Curly Lambeau earned his first championship of the playoff era in 1936 with a dominating Packers’ club that finished 10-1-1 and led the league in scoring with 248 points, while finishing fourth in points allowed with 118. The team started the season with a 5-1 home stand and ended it with a 5-0-1 road trip. They went 4-0-1 against losing teams and 6-1 against all others.
Green Bay opened with a tight 10-7 win over the Cardinals, won on a 23-yard fourth quarter field goal by Ernie Smith, and then played their worst game of the year against the Bears a week later, getting crushed 30-3. Winning their next nine games, the Packers were only challenged twice. A home battle with the Lions pivoted on Johnny Blood catching a 40-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to take a 17-15 lead. After the Lions answered with a field goal to retake the lead, Blood led the team back down the field in a drive that culminated with an 18-yard field goal by Tiny Engebretsen to win the game in the last minute of play. Three weeks later in Boston, Green Bay eked out a 7-3 win over the Redskins on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Herber to Hutson in the third quarter. In the season finale against the Cardinals on December 6, Lambeau rested his stars on an icy day, and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
A week later in the title game at the Polo Grounds in New York, the Packers long-ball attack prevailed. Hutson scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Herber, while a second Herber scoring toss to Milt Gantenbein was set up by his 55-yard bomb to Blood. Green Bay triumphed 21-6.
For the season, Herber led the league in pass attempts, completions, passing yards (1,239) and touchdown passes (11), while Hutson led in receptions (34) receiving yards (536) and touchdown catches (8). Gantenbein added 15 catches, but the aging Blood grabbed just 7. Clark Hinkle led the team with 476 yards rushing and four interceptions on defense. George Sauer was second in yards rushing with 305. Blood, Hank Bruder and George Svendsen each had three interceptions. Hutson was the top scorer with 54 points, followed by Hinkle with 31 and Smith with 29.
Guard Russ Letlow was the Packers’ first-ever draft choice and was the team’s top freshman. Guard Lon Evans and tackle Ernie Smith joined Hutson, Herber, Hinkle and Gantenbein as first team All-Pros, while tackle Ade Schwammel was named to the second team.
All custom cards are colorized.
After a one-year exile to Pittsburgh, dynamic Johnny Blood and massive Cal Hubbard returned to Green Bay in 1935. That and a sterling rookie crop, including end Don Hutson, center George Svendsen, tackle Ernie Smith and halfback George Sauer, revitalized the sagging Packers to a second place finish in the West. Allowing the fewest points in the league, while finishing third in scoring nearly drove the team to the title in a conference in which all four teams finished with winning records. Had the Packers either beaten the Lions or Cardinals in November on their season-closing four-game road trip, they would have had the top record in the West.
Curly Lambeau had his team play four preseason games in ’35, up from the usual one, and the Pack beat four local semi-pro outfits by a combined 145-0. In the opener against the Cardinals, a missed extra point by Bob Monnett cost the team a tie. Ace rookie Don Hutson played sparsely in that contest but made his name known on the first offensive play the next week against the Bears by catching an 83-yard touchdown pass from Arnie Herber for the game’s only score. Overall, Green Bay was 4-0 against teams from the East and 4-4 against the West. They were 3-0 against losing teams and 5-4 against winners, 3-2 on the road and 5-2 at home (4-1 in Green Bay and 1-1 in Milwaukee).
Again, Arnie Herber led the Packers in passing with 729 yards and eight TD passes. Bob Monnett was second with 354 yards in the air and led the team with 336 yards rushing and a 4.9 average. Freshman halfback George Sauer was second with 334 yards on the ground and second in points with 24. The receivers were led by Blood with 25 catches for 404 yards and three touchdowns and Hutson with 18 grabs for 420 yards and six scores. Milt Gantenbein added 12 receptions at the other end. Hutson led in scoring with 43 points, and Blood tied Sauer with 24 points as well. Hank Bruder and Sauer tied for the team lead with three interceptions a piece.
With the return to top-notch football, Green Bay was well-represented on the All-Pro teams in ‘35. Herber, Sauer, Clarke Hinkle, Mike Michalske and tackle Ade Schwammell all earned first team honors, while Hutson center Nate Barragar and guard Lon Evans received second team notice. Sporting bright new green and gold uniforms, things were looking up for the future.
All custom cards are colorized.
One-time Packers center Malcolm Walker was born in Dallas on May 24, 1943. He starred at Rice University and drew some All-America notice as a junior and senior in 1963 and ’64. Drafted in the second round by the Houston Oilers of the AFL and Dallas of the NFL, Walker signed with his hometown Cowboys in 1965. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury while practicing for the College All-Star Game that summer, and injuries would define his pro career. Despite three knee operations, Walker won the starting center job in Dallas when Dave Manders got hurt in 1968, and he held it for two seasons.
However, when Herb Adderley had a falling out with Phil Bengtson in Green Bay, the Cowboys packaged Walker and reserve defensive end Clarence Williams to obtain the disgruntled All-Pro cornerback. Walker had more knee problems in Green Bay, but did manage to get four starts for the Packers in 1970 when Ken Bowman dislocated his shoulder. Walker even drew seven stiches in his chin after a November battle with the Bears when Dick Butkus kept crashing into him.
New coach Dan Devine waived Walker in July 1971 due to his ongoing knee problems. Malcolm tried to catch on in 1972 with the Falcons, but his bad knees prevented that, and his football career ended.
Topps Walker custom card is colorized.
Born on May 21, 1901 in Butte, Montana, Jack McAuliffe made a name for himself in athletics in Wisconsin. He starred in three sports at Beloit College from 1921-24 despite being slight in size at 5’7” and 155 pounds. He led the basketball team to three straight state championships, set a school pole vaulting mark that lasted almost 30 years as well as competing as a hurdler and track relay member and captained the football team as a senior. In that 1923 senior season, backfield ace McAuliffe led the school to a 6-1-1- record and the conference championship. A piece in the Green Bay Press-Gazette later noted that Cub Buck recommended him to Curly Lambeau for his speed and that Jack’s college coach praised him to the skies:
McAuliffe’s pro career was delayed when he took a high school coaching job in Madison, South Dakota in 1924. The next year Appleton High School brought Jack back to Wisconsin as their Athletic Director after he took a six-week course in coaching under Bob Zuppke at the University of Illinois that summer. Appleton barred him from trying out for the Packers in ’25, but he did play pro basketball for Green Bay’s Columbus community club that winter. He played center on the court.
When Appleton wrote into his contract that he couldn’t play pro basketball either, McAuliffe signed on as the athletic director for the Columbus Club in ’26 and joined the Packers as a halfback. He appeared in eight games, with the highlight being the 15-yard touchdown pass he threw to Dick Flaherty against Racine on October 24.
McAuliffe did not return to the Packers in 1927, but continued playing pro basketball for various outfits at least until 1930 when he played on the Milwaukee Badgers with another former Packer, Eddie Kotal. He continued to coach high school sports and died at age 70 on December 17, 1971 in his native Butte, Montana. A year later, he was posthumously inducted into the Beloit Hall of Honor.
Custom cards is colorized.
The retooling 7-6 Packers very nearly had their second consecutive losing season in 1934. Only a one-score victory over the pathetic St. Louis Gunners–a semi-pro team the NFL brought in midseason to finish the schedule for the bankrupt Cincinnati Reds–kept that from happening. The Pack was 4-2 against losing teams and 3-4 against all others. They lost to the Bears twice when it counted and a third time in a midseason exhibition game in Chicago. This season was also the first for the Packers to split home games between Green Bay and Milwaukee, attaining a 2-2 mark at City Stadium and 1-2 down south.
Arnie Herber led the league in pass attempts with 115, yards with 799 and touchdown tosses with 8. Bob Monnett was second on the club with 223 yards passing and led the team in points with 29. Clarke Hinkle led the squad with 359 yards rushing, in receiving with 11 catches and was second in scoring with 27 points. Roger Grove was second in rushing with 262 yards, third in points with 25 and led the club with three TD catches. Hank Bruder and rookie halfback Joe Laws led the Pack with four interceptions a piece.
