Throwback Uniforms Recall Packers' Top Season

The Packers will look a little different this Sunday when they take on the 49ers. They will be wearing 1929 replica jerseys fashioning an era of unprecedented dominance for the franchise.

The Green Bay Packers will give a nod this Sunday to the best season in team history when they put on throwback uniforms for their matchup with the 49ers at Lambeau Field.

The 1929 Packers finished 12-0-1 to earn their first NFL title. That remarkable year, which began a period of dominance under coach Curly Lambeau, remains more than 80 years later the only unbeaten season for the franchise.

The uniforms that season were new. They featured a navy blue jersey with a number inside of a gold circle no bigger than the size of a fist. The pants were tan and leather helmets were used.

This Sunday's uniforms will be a re-creation, only different by the larger size of the gold circle and number on the front of the jersey and a large number and name plate on the back as mandated by current league rules. The helmets will be a solid brown color to simulate the leather helmet era.

Lambeau, in his 11th year coaching the Packers, acquired three future Hall of Famers in 1929. Tackle Cal Hubbard, back Johnny "Blood" McNally and guard Mike Michalske led the Packers to a breakthrough season.

The Packers rolled through their opponents outscoring them by a total of 198-22 including eight shutouts. Only once during the season did the Packers trail — that being a 2-0 deficit to the Chicago Cardinals in the third game of the season on Oct. 6.

The matchup of the season came on Nov. 24 in what turned out to be the de facto championship game. It pitted the 9-0 Packers and the 8-0-1 Giants in a battle of the league's top defense vs. its top offense. Coming into the game, the Packers had given up just 16 points (1.8 per game) all season while the Giants had scored 204 points (22.7 per game).

In what was a close contest for the first three quarters, the Packers pulled away in the fourth. Touchdown runs from backs Bo Molenda and McNally lifted the Packers to a 20-6 victory before 25,000 at the Polo Grounds.

The Packers' work was not done, however. With three road games remaining to finish off a stretch of eight straight away from home, the Packers survived a scoreless tie with the Frankford Yellow Jackets on Nov. 28, and then posted their two biggest wins of the season — identical 25-0 results against the Providence Steam Roller and Chicago Bears — to finish the season.

Though the Giants would win out as well to finish 13-1-1, the Packers would earn the championship by virtue of their first-place finish in the standings. There were no playoff games and ties did not compute in the winning percentage formula.

An interesting sidenote to the 1929 season is that the Packers played a nonleague game the week after their league schedule concluded. They lost to the independent Memphis Tigers 16-6 in what amounted to an exhibition game for the Packers.

Though some newspaper accounts ran headlines proclaiming the Tigers as professional football champions after their victory over the Packers, the title held little weight since the Tigers were not part of the NFL. And as one Milwaukee Sentinel writer put it in a Dec. 29, 1929, article, the Packers "were not physically or mentally at their peak" after a nearly weeklong homecoming celebration in Green Bay.

The Packers wore their 1929 jersey style for just one more season before changing to a plain jersey in 1931. The difference in jerseys, however, mattered little on the field as the Packers won a record third straight title with a 12-2 record.

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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at

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