After a players’ strike in 1982 that wiped out seven weeks of the season, NFL owners decided not to ever allow that to happen again. So when the players went on strike again in 1987, the owners trotted out squads of “replacement” players, or “scabs” to use the union vernacular. The three weeks of replacement player football that year were the strangest three weeks in NFL history, according to Ted Kluck, whose interesting recent book, Three-Week Professionals: Inside the 1987 NFL Players’ Strike (Rowman & Littlefield) asserts that the quality of play was somewhat akin to a second preseason.
While that was pretty awful in itself, the replacement Packers fit right in with the general downward slide of the Forrest Gregg era that would end that season as a failure both on and off the field. In fact, the 2-1 replacement Packers fared better than the 3-8-1 regular Packers. It was a very sad time.
However, I never held the ugly replacement sub-season against the replacement players who were basically just looking for a shot. That mess was on management trying to foist it off onto the fans as pro football. So let’s take a look at some of Green Bay’s three-week professionals” in Kluck’s phrase:
Five continued with the Packers after the strike ended:
The team had three quarterbacks, McCarthy never appeared in a game:
The leading replacement runner gained 251 yards in three games, as opposed to team leader Kenneth Davis’ 413 yards in the other 12 games: