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NFL – Throwback Thursday: The Packers Are Derailed

05 Sep

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, two of the NFL’s oldest franchises who will have the honor of kicking off the league’s 100th season this week, will appropriately also be the featured teams for our initial Throwback Thursday post for 2019. The game between these 2 rivals won’t go the full 100 years into the past, but rather to the opening week of the 1963 season, at Green Bay’s City Stadium, which would later be named in honor of Packer great Curly Lambeau. It was September 15 of that year, which nowadays would be considered a late date to start the season, but there were only 14 games on the schedule, with no byes, at the time. Green Bay was coming off back-to-back NFL championships but had received bad news in April. Their star halfback, Paul Hornung, was suspended by commissioner Pete Rozelle, along with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras, for “betting on league games and associating with gamblers and known hoodlums”. Taking on the Bears’ “Monsters of The Midway” defense was a huge task in itself but the loss of Hornung put coach Vince Lombardi’s troops at a major disadvantage. Of course, the Packer defense was of championship quality also, and they battled tooth and nail all day to keep their team in the game.

Chicago’s defense swarmed the Pack all day. They held their opponents to 150 yards of total offense for the game, intercepting Bart Starr 4 times and forcing 5 turnovers in all, keying on the other Green Bay runner, fullback Jim Taylor, to limit the Packers to 77 yards on the ground. With Hornung out, guard Jerry Kramer took over the placekicking duties for Green Bay and supplied them with their only points, a 41 yard field goal, in a 10-3 defensive struggle defeat. There were little to no big plays in the game. In fact, the only touchdown came on a one yard plunge by Joe Marconi of the Bears in the third quarter. Chicago took the momentum from this hard fought win over the defending champions and rode it all the way to the NFL title that year, winning the title game using the same defensive strategy in defeating the New York Giants 14-10. Despite the loss of their premier player in Hornung, Lombardi’s squad still pulled together and gave the Bears a run for their money in the Western Conference race, finishing at 11-2-1 compared to the Bears at 11-1-2. The difference in the standings was the 2 wins Chicago managed over the Packers, the only time George “Papa Bear” Halas, Chicago’s owner and coach, ever got the better of his long time friend and rival.

 

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Coach Halas and the Bears celebrate the big win

 

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