The Svendsen Brothers


The only brothers in the Packers Hall of Fame were both centers from Minnesota who played in Green Bay in the 1930s.

Older brother George played for the Gophers from 1932-34 before signing with the Packers in 1935. The 6’4” 230 pounder was the bigger and better brother and was especially noted for his range as a hard-hitting linebacker on defense. He played for the Packers from 1935-37, played pro basketball for the Oshkosh All-Stars of the National Basketball League in the 1937-38 season and then coached high school football in 1938 and 1939.

George returned to the Packers in 1940, made second team All-Pro in 1941 and then went into the Navy. After the War, George spent four years as the Minnesota line coach, worked as a broadcaster for the team for two decades, scouted for the 49ers and was involved in the family’s electrical supply business.

Younger brother Earl “Bud” Svendsen played for three-straight national champions at Minnesota from 1934-36. Drafted in the fourth round in 1937, he joined George on the Packers that year. While George coached high school in 1938, Bud coached Kirkland Teacher’s College in Missouri that year before returning to Green Bay in 1939. Bud was activated for the 1938 title game against the Giants, and New York coach Steve Owen lodged a protest with the league until he realized it was Bud, not George.

Both brothers were in Packer training camp in 1940, but Bud was traded to Brooklyn at the beginning of September. He would play for the Dodgers for four seasons, facing brother George and the Packers in 1941. He also coached at Connecticut University in 1942.

Bud entered the Navy in 1944 and later coached Hamilton College in 1948 and Lafayette in 1949 before replacing his brother as Minnesota line coach in 1950. After four years at Minnesota and two at Northwestern, Bud returned to the family electrical supply business.

George had two sons, Steve and Jeff; Bud had two sons, Mike and David. All four played center in high school, Bud’s son Mike also played the position for the Gophers from 1956-58.

(Colorized custom 1935 National Chicle-style card)

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