Hornung’s Placekicking Replacement

After Paul Hornung’s poor kicking cost the Packers a chance at the 1964 title, Vince Lombardi swapped a fifth round draft pick to the Giants to acquire veteran kicker/punter Don Chandler to shore up the kicking game. Don did that in 1965 by hitting 17-26 field goals (65.4%) in the regular season. He then added a controversial one to tie the Western Conference playoff against Baltimore and force overtime. His overtime three-pointer put the Packers in the 1965 title game against the Browns, and Don went 3-3 in that game to help Green Bay beat Cleveland 23-12.

In an ironic twist, however, the magic left Don’s foot the next year, and he is the unnamed kicker in the last post about Paul Hornung’s 1964 season, one of six kickers on winning teams during the 1960s who converted less than 43% of their field goals. In 1965, Chandler hit just 12 of 28 field goals (42%). Under 30 yards, he converted 8 of 11, but beyond 29 yards, he made just 4 of 17.

The Packers still finished 12-2, but their two losses were by a total of four points. Had Chandler converted one of his missed field goals in each of those two losses, the Packers would have finished 13-0-1. In the NFL title game, Chandler missed his only field goal attempt and had an extra point blocked, enabling the Cowboys to stay in the game to the last minute. In the first Super Bowl, Chandler had no field goal attempts and made all five extra points.

Lombardi made Donny Anderson the team’s punter in 1967, and, relieved of double duty, Don returned to form as a placekicker, making 19-29 field goals (65.5%). In his final NFL game, Chandler was the high scorer in Super Bowl II, making all four of his field goal attempts and all three extra points for 15 points scored. The team would miss him badly in 1968 when Packer kickers converted just 13 of 29 field goals (44.8%) and 1969 when they made just six of 22 (27.3), worse even than Paul Hornung’s 1964.


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