Packers by the Numbers Update: #98

Defensive tackle Tony DeLuca wore 98 for his entire one-game NFL career and initiated the number in Green Bay. After a two-year gap, defensive end Brent Moore next wore the number for the Packers. Altogether, seven defensive tackles, five defensive ends and two linebackers have worn the number.

DT: Tony DeLuca (1984), Esera Tualo (1991-92), Alfred Oglesby (1992), Billy Lyons (1998-2002), Kenny Peterson (2003-05), Alfred Malone (2008) and Leroy Guion (2014-16).

DE: Brent Moore (1987), David Grant (1993), Gabe Wilkins (1994-97), C.J. Wilson (2010-13) and Fadol Brown (2018-19).

LB: Todd Auer (1987r) and Chris Odom (2017).

Billy Lyons had the longest tenure in 97 at five years. Gabe Wilkins is the closest thing to a memorable player who wore the number. There were gaps of service from 1985-86, 1988-90 and 2006-07.

1984ttdeluca  1991tetualo

1993dgrant  1995gwilkins

1998blyons  2010cjwilson

First custom card is colorized.

1944 Champions Set, Part 1 of 4

Curly Lambeau’s final championship team came during the depths of World War II, with people on the home front living on rationed goods and the NFL struggling to find enough reasonably-able-bodied men to field its depleted rosters. There were no football card sets in this period, so I have envisioned this set as part of War Bonds drive. As the background to these cards, I used a War Bonds poster from the 1940s, with the player image superimposed over top of it.

1944wbwaschwammel  1944wbwaurban

1944wbwbflowers

1944wbwbgoldenberg

1944wbwbkahler

1944wbwbkercher2

1944wbwbkuusisto2

1944wbwbray

All custom cards are colorized.

Packers by the Numbers Update: #97

The first Packer to wear 97, Tim Harris, is still the best one, although the current representative, Kenny Clark, may challenge Harris’ supremacy over time. Since 1986, the number has been worn by five linebackers, six defensive tackles and two defensive ends.

LB: Tim Harris (1986-90). John Miller (1987r), Keith Traylor (1993), Mike Merryweather (1993 playoffs) and Vic So’oto (2011-12).

DT: Danny Noonan (1992), Cletidus Hunt (1999-2004), Kenerick Allen (2006), Johnny Jolly (2007-09, 2013), Luther Robinson (2014) and Kenny Clark (2016-19).

DE: Matt LaBounty (1995) and Paul Frase (1997).

Harris is the only 97 who is in the team’s hall of fame, and Hunt wore the number the longest at six seasons. There have only been one-year gaps in service since the number was initiated.

1986ttharris  1992dnoonan

1995mlabounty  1999chunt

Custom cards in Topps and Fleer styles.

Packers by the Numbers Update: #96

1987 replacement player Tony Leiker, a defensive end, was the first Packer to wear 96. One year later, Shawn Patterson broke in the number for real, and it has continued to be worn ever since with only a one-year gap in 2017. Nine defensive ends and four defensive tackles have worn it in Green Bay.

DE: Tony Leiker (1987r), Shawn Patterson (1988-91, 1993), Sean Jones (1994-96), Gerald Williams (1997), Vaughn Booker (1998-99), David Bowens (2000), Michael Montgomery (2005-09), Mike Neal (2010-15) and Kingsley Keke (2019).

DT: Steve Warren (2002), Larry Smith (2003-04), Brian Price (2016) and Muhammad Wilkerson (2018).

Veteran Sean Jones wore 96 with the most distinction, and Mike Neal donned it for the longest period (six years). It is the only number originated by a replacement player.

1987xtdtackles  1988tspatterson

1994sjones  1999vbooker

2000dbowens  2010mneal

Custom cards in a variety of Topps and Fleer styles.

Scooter McLean

On December 6, 1915, Ray “Scooter” McLean was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. The 5’10” 168-pound McLean was a jack-of-all-trades for the Bears throughout the 1940s, catching passes, running the ball, playing defensive back, returning punts and even kicking extra points in his final year in the NFL. Scooter was especially dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield, averaging 21.7 yards per catch and catching 21 touchdowns. He retired in 1948 at age 33 to become the head coach at Lewis College in Illinois where he posted a 19-6 record from 1948-1950. In 1951, Scooter returned to the NFL as the backfield coach for his former Bears’ teammate Gene Ronzani in Green Bay. When Ronzani was forced to resign with two games to play in 1953, McLean and Hugh Devore coached the Packers on their season-ending West Coast trip, resulting in two more losses.

Scooter remained the team’s backfield coach under Ronzani’s successor Lisle Blackbourn from 1954-1957 and then was promoted to head coach in 1958. Green Bay first offered the job to Hampton Pool, but he elected to stay in Canada rather than tackle the mess in Wisconsin, the NFL’s Siberia. Management turned to McLean because he was a long-time popular assistant and promoting from within was a strong trend in the 1950s. McLean only received a one-year contract, however.

Scooter was a very nice man who was extremely popular with the players. He played cards with them and naively put them on an honor system for training rules. It didn’t take long for the team to be completely out of control. On the field, the 1-10-1 Packers were a disorganized and undisciplined disaster despite having a great deal of talent on hand that the next coach, Vince Lombardi, would mold into a champion. McLean’s only victory came when Green Bay outlasted the Eagles, who would end up 2-9-1, 38-35 in week five. At the end of the season, Scooter remarked, “It’s been a long season and I’m glad it’s over.” Three days later, he resigned and left to coach the backfield for the Lions under another former Bears’ teammate, George Wilson. McLean replaced Red Cochran on the Detroit staff; Cochran in turn was hired by Vince Lombardi to coach the Packers’ backfield. Sadly, Scooter died of cancer in the spring of 1964 after coaching with the Lions for five years and finishing behind the Packers in each one.

(Adapted from NFL Head Coaches.)

1953bassts  1958tsmclean

Both custom cards are colorized.