Hall of Famers

LAVVIE DILWEG

Inducted: 1970

Center: 1927-34
Height: 6'1"; Weight: 200
College: Marquette, 1922-25

HONORS: NFL All-Decade Team: 1920s
Official NFL All-Pro Team (11-man team, chosen 1931-42): 1931
Other years selected to an all-pro first team: 1927, '28, '29, '30
Packers All-Time Team: 1946, '57
Packers 50th Anniversary Team: 1969

Widely hailed as the NFL’s best two-way end in the pre-Don Hutson era, Dilweg was the epitome of consistency on Packers teams that won three straight league titles from 1929 to 1931. Dilweg played eight seasons in Green Bay and was a consensus all-pro five straight years, from 1927 to 1931. In two of his other three seasons, he was chosen to at least one second-team.

The final tally shows that he received more all-pro recognition during the Packers’ “three-peat” seasons than two of his teammates – Cal Hubbard and Johnny Blood – who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Had Dilweg played at any other time than in the NFL’s pre-statistical infancy and garnered that sort of recognition, he almost certainly would be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well. “Give him today’s Super Bowl hype and they’d chisel his face on Mt. Rushmore,” Bob Carroll, late founder of the Professional Football Researchers Association, once wrote.

Rawboned, with long arms and big hands, Dilweg was a tenacious blocker, reliable receiver and dangerous runner after the catch. Yet it was on defense where he truly excelled. As a defensive end, Dilweg was a ball hawk and such a sure tackler it was nearly impossible to successfully run to his side.

It was no different on punt returns when punting was as important as any phase of the game. “The way he goes down on punts and refuses to be taken out by blockers is beyond description,” former University of Wisconsin football coach and athletic director George Little once observed.

While he played in the pre-statistical era, Dilweg has been unofficially credited in The Football Encyclopedia with catching 126 passes for 2,053 yards, second to Blood among NFL players who performed from 1920 to 1934.

In 1929, when the Packers won their first title, Dilweg was unofficially credited with a league-high 25 receptions. Despite playing defensive end, he also was unofficially credited with 27 career interceptions, more than any player other than Blood in the first 20 years of the NFL.

“Dilweg faded out of the picture just about the time the seven-man line went out of fashion, but without question was the greatest end the seven-man line type of defense ever developed,” Packers legendary Coach Curly Lambeau said in 1945.

The Packers announced Dilweg’s signing on Aug. 20, 1927, after the Milwaukee Badgers dropped out of the NFL. The Packers had attempted to sign Dilweg a year earlier, but he had a year left of law school at Marquette University and chose to play in Milwaukee.

In his eight seasons with the Packers, Dilweg played in 98 games and started 62, all at left end. He announced his retirement in August 1935.

Dilweg practiced law in Green Bay throughout his playing career and later served one term (1943-45) representing Wisconsin’s Eighth District in the United States House of Representatives.

Born Nov. 11, 1903, in Milwaukee, Wis. Given name LaVern Ralph Dilweg. Died Jan. 2, 1968, at age 64.


-- By Cliff Christl

Hall of Fame Inductees