Green Bay Packers
The history of the Green Bay Packers sounds like a fairy tale: they are the only NFL team that reminds us all of the time when the NFL was home in the small cities around the US. But the Packers are still one of the most successful teams in the league: 13 NFL titles, 4 Super Bowl victories. So you can see that the city in Wisconsin is not called “title town” for nothing.
The incredible story of the Green Bay Packers began in 1919 when the Indian Packing Company decided to establish their own football team. Earl “Curly” Lambeau became the head coach of the team. In 1921, the Packers were approved as an NFL team and are therefore the third oldest team in the league playing in the NFC today. The story of the Green Bay Packers was coined by two legendary head coaches: Earl “Curly” Lambeau and Vince Lombardi.
In the 1920s, Curly Lambeau took over a team that never ended a season with more wins than losses. However, Lambeau quickly turned the franchise around and the Packers dominated the league in the 1930s: Between 1929 and 1939 they won five NFL titles and two runner-up titles. Lambeaus team impressed by a number of outstanding players – first and foremost quarterback Arnie Herber and Don Hutson, the first “real” Wide Receiver of football history – who implemented Lambeau’s innovative plays. One of the running plays that he developed was the “Green Bay Power Sweep”, which is one of the most popular running plays of the NFL today. At the same, Lambeau was also an innovator of passing plays. The stadium is now named after the Packers first coach – Lambeau Field.
After a long period of unsuccessful seasons when the Packers were only able to win one NFL title in 1944, Vince Lombardi took over the team in 1959 und led it back to the top of the league: In the 1960s they won five NFL championships and with their victories in the first two Super Bowls, the Green Bay Packers finally made their way in the history book of professional american football. The list of players who played for Lombardi in the 1960s, reads like a who-is-who of the Hall of Fame: Bart Starr was an extremely reliable quarterback, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor were two of the best running backs of their time. In the Defense linebacker Ray Nitschke, defensive backs Willie Wood and Herb Adderley and defensive linemen Willie Davis and Henry Jordan set new standards.
With Lombardi’s resignation after the second Super Bowl victory in 1968 the Packers started another losing streak, which only came to an end only in the 1990s. Mike Holmgren took over as the head coach and developed the “West Coast” offense to perfection developed. In addition to that, he found Brett Favre, a quarterback who led the team to new heights: In 1996 the Packers won another Super Bowl, and then played in the playoffs regularly. This didn’t even change after Favre’s resignation: In 2010 you could watch Green Bay Packers games and see them winning their fourth Super Bowl title led by Favre’s successor, Aaron Rodgers.
The Green Bay Packers are not just a team with an unparalleled history, the ownership of the team is unique to the NFL: It is the only franchise that is not owned by a single person, but was founded as a stock company in 1923 and the Green Bay Packers are owned by more than 100,000 people today, many of them regular residents from Green Bay.