall in the league. Running back Ryan Grant, acquired for a sixth-round draft pick from the New York Giants, became the featured back in Green Bay and rushed for 956 yards and 8 touchdowns in the final 10 games of the regular season. In the divisional playoff round, in a heavy snowstorm, the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks 42–20. Grant rushed for three touchdowns and over 200 yards, while Favre tossed three touchdown passes and 1 snowball to receiver Donald Driver in celebration.
On January 20, 2008, Green Bay appeared in their first NFC Championship Game in 10 years facing the New York Giants in Green Bay. The game was lost 23–20 on an overtime field goal by Lawrence Tynes. This would be Brett Favre's final game as a Green Bay Packer with his final pass being an interception in overtime.
Mike McCarthy coached the NFC team during the 2008 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Al Harris and Aaron Kampman were also picked to play for the NFC Pro Bowl team as starters. Donald Driver was named as a third-string wideout on the Pro Bowl roster. Brett Favre was named the first-string quarterback for the NFC, but he declined to play in the Pro Bowl and was replaced on the roster by Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback Jeff Garcia. The Packers also had several first alternates, including Chad Clifton and Nick Barnett.
In December 2007, Ted Thompson was signed to a 5-year contract extension with the Packers, while it was announced on February 5, 2008 that head coach Mike McCarthy signed a 5-year contract extension as well.
The Aaron Rodgers Era: 2008–Present
On March 4, 2008, Brett Favre tearfully announced his retirement. Within five months, however, he filed for reinstatement with the NFL on July 29. Favre's petition was granted by Commissioner Roger Goodell, effective August 4, 2008. On August 6, 2008 it was announced that Brett Favre was traded to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick in 2009.
The Packers began their 2008 season with their 2005 first-round draft pick, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, under center, as the first QB other than Favre to start for the Packers in 16 years. Rodgers played well in his first year starting for the Packers, throwing for over 4000 yards and 28 touchdowns. However, injuries plagued the Packers' defense, as they lost 7 close games by 4 points or less, finishing with a 6–10 record. After the season, eight assistant coaches were dismissed by McCarthy, including Bob Sanders, the team's defensive coordinator, who was replaced by Dom Capers.
In March 2009, the organization assured fans that Brett Favre's jersey number would be retired, but not during the 2009 season. In April 2009, the Packers selected defensive lineman B.J. Raji of Boston College as the team's first pick in the draft. The team then traded three draft picks (including the pick the Packers acquired from the Jets for Brett Favre) for another first-round pick, selecting linebacker Clay Matthews III of Southern California.
During the 2009 NFL season, two match-ups between the franchise and its former legendary QB, Brett Favre, were highly anticipated after Favre's arrival with the division-rival Vikings in August. The first encounter took place in week 4, on a Monday Night Football game which broke several TV audience records. The scheduling of this game was made possible when Baseball Commissioner and Packer Board of Directors Member Bud Selig forced Baseball's Minnesota Twins to play 2 games within a 12 hour span. The Vikings won the game 30–23. Brett Favre threw 3 TDs, no interceptions, and had a passer rating of 135. The teams met for a second time in week 8, Favre leading the Vikings to a second win, 38–26, in Green Bay. Rodgers was heavily pressured in both games, being sacked 14 times total, but still played exceptionally well, throwing five touchdowns and only one interception. The next week, the Packers were upset by the win-less Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Following a players only meeting, the team started to roll and found some stability on the offensive line with the return of tackle Mark Tauscher bringing a minor halt to sacks to Rodgers and opening the running game to Ryan Grant and the other running backs. Green Bay finished the season strongly, winning 7 out of their last 8 games, including winning their 16th regular season finale in the past 17 seasons, and earning a NFC wild-card playoff bid with an 11–5 regular-season record. The Packers defense was ranked #2 and the offense was ranked #6 with rookies Brad Jones and Clay Matthews III becoming sensations at linebacker and young players like James Jones, Brandon Jackson, Jermichael Finley and Jordy Nelson becoming threats on offense. Rodgers also became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 4000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter. Also, cornerback Charles Woodson won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors after recording 9 interceptions, forcing four fumbles, 3 touchdowns and registering 74 tackles and 2 sacks. In fact, Woodson's 9 interceptions were more than the 8 collected by all Packer opponents that season. Though the defense was ranked high, injuries to Al Harris, Tramon Williams, Will Blackmon, Atari Bigby and Brandon Underwood severely limited the depth of the secondary and teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers used that to their advantage by unleashing aerial assaults against inexperienced players with the NFL's best receivers. The season ended with an overtime loss in a wild card round shoot out at the Arizona Cardinals, 51–45.
