Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Is This the Actual Franchise Certificate?

Hunt Auctions is running a Super-Bowl timed auction with some amazing treasures for Packer fans. Buried in the catalog is one item that could be the most important team artifact to ever hit the block.


This patriotic sheet of card is billed as the actual team franchise certificate, issued by the league in the 1920s.
Description: UPDATED DESCRIPTION: Historically significant Green Bay Packers National Football League charter certificate c.1920s. Joseph F. Carr assumed control of the American Professional Football Association in 1921 and was of sound conviction that the sport he loved was deserving of a far more prominent spot within the culture of American sport. From the start, he was determined to bring the game into the spotlight and show that it was being run in an honest and capable manner. Upon taking over, Carr instituted all manner of sweeping changes starting with the name and decreed that from 1922 onward the conglomerate of teams was to be known as "The National Football League." Other new rules and regulations introduced included League by-laws, membership criteria, a uniform player's contract, territorial rights, and a strict ban on the use of college players. It was this last point which would be pushed to the forefront by a controversial news report in late 1921. The public had long been wary of professional teams using collegiate players and when conclusive proof surfaced that three such players from Notre Dame had taken the field on behalf of Green Bay, Carr was forced to act. At a meeting of League Officials and team representatives in January of 1922 the Franchise rights which had been granted to the Packers were revoked. "My grandfather said he knew that some of the teams had been fudging on this particular rule" recalls grandson James Carr, "but this is the first time [he had] caught somebody, So he pulled the league franchise from the Packers and Curly Lambeau and that Franchise certificate that was originally sent to Lambeau was returned" That original certificate still belongs in our family." Upon further research we have concluded that this particular certificate dates to slightly later than referenced within the Carr family archives likely to the early to mid 1920s era rather than 1921 specifically. Undoubtedly, the offered certificate if an original signed variant as retained by Joseph Carr quite possibly with relation to the Packers process of renaming and assimilation into the NFL during that 1920s period. Beautifully executed on 13.5"x16" heavy stock, the certificate has "The National Football League Certificate of Membership" titling atop an American flag with football logo. The body is executed in flowing script which reads in part, "The Green Bay Football Corporation, A corporation owning and operating a Professional Football Club has by proper action of the National Football League been duly nominated and admitted into membership in that League" This Certificate endorses the right of the Green Bay Football Corporation to represent the city of Green Bay" It has been signed at lower right, "Joe F. Carr" in fountain pen rating 9/10 out of 10. The piece remains in fine overall condition with a touch of light even toning throughout (slightly more accentuated at areas) and some scattered additional very minor discoloration. Though Carr would help evolve the game from a band of small town teams to the largest spectator sport in America with participating clubs dotted throughout its major cities, The Packers remain unique as the only major professional sports team in American which is owned by the community in which it plays. Founded in 1919 by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun and known in their earliest incarnation as The Acme Packers, they came to their now famed "Green Bay Packers" moniker after the Indian Packing Company agreed to sponsor the purchase of uniforms. In order to resume play in the NFL after the Franchise was revoked by Carr, Lambeau organized "The Hungry Five." Together, these Green Bay area businessmen raised the needed funds and incorporated the team as a non-profit. Over the ensuing decades they have won an NFL record (13) League Championships which include (9) NFL Titles and (4) Super Bowls. Includes letter of provenance from the Carr Family and full LOA from JSA: EX/MT-NM

Estimated Price Range: ($20,000-$40,000)
If this is real, then it belongs in the Packers Hall of Fame, not a private collection.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Rodgers Connection

Aaron is, quite rightly, the cover boy for this week's Sports Illustrated:


This is why I love playing in Dallas - the Packers get to wear their home greens, by far the best uniform. I don't want to jinx it, but the NFC representative will be the home team at Super Bowl LI in Houston, and will be able to wear their colors.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It All Hinges on This....

What an amazing game down in Dallas. The first half was all Green Bay, but the Cowboys staged a monumental comeback to tie it before the Packers sealed the win in the closing seconds.

I spent the entire fourth quarter trying to focus my nervous energy on something, anything other than Dallas's ongoing comeback. One of the things that I settled on was the Packers' helmets. Specifically one of the newer models.

