The Horror of the 1970s in One Game

Bart Starr’s debut as Packers’ head coach on September 21, 1975 was one of the ugliest and strangest games in team history. Rookie punter Steve Brousard set a league record by having three punts blocked in the game, but there were two other blocked kicks in the contest as well, not to mention 10 sacks and five turnovers between the two teams. Ultimately on opening day, Detroit embarrassed Green Bay 30-16 at Milwaukee’s County Stadium.

The Lions came out on defense with all 11 defenders crowding the line of scrimmage and successfully confused the Packer offense throughout the game. An early interception by Paul Naumoff led to the first of three field goals that former Packer Errol Mann would kick that day. Then at the 11:09 mark, Levi Johnson burst through to block Broussard’s punt at the goal line and recovered the ball for Detroit’s first touchdown.

Six minutes later, Johnson again blocked a Broussard punt 2:30 into the second quarter, and Larry Ball scooped up the ball at the 34 and raced in for the Lions’ second touchdown and a 17-0 lead. Oddly, Packer defensive lineman Dave Pureifory blocked a Herman Weaver punt 9:42 into the second quarter, and Green Bay converted that into a field goal. However, kicker Chester Marcol injured his hamstring on the ensuing kickoff and would not return until 1976. Pureifory took over the placements until Joe Danelo was signed before week three.

The Packers opened the second half with a touchdown run by John Brockington, and Pureifory booted the extra point. Unfortunately, the Lions answered that score later in the third quarter when Ben Davis blocked another punt that Broussard fell on at his own seven. Detroit scored the clinching touchdown three plays later. A second Brockington touchdown in the fourth quarter was followed by the fifth kick block of the game when the Lions snuffed Pureifory’s effort.

In the role of Captain Obvious, Starr told the Milwaukee Sentinel, “Take away those blocked kicks and it would have been a much more enjoyable game to watch and to be part on the sidelines” Punt blocker Levi Johnson added another twist, noting that the Lions had been one of five NFL teams to walk out on strike in support of the New England Patriots that week, while the Packers voted against the strike. “We just weren’t going to let them beat us because of their vote.”

Broussard was cut after week four, having averaged 31.8 yards per punt for his 4-game NFL career.

1975TBSTARR  1975tsbroussard2

Custom 1975 Topps-style card of Steve Broussard is colorized.

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