Bye Week 1966

The Atlanta Falcons joined the NFL in 1966, giving the league an uneven number of 15 teams. Because of the odd number of teams, each squad drew a bye at some point during the 1966 season. Green Bay’s bye came on November 13. At that point the Packers sat atop the Western Conference with a 7-2 record, but were coming off a frustrating loss at the hands of the Vikings the previous week, 20-17, in which Minnesota scored the last 10 points of the game on two long drives in the fourth quarter. The Viking game was a letdown for the Packers who had won their previous three games over the Bears, Falcons and Lions by a combined 104-10 score. In fact, the Falcon and Lion games were the only two times Green Bay scored more than 30 points all year…until the postseason when the team put up 34 in the NFL championship against the Cowboys and 35 in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs.

According to Chuck Johnson of the Milwaukee Journal, scout Wally Cruice, a couple of assistant coaches and quarterbacks Bart Starr and Zeke Bratkowski would be in Wrigley Field to watch the Bears-49ers game on Sunday the 13th. The Bears would tie the 49ers that day 30-all to extend their disappointing record to 3-4-2 through the first 10 weeks of the season.

The week after the bye, the Packers met the Bears at Lambeau Field in a typical bruising defensive battle between the two ancient rivals. Starr injured his hamstring on the first series, so Bratkowski went most of the way, completing 14 of 25 passes for 190 yards, two touchdowns to Carroll Dale and one interception. Lombardi praised Zeke after the game, “I think Zeke deserves a great deal of credit. It’s pretty hard to come in there when you haven’t been playing much.” The Packers outgained the Bears in yards 296-160, but the game remained close throughout due to Green Bay being unable to complete drives and Don Chandler missing two field goals and an extra point. Ultimately, the Packers won 13-6.

The Bears victory started a new winning streak for the Packers; they won the last five games of the regular season and both postseason games to repeat as pro football champions. For the year, Green Bay led the league in fewest points allowed with 163, finished fourth in scoring with 335 points and were second only to the Cowboys in scoring differential. Bart Starr not only was named the league’s most valuable player in 1966, but also won the first Super Bowl MVP award as well.

1966pbstarr2  1966pzbrat2  1966pcdale4

Custom cards are in 1966 Philadelphia style.

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