In the “Modern Era,” that is, and for purposes of this thread I will start in ’59 and the beginning of a new regime.

I will look at several factors in a given season, and then open it up for discussion.


Background:  Vince Lombardi takes over the reins of this franchise on February 2nd after the hapless Scooter McLean tendered his resignation following a 1-10-1 record in December.  Lombardi’s first task would be to change the climate and mindset in Green Bay and eliminate the defeatism that had become the attitudinal default position.  Fortunately for Vince, he had some material to work with as Packer player personnel man, Jack Vainisi, had acquired a talented nucleus of players that included Jim Ringo, Max McGee, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, and Jim Taylor, plus several others who had potential.  There were, however, some holes that needed fillilng in ’59 that included a second guard, defensive line, and quarterback.

Key Departures:  E Billy Howton.  Howton, while talented, was viewed as a “clubhouse lawyer” by Lombardi and was dealt to Cleveland.

RB Howie Ferguson.  Retired in camp.

Key Additions:     E Boyd Dowler, drafted in the 3rd round from Colorado. Clearly a talent, Dowler became only one of a handful of guys to break the    starting line up as rookie.

QB Lamar McHan. Acquired in a trade from the Chicago Cardinals.  Gave the Packers an adequate player at QB and would start several  games in ’59.

DB  Emlen Tunnell.  Acquired from the Giants.  A bit past his prime, but would be a good role model in Green Bay.

G    Fuzzy Thurston. Acquired in a trade from the Colts for LB Marv Matuzak. A solid pass blocker and an upgrade at the position.

DE  Bill Quinlan.  Acquired in the Howton trade. Solid run stopper.

RB Lew Carpenter. Acquired in the Howton trade. Good utility man and good STs guy.

DT Henry Jordan. Acquired in a trade with Cleveland in exchange for a 4th round pick (’60). A steal. What was Paul Brown thinking?

The season summary:  The Packers surprise and win three straight games to start the season, and then, hit a five game losing streak, before finishing the season with a four game win streak.

The low point:  Perhaps two consecutive games. On 11/1 the Packers are unable to do anything against the Giants in New York, and lose, 20-3. The following week they visit Wrigley and lose the Barelys, 28-17, when Paul Hornung puts on his worst performance of season, fumbling twice in the first half, which led to two TDs.

The key point:  After McHan is injured and Joe Francis proves ineffective, Bart Starr is inserted into the starting line up agains the Colts in Baltimore. Despite spotting the Colts a 21-3 lead, Starr plays effectively and rallies the Packers to a close 28-24 defeat.  The Packers easily handle the Redskins at home the next week, igniting a four game rally to end the season.

The high point:  For the first time in ages the Packers make their annual, season-ending west coast swing and don’t get swept, but instead sweep the Rams and the Niners to finish the season at 7-5.  Lombardi is named NFL COY.

(hat tip on player moves to