On the second day of the draft, with pick 2–56 the Packers selected Defensive end Mike Neal from Purdue. The Packers then traded picks 3–86 and 4–122 to the Philadelphia Eagles for pick 3–71. With pick 3–71, the Packers selected Safety Morgan Burnett from Georgia Tech.
On the third and final day of the draft, with pick 5–154 the Packers selected Tight end Andrew Quarless from Penn State. With their compensatory selection pick 5–169, the Packers selected Offensive guard Marshall Newhouse from Texas Christian. In the sixth round with pick 6–193, the Packers selected Running back James Starks from Buffalo. Their final selection of the draft came when the Packers selected Defensive end C. J. Wilson of East Carolina with pick 7–230.
At the beginning of September, the Packers announced the 53 man roster, and the 20 players that had been cut. Another loss for Green Bay was the season-long suspension of Johnny Jolly, after he violated the NFL drug policy. The Packers running corps suffered a blow when RB Ryan Grant suffered a season-ending ankle injury in week 1. By the end of the season, the Packers had 16 people on injured reserve, including 7 starters in running back Ryan Grant, tight end Jermichael Finley, linebacker Nick Barnett, safety Morgan Burnett, linebacker Brandon Chillar, tackle Mark Tauscher, and linebacker Brad Jones.
After finishing the regular season with a 10-6 record, the Packers clinched the #6 seed in the NFC playoffs. In the first round, they faced the #3 seeded Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers won the game by the score of 21-16. In the Divisional round, the Packers went on to defeat the #1 seeded Atlanta Falcons 48-21 to reach the NFC Championship Game where they played the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field - only the second playoff meeting between the two storied rivals (the other game being a 33-14 victory for the Bears which sent them to the 1941 NFL Championship Game.) The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 21–14 to head to Super Bowl XLV which took place on February 6, 2011, where they defeated the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, becoming the first #6 seed in the NFC to win a Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP.
The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned franchise in American professional sports major leagues. Typically, a team is owned by one person, partnership, or corporate entity, i.e., a "team owner." The lack of a dominant owner has been stated as one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have never been moved from the city of Green Bay, a city of only 102,313 people as of the 2000 census.
By comparison, the typical NFL city has a population in the millions or higher hundred-thousands. The Packers, however, have long had a large following throughout Wisconsin and parts of the Midwest; in fact, for decades, the Packers played four (one pre-season, three regular-season) home games each year in Milwaukee, first at the State Fair Park fairgrounds, then at Milwaukee County Stadium. The Packers did not move their entire home schedule to Green Bay until 1995. County Stadium's replacement, Miller Park, then being planned, was always intended to be a baseball-only stadium instead of a multipurpose stadium.
Based on the original "Articles of Incorporation for the (then) Green Bay Football Corporation" put into place in 1923, if the Packers franchise were to have been sold, after the payment of all expenses, any remaining money would go to the Sullivan Post of the American Legion in order to build "a proper soldier's memorial." This stipulation was enacted to ensure the club remained in Green Bay and that there could never be any financial enhancement for the shareholders. At the November 1997 annual meeting, shareholders voted to change the beneficiary from the Sullivan-Wallen Post to the Green Bay Packers Foundation, which makes donations to many charities and institutions throughout Wisconsin.
In 1950, the Packers held a stock sale to again raise money to support the team. In 1956, area voters approved the construction of a new city owned stadium. As with its predecessor, the new field was named City Stadium, but after the death of founder Curly Lambeau, the stadium was renamed Lambeau Field on September 11, 1965.
Another stock sale occurred late in 1997 and early in 1998. It added 105,989 new shareholders and raised over $24 million, money used for the Lambeau Field redevelopment project. Priced at $200 per share, fans bought 120,010 shares during the 17-week sale, which ended March 16, 1998. As of June 8, 2005, 112,015 people (representing 4,750,934 shares) can lay claim to a franchise ownership interest. Shares of stock include voting rights, but the redemption price is minimal, no dividends are ever paid, the stock cannot appreciate in value (though private sales often exceed the face value of the stock), and stock ownership brings no season ticket privileges. No shareholder may own over 200,000 shares, a safeguard to ensure that no individual can assume control of the club. To run the corporation, a board of directors is elected by the stockholders.