Green Bay Packers strong safety Micah Hyde (33) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The helmet Hyde is wearing is the Riddell SpeedFlex. And yes, I kind of hate that I know the focus group-tested names of these helmet models. Almost as bad as keeping track of Nike's silly template names, but that's a subject for another post.

In any case, the SpeedFlex is easily identifiable by the hinged panel front and center. That hinge is supposedly part of the technology that will make the game safer (which is abject bullpucky, but whatever). Uni Watch did a piece on these helmets a couple years ago, and explains the purpose behind the hinge:
(T)he SpeedFlex's defining visual feature is a cutout on the crown, which creates a flexible panel designed to disperse the force of an impact. How flexible is it? Judging from a sample helmet that Riddell provided at Uni Watch's request, the panel definitely has some give -- if you push on it, it bends a bit(.)

Aside from its functionality(,) the flex panel also makes the SpeedFlex instantly recognizable, even from a distance, which no doubt pleases Riddell's marketing department (although the visual impact is diminished a bit if the helmet has center striping, because the stripe tape obscures the lower part of the cutout).
At least, it sometimes obscures the lower part of the cutout. The Packers' equipment managers interrupt the team's Braisher stripes.

Let's take a closer look at that helmet Hyde is wearing:


You can also see it in the background, on Jake Ryan (#47):


The Packers' trademark stripes are cut at the hinge, creating a visible break that's identifiable even at a distance. Identifiable even in the blurry background of a photo.

At some angles, the gold shell under the stripes is clearly visible, emphasizing that break even more.

Green Bay Packers strong safety Micah Hyde (33) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Riddell's marketing department must be so proud.

But let's take a look at the other sideline; the Cowboys also prominently use Braisher stripes on their helmets. Here's how Dallas treats the hinge:

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) carries the ball during an NFL football NFC divisional playoff game, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (Ryan Kang/NFL)
The Cowboys run their stripes clear over the hinge without a break:


This diminishes the look of the hinge, putting the team's look above the helmet manufacturer's.

I don't often say this, but I vastly prefer the Cowboys' approach.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Infographic: Divisional Round Preview

The Packers will see if they can keep the dream alive this Sunday in Dallas, and Packers.com has the Infographic preview:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bring on the 'Boys. Again.

Photo credit: Neil Leifer

Sunday's win over the Giants sets up another post-season matchup between our Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Another game between two of the best- and most traditional-looking teams in the league.

Fifty years ago today, the photo above was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It shows quarterback Bart Starr bringing his arm forward to pass, in the Packers' 34-27 victory in the 1966 NFL Championship Game at the Cotton Bowl.

That victory, of course, earned the Packers the right to face the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs in the inaugural Super Bowl, and therefore deserved its place of prominence on the cover.

The interior coverage was as impressive as the cover photo.


Amazing. I particularly love the five-photo series of Jim Grabowski's fumble recovery.

These photos represented a great technical innovation for the magazine, which developed a new process to be able to turn around color photographs quickly. Publisher Garry Valk described it this way, in a special letter in the front of the magazine:
This issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED contains the most ambitious use of news color in the history of the magazine. The cover and the pro football championship stories that begin on page 8 are illustrated with 11 photographs of events that took place last Sunday afternoon. Using these photographs without delaying delivery of the magazine represents a major technical advance but hardly an unexpected one. On the contrary, the most noteworthy thing about this week's color that it is merely a significant example of the kind of coverage that our readers can expect throughout the year ahead.

Two weeks from now the NFL-AFL game in Los Angeles will offer a similar occasion for extensive use of on-the- deadline color. Later, such news stories as basketball championships. the Kentucky Derby, the U.S. Open and the World Series will be presented with more color photographs than ever before. And we will now have the opportunity to show, in color and within hours of when they happen, many of the less widely followed but equally interesting events in the sports spectrum.

The degree of our increasing emphasis on news color is not difficult to measure. In 1964 we ran only 18 pages&mdahsh;six of them from the Tokyo Olympics. In 1965 the figure was up to 38, and last year it was 92. We expect that the 1967 total will average four pages an issue, twice as many as a year ago.

