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Letters To Lee Remmel


I once heard that in the 1920s and 30s era that George Halas loaned money to the financially troubled Packers to keep them active so he would have a team within local traveling distance to practice against. Is this true? - Bob, Wild Rose, Wis.

Bob: What you "once heard" was 50 percent accurate. A loan was executed between the neighborhood rivals in the early '30s but it was the Packers who made the loan -- of $1,500 -- to Bears owner/coach George Halas so that he could meet his payroll for a game played at "old" City Stadium.

How does Brett rank against the other quarterbacks in Packers history? - Roy, Vacaville, Calif.

Roy: In a comparison of Packers quarterbacks, Brett Favre is the runaway leader in almost every statistical category -- certainly in career numbers such as: most passes attempted (8,219), most passes completed (5,021), most yards passing (57,500) most touchdown passes (414) and passer rating (85.1).

Beyond that, Favre also can lay claim to durability honors. He has played in a club-record 239 games, 43 more than fellow field general and second-ranking Bart Starr, who played in 196 contests over his 16-year career. Ray Nitschke stands third in Packers history, having played in 190 games, followed by Forrest Gregg with 187.

I have been a Packers fan since Scooter McLean coached a 1-10-1 team. Most of the things I've read say that the Pack was originally called the Acme Packers. But I've also read some things that indicate that the Packers were called the Indian Head Packers. Can you provide me some clarification on this? Thank you, and please continue to provide this great bibliographic service to Packers Fans! - Terry, McHenry, Ill.

Terry: The Packers originally were "sponsored" by the Indian Packing Company when the team was founded in August of 1919, the company providing jerseys for the team and permitting the use of its athletic field for practice. The team thus was referred to as the "Indians" in very early stories in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The Indian Packing Company went out of business, however, during the course of that initial season and was purchased by the Acme Packing Company, with J. E. Clair, general manager of the Indian Packing Company, assuming a like role for Acme. And it was Clair, acting for Acme, who secured an NFL franchise for the Packers (the league was then known as the American Professional Football Association) at the league's annual meeting on April 30, 1921.

Hello Lee. I read that a man named Otto Stiller filmed Packer games at Bellevue Park in 1923. Did any of those films survive? - Joe, Fort Worth, Texas

Otto Stiller apparently was the first photographer to film Packers games (and practices), but if any of those early films exist, they are not to be found in the team's archives (at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, Green Bay).

When did the Packers play the first game under the lights at Lambeau Field? Who did they play and what was the final score? - Steve, Green Bay

Steve: We do not have a specific answer to your question. But, as far as we can determine, the first regular season home game to be played under the lights by the Packers was a "Monday Night Football" contest against the New England Patriots in Lambeau Field on August 1, 1979.

The Packers, incidentally, upset the heavily favored New Englanders, 27-14.

Are the Lombardi Trophies replicas that are currently on display in the Packer Hall of Fame? - Joe, Waukesha, Wis.

The "Lombardi" Super Bowl Trophies now on display in the Packers Hall of Fame are the originals. The replicas are located in the locker room area of the administration building.

Hi Lee. I was at the "Snow Bowl" game. How many people would you guess remained to the end of the game? Thanks. - Donnie, Vulcan, Mich.

I was also privileged to attend that game but I defer to Jerry Parins, then a Green Bay police officer and now the team's director of corporate security, for an "official" estimate. Also in attendance on that occasion (Dec. 1, 1985), Parins says there were "around 8,000 fans" remaining in the stands at the end of the game. For the record, the official attendance that day was listed at 19,856. Under the circumstances -- 14 inches of snow fell upon the area -- it's amazing that many fans found their way to Lambeau Field.

Lee, how many times has Brett Favre won and lost at Soldier Field, old and new? Additionally, what is Brett's record against the Bears? Need to set the record straight with the folks down here in Chicago. Thanks. - Paul, Bensenville, Ill.

Paul: Brett has had noteworthy success against the Bears -- in Lambeau Field as well as at Soldier Field in Chicago, although, surprisingly, much better fortune against the Bears in Chicago than at home. He is 12-2 against the Midway Monsters in the Windy City (and also prevailed in a '02 meeting at Champaign, Ill., when Soldier Field was being renovated) for a 13-2 "road" record against the Bears.

