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Is it time to shout it out from the rooftops?

And champion the Packers’ pre-Super Bowl champions?


Pat from Colorado Springs, CO

The NFL, through NFL Research, is starting the potential Chiefs' three-peat NFL championship hype for the 2024 season. The Lombardi Packers did this, of course winning the NFL championship in 1965, 1966 and 1967. Unfortunately, there wasn't a Super Bowl to finish the 1965 season. A number of teams have had the chance to three-peat in the past and were not able to win a third straight NFL championship. So, there's a long road ahead for the Chiefs in the 2024 season. But if the Chiefs do win a third straight NFL championship, would it be fair to bump what the Packers accomplished in the 1960s down a notch because there was no Super Bowl after the 1965 season?

No, it would not be fair. More importantly, it would show an ignorance of NFL history for anyone not to mention the Packers twice winning three straight NFL championships. They did it under Curly Lambeau from 1929-31 and again under Vince Lombardi, as you referenced, from 1965-67. However, I anticipate that if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl again next season, they'll be widely hailed among national media as the first three-peat champs. In fact, it has already started.

On Yahoo's Sports AM's Feb. 12, 2024 post, the morning after the Chiefs beat San Francisco, Kendall Baker and Jeff Tracy wrote: "Travis Kelce and Andy Reid both confirmed they'll be back next season as Kansas City tries to become the NFL's first three-peat champs." Were the writers clueless to the fact that the NFL existed before the 1966 season? Or did they just have no idea that the Packers had won three straight twice? It's hard to know. But they probably have plenty of company.

That's why I think we as an organization – and maybe you as fans – need to start reminding the sports world of what is the Packers' greatest pride and joy: 13 NFL championships, the most in league history; twice being three-peat champs, the only franchise ever to do so; and five titles in seven years, the only franchise to win that many in a decade.

The years of our championship teams are showcased on the Lambeau Field façade. And the "Team Records" section of the NFL Record & Fact Book starts with "Championships" and lists Green Bay at the top of the first two categories: "Most Seasons League Champion" with 13 and a listing of the years; and "Most Consecutive Seasons League Champion," with three twice and, again, with the years listed.

But there are too many other places where those records are overlooked, and I'll all but guarantee it will turn into an avalanche of oversights if Kansas City wins a third straight. When was the last time, for example, that you saw a graphic on an NFL broadcast or at a website showing the list of teams with the most NFL championships or the list of the three-time winners?

What we get fed over and over are most Super Bowl victories and which teams have won back-to-back Super Bowls. Thus, here are some things on my wish list, starting with what I'd like to see us request of the NFL.

Adding a list in the NFL Record & Fact Book and perhaps at – if it isn't there already – of year-by-year league champions, starting with 1920, and including the name of the coach and perhaps the quarterback or primary passer. Other than the lines noted above in the "Team Records," all the Record & Fact Book includes now is a list of "Super Bowl Results" and 30 pages of "Past Standings."

I know this: my suggestion would be a convenience to the media or anyone in the league working as a writer or historian. Right now, I can't quickly find that information without going to an outside website, where sometimes accuracy can be an issue.

For example, want a quick answer to how many NFL championships George Halas won? Not easy to find in the Record & Fact Book. The Staleys/Bears won eight prior to the Super Bowl era. But they won two of those under other coaches: Ralph Jones in 1932, his last of three seasons during Halas' first hiatus; and Hunk Anderson and Luke Johnsos, who filled in as co-coaches in 1943 when Halas was in service.

Even with championship teams as recently as San Francisco's, it requires too much shuffling of pages in the Record & Fact Book just to double check for accuracy sake which were Bill Walsh's teams and which were George Seifert's, and whether the quarterback was Joe Montana or Steve Young.

I also would think the Bears, New York Giants, Detroit, Washington, LA Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia, Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts would be in favor of this. Those franchises won a total of 31 NFL titles from 1920-65, in addition to the Packers' nine. As for Super Bowls, those nine teams have won only 13 of 58, plus the Packers' four.

Take the Lions last season. All we heard about was that they hadn't won a league championship since 1957. Do you remember seeing any graphic showing that they and Cleveland were the dominant teams of the 1950s?

The section titled "Playoff Game Summaries" and the list of scores for the NFC in the Record & Fact Book also is historically misleading. The subtitle at the top is "NFC Championship Game Results" followed by a line of smaller type noting in italics: "Includes NFL Championship Games (1933-69)."

Read enough history and you'll find that serious historians don't use terms that weren't in use at the time of reference or put titles on things that didn't apply at the time.

Clearly, those 1933-69 NFL Championship Games don't belong under a title, "NFC Championship Game Results," because they weren't. In fact, the NFL ballyhooed many of those games as "World Championship Games," as evidenced by the programs above. That said, a separate list of those 37 NFL Championship Games would still need a note, spelling out that the games from 1966-69 were still officially called the NFL Championship Game, although each was followed by what was called the Super Bowl against the AFL champion.