The team's elected president represents the Packers in NFL owners meetings, unless someone else is designated. During his time as coach, Vince Lombardi generally represented the team at league meetings in his role as general manager, except at owners-only meetings, where the team was represented by president Dominic Olejniczak.
Green Bay is the only team with this form of ownership structure in the NFL; such ownership is in direct violation of current league rules, which stipulate a limit of 32 owners of one team and one of those owners having a minimum 30% stake. However, the Packers corporation was grandfathered when the NFL's current ownership policy was established in the 1980s, and are thus exempt. The Packers are also the only American major-league sports franchise to release its financial balance sheet every year.
Board of Directors
Green Bay Packers, Inc., is governed by a seven-member Executive Committee, elected from a 45-member board of directors. The committee consists of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and three members-at-large. The president is the only officer to draw compensation; the rest of the committee is sitting "gratis." The committee directs corporate management, approves major capital expenditures, establishes broad policy and monitors management's performance in conducting the business and affairs of the corporation.
Green Bay Packers Foundation
The team created the Green Bay Packers Foundation in December 1986. The foundation assists in a wide variety of activities and programs that benefit education, civic affairs, health services, human services and youth-related programs.
At the team's 1999 annual stockholders meeting, it was voted to make the foundation the recipient of any remaining assets if the team were to be sold or dissolved. In 1923, the Packers were incorporated in Wisconsin as a nonprofit corporation, with stipulations that if the Packers were sold, all assets would be transferred to the Sullivan-Wallen Post of the American Legion in order to build a "proper soldiers memorial." No shareholder can own more than 200,000 shares in the company. This has put the Packers in a unique situation, as it would be impossible to move the team from Wisconsin. In turn, the franchise has remained in the tiny market of Green Bay.
The Packers' fan base is famously dedicated: regardless of the team's performance, every Packers game at Lambeau Field has been sold out since 1960. Despite the Packers having by far the smallest local TV market, the Packers have developed one of the largest fan bases in the NFL. Each year they consistently rank as one of the top teams in terms of popularity. The Packers have one of the longest waiting lists for season tickets in professional sports with about 74,000 people as of May 3, 2007. In 2008 the list grew by more than 4,000 names. There are now more names on the waiting list than there are seats at Lambeau Field. The average wait time for season tickets is said to be over 30 years; yet if a name were to be added to the list today, the estimated wait could extend well over 100 years. For this reason, it is not unusual for fans to designate a recipient of their season tickets in their wills or place newborn infants on the waiting list after receiving birth certificates.
Packers fans are often referred to as cheeseheads. The term is often used to refer to people from the state of Wisconsin in general (because of its cheese production), but is also used to refer to Green Bay Packers fans in particular. The name originated in 1987 as an insult from Chicago White Sox fans at a Milwaukee Brewers game. In years since and particularly beginning in 1994, the name and the hats called "cheeseheads" have also been embraced by Packers fans.
During training camp in the summer months (held outside the Don Hutson Center), young Packers fans can take their bikes and have their favorite player ride their bike to the practice field from the locker room. This is an old Packers tradition dating back to approximately 1957 (the first years of Lambeau Field's existence). Gary Knafelc, a Packers end at the time, said, "I think it was just that kids wanted us to ride their bikes. I can remember kids saying, 'Hey, ride my bike.'" The practice continues today.
Each year the team holds an intra-squad scrimmage, called Family Night, at Lambeau Field. During 2004 and 2005 over 60,000 fans attended, selling out the stadium bowl. The Packers hosted the Buffalo Bills for the 2005 edition of Family Night setting an attendance record with 62,492 fans attending.
In August 2008, ESPN.com ranked the Packers as having the second-best fans in the NFL. The team initially finished tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers (who finished ahead of the Packers) as having the best fans, but the tie was broken by ESPN's own John Clayton, a Pittsburgh native.
Nickname, logo, and uniforms
Curly Lambeau, the team's founder, solicited funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company. He was given $250 for uniforms and equipment, on condition that the team be named for its sponsor (a similar event would occur the following year with the Decatur Staleys, who later became the Chicago Bears). An early newspaper article referred to the new Green Bay team as "the Indians" but by the time they played their first game they had adopted the name "Packers."
