10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Green Bay Packers: The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history and have won 13 league championships (more than any other), including nine NFL titles before the Super Bowl era and four Super Bowl championships afterward.
The team was founded in 1919 by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. Since their founding, the Packers have played over 1,500 games, with all but 22 occurring in Wisconsin.
1) The history of the team
The Green Bay Packers were founded in 1919. Their name comes from a local Indian club that was sponsored by their coach, Earl (Curly) Lambeau. The team got off to a strong start, earning three straight championships in 1929, 1930, and 1931.
However, they didn’t win another championship until 1944. After that point, they had some lean years before reemerging as an NFL powerhouse during Vince Lombardi’s time as head coach from 1959 to 1967.
2) The team played before professional football existed
The Packers were a community–owned and -operated team that played football before there was a National Football League. And when they made it to The Big Show, they promptly went undefeated in their first season. In fact, for six seasons straight, from 1929 through 1935, Green Bay didn’t suffer a single loss on its way to five NFL titles.
That’s a winning percentage of .857—which would be pretty incredible in today’s era of free agency and salary caps. By comparison, consider that over 16 games in 2008, Peyton Manning’s record-setting Colts went 13-3 (.813). (Sources: Sports Illustrated)
3) The team was named for its original owner’s girlfriend
Curly Lambeau’s then-girlfriend, a salesman’s wife named Margarete Midge Zuzarte, gave Curly Lambeau his nickname—the Lambeau Leap—because of how often he jumped up and down when he was excited. Lambeau used his girlfriend’s name for a football team that debuted in 1919 as a member of what would become known as the National Football League (NFL).
Early on, they were called both Packers and Maroons; over time, they’ve been known as either one or neither. Many people thought that Midge was also their real last name.
4) Many of the players were college football All-Americans before joining the NFL
Brett Favre, Tony Fisher, Aaron Kampman, Ken Ruettgers, and Mark Tauscher were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Donald Driver and Charles Woodson are eligible for induction after retiring following Super Bowl XLV in 2011.
Of those listed above, Kampman is one of five (along with Ted Hendricks and Marv Levy) to have their jersey number retired by the team. Jeff Saturday was another Packer to have his number retired while active; he was released in 2013 and immediately re-signed with his original team, Indianapolis Colts.
5) They were nicknamed Titletown due to their dominance over other teams in the pre-Super Bowl era
they won nine NFL championships before World War II, were winners of four Super Bowls in six years in the ’70s, and dominated a rival league, winning all but two championships between 1921 and 1929. Their home stadium used to be called City Stadium or Fox Cities Stadium, depending on who you ask.
Before going with Lambeau Field in 1950 (after legendary coach Curly Lambeau), it was named for Green Bay mayor Andrew J. McKenna. It’s true that they didn’t bring home a championship since Vince Lombardi left—but we’re not counting them out yet: they still made it to two NFC Championship games since then!
6) Vince Lombardi coached them to five championships in seven years
The 1960s were a great decade for America’s Team. In 1961, Vince Lombardi coached his first game with the Pack, and in 1965 he led them to their first NFL Championship.
The following year he hoisted his first Super Bowl trophy and never looked back. Over a period of seven years, he won five championships—including three straight between 1965 and 1967—and became one of only two coaches (the other being George Halas) to win more than 100 games with a single team. To get you started, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Lombardi and his dynasty.
7) Vince Lombardi was born in Brooklyn, NY
While Lombardi, a Wisconsin native, is often associated with his home state’s team, he was actually born in Brooklyn, NY. A number of other Green Bay greats also hailed from New York. Curly Lambeau founded the Packers and played for them from 1919 to 1928.
He earned NFL MVP honors in 1929 after leading his team to a 10-1 record. Bart Starr played for 16 seasons as quarterback for Lombardi’s dynasty and won two Super Bowls during his tenure with the team (1966 and 1967). Herb Adderley started at cornerback alongside Willie Wood on both Super Bowl-winning teams in ’66 and ’67.
8) Their stadium, Lambeau Field, has been continuously occupied since it opened.
People tend to make a big deal out of stadiums and arenas that have been around for decades, but there’s something to be said about teams that can keep their stadium occupied through good times and bad.
The Packers are one of those teams. Lambeau Field has been in use since 1957, and before it was constructed, locals played football games at Hagemeister Park from 1913-to 1951. It makes you wonder how many other cities could put together an entire century’s worth of professional football with just a single location: As long as it doesn’t rain, the weather shouldn’t be an issue for any team willing to play through October or November.
9) A franchise that started in a dump and ended up being worth $1.7 billion
that’s quite a jump. The Green Bay Packers have always been known for being ahead of their time. They didn’t hire a coach until 1919, but they won their first game that season and went on to win three more before finally losing their last game of that season.
The team wasn’t called the packers in 1918, but it is unclear what they were called that year or even if there was an official name at all. The team started using green and gold as their colors when they were purchased by Earl Curly Lambeau in 1929 because he believed they reflected Wisconsin better than black and white did at that time.
10) The Packers play a game every year on Thanksgiving Day against an opponent selected by league officials
The most famous of these games were played against a Chicago Bears team that had George Halas as a coach and quarterback Jim McMahon under center. Halas coached for 40 years and was a player coach at one point. In fact, he played until he was 48 years old back in 1933; three years later, he took over as head coach of his former team and went on to become arguably one of the best coaches in NFL history.
It’s not surprising then that many consider his game against Vince Lombardi’s Packers to be one of if not THE best Thanksgiving Day matchups in history. With all that said, it only makes sense to get ready for next year by taking a look at 10 facts you may not know about both franchises