Tuesday, September 6, 2011

When the Saints Came Marching In to Milwaukee (and Stumbled Out)

In honor of the Packers' 2011 season opener against the Saints, the Green Bay Press-Gazette is running a photo gallery of the first meeting between the two teams, played at at Milwaukee County Stadium on November 17, 1968.

The expansion Saints had an interesting relationship with the Packers in their early days. Jim Taylor, frustrated with the increasing salaries given to each class of rookies, went to New Orleans in his final year seeking the money he knew Lombardi would never give him. Paul Hornung similarly tried to orchestrate a transfer to the new franchise, seeking television fame and fortune in a larger media market. He arranged for Saints coach Tom Fears to pick him up off the expansion draft list, a scheme foiled only by a diagnosis of cumulative spinal injuries that forced the Golden Boy's retirement from football altogether.

The Packers, in their first year under new head coach Phil Bengtson, were still wearing the "glory years" uniforms developed under Vince Lombardi.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Dave Robinson is about strip the ball from New Orleans Saints running back Don McCall during the first quarter at Milwaukee County Stadium on Nov. 17, 1968. Packers cornerback Herb Adderley (26) watches at right. The Packers won 29-7 in the first game between the teams.
After wearing Braisher stripes in their first season, the Saints wore an inverted white/black/white pattern in 1968.

Green Bay Packers safety Tom Brown (40) is about to pick up a fumble by New Orleans Saints running back Don McCall (36) and return it 22 yards for a touchdown at Milwaukee County Stadium on Nov. 17, 1968. Packers cornerback Herb Adderley (26) and defensive end Willie Davis (87) are on either side of McCall. Saints quarterback Karl Sweetan (14) watches from behind. Packers linebacker Ray Nitschke (66) is at right.
What's particularly interesting to me is not the on-field uniforms, which were identical to those the Packers had worn since 1965, but the post-game photos:

Green Bay Packers linebacker Fred Carr dresses after a 29-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints at Milwaukee County Stadium on Nov. 17, 1968.
Love the Miller High Life product placement on the lockers. Not uncommon to see during the Milwaukee Braves era, but it also extended to the Packers when they played in the Cream City.

My favorite photo is Bengtson talking with the press after the win.

Longtime readers will recognize Phil decked out in two sideline items we've covered before: his "GB" monogram cap and classic half-zip sideline jacket.

Looking pretty sharp there, Coach. And so were the Packers on that November day. Let's hope McCarthy's boys can pull out a similarly decisive victory as they start looking for their fourteenth World Championship.

Photo credit: Press-Gazette archives

No comments: