Height: 5-10; Weight: 165
College: Ripon, 1917; Indiana, 1919-20
A star at Green Bay West High School in 1913 and 1914, Mathys became a versatile quarterback for the Packers in coach Curly Lambeau’s Notre Dame Box offense. He threw passes from that position, but he was probably more highly regarded as a receiver.
Based on unofficial statistics in The Pro Football Chronicle, written by Dan Daly and Bob O’Donnell, Mathys caught 90 passes for 1,506 yards, more than any other NFL player in the 1920s. Yet in 1925, Mathys threw seven touchdown passes, including a game-winner to Verne Lewellen early in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ first victory over the Chicago Bears.
The play covered four yards and allowed the Packers to squeak past the Bears, 14-10, in the fourth game of what is now pro football’s most storied rivalry. Years later, Lambeau called the victory one of the three biggest in early Packers history and Mathys’ pass, off a fake to the fullback, the biggest play of the game.
Two years earlier, Mathys also threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Lambeau to beat another early rival of the Packers, the Milwaukee Badgers, 10-7.
“Never did we have a more loyal player on the team,” Lambeau said upon Mathys’ retirement in 1926. “And we won’t ever forget that it was Charlie’s brilliant play that helped put the Packers where they are today in the pro football world.”
The Packers announced Mathys’ signing on Sept. 22, 1922. He had played the previous season with the NFL’s Hammond Pros. In fact, the Packers had tried to sign Mathys in 1921, but he had a job in Bloomington, Ind., and couldn’t make the move.
During his five seasons in Green Bay, Mathys played in 47 games and started 45, all at quarterback. He retired due to an arm injury after playing in just three games in 1926.
Following his retirement, Mathys was elected to the Packers’ executive committee and served until the franchise emerged from receivership in 1935. He also was one of the longest-serving members of the Packers’ board of directors. He was named to the board shortly after his retirement as a player and served until 1980, when he was moved to emeritus status.
Born June 20, 1897, in Green Bay. Given name Charles Peter Mathys. Died Jan. 18, 1983, at age 85.
- Cliff Christl