In 1920, the Indian Packing Company was purchased by the Acme Packing Company. Acme continued its support of Lambeau's team, and in its first season in the NFL the team wore jerseys with the words "ACME PACKERS" emblazoned on the chest.
Lambeau, who had attended the University of Notre Dame, borrowed the team's colors of navy blue and gold from the Irish, much as George Halas borrowed team colors from his alma mater Illinois for the Chicago Bears. And like the Irish in the 1930s and 1940s, the Packers sometimes used green and gold before returning to the traditional blue and gold.
In the early days, the Packers were often referred to as the "Bays" or the "Blues" (and even occasionally as "the Big Bay Blues"). These never were official nicknames, although Lambeau did consider replacing "Packers" with "Blues" in the 1920s.
By 1950, the Packers changed their colors to hunter green and "taxicab" gold. Navy blue was kept as a secondary color, seen primarily on sideline capes, but it was quietly dropped from the team colors list on all official materials shortly thereafter. The color scheme yields the common Packer nickname, "The Green and Gold". In 1994, the NFL's 75th anniversary season, the team participated in the league-wide use of "throwback" jerseys, but just at select away games. The Packers would wear them again for two Thanksgiving Day games against the Detroit Lions: in 2001, throwback uniforms as worn in the 1930s; in 2003, uniforms from the 1960s (which were only slightly different from the current uniforms).
The oval "G" logo which stands for the "G" in Green Bay was created in 1961 by Packers equipment manager Gerald "Dad" Braisher. Tiki Barber falsely reported it to stand for "greatness" without a reliable source to back up his claims. Other reputable media outlets then published similar stories using Barber's false claim as a source. The Packers' Assistant Director of PR and Corporate Communications had the following to say: "There’s nothing in our history that suggests there's any truth to this. The Packers Hall of Fame archivist said the same thing." . The team used a number of different logos prior to 1961, but the "G" is the only logo that has ever appeared on the helmet. The Packers hold the trademark on the "G" logo, and have granted limited permission to other organizations to utilize a similar logo, such as the University of Georgia and Grambling State University. Adopted in 1964, the Georgia "G", though different in design and color, was similar to the Packers' "G". Then-Georgia head coach Vince Dooley thought it best to clear the use of Georgia's new emblem with the Packers.
While several NFL teams choose to wear white jerseys at home early in the season due to white's ability to reflect the late summer sunrays, the Packers have done so only twice, during the opening two games of the 1989 season. Although alternate gold jerseys with green numbers are sold on a retail basis, the team currently has no plans to introduce such a jersey to be used in actual games.
During the 2010 season, the Packers will pay tribute to their historical brethren with a third jersey modeled after that worn by the club in 1929, during its first world championship season. Mark Murphy, team president and CEO, confirmed with WLUK-TV that the team will use a "throwback" uniform for some games this season. Unlike such throwback tributes in the past, the uniform will be worn at Lambeau during home games, and the jersey will be navy blue, again making the Packers "the Blues."
After their early seasons at Bellevue Park and Hagemeister Park, the Packers played home games in City Stadium from 1925 to 1956. The team won its first 6 NFL world championships while calling City Stadium its home.
Once the NFL threatened to move the franchise to Milwaukee if stadium conditions were not improved in Green Bay, the city responded by building a modern facility for the Packers, open in time for the 1957 season. The new stadium became the first built exclusively for an NFL team. Lambeau Field was originally known as City Stadium, like its predecessor, but its name was changed in 1965 after the death of Curly Lambeau.
When Lambeau Field opened in 1957, it had a seating capacity of 32,150. The stadium was expanded seven times before the end of the 1990s, and seating capacity reached 60,890. In 2003, Lambeau Field was extensively renovated to expand seating, modernize stadium facilities, and add an atrium area. These renovations raised Lambeau Field's seating capacity to 72,928. Despite the multiple expansions of Lambeau Field, ticket demand has far outpaced supply, as all Packers games have been sold out since 1960. Over 78,000 names are on the waiting list for season tickets.
