Different eras, similar teams

Led by the feared passing duo of Arnie Herber to Don Hutson, the Green Bay Packers won the 1936 NFL championship with a style similar to the 1996 Super Bowl winners.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Green Bay Packers winning Super Bowl XXXI. It's also the 70th anniversary of the Packers winning the 1936 NFL championship game.

The 1996 Packers had a record-setting quarterback named Brett Favre, who led Green Bay to a 35-21 victory over New England in the Super Bowl. The 1936 Packers had a record-setting quarterback named Arnie Herber, who led Green Bay to a 21-6 victory over a different New England team, the Boston Redskins.

The 1996 Packers had a quality group of receivers, led by Antonio Freeman, Don Beebe and Andre Rison. The 1936 Packers had perhaps the most dominating player of any era, second-year receiver Don Hutson.

The 1996 Packers had an up-and-coming coach named Mike Holmgren. The 1936 Packers had a legendary coach named Curly Lambeau.

There are other similarities. In Super Bowl XXXI, Favre hit Andre Rison for a 54-yard touchdown pass just 3:32 into the game. In the 1936 NFL championship game, Herber hit Hutson for a 48-yard touchdown just five minutes into the game.

In Super Bowl XXXI, the Patriots rallied to take a 14-10 lead. In the 1936 title game, the Redskins answered the Packers' touchdown with one of their own but missed the extra point and trailed 7-6. The Redskins had a chance to take the lead, but Milt Gantenbein blocked a field goal.

Just like the 1996 Packers, the 1936 Packers took control in the second half. Herber's 52-yard pass to running back Johnny Blood — who before the season staged perhaps the first contract holdout in NFL history — set up Herber's 8-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Gantenbein to make it 14-6.

The Packers clinched Super Bowl XXXI on a special-teams touchdown by Desmond Howard, who returned a kickoff 99 yards. On the opening play of the fourth quarter of the 1936 game, Lou Evans blocked a Riley Smith punt. The ball bounced off the goal post — which at the time was placed at the goal line — and the Packers recovered at the Redskins' 3. One play later, Bob Monnett scored the clinching touchdown.

While Reggie White dominated the Patriots with three fourth-quarter sacks in the Super Bowl, the Packers' defense as a whole dominated the Redskins. They didn't yield a single first down in the second half.

The champions received about $250 per player.

The 1936 Packers finished the regular season with a 10-1-1 record en route to the Western Division championship and their fourth league title. With 1,239 passing yards, Herber became the first quarterback in NFL history to top 1,000 yards through the air. He led the league in practically every category. Hutson paced the league with 34 catches for 536 yards and eight touchdowns, helping the Packers score a league-best 248 points.

The Packers' only loss came in Week 2, a humiliating 30-3 loss at home to the Chicago Bears. It's the worst loss suffered by a Packers team during a championship season.

The championship game was played at New York's Polo Grounds instead of Boston because Redskins owner George Preston Marshall was going to move the team to Washington for the following season.

Steve Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.

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