Ten Essential Packer Books: #9


Photographer Vernon Biever began his career in 1941 as an 18-year-old newspaper stringer for the Milwaukee Sentinel. After the War, he became the Packers’ official team photographer and served in that capacity until his death in 2006. Over the years, his iconic shots of Lombardi’s Power Sweep or Forrest Gregg covered in mud became very familiar to sports fans, as did his annual coverage of the Super Bowl. In 1997, editor Peter Strupp put together The Glory of Titletown, a retrospective of Biever’s Packer photographs. A paperback update was published in 2003 with eight additional photos from the ensuing six seasons.

The photographs in the book span over 60 years of team history, from Don Hutson in 1941 to Brett Favre in 2002, with the lion’s share of pictures covering the Lombardi era of the 1960s (in black and white) and the Brett Favre years of more recent times (in color). Each photo is given its own page, and the facing page features quotes from players or coaches that generally discuss the pictured player but do not describe the actual shot itself.

Strupp’s selection of quotes adds quite a bit to the presentation. He relies on such articulate voices as Boyd Dowler, Gary Knafelc and James Lofton to give an honest sense of the players depicted and the game itself over time. Although I would have loved to have seen more pre-Lombardi shots, this is exquisite sports photojournalism with more than a touch of art and never fails to please upon further review.


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