Laws was a rookie find, along with tackles Ade Schwammel and Champ Seibold and center Frank Butler. As befitting a mediocre team that finished a distant third in the West to the 13-0 Bears and 10-3 Lions, just three Packers drew All-Pro notice: Mike Michalske on the first team and Clarke Hinkle and center Nate Barragar on the second. Regular All-Pro end Lavie Dilweg ended his career in ’34. Although he nabbed just five passes, he appropriately caught his last pass on the Packers final play of the season in that win over the Gunners on December 2 in St. Louis.
All custom cards are colorized.
Irv Comp, Cecil Isbell’s successor, was born on May 17, 1919 in Milwaukee and was a four-sport star at Bay View High in town. He was sometimes referred to as the “Bay View Bazooka” and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in 1937 but flunked out. Two years later, he matriculated at tiny St. Benedict’s in Atchison, Kansas and starred there for four years.
Curly Lambeau remembered Comp, though, and chose him in the second round of the 1943 draft. Comp was a good choice at the time in that he had been rejected for military service because he was blind in one eye due to cataracts in that eye. As a rookie, Irv led the team with 10 interceptions on defense and was second to Tony Canadeo in passing. Curly Lambeau claimed then that he was “one of the best defensive backs in the league today and a blocker as good as anyone we’ve got.” When Canadeo went into the service in ’44, Comp became the team’s leading passer for the next three seasons.
The 6’2” 200-pound tailback was big and powerful and led the league in pass attempts (177), passing yards (1,159) and interceptions thrown (21) that championship season. He also threw a career high 12 TD passes, plus another in the title game win over the Giants. Overall though, he completed just 41% of his passes and threw 28 TDs to 52 interceptions. As a runner he gained just 515 yards on 255 carries.
With the Packers’ switch to the T Formation in 1947, Comp focused primarily on defense and picked off 14 more passes from ’47-’49. For his career, Irv nabbed 34 enemy aerials and was named to the Packer Hall of Fame in 1986. A knee injury ended his career in 1949, and he then worked for Miller Brewing Company for the next 28 years until he retired. He and his wife raised five sons in Milwaukee, and Irv passed away on July 11, 1989 at the age of 70.
All custom cards are colorized.
1933 was a watershed year for the NFL in that it marked the beginning of the league being allocated into two conferences with a playoff to determine the league champion. Expansion teams in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati followed the previous year’s foray into Boston. It was a watershed in Green Bay, as well. It was the Packers’ first losing season; the three-peat champions were dead.
Green Bay’s 5-7-1 record was divided into a 4-0 mark against losing teams and 1-7-1 against all others. They averaged 26 points a game against losers, but less than eight in the rest of their games. The Pack was 3-2-1 at home and 2-5 away (2-4 on the six-game season closing road trip). Perhaps the best symbol of the team’s downfall was the suspension of Johnny Blood on November 25, the day before a game against the Giants in New York, when the Packer bad boy showed up “unfit for practice.” The story was that he was so plastered that he fell on his posterior while attempting to punt during the practice session. Blood, who had done little in ’33, missed the last three games of the year and played for Pittsburgh the following season.
Arnie Herber led the team with 656 yards passing and threw three touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Rookie Bob Monnett, though, completed 23 of 46 passes for 325 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Monnett also tied for the lead in rushing with 413 yards, the same as Clarke Hinkle, with Hinkle scoring four TDs and Monnett three. Roger Grove paced the team with 17 receptions, followed by Lavie Dilweg’s 13 and Blood’s eight, although Johnny did nab three TDs. Grove also led the team with five interceptions.
Another rookie, blocking back Buckets Goldenberg, led the team with 42 points. Monnett had 34 and Hinkle 30. Monnett, Goldenberg and guard Lon Evans were the top rookies. Cal Hubbard was the only Packer named first team All-Pro, but Hinkle and Dilweg received second team notice.
Custom cards all colorized.