I'd also like to see our organization treat our first nine championship teams the same way as our four Super Bowl champions. We do on the Lambeau façade. And it was done in the reconstruction of the Packers Hall of Fame. But there are other places it could be done too.

For example, we do a nice job of touting it all in the postseason section of our media guide with a page titled, "Thirteen Times World Champions," and a general summary of those 13 championships seasons.

But then comes a page or two devoted to each of our five Super Bowl appearances, including the loss in XXXII. Later, there are 17 pages of briefer summaries on all of the other postseason games. Again, on my wish list, we'd pull out our first six NFL Championship Games and treat them more like our Super Bowl wins, and certainly give them better treatment than the loss in XXXII. The information is available, and it would show readers that we at least treat all of our championship teams equally.

Take a closer look at the World Championship program covers throughout the years.

Bruce from Saint Louis, MO

I was hoping for information about the Packers' threepeats and how the current buzz about KC's shot at a threepeat while the Packers pair of threepeats don't seem to be getting any buzz.

Your question is a follow-up to the first, but it's certainly become topical over the last month or so. Other than what I addressed above about different official sources treating pre-Super Bowl champions different than Super Bowl winners, I suppose there's maybe an assumption that it's more difficult to win an NFL title now than it was before 1966. But I wouldn't necessarily agree.

Lambeau won his first three titles based on the regular-season standings in what was a 12-team league in 1929, 11 in 1930 and 10 in 1931. When the Packers won the first Super Bowl, there were 24 teams: 15 in the NFL and nine in the AFL. Today, there are 32.

If winning the 2023 NFL championship had been based on best record during the season, the Baltimore Ravens would have been the winners at 13-4 followed by Dallas, Detroit and San Francisco at 12-5. The Chiefs would have been buried somewhere among the five 11-6 teams.

Of the last 22 Super Bowl champs, since the NFL went to eight four-team divisions, only two, New England in 2003 and again in 2016, would have been crowned if the league champion was based on best record, albeit with five others requiring tiebreakers to decide.

There were no second chances prior to the Super Bowl era. The Packers finished 11-2-1 in 1963, for example, and were eliminated for finishing second to the Bears in the Western Conference.

When Lombardi won his first four NFL titles, the Packers had to capture a seven-team conference over 14 games and then win a championship over the other conference winner. Lombardi's easiest route was in 1967 when he won his fifth title, and the Packers won a weak four-team division with a 9-4-1 record and then two playoff games before the Super Bowl.

Yes, there were fewer teams in the 1960s but that might have translated into better and deeper rosters.

For example, the 1962 Los Angeles Rams finished 1-12-1. Their roster included future Pro Football Hall of Famers: defensive end Deacon Jones and defensive tackle Merlin Olsen, and two others in the twilight of their careers, Les Richter and Ollie Matson, both of whom were 32. Their quarterback was Zeke Bratkowski with rookie and first-round draft pick Roman Gabriel a sometimes starter.

Of their other starters, besides Richter and sometimes Matson, Bratkowski was the oldest at 31.

Among the others, tackle Frank Varrichione, halfback Jon Arnett and safety Eddie Meador were five-time Pro Bowl picks during their careers; ends Carroll Dale and Red Phillips, tackle Charlie Cowan, fullback Dick Bass and safety Lindon Crow were three-time Pro Bowl picks; guard Joe Scibelli, defensive linemen Lamar Lundy and John LoVetere, and linebackers Jack Pardee and Marlin McKeever all made one Pro Bowl in their careers. The Rams even had two aging backup offensive linemen who had played in Pro Bowls: Duane Putnam four times and Art Hunter once.

Conversely, New England basically benefited from a weak division when it won its last five Super Bowls under Bill Belichick. Among the other three teams in the AFC East in those five seasons, only five finished with a winning record. In 2018, the last time the Patriots won, the other three went 7-9, 6-10 and 4-12.

In 2016, the Patriots won their division with an AFC best 14-2 record, four games better than the 10-6 Dolphins, then had a bye in the first-round of playoffs and played the lowest seed in the second, the 9-7 Houston Texans. The Bills were 7-9 and the Jets, 5-11, which basically meant the Patriots didn't have a must-win game until the AFC championship.

Arguably, the Patriots' toughest route was when Belichick won his first title in a five-team AFC East in 2001. The Patriots finished 11-5 and won the division on a tiebreaker, while Miami at 11-5 and the New York Jets at 10-6 also made the playoffs.

My point would be that debating over the era where teams had the toughest route to winning a championship is all relative.

Mark from La Crosse, WI

Loved the article on Andrew Turnbull and Baby Ray. One thing, not trying to nitpick, but not mentioned was Chic Harley, as part owner of Chicago Bears along with Halas and Sternaman.

I figured someone might ask that. Here's what I wrote: "What's more, when company president A.E. Staley dropped out of the picture, and the Staleys moved from Decatur, Ill., and became the Chicago Bears, Halas was only a co-owner along with Edward "Dutch" Sternaman until 1931."