The Packers played part of their home slate in Milwaukee starting in 1933, including two to three home games each year in Milwaukee's County Stadium from 1953 to 1994. The Packers worked to capture their growing fan base in Milwaukee and the larger crowds. By the 1960s, threat of an American Football League franchise in Milwaukee prompted the Packers to stay, including scheduling a Western Conference Playoff in 1967. Since County Stadium was primarily a baseball stadium, the field could barely fit a football field, and the end zones extended onto the warning track. By 1994, improvements and seating expansions at Lambeau prompted the Packers to leave County Stadium after 62 years in Milwaukee, and again be based solely in Green Bay.
Statistics and records
- This is a partial list of the last six completed seasons by the Packers, and the current season. For the full season-by-season franchise results, see List of Green Bay Packers seasons.
Note: The Finish, Wins, Losses, and Ties columns list regular season results and exclude any postseason play.
|Super Bowl Champions (1970–present)||Conference Champions||Division Champions||Wild Card Berth|
|Season||Team||League||Conference||Division||Regular season||Post Season Results||Awards|
|2004||2004||NFL||NFC||North||1st||10||6||0||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Vikings) (31–17)|
|2007||2007||NFL||NFC||North||1st||13||3||0||Won Divisional Playoffs (Seahawks) (42–20)
Lost NFC Conference Championship (Giants) (23–20, OT)
|Brett Favre (Sportsman of the Year)|
|2009||2009||NFL||NFC||North||2nd||11||5||0||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Cardinals) (51–45) (OT)||Charles Woodson (NFL Defensive Player of the Year)|
|2010||2010||NFL||NFC||North||2nd||10||6||0||Won Wild Card Playoffs (Eagles) (21-16)
Won Divisional Playoffs (Falcons) (48-21)
Won NFC Conference Championship (Bears) (21-14)
Won Super Bowl XLV (Steelers) (31-25)
|Bryan Bulaga (AP All-Rookie Team)|
Josh Sitton (NFL Alumni Association Offensive Lineman of the Year)
Clay Matthews III (AP All-Pro Team, Sporting News Defensive Player of the year)
Aaron Rodgers (FedEx Air Player of the Year, Super Bowl XLV MVP)
|Total||664||524||36||(1921–2010, includes only regular season)|
|29||16||--||(1921–2010, includes only playoffs)|
|693||540||36||(1921–2010, includes both regular season and playoffs; 13 NFL Championships)|
Players of note
Pro Football Hall of Fame members
Emmitt Thomas, who was inducted in the Hall of Fame for his career as a player, served as a defensive coordinator for the Packers, though he never played with them. Similar can be said for Dick LeBeau, who was elected as player and served as a defensive backfield coach for the Packers, but never played with them.
In nearly nine decades of Packers football, the Packers have formally retired 5 numbers. All five Packers are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and their numbers and names are displayed on the green facade of Lambeau Field's north endzone as well as in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
|14||WR/DB||Don Hutson||December 2, 1951 vs New York Yanks @ City Stadium|
|3||HB/QB||Tony Canadeo||November 23, 1952 vs Dallas Texans @ City Stadium|
|15||QB||Bart Starr||November 11, 1973 vs St. Louis Cardinals @ Lambeau Field|
|66||LB||Ray Nitschke||December 4, 1983 vs Chicago Bears @ Lambeau Field|
|92||DE||Reggie White||September 18, 2005 vs Cleveland Browns @ Lambeau Field|
After Brett Favre stated his intent to retire in May 2008, the Packers announced that his #4 would be retired in a ceremony during the team's 2008 opening game against the Minnesota Vikings. The ceremony was cancelled following Favre's subsequent decision to return to the game, and he was traded to the New York Jets. In March 2009, the Packers indicated that the team still intends to retire Favre's number, but due to the circumstances surrounding his departure from the team, no timeline had been set.
Coaches of note
Green Bay Packers staff
|AFC East: BUF · MIA · NE · NYJ • North: BAL · CIN · CLE · PIT • South: HOU · IND · JAC · TEN • West: DEN · KC · OAK · SD|
NFC East: DAL · NYG · PHI · WAS • North: CHI · DET · GB · MIN • South: ATL · CAR · NO · TB • West: ARI · STL · SF · SEA
|Earl (Curly) Lambeau||1919||1949||231||108||21||6|
|Ray (Scooter) McLean*|
|Ray (Scooter) McLean||1958||1958||1||10||1|
*Interim Head Coaches
Radio and television
The Packers are unique in having their market area cover two media markets, both Green Bay and Milwaukee, and blackout policies for the team apply within both areas, though they have not come into effect since 1982 (a strike-shortened season) due to strong home attendance and popularity.
