Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Your 1931 Green Bay Packers

The Milwaukee Journal color section comes through again, offering this unique look at Curly Lambeau's Packer squad:

The Green Bay Packers of 1931

National League Champions 1929 and 1930 ...

Here they are—a sprinkling of new faces among the old—Coach Lambeau and the 31 players that started the 1931 season and their race for the third successive championship in the National Professional Football league. Today the Bay team, cut to 22 players, faces Philadelphia at Green Bay in the sixth game of the season. Front row, left to right: McCrary, Darling, Grove, Johnson, Herber, Woodin, Dunn, Bowdoin and Wilson. Second row: Comstock, Davenport, Gantenbein, Nash, Doncarlos, Jannison, Perry, Michalske, Molenda, Bruder, Radick. Standing: Coach Lambeau, Lewellen, Stahlman, Blood, Sleight, Dillweg, Baker, Engelman, Earpe, Zuidmulder, Fitzgobbon and Saunders.
The Packers had been unstoppable to this point in the season, beating the Cleveland Indians, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Chicago Cardinals by a combined score of 118-20.

The Bays would continue their run on that October day with a relatively tight win against the Frankford Yellowjackets, 15-7 (credited in the photo's caption as "Philadelphia", Frankford being a neighborhood within the City of Brotherly Love). After Frankford, the Packers would defeat the Providence Steam Rollers (twice), Chicago Bears, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants for a second time each, and the Staten Island Stapletons. They would lose two games, both in Chicago - once to the Cardinals and the third game they played against the Bears.

This 12-2-0 record was good for a winning percentage of .857 (the NFL of the time didn't count ties in the standings) and brought Green Bay its third consecutive World Championship. That was the first time any team had won three in a row, an accomplishment that has only once been equaled —by the 1965-67 Packers—and never beaten.

On the uniform front, this was the first year for this particular uniform (jerseys from the previous two seasons featured the player's number in a small gold circle on the chest). And although we can't see them in this photo, the Packers added white numbers to the back for this season. The Packers would continue to wear their solid blue jersey/gold pants/blue socks combination until 1934, when the white numbers would be added to the front of the jersey, where they remain today.

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