George Blanda in Green and Gold?

In 1950, new coach Gene Ronzani overturned three-quarters of his roster, with only 10 of the 39 Packers from 1949 playing for the team in Ronzani’s first year. At quarterback, second round draft pick Tobin Rote won the starting nod with veteran Jug Girard backing him up during training camp. On August 29, though, Ronzani swung a deal with the Browns for rookie quarterback Tom O’Malley who had played for the Packers’ backfield coach Ray Nolting at the University of Cincinnati.

Girard was moved to left halfback and O’Malley appeared in Green Bay’s final preseason game against the Colts on September 10, just five days after the fledgling Colts had traded their All-Pro guard Dick Barwegen to the Bears for five players including quarterback George Blanda. Like O’Malley, Blanda appeared in his new team’s regular season opener. Unlike O’Malley, Blanda did not throw a pass that week. George did not attempt any place kicks either; he may have appeared only as a defensive player, since the Colts quarterbacks were Y.A. Tittle and Adrian Burk.

O’Malley, as I’ve noted before, threw six interceptions in the opener against the Lions in relief of an injured Tobin Rote on September 17. The Colts put Blanda on waivers early in the week and both the Packers and Steelers put in a claim for George. However, George Halas then interceded and claimed he had made a stipulation in his deal with the Colts that if Blanda were to be cut, the Bears would be given the first chance to reobtain him. Halas gave the Colts $500, and Blanda returned to the Windy City.

On Thursday, September 21, Ronzani purchased the contract of veteran quarterback Paul Christman from the Chicago Cardinals and O’Malley was cut. Back in Chicago, Blanda booted three field goals against the 49ers on September 24th. Christman would appear in the remaining 11 games for the Packers and led the team in completion percentage…at 40.5%.

1950btrote  1950bjgirard3

1950btomalley  1950bpchristman

Rote, Girard, O’Malley and Christman custom cards are all colorized.

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