The Packers' flagship radio station and broadcast producer is Milwaukee-based WTMJ (620), with the games airing in Green Bay on WTAQ (1360/97.5), WIXX-FM (101.1), and WAPL (105.7) and WHBY (1150) in Appleton and the Fox Cities. Wayne Larrivee is the play-by-play announcer and Larry McCarren is the color analyst. Larrivee joined the team after many years as the Chicago Bears' announcer. Jim Irwin and Max McGee were the longtime radio announcers before Larrivee and McCarren. When victory is assured for the Packers, either a game winning touchdown, interception or a crucial 4th down defensive stop, Larrivee's trademark declaration of "And there is your dagger!" signifies the event. WTMJ has aired Packers games since 1929, the longest association between a radio station and an NFL team to date, and the only rights deal in American professional sports where a station outside of the team's main metro area is the radio flagship.
The TV rights for pre-season games not nationally broadcast are held by WFRV (Channel 5) in Green Bay and WTMJ (Channel 4) in Milwaukee, along with Quincy Newspapers' six ABC stations in the central, northern and western parts of the state. As such, these stations are all allowed to use the tagline Your official Packers station in their market area by the team, and also carry the weekly coach's show hosted by WTMJ-TV's Jessie Garcia, The Mike McCarthy Show on Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm throughout the football season.
Pre-season coverage is produced by CBS, using the NFL on CBS graphics package, with the CBS eyemark replaced by the Packers logo, a remnant of WFRV's former ownership by the CBS Corporation itself until 2007. The TV play-by-play announcer, Kevin Harlan (also on loan from CBS), is the son of former Packers president Bob Harlan. Since the 2008 pre-season all of the Packers preseason games on the statewide network are produced and aired in high definition, with WTMJ-TV subcontracting the games to minor network affiliates in Milwaukee during Summer Olympics years due to mandatory non-preemption policies by their network, NBC.
ESPN Monday Night Football games, both pre-season and season, are broadcast over the air on ABC affiliates WBAY (Channel 2) in Green Bay and WISN-TV (Channel 12) in Milwaukee, while the stations airing Packers games in the NFL Network Thursday Night Football package have varied.
The team's intra-squad Lambeau scrimmage at the beginning of the season, marketed as Packers Family Night, is broadcast by WITI (Channel 6) in Milwaukee, and produced by WLUK (Channel 11) in Green Bay, both Fox affiliates which broadcast the bulk of the team's regular-season games. The scrimmage is also broadcast by the state's other Fox affiliates.
Notes and references
- "Shareholders". Packers.com. http://www.packers.com/community/shareholders.html. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- Super Bowls & Championships from Packers.com. Obtained February 5, 2007.
- http://www.packers.com/history/birth_of_a_team_and_a_legend/ Birth of a Team and a Legend – Packers.com
- Lambeau had played the 1918 season at Notre Dame under Knute Rockne and alongside George Gipp. He did not return to school the following year however due to illness which then led to the Packers birth. Names, Larry D (1987). "The Myth". In Scott, Greg. The History of the Green Bay Packers: The Lambeau Years. 1. Angel Press of WI. pp. 27–29. ISBN 0-939995-00-X.
- "History". Nfl.com. http://www.nfl.com/history/randf/records/team/gameswon. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Don Hutson: Information from". Answers.com. http://www.answers.com/topic/don-hutson. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "NYTimes article of January 15, 2008". Nytimes.com. 2008-01-16. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/16/sports/football/16giants.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&emc=th. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- Time. http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19621221,00.html. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- Old School Packers from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website. Obtained February 5, 2007
- The 25 Biggest Sports Flops (1979–2004) from ESPN25. Obtained February 5, 2007.
- "NFL grants Favre reinstatement; sources say QB job is open". ESPN.com. August 3, 2008. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3517219. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- Jay Glazer (2008-08-06). "Packers trade Favre to Jets". Fox Sports on MSN. http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/8381934/Packers-trade-Favre-to-Jets. Retrieved 2008-08-06. "The month-long saga has finally come to an end, with the Packers agreeing to trade their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback to the New York Jets, FOXSports.com has learned."
