History of the Green Bay Packers

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Green Bay, Wisconsin, home to just over 100,000 people is the smallest market in any major sports league in the United States. Dubbed in the mid-sixties as “Title town, USA”, Green Bay is the proud home of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers. Such a small town allows for many unique experiences. Only in Green Bay will you see a professional football player riding the bike of a six-year-old to the Clark Hinkle practice field. The team’s helmet is also present on the official city flag, along with a wedge of cheese, a roll of paper and a ship. Such a small town and a big name franchise once purchased for 250 dollars is now worth over 125 million. A big name franchise started from humble beginnings, a conversation between two men, and a drive for excellence. On August 11, 1919, Curly Lambeau and George Calhoun gathered young athletes from around the area, in a close editorial room of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, to discuss the creation of a professional football team. Several weeks before, in a casual street-corner conversation, they had discussed the idea, but hadn’t given it much thought. From that room, one of the proudest and most storied NFL franchise. In order to start the team, the two would need financial backing. Lambeau approached his employer, the Indian Packing Company, for the necessary funds to buy the team jerseys. The company agreed to purchase uniforms, and to allow the use of their private athletic field. In exchange for the resources, the team was named the Green Bay Packers. The newly formed Green Bay Packers played opponents from Michigan and Wisconsin on an open field without stands or fences. By going 10-1 in their first ever season, losing only to the Beloit Fairies in the last game, the Packers gained the backing of the Indian Packing Company once again in pursuit of an official franchise in the National Pro Football League on August 27, 1921. The players split the money collected by donation at the end of the season; each player received 16 dollars, a far cry from the money needed to pay their own medical bills. Unfortunately, the team fell into financial troubles and had to be forfeited at the end of the season, the first of many troubles to come for the young team. In 1920 Curly Lambeau found a new company to support the franchise, and paid 205 dollars to readmit the team, including 50 dollars from Lambeau’s own pocket. In the team’s second season, in a time of smash-mouth football, the Packers broke the mold and threw the ball. Opponents didn’t take kindly to Lambeau’s aerial assault, calling him a sissy for not handing the ball off. During the 1921 season, Curly Lambeau got in trouble for paying college students to play under assumed names, and the franchise was once again revoked. Lambeau apologized, and reapplied for admission into the newly named NFL with 250 dollars he borrowed from a friend. At the time of reinstatement, the Packers’ rivals the Decatur Staley’s had been moved by George Halas to Chicago and were renamed the Bears. At this time the NFL was growing, and the competition for athletes became more competitive, and recruiting players out of college was a necessity. As luck would have it, Curly Lambeau had a knack for spotting star players and convincing them that Green Bay was the place to be. Such an acquisition was the feared Johnny “Blood” McNally. With the combination of quarterback Red Dunn, to McNally, the Green Bay Packers were one of the most dominant teams of the era, and cruised to three straight NFL Championships in 1929, ’30 and ’31. Then, in the 1933 season, the Dunn-McNally duo was replaced with Don Hutson through the air, and Clark Hinkle on the ground. The Green Bay Packers once again were the cream-of-the-crop, and won three more Championships in the next nine years. In the mid 1920s, the team once again had fallen into debt. In a last-ditch attempt to save the team from bankruptcy, Lambeau turned the Packers into a non-profit organization, and...
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