Friday, October 31, 2008

Week 9: Happy Halloween

Holiday wishes from the Green Bay Packers Uniform Database:

That's OT Ken Ruettgers, who played with the Packers from 1985 through 1996, obviously in the holiday mood for a Monday Night Football game played on Halloween 1994.

So what on Earth is he wearing? That's one of the two throwback uniforms worn in 1994 by the Packers as part of the NFL's celebration of its 75th Anniversary (I'll cover the other in a later entry). It's a throwback to 1937. Not a terribly accurate throwback - the original featured gold numbers on the white jersey, but that's about as legible as it sounds. Rather than outline the gold numbers in navy, the Packers decided to use simply navy block numbers.

Since the look hearkened back to the leather-helmet days, and therefore doesn't translate perfectly into today's form-fitting armor look, the Packers simply stripped off all decals and went with simple gold plastic shells for their throwback games (providing a nice blank canvas for Ken). They didn't bother to change out the standard green facemasks, resulting in a somewhat patchwork appearance up close.

On October 31st, 1994, the Packers journeyed south to take on the Bears at Soldier Field. Playing in a torrential downpour, with gusts of up to 36mph, the Packers crushed the Bears 33-6.

The Bears, wearing 1920s-style throwbacks, turned the ball over five times in that game (the Packers managed not to lose it even once), didn't score until the fourth quarter, when the Packers had already put it away.

That picture above tells another story - look at all the empty seats. The foul weather resulted in 19,000 hardy Chicagoans deciding to stay dry and watch the game at home.

No word on whether or not Ruettgers took his helmet trick-or-treating in Chicago before heading back north.

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