1973

Background:  Expectations were high as the Packers  prepared for the ’73 season.  A 10-4 record and a Central Division title the year before, and a nucleus of young, talented players seemed to bode well for the Packers. The Packers didn’t seem to want to stand pat, either, with their lineups. T Francis Peay was traded to the Chiefs in exchange for DE Aaron Brown, and DT Vern Vanoy was shipped to Oakland for DT Carlton Oats.  Weaknesses in the passing game were seemingly addressed by taking a WR–Barry Smith out of FSU–and depth at LB was helped by drafting rookies Tom MacLeod and Tom Toner.  More Lombardi Era veterans left the organization before the season started: LB Tommy Joe Crutcher retired; LB Ray Nitschke was given a “retire or be waived” ultimatum and chose retirement; LB Dave Robinson–headed toward retirement–was traded to the Redskins; WR Carroll Dale was waived (and later picked up by the Queens).

Key Departures:    T Francis Peay –traded to Kansas City

LB Dave Robinson –traded to Washington

LB Ray Nitschke –retired

WR Carroll Dale –waived

Key Additions:    DE Aaron Brown –traded from Kansas City

LB  Tom MacLeod –drafted in the 3rd round from Minnesota

LB  Tom Toner — drafted in the 6th round from  Idaho State

QB Jim DelGaizo — traded from Miami

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season Summary:  The regular season began on a high note as the Packers mauled Joe Namath’s Jets, 23-7, on a MNF game at County Stadium, However, things went downhill quickly.  When the Packers sqaundered early scoring opportunities against the Lions in Milwaukee the next week, Scott Hunter was benched as QB and replaced with Jim DelGaizo, who engineered a game tying drive. However, the when the Packers played the Queens at the met in Week 3, DelGaizo could not move the club, and the Packers lost, 11-3, without surrendering a touchdown.  The QB controversy turned into a game-to-game drama, with neither QB moving the club effectively.  Packer fortunes turned from bad to worse as they hit a three game funk, losing to the Rams on the road, 24-7, the Lions on the road, 34-0, and the Barelys at home, 31-17. With the Packer mired at 2-4-2, DelGaizo and Hunter rode the bench for the rest of the year as Jerry Tagge was inserted into the starting line up.  The Packers seemed to fare better with Tagge in the line up , finishng the last six games 3-3.  An appropriate end to the season was the road game against the Barelys, where the Packers soundly defeated the hosts, 21-0, in dreary, damp conditions.

Rams DE Fred Dryer caps off a busy afternoon after he tallies his second safety (shown here sacking QB Jim DelGaizo) in the Packers' 24-7 road loss to the Rams.

 

 

The High Point:  The season opener, the MNF game against the Jets at County Stadium, where the Packers won, 23-7.  Things looked bright, but faded quickly.

The Low Point:  Loses to Central Division rivals Detroit and Chicago in back to back weeks. A 34-0 shut out to the Lions was frankly embarrassing and the loss to the Barelys, 31-17, was not much better. More galling was the fact that the Packers led at the half in the Chicago game, 17-10, before flopping and gagging on the turf in the second half.

The Key Point:  The first game of the three game slide: a 24-7 loss to the Rams. Not only did the Rams beat the Packers, but they beat them up and demoralized them.  CB Willie Buchanon was lost for the rest of the year after breaking a leg, and fill-in tackle, Mal Snider, gave up two safties to DE Fred Dryer.  The Packer squad that flew out of LA that week went home with its tail between its legs.