- "Brett Favre: Game Logs at". Nfl.com. http://www.nfl.com/players/gamelogs?id=FAV540222. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- http://www.kansascity.com/2010/09/14/2224606/nfl-news-jets-jenkins-and-packers.html Jets’ Jenkins and Packers’ Grant are both out for the season – Associated Press
- "Super Bowl XLV, Packers Beat Steelers, 31-25". New York Times. 2011-02-07. http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/live-blog-follow-super-bowl-action-here/?ref=football. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Ending is cheddar-perfect for Packers in Super Bowl XLV victory over Steelers". Los Angeles Times. 2011-02-07. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-super-bowl-20110207,0,1269152.story. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- [dead link]
- "2000 Census". US Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/55/5531000.html.
- "Home". SportsBusiness Journal. http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/63869. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Fans keep their eyes on the ball in Green Bay (Dallas Morning News)". http://www.packerfantours.com/news/fans_keep_their_eyes_on_ball.shtml.
- Harris Interactive Poll, Packers ranked #4 in 2006,#1 in 2005,#1 in 2004,#1 in 2002 in terms of popularity.
- "Toughest Ticket in the NFL". http://www.lambeaufield.com/stadium_info/history/toughest_ticket_in_the_nfl/.
- NFL season ticket waiting lists
- File:Waitlist Postcard.jpg
- "SI.com – Be the 74,659th In Line! – Oct 9, 2007". CNN. October 9, 2007. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/rick_reilly/10/09/reilly1015/index.html. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- ROOTING THE HOME TEAM from The American Prospect magazine, no. 40, September–October 1998, pgs. 38–43.
- "The Big Cheese: Cheesehead inventor profits from insults". http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/j417/fall02/refueling/foamation.html.
- "Letters to Lee Remmel, August 25, 2004". http://www.packers.com/news/stories/2004/08/25/2/.
- "Packers Training Camp – Family Night". http://www.packerstrainingcamp.com/family_night/.
- Mosley, Matt (2008-08-29). "NFL's best fans? We gotta hand it to Steelers (barely)". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/preview08/columns/story?id=3530077. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- Packers Logo History obtained February 5, 2007
- Packers Uniform History, 1921–2004 from Packers.com. Obtained February 5, 2007.
- Packers uniform database Obtained February 5, 2007.
- "What Does the 'G' in the Packers Logo Stand for? (VIDEO)". Blippitt.com. 2011-02-02. http://www.blippitt.com/what-does-the-g-in-the-packers-logo-stand-for-video. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Cheap Seats". Sioux City Journal. 2011-02-03. http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/app/blogs/cheap_seats/?p=163. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- http://packersuniforms.blogspot.com/2011/02/g-still-stands-for-gullible.html G still stands for gullible
- Packers Fan Clubs from Packers.com. Obtained February 5, 2007.
- "Green Bay Packers Logo - Design and History". Dinesh.com. 2010-08-25. http://www.dinesh.com/history_of_logos/nfl_logos/green_bay_packers_logo_-_design_and_history.html. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Oval G is a Green Bay Packers trademark". ESPN.com. May 25, 2005. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=2071363&num=0.
- "There’s No Service Like Wire Service, Vol. 6". http://www.uniwatchblog.com/. Retrieved 2010-02-22.
- "Packers in blue jerseys?". http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/sports/packers-blue-jerseys. Retrieved 2010-02-22.[dead link]
- LambeauField.com – Stadium History – Expansions[dead link]
- The NFL does not count any seasons played outside of their league in their official records. If the 1919 and 1920 season were counted, the Packers would have 19 more wins, 2 more losses, and 1 more tie in their total results.
- Breakdown of Hall of Famers by Team from profootballhof.com.
- Retired Numbers from Packers.com. Obtained April 3, 2009.
- Favre's No. 4 to become sixth number retired by Packers from NFL.com. Obtained April 3, 2009.
- Favre's No. 4 to be retired, but Packers will wait for ceremony from CBSSports.com. Obtained April 3, 2009.
- "Packers Radio Station Listing". Packers.com. http://www.packers.com/gameday/packers_radio_network/station_listing/. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Packers Radio Network". Packers.com. http://www.packers.com/media-center/radio-shows/packers-radio-network.html. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Green Bay Packers TV Broadcast Partners". Packers.com. http://www.packers.com/media-center/tv-shows.html. Retrieved 2011-02-07.