Founder’s Day

Earl Louis Lambeau was born on April 9, 1898 in Green Bay. Three subsequent Packers shared Curly’s birthday, and, oddly, all joined the team within a four-year period. Despite being role players, two made key plays in the drive to the Packers’ drive to a third consecutive title in 1967.

The first to join the team was tight end/linebacker Dick Capp. Capp opened the 1967 season on the active roster while starting defensive end Lionel Aldridge mended from a broken leg. When Aldridge was reactivated after week two, Capp was shifted to the team’s taxi squad for the remainder of the season. On Friday, January 12, just two days before Super Bowl II, Capp was reactivated by Green Bay to take the place of injured tight end Allen Brown, and enthused, “Imagine me, a Boston Patriot cut, playing for the Packers in the Super Bowl.” Green Bay was his favorite team growing up, and he played a key role in that game by recovering a muffed punt at the end of the first half that led to a Don Chandler field goal that put the Packers firmly in control of the game.

Second was fullback Chuck Mercein who was signed off the Redskins’ taxi squad by Lombardi on November 11 after Elijah Pitts was lost to injury for the season. Over the last six weeks of the season, he carried the ball just 14 times for 56 yards. In the first playoff game against the Rams, though, he scored a third quarter touchdown that put the Packers up 21-7, and in the Ice Bowl a week later, he caught a 22-yard swing pass and gained eight yards on a trap play to buoy the game-winning drive. He only got one carry in the Super Bowl, but by then had already attained hero status far outreaching his lifetime total of 105 yards rushing in three seasons in Green Bay.

Last was defensive end Alden Roche who came to Green Bay from Denver in a 1971 draft day trade for quarterback Don Horn. Roche had been drafted in the second round by the Broncos in 1970 and backed up fellow Southern University alumnus Rich “Tombstone” Jackson as a rookie. Dave Hanner said of the 6’4” 255-pound Roche at the time of the trade, “Roche is a tough, dedicated player. He keeps himself in shape year round working on weights. He’s an end, but he’s strong enough to play tackle.” Fairly good against the run, Roche was never a great pass rusher, accumulating 31 sacks in six years with a high of 8.5 in 1976 according to Webster and Turney. He was traded to the Colts following that season, but spent his final two years of 1977-78 with the expansion Seahawks.

As a sidenote, linebacker Aric Anderson, also born on April 9, appeared in the three replacement-player games of 1987 for Green Bay as well.

Finally, Lambeau shares his birthdate down to the year with Paul Robeson. Robeson, a Rutgers graduate, played in the NFL for two seasons in the 1920s, one of just 13 blacks to do so. He enjoyed much greater fame as a singer, actor and social activist who won the International Stalin Prize in 1952 from the Soviet Union. He died in seclusion in Philadelphia in 1976.

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Lambeau and Replacement linebackers custom cards are colorized.


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