Bernard “Boob” Darling was born on November 18, 1903 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where he starred as a schoolboy athlete. His odd nickname was shortened from the nickname his younger sister hung on him, “Boo Boo.” Darling continued his athletic excellence at Ripon College for two years before transferring to Beloit where he was an All-Conference guard on the gridiron. Upon his graduation in 1927, Boob began a professional sports career in both basketball (with the Oshkosh All-Stars founded by his brother Lon) and with the Packers.
Darling shared the center position with Jug Earpe from 1927-31 and started for the 1929-31 three-peat Packers although his playing career ended in October 1931. Years later, Boob told the Milwaukee Sentinel, “On defense, I backed up the line quite a bit, but my position wasn’t a true linebacking spot. In our normal defensive set up, we used a seven-man line. I stayed in the middle of the seven unless I smelled a rat, and then I’d pull out and cover against a pass. I was responsible for the fullback on pass plays.”
Cliff Christl reports that Curly Lambeau cut Darling in October 1931 in order to get the roster down to the limit. Darling told Wolf that he had cracked his breast bone that year and that Lambeau tried to entice him to return in 1932, but Boob had already started his life’s work with Northwestern Mutual and declined.
Darling worked for Northwestern Mutual for 40 years and served as District Manager for 30. In addition, he was an active member of the Green Bay community, serving as president of the Lions Club and of a local country club, as well as serving as a member of the Packers Board of Directors for 17 years. He claimed he conducted the team’s first interview with Vince Lombardi at the league meetings in Philadelphia in 1959.
Boob also worked as an official for over 500 football games and 400 basketball contests, both at the high school and college levels. He was a Big Ten referee for 14 years and worked the 1949 Rose Bowl. He died of lung cancer on March 5, 1968, survived by two children and two grandchildren. His honorary pall bearers included former teammates Mike Michalske, Jug Earpe, Whitey Woodin and Verne Lewellen.
All custom cards are colorized.
54 is associated primarily with two stalwart Packers, both named Larry, one from the early days and one from the modern era: Larry Craig and Larry McCarren. It was first worn by tackle Al Culver in 1932. He was followed by tackle Carl Jorgenson (1934), fullback Swede Johnston (1936) and blocking back/defensive end Larry Craig (1939-49) in the Lambeau Era.
In the modern era, the number has been worn by four centers, one guard, one long snapper and 16 linebackers.
C: George Schmidt (1952), Malcolm Walker (1970), Wimpy Winther (1971) and Larry McCarren (1973-84).
G: Greg Jensen (1987r).
LS: Derek Hart (2017).
LB: Jeff Schuh (1986), Rydell Malancon (1987r), Scott Stephens (1987-91), Keo Coleman (1993), Bernardo Harris (1995), Ron Cox (1996), Seth Joyner (1997), Jude Waddy (1998-99), Nate Wayne (2000-02), Steve Josue (2004), Roy Manning (2005), Brendan Chillar (2008-10), Dezman Moses (2012), Victor Aiyewa (2013), Carl Bradford (2016) and James Crawford (2018).
McCarren wore 54 for 12 season and Craig for 11. Both are members of the team’s Hall of Fame, as is Swede Johnston. There was one lengthy gap of 17 years when the number was not worn in Green Bay from 1953-69.
Culver and Craig custom cards are colorized.
For these National Chicle-style cards I used prominent works from the art world as backgrounds. Thus, Andy Uram invades Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street, Rainy Day,” Don Hutson and Cecil Isbell are drawing up plays in the dirt in Georges Seurats’ “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” Moose Mulleneaux is sailing through Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Dick Stahlman, in a monstrous leather helmet, wards off trouble in Francisco Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son,” Ed Jankowski leads the parade in Henri Rousseau’s “The Football Players,” Ernie Smith visits dour pa in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” Hank Bruder is in pursuit in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” Howard Johnson pops up in Savador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory,” and Russ Letlow guards Lady Liberty in Eugene Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People.”
All Packers are colorized.
On November 11, 1962, the Packers returned to Franklin Field in Philadelphia for the first time since losing the NFL Championship game there on December 26, 1960. The two teams had gone in markedly different directions since then. Although the Eagles won ten games in 1961, injuries and other factors led to them facing the Packers on this day with a 1-6-1 record for 1962. Not only was Green Bay the defending NFL champion, it also came into this game with an 8-0 record, having outscored opponents by a 243-61 spread. They had beaten the Bears twice by 49-0 and 38-7 scores, recorded two shutouts and had only been seriously challenged by one team, the Lions, thus far in the season.
