Playoff Bowl I: Packers vs. Browns

1963defplayoftheyear

The first time the Packers finished second under Vince Lombardi they appeared in the Playoff Bowl on January 5, 1964 against the 10-4 Browns. The game was billed as a battle of the league’s best two fullbacks, Jim Brown and Jim Taylor, but the 11-2-1 Packers instead won easily in an aerial shootout.

Vince Lombardi had little interest in a game with no consequences, though. Jerry Kramer recalled in Farewell to Football, “We didn’t train too hard, and Vince, for once, didn’t seem to care. We had no curfew New Year’s Eve, the Tuesday before the game, and when we practiced on Wednesday, the whole huddle just reeked of alcohol. It was foul. Bart Starr kept pretending he was getting dizzy from the smell. He called one play, “OK red right, and winos hook – on two.”

The game would be the first of four consecutive Playoff Bowls to draw at least 50,000 attendees before interest began to wane completely in 1968. The winners of this game received $600 per man and the losers $400, compared to $6,000 and $4,200 respectively for the title game participants.

In the game, the Packers drove down the field after the opening kickoff and scored on a Starr pass to Ron Kramer. The Browns responded by driving to the Green Bay one, but four successive thrusts by Ernie Green and Jim Brown failed, and the Packers took over on downs. On the next play, Starr hit halfback Tom Moore at the 25, and Moore ran 75 yards untouched for a 99-yard touchdown to make the score 14-0 with 1:36 to go in the first quarter. Starr said afterwards, “I faked a handoff to Taylor into the line and threw to Moore running to the left.” It was the second of Starr’s three touchdown passes on the day, and the Pack also would roll up 231 yards rushing. The Browns never got closer than a 21-10 score in the second quarter. Lionel Aldridge and Urban Henry closed the scoring in the fourth quarter by tackling Frank Ryan, who threw for 310 yards on the day, for a safety to make the final tally 40-23. The two teams would meet again two years later in the NFL title game with the same result.

1963tvlombardi2  1963ttmoore2

1963tlaldridge3  1963tuhenry5

1963fbstarr  1963fjtaylor2

Custom cards in both Topps and Fleer 1963 styles; Aldridge is colorized.

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