At Lambeau, Brett holds a 9-6 advantage over the Bears, despite the Bears having won on their last three visits to Titletown.

Overall, Brett owns a 22-8 record against Chicago, which figures out to an imposing .733 winning percentage.

What was, in your opinion, the greatest single game by a Green Bay Packer special teams player? - Herb, Cambridge, Wis.

Herb, I am sure there have been a number of worthy special teams performances over the years, but one that stands out in my mind, in large part because it occurred in a Super Bowl, is Desmond Howard's spectacular kick returning artistry in the Packers' triumph over New England in SB XXXI at New Orleans (Jan. 26, 1997).

All Howard did that afternoon was amass 244 return yards -- 154 on 4 kickoff returns and 90 on 6 punt runbacks -- averaging 24.4 yards for every time he touched the football. In the process, he authored a Super Bowl record 99-yard kickoff return late in the third quarter, a highly opportune contribution that settled the issue. The Brett Favre-to-Mark Chmura 2-point conversion which followed closed out the day's scoring, sealing a 35-21 Green Bay victory.

Howard was named the game's Most Valuable Player, and to this day remains the first and only special teams player to be so honored in Super Bowl annals.

The Packers vs. Vikings is certainly one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL right now. What were your impressions at the outset of this storied battle? How did the Packers fare in the rivalry's inaugural season? - Kevin, Oregon, Wis.

The Packers were on the verge of greatness, en route to five championships in a seven-year span, when the series with the Vikings began, and they thus dominated the early years of the series. The Packers swept their initial home-and-home series with the Vikings when the rivalry was launched in 1961, winning 33-7 in Minnesota and 28-10 at Milwaukee County Stadium. In fact, the Packers won the first six games in the series before falling to the Vikings, 24-23, in the seventh game in the rivalry (in Lambeau Field).

Hi Lee. From the books I have read about Vince Lombardi, he was a real good college player at Fordham. Was he ever offered a contract by an NFL team? Did he try out for any NFL teams? - Richard, Steamboat Springs, Colo.

First of all, for the record, Vince Lombardi was a very capable college football player during his playing days at Fordham, by all accounts. And the line he was a member of at Fordham was of sufficient quality to become known as the "Seven Blocks of Granite." One of the seven, center Alex Wocjiechowicz, played with the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles for a total of 13 seasons and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

Lombardi himself never played professional football, and as far as I can determine, he was never offered a professional contract. He went into high school coaching at St. Cecilia's in New Jersey right out of college.

I understand that a former President of the United States had a tryout with the Packers. Was the former President Gerald Ford? If not, who was it? Thank you. - Brooke, Iron Mountain, Mich.

As far as I can determine, the Packers never gave a tryout to a former President of the U.S. Packers founder E. L. "Curly" Lambeau, meeting Gerald Ford on a train in 1935, did ask Ford if he might be interested in playing professional football for Green Bay but nothing came of the conversation. Ford went on to Yale Law School, and a distinguished political career, climaxed by becoming the nation's 38th President in 1974.

Lee, who was the first Packers head coach to have his own TV show? Thanks. - Tim, Green Bay

Tim: Vince Lombardi was the first Packers head coach to have his own TV show. It aired on WBAY-TV (Channel 2) and was hosted by the late Al Sampson, then sports director of WBAY-TV.

Lee, I am from England and my son and I enjoyed our first ever visit to Lambeau in October to see the Packers triumph against the Cardinals. My question is: What are the most memorable games you have watched over the years? Perhaps there are some obvious answers. Are there some less obvious ones like the last-minute comeback by the Majik Man against the Bears? Cheers. - Daniel, Salisbury

Daniel, I would have to consider the "Ice Bowl" -- against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 31, 1967 -- the "most memorable" game I have seen the Packers play in my 62 years of watching the Green and Gold perform.

Another in that category, I would think, was the Packers' 13-10 sudden death victory over the Baltimore Colts in their Western Conference playoff in Lambeau on Dec. 26, 1965, the first overtime game in Green Bay's history.

Continuing an association with the team that is more than 55 years old, Lee Remmel was named the first official Team Historian of the Green Bay Packers in February 2004. The former *Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter and Packers public relations director, Remmel will write regular columns for as part of his new assignment.

In addition to those articles, Remmel will answer fan questions in a monthly Q&A column. To submit a question to Remmel, click here. *

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