Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Week 11: A Brief Stroll Through History

Ah, a very satisfying win against the Bears. Nothing like a 37-3 home shellacking of your biggest rival to wipe away the memories of prior weeks. 5 and 5 now, tied with the Vikings and Bears for the division. I think we're going to enjoy the rest of this season.

As part of my research, I love browsing the Green Bay Press-Gazette's incredible photo archives, and more information about early Packers uniforms becomes available every day. They recently uploaded three new galleries featuring Packers/Bears games from 1941, 1942, and 1951.

We get a couple great shots of the classic Lambeau-era uniform in action. Gold helmets, gold pants, navy jerseys with gold numbers and yoke defined the Packers for so long:

The Press-Gazette also gives us a glimpse into the oft-overlooked days between Lambeau and Lombardi, such as this shot of head coach Gene Ronzani with quarterback Bobby Thomason from 1951:

The gold helmet with green stripe/gold jersey with green numbers/green pants uniform was introduced by Ronzani as an alternate in 1950, his first season at the helm. I've never seen a color photo, but I'm still looking. During his tenure the Packers seem to have worn green/gold and blue/gold in rotation.

As much as I hate to say anything nice about the Bears, I have to give them credit for consistency. They've managed to maintain the same basic uniform design from the leather helmet era through the body armor look of today's NFL.

Recently, a new resource has gone online. Google announced a deal to host millions of photograpghs from Life magazine. Not only does this mean that some of the 20th Century's most famous photographs may be found there, but it also includes photos from the same sessions never before published. Not surprisingly, the site has a wealth of material for those of us interested in sports aesthetics.

These shots from 1962 are a particular favorite of mine - check out Vince's team jacket!

Mitchell & Ness used to make a reproduction of that jacket in beautiful blue and gold, but it was dated 1954-1957. Was it possible that Lombardi was wearing those jackets as late as 1962, or did M&N goof on the dates, the color, or both? Time to dig mine out of the closet anyway, I'll post some pictures soon. I've long been interested in the sideline wear, especially old capes and dusters - that might be worth an entry of its own.

Back to the gallery, I'm really excited about seeing some of the earlier photos - Life did a great feature on the Packers in their December 18, 1939 issue. None of that content appears to be online, but when it is....


Tina Letlow said...

hello, do you know where I can find someone to make me a relpica of my grandfathers jersey, Russ Letlow?

Chance Michaels said...

Hello Tina,

As a matter of fact, I might. I have an article coming up later this week about a company which makes throwback replicas. Your grandfather wore a couple Packer uniforms during his career. I know they can manufacture at least one of them, perhaps they can do any of them.

Drop me a line at, I'd love to talk to you about your grandfather.