Thursday, February 3, 2011

"G" Stands For "Gullible"

Several readers have emailed me about this video making the rounds, with Tiki Barber "schooling" the current Packers on the origins of their helmet logo.



So now we know - "Dad" Braisher meant the "G" to stand for "Greatness," not "Green Bay". A little extra motivation from Vince Lombardi to his players, What a fascinating discovery. The unknown tale behind an iconic logo, so little-known that the team itself isn't aware of it. What a great story.

There's just one problem.

It's not true.

It's not supported. There's no source. Not as though there's a lack of material on the subject. Dozens if not hundreds of books on Lombardi's tenure somehow managed to miss this factoid, and I can't find any contemporary evidence to support it. Where did Tiki get that idea? Wikipedia, of course.

It's gone now, but the Packers page used to include this little nugget. Or, heck, it might be back again, as dedicated editors have to keep removing it.

A Google search pulls up pages of results, all of which are recent and all of which lead... right back to Barber. Or to Wikipedia.

This is my problem with Wikipedia. It's a great clearing house for references; read up on a subject and follow the sources, but don't believe anything that isn't supported. Sure, eventually much of the misleading or outright false information will eventually be removed. But until it is, those false claims are picked up and repeated as fact by lazy journalists.

Or even by lazy former football players-turned-journalists.


(h/t: Lori Wojciechowski, Kyla Briney)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, the video does beg a certain graphic design question: why do the Packers rely on just the "G" in their logo whereas every other team with two words in the name of their home city uses two letters? (Think of the NYs used by the Mets and Yankees.)

I know they've used a Notre Dame-esque "GB" for sideline apparel, etc. but I've never seen it on the field before ...

Any insight?

Tom Anderson said...

I can see your side of the argument, but don't you think someone would've come forward to refute it by now? I've known this for some time, and I didn't get it from wikipedia, I got it from the "Complete History of the Green Bay Packers" dvd set that NFL Films put out. It seems unlikely that they'd put something as important as the meaning of a logo in there without checking their info.

Also, on another note, I have a question for you. Do you know of or possess a nice quality, head-on picture of the interlocking GB logo? I've been scouring the internet and can't find one anywhere. I'm looking to get it tattooed. Thanks!

not Osama said...

Thanks for clarifying what I commented on UniWatch's comments yesterday, Tiki got it twisted (or made it up). The "G" has always stood for Green Bay even though the Lambeau and Lombardi teams were definitely great.Makes me appreciate sites like yours and Pauls

illwauk said...

I'd be interested know where Tiki got his information from because I know this definitely isn't the first time I've hear of the G standing for greatness. For some reason I can vaguely recall reading it in one of the various books about the Packers history that I read as a kid in the days before the internet (which would explain why it doesn't show up on google). Perhaps some old fashioned archiving might be needed to confirm it, but I'm not so sure it's something Tiki pulled out of his arse. It would at least explain why Brashier chose to feature a "G" instead of "GB" (which could've been executed in a football shape just as easily) or why they didn't just simply slap the interlocking GB on the helmets (which, before Lombardi, had a lengthy history of being worn by the various minor league baseball teams that played in Green Bay in the early 20th century).

Anonymous said...

This topic was mentioned in the 2003 Packer produced DVD "The Legend of Lambeau Field". In the DVD, it was stated in 1961 Lombardi added a "G" to the helmet, and the G stood for "great".

Tom said...

Chance, check this out! Someone found a videotape of the Super Bowl I broadcast!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704709304576124373773290508.html

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly about Tiki Barber's claim. No source. No documentation. Maybe it stands for Girls. Who knows what Dad Braisher was thinking!

Anonymous said...

"It's not true."

"It's not supported. There's no source. Not as though there's a lack of material on the subject. Dozens if not hundreds of books on Lombardi's tenure somehow managed to miss this factoid, and I can't find any contemporary evidence to support it."


The thing about saying it's not true and it's not supported and there's no source is that means you also don't have anything that concretely says otherwise, just what seems like your not wanting it to be true.

Chance Michaels said...

Tom, I'm not sure who would come forward to "refute" assertions from what amounts to filler video on a content-starved site.

Except, of course, people like me. ;)

I don't remember that at all from the history video, but I haven't watched it in some time. Do you remember the context? I'll try to get through it tonight - not totally Packered out.

As for your tattoo, I don't right now but have been working on an Illustrator vector graphic. You might just have provided the inspiration I needed to finish it - send me an email.

Tom Anderson said...

I'm not sure about where it was at on the dvd. Could've been in the main film, or maybe special features. Hell, it could've just been on a different Packers dvd of mine, but I could've sworn it was that one. Also, I managed to find a decent pic of the GB interlocking logo. FatHead makes a nice set of Packer logos, including that one and the old "Wisconsin Heisman" logo, which I DID get tattooed the other day, turned out great!

Chance Michaels said...

Well, I'll check out the DVD in any case. Not that I need a reason to watch it again....

I'd love to see pictures of your tats.

Chance Michaels said...

Anonymous said:

"The thing about saying it's not true and it's not supported and there's no source is that means you also don't have anything that concretely says otherwise, just what seems like your not wanting it to be true."

Why wouldn't I want it to be true? As I said, if true it's a great story.

But one cannot disprove a negative. The burden falls on those making the claim - in this case, Tiki Barber and the Wikipedia contributor - to provide evidence of Braisher's intent. Maybe the DVD will provide some evidence, but until then I remain skeptical of all such claims, no matter what they are and no matter what the source.

Chance Michaels said...

"Anonymous said...

This topic was mentioned in the 2003 Packer produced DVD "The Legend of Lambeau Field". In the DVD, it was stated in 1961 Lombardi added a "G" to the helmet, and the G stood for "great"."


But what's the context? Was it a rhetorical flourish, or a serious statement of Braisher's intent? If not the latter, then we might as well change the dictionary to list "The Autumn Wind" as a synonym for "raider". ;)

I have the DVD, and a couple others. Let me see what I can find.

Chance Michaels said...

Found it!

Our anonymous friend is correct. It does indeed come from Legend of Lambeau Field, at about the 16:30 mark. Chapter 5.

Lombardi added a 'G' to the Packers' helmet in 1961. And it stood for 'great.' The team posted the league's best record, and earned the right to host the championship game.

So if that's what people are remembering, it's as I thought. A rhetorical flourish. Not a serious statement of fact, and not indicating any intent on the part of Braisher, Lombardi or the Packers.

Not to mention that Tiki/Wiki even get the word wrong - "great" instead of "greatness."