One of the results of this is that a demanding sport of our own is going to become a matter of routine. Its name is "Chicago Close"—it is in Chicago, the site of our main printing plant, that all Sunday color pictures must be processed and selected. It is a nerve-testing game because there is a constant danger that the scheduled film may not arrive in time, and that plans for "standby" alternates will fail. (For several hectic hours four weeks ago, our scheduled color cover from the Boston-Buffalo AFL game was stranded in Detroit, our first standby was fogbound in Dallas and our second standby was snowed in at Cleveland.)

This week the coverage of two games doubled the chance of trouble. A staff of 10 went to Chicago early Sunday to await the arrival of film from Dallas and Buffalo, select pictures and get them to the three printing plants involved (no one company could handle that much rush work). As a safety measure in case none of the film arrived, a "superstandby" cover of Bart Starr (left) was chosen immediately after Green Bay had won. picked from 150 regular-season pictures of likely heroes of the Dallas game. Artist Robert Handville was also commissioned to do drawings based on wirephotos and descriptions of key plays from our men on the scene.

Happily. There were no delays with the game photographs. By one a.m. Monday the last rolls of film were being studied by the editors. An hour later final selections had been made and the last pic1ure dispatched to the engravers. It arrived 10 minutes before the 2 a.m. deadline. Now Starr was on our cover playing against Dallas, the kind of news color treatment we like, and know you do, too.
In an age of instantaneous on-demand high-definition video highlights, it seems amazing to consider a time when artists scrawled game pictures based on eyewitness accounts just in case photos didn't arrive at the printer.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bart Starr Rookie Card, 1957

In honor of Bart Starr's 83rd birthday today, we take a quick look at his rookie card from Topps:


I can only presume that #42 jersey he's wearing comes from a practice session. The colorization itself is a bit off, with the three gold Northwestern stripes combined into one large one. Still, unusual to see Bart in anything other than green and gold.


This card is from 1957, his second season in the league. Football cards were a small percentage of the company's business in the 1950s, and it was therefore not uncommon for untested rookies to be passed over. Especially a 17th-round pick. Bart was deemed worthy in his sophomore season, however, leading to this card.

Card collector Bob Lemke corrected this injustice with this custom card in the 1956 style.


Ah, there's the familiar #15.

It's very nice work. Worthy of a legend, who obviously wasn't recognized as such when he joined the Packers.

And Happy Birthday Bart. Thanks for all the memories.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Giant Killers, Then and Now

Photo credit: Even Seigle, Packers.com

So much for Rambeau III. The Packers demolished the Giants today, 38-13, to keep their improbable streak alive.

My favorite part of the game, other than the final score, was the opportunity to see two old-school NFL powers face off in their classic uniforms.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws the ball during NFC wild-card NFL football game against the New York Giants on Sunday, January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wis. Green Bay won 38-13. (Todd Rosenberg/NFL)
What a gorgeous game. Bold colors: green and gold against white, red and blue. No trendy teal or black-for-black's-sake here.

Everything about the game has changed around them, but the same basic uniforms could have been transported from 1961:

Photo credit: Even Seigle, Packers.com
Photo credit: Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated

Fantastic.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"Rambeau III"

The New York Post, always ready with a quippy headline, offers this take on tomorrow's clash between the New York Football Giants and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field:


We'll see, Eli.

If the Giants do pull off a win at Lambeau Field, I could actually see this becoming a legitimate nickname for him. On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers could also end up being known as a Giant-killer.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Infographic: Wild Card Preview

The Packers have done it, successfully running the table to claim the NFC North title for 2016. Now they'll need to keep their winning ways going if they hope to stay alive. First up, the New York Football Giants coming to Lambeau. Packers.com has this infographic preview:

Friday, December 30, 2016

Infographic: Packers at Lions Preview

Well, the Pack has almost done it. They just need one more win to run the table, and it's a big one: a game in Detroit against the Lions, with the NFC Championship hanging in the balance.

The Drama couldn't be higher, and Packers.com has this infographic preview:


Can't. Wait.