The fact is that Harley was never a part owner of the Bears.

In 1920, the Decatur Staleys were charter members of a loosely organized 14-team American Professional Football Association. In 1921, the Staleys played their first league game on Oct. 10 in Decatur against the Rock Island Independents, and then played their next 10 at Chicago's Cubs Park (now Wrigley Field), including what is now counted as the first Bears-Packers game. What's more, Halas and the rest of the team relocated to Chicago on Oct. 15, the day before their second game against the Rochester Jeffersons, and practiced there for the remainder of the season.

For those reasons or whatever, that 1921 team is now listed in the NFL Record & Fact Book and elsewhere as the Chicago Staleys. However, it was still officially the Decatur Staleys. According to the NFL meeting minutes from that time, Decatur (not the Chicago Staleys) was listed as being represented at the Aug. 27, 1921 meeting. That was the meeting when Green Bay was admitted to the league.

The same was true at the next meeting, held on Jan. 28, 1922, more than three months after Halas' team had moved its operating base to Chicago but still played under the nickname Staleys. Those listed in the minutes as attendees for that meeting included George S. Halas of Decatur, Ill.

It also was at that meeting that Halas with the support of Sternaman had to fight to retain the Staleys franchise in a dispute with Bill Harley, Chick's brother. Bill had negotiated a contract for Chick, a two-time All-American back at Ohio State in 1916 and '17, whereby Halas gave the brothers essentially one-third ownership of the team.

And it all came to a head at that January 1922 meeting, which also was the one where Green Bay temporarily lost its franchise over playing three Notre Dame players in a non-league game against Racine.

In fact, based on the minutes, most of that meeting focused on the Staleys' ownership issue, not the future of the Packers.

In fact, the first item of business centered on the Staleys. A motion had to pass to suspend the constitution and bylaws "to let three members of the Decatur Staleys remain present during the meeting." According to the minutes, the next item of business read: "The matter of the Staley franchise was brought up between Mr. Harley and Mr. Halas and was thoroughly discussed between club members."

After dinner, the battle over the Staleys resumed.

"An amendment to the above motion was made by Mr. Ranney (of Akron) and seconded by Mr. Hughitt (of Buffalo) that these two applicants (Halas/Sternaman and Harley) file for membership in Chicago, same to be voted on by ballot separately," read the minutes. "Vote resulted in franchise being awarded to Chicago Bears, as represented by George Halas and E.C. Sternaman, there being a majority of six votes (to two)."

Although not always, newspapers in 1921 also continued to refer to the team as belonging to Decatur.

On Oct. 26, when the defending champion Akron Pros announced they were planning homecoming week for their game against Rochester, the city's Beacon Journal said the Jeffersons were coming off a narrow loss to the Decatur Staleys. The lead in The Rock Island Argus following the Independents' Nov. 13 loss to Halas' team started, "Staleys of Decatur…" And The Decatur Review reminded its readers on Jan. 26, 1922, two days before the league meeting, that, "While the Staleys played all their big games in Cubs Park, they were known as the Decatur Staleys, a thing which did not set so well with some of the typical Chicago boosters."

Thus, the Decatur Staleys didn't become the Chicago Bears until Jan. 28, 1922, at the same time that Harley's claim to ownership was terminated. At the next league meeting, held on June 24-25, 1922, the minutes reflected that the Chicago Bears were in attendance and represented by Halas and Sternaman. That also was the meeting where Green Bay was reinstated.

As for Harley, Decatur's Review reported on June 29, 1922, that he had secured a lease for White Sox park for the upcoming season and had signed players off the Staleys' roster, and "it looks like there may be a football war in the Windy City this coming season…" But the team never came to fruition.

Instead, it was announced only two weeks later on July 14, 1922, that Bill Harley, described as a former Logan Square outfielder from Chicago, had signed to play baseball with Green Bay's semipro team in the Wisconsin State League. Then that fall, Bill Niesen announced he was entering his semipro Pyotts of Chicago in the Midwest Football League, and Bill Harley would serve as manager and coach.

Also, in early December 1922, Bill Harley filed suit in Chicago against Halas and Sternaman on behalf of himself and his brother to recover one-half of the Bears' receipts during the 1922 season for breaking a contract and leaving Chick on the verge of a mental collapse.

Among the Harleys' claims, according to the Decatur and Rock Island newspapers, were that Chick "was never permitted to run from punt formation, a thing for which he was famous," and that he had been embarrassed in front of 10,000 fans at Cubs Park when he entered a game against Buffalo "amid great applause" only to have to return to the bench when none of the four backs on the field would leave the game. According to the suit, the incident broke Chick's heart and spirit.

Bill Harley returned briefly to the NFL in 1926, when he became manager of the Louisville Colonels, who went 0-4 that season, including a 14-0 loss to the Packers in Green Bay.