On this day, the Packers unleashed the full fury of the Vince Lombardi attack and outgained the Eagles 628 yards to 56 and recording a league record 37 first downs to Philadelphia’s three. With Paul Hornung nursing injuries, backup Tom Moore started the scoring with a three-yard run in the first quarter. The onslaught began in the second quarter with two rushing touchdowns by Jim Taylor, one by Moore and a 25 yard touchdown pass from Moore to Boyd Dowler to build a 35-0 halftime margin. In the second half Taylor tallied two more rushing totals to bring the final score to 49-0.
Taylor rushed 25 times for 141 yards and four touchdowns, while the team ground out 294 yards on the ground. Through the air, Bart Starr completed 15 of 20 passes for 274 yards, backup Joh Roach added one completion for four yards, and three halfbacks completed three of six option passes for another 56 yards–334 passing yards in total. On the receiving side, both Dowler and Max McGee nabbed seven passes–Max for 174 yards and Boyd for 101. The Packers defense recorded four sacks and picked off one Sonny Jurgensen pass.
Nothing could ever make up for a lost championship, but it was a mighty sweet victory.
Custom card of Tom Moore is colorized.
Mark Murphy’s fellow starting safety at the end of his career was another slowish, hard hitter, Chuck Cecil. Cecil was known almost entirely for his hitting. He told the Sentinel, “I enjoy that part of the game…Not only from the aspect of doing the hitting, but it’s also how much you can endure. It’s a challenge to see how hard you can hit and also find out how much can I take.”
Cecil devoted so much of himself to going for the crushing hit, that he often missed tackles when he left his feet to drill a player. At one point, he was nicknamed “Scud” after the unreliable missiles deployed by Iraq in the Gulf War at the time. A walk-on player at the University of Arizona, he left as an All-American, but wasn’t drafted until the fourth round by the Packers in 1988. He earned the starting free safety job in 1990 and in 1992 made the All-Madden team and was named to the Pro Bowl.
However, when it came time to talk contract, the Packers were not very interested, instead the team signed journeyman Mike Prior to replace him. GM Ron Wolf figured that Prior and draftee George Teague could replace Cecil’s on-field leadership with more speed and better tackling. Wolf also questioned whether Cecil, at his size (6-foot 185 pounds), really did sting people like a Dennis Smith or Steve Atwater.
Cecil signed as free agent in 1993 with the Cardinals and was featured on a famous Sports Illustrated cover asking “Is Chuck Cecil too vicious for the NFL?” Cecil lasted just one year in Arizona and one in Houston before being force to retire due to concussions. Since 2001, Chuck has served as a defensive coach in the NFL.
(adapted from Green Bay Gold)
Custom Cards in Topps styles.
Last week, I posted colorized versions of the 1963 Kahn’s Weiners Packer cards. I extended the set to 18 with the following faux cards, utilizing period autographed publicity shots. The only ’63 starters missing now are Bob Skoronski/Norm Masters, Tom Moore, Lionel Aldridge and Hank Gremminger.
All custom cards are colorized.
Born on November 4, 1950, Willie Buchanon was highly touted out of San Diego State as the best cornerback prospect in years. As a senior, Buchanon saw only 46 passes thrown in his direction; 12 were completed and five he intercepted. In the East-West Shrine game he intercepted three passes and was named defensive MVP. The spidery 6’ 200 pounder was taken by Green Bay with the seventh overall pick of the 1972 draft.
Buchanon made an impact in Green Bay right from the start as the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year on the division winning Packers. As a fast, quick, smart bump-and-run corner, Buchanon exuded confidence. Had it not been for two broken legs, his ceiling was unlimited. In 1973, though, he broke two bones in his left leg in week six. At that point, Green Bay was 2-1-2 and had not given up more than 14 points in any game. Over the last nine weeks of the year, the Packers went 3-6 and gave up at least 20 points in all but two games. He was named to the Pro Bowl that year anyway.
Buchanon returned to the Packers and the Pro Bowl in 1974, but in week two of the 1975 season, he broke his left leg again. He came back once more in 1976, probably not quite the same player, but still a talented all-around corner who liked to hit and was noted for his tackling skills. In 1978, he played out his option and had an All-Pro year with nine interceptions. In April 1979, Green Bay traded Willie to San Diego, his hometown, where he reunited with his college coach Don Coryell. The Packers received first and seventh round draft choices in return. Those picks turned into linebackers Rich Wingo and George Cumby. Buchanon played his last four seasons with the Chargers and went to the playoffs all four years, but never reached the Super Bowl.
Custom cards in Topps style.