Daley: Recalling tough times

Packers went with box lunches "to save money" in 1950s

The Packers have been winning for 13 years now and maybe we're all a tad spoiled, but what about the losingest period in team history?

How about 11 straight losing years, 1948 through 1958, when the Pack won only 37 games, lost 93, and tied two for a paltry .398 percentage? Those were tough times: The Packers lost their founder and head coach, Curly Lambeau, almost went broke, but managed to build a new 32,000-seat stadium. Green Bay fans went nuts when Vince Lombardi came on the scene in '59 with a 7-5 finish.

How tough were the 1950s? The Packers flew in DC-3s and they'd take box lunches on occasion, "a way to save money," recalled Tom Miller, business manager then.

Jim Temp, a defensive end fresh from a Rose Bowl trip with Wisconsin, said "the Packer equipment was junk compared to what we had at Madison, but we got a lot of good players during my time, including Willie Davis, who beat me out." Temp was referring to seven Hall of Famers who helped Lombardi to five championships.

Deral Teteak, a middle linebacker, can't forget Coach Gene Ronzani, who followed Lambeau: In the middle of practice at Grand Rapids, Minn., "Gene drove up and told us he was going fishing."

Teteak also recalled Liz Blackbourn, who succeeded Ronzani: "He was just out of college (Marquette) and he treated us like college kids. We couldn't have a beer after a game and he wouldn't let us smoke."

To be sure, times have changed. Coach Mike Sherman would permit a beer or two, but there's not much smoking anymore. Plus, he's winning!

Art Daley

Editor's Note: Packer Hall of Famer Art Daley is a featured columnist for Packer Report and PackerReport.com. The former Green Bay Press-Gazette sportswriter and sports editor has covered the team since 1941.

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