Charles “Buckets” Goldenberg
Height: 5-10; Weight: 220
College: Wisconsin, 1930-31
- NFL All-Decade Team: 1930s
- Selected to an all-pro first team: 1939
- Packers All-Time Team: 1946, ’57
- Packers All-Iron Man Era Team: 1976
Goldenberg played 13 seasons for the Packers, a span surpassed by only one other lineman in team history, Forrest Gregg. Goldenberg also played on three NFL championship teams in 1936, ’39 and ’44.
Stocky and powerfully built, he was an explosive blocker on offense and might have had an even greater impact on defense when players sometimes played the entire 60 minutes. “A man of oak,” Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Red Smith once wrote. “The Rock of Gibraltar,” said former teammate Herm Rohrig.
One of Goldenberg’s most effective tactics was shooting through opposing offensive lines and making tackles in the backfield before plays had a chance to develop. Years after his retirement, he explained that the Packers had used a six-man line on defense with him playing a floating right guard.
Goldenberg began his career as a fullback and led the Packers in scoring as a rookie with seven touchdowns. But that was also Clarke Hinkle’s position. Thus, Goldenberg was moved to blocking quarterback in his second season to get him more playing time. He moved to guard full time in 1938, his sixth season.
Goldenberg once said there wasn’t much difference between playing blocking back and guard in Curly Lambeau’s Notre Dame Box offense. At both positions, Goldenberg said he’d block either a defensive end or a defensive back, depending on whether it was a running play to the inside or outside.
Prior to the 1942 season, Goldenberg and tackle Bill Lee were named the first season-long co-captains in Packers history.
“Buckets is not only a great guard, but has one of the greatest competitive hearts in the history of the sport,” Lambeau said in 1945.
Goldenberg announced he had signed with the Packers on Aug. 5, 1933. That was three years before the first NFL draft. Years later, Goldenberg said he also had offers from the New York Giants and Chicago Cardinals, but had always dreamed of playing for the Packers.
Goldenberg was a standout on the University of Wisconsin’s line in 1932, his senior season, but was dropped from the team in October for cutting classes. Previously, he played high school football at both Milwaukee North Division and Milwaukee West Division.
In April 1938, the Packers traded Goldenberg to Pittsburgh as part of a package deal for two rookies. Goldenberg immediately announced his retirement, and the Packers were unable to come to contract terms with the two draftees. As a result, the trade was nullified in late July and Goldenberg returned to Green Bay where he played eight more years.
In his 13 seasons, he played in 122 games and started 73, including 55 at guard and 18 in the backfield. Bothered by a foot injury, Goldenberg announced his retirement on Nov. 14, 1945, with three games remaining in the season.
Goldenberg later served on the Packers’ board of directors from Dec. 29, 1953, until becoming a director emeritus on June 3, 1985.
Born April 15, 1911, in what was then Odessa, Russia. His family immigrated to the United States when he was a young boy and he grew up in Milwaukee, Wis. Given name Charles Robert Goldenberg. Died April 16, 1986, at age 75.
- By Cliff Christl