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Letters To Lee Remmel


Dear Mr. Remmel, back in 1983, my wife and I attended a pre-season game between Green Bay and the St. Louis Cardinals. During the second half, one of the Packers place kickers missed an extra point attempt in the west end zone. The ball may have hit the left upright (facing the goal post), was deflected farther left, and bounced once off some vacant seats and right into my hands. I still have the ball. My question is, who was the placekicker for that extra point attempt? - John, West Paducah, Ky

John: The kicker on that occasion was the storied Jan Stenerud, who long since has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, thus becoming the first pure kicker ever to be so honored. The aforementioned kick was wide left, at 11:43 of the first quarter. The Packers eventually won that game (played on August 27, 1983), 39-27.

Lee, the Packers won the AFL-NFL world championship in '67 and '68. At that time it was not called the Super Bowl. It was not called that until Kansas City beat the Vikings in 74. So why do we say the Packers won Super Bowls I and II? In my mind the Packers have only played in two Super Bowls -- XXXI and XXXII. - Ted (Tucson, Ariz.)

Ted, as you note, what we now refer to as Super Bowls I and II were originally designated as AFL-NFL World Championship Games. The National Football League, however, retroactively renamed them Super Bowls, officially listing them as such for the first time in the 1971 NFL Records Manual, and Super Bowls I and II have been listed as such in league publications ever since.

Lee, I have two questions for you. First, it is obvious that the '67 Ice Bowl is one of the all-time greats in Pro Football history, but why isn't the '66 championship game against the Cowboys held in the same regard? After all, it had lots of scoring with a very dramatic finish. Isn't that a recipe worthy of one of the all-time great games in NFL history? Secondly, is it possible to get minute-to-minute coverage on tape of that '66 championship game like they show on ESPN of the '67 game? And is it possible to get any coverage of earlier Packer championship games like in '61 and '62? Is there any other source other than ESPN or NFL Films? Thanks for answering my questions and thank you for being one of the all-time best sports journalists. - Scott (Arlington)

Scott, I'm inclined to largely agree with you on your assessment of the NFL's 1966 and 1967 championship games. The former was almost as dramatic and suspenseful as the latter. However, I would guess the primary reason there appears to be a difference in how they are viewed from historical perspective is that the arctic conditions for the "Ice Bowl"-- the kickoff temperature of 13 degrees below zero remains the coldest for any game in NFL history -- made it more memorable and compelling for the average fan. Having seen both games at close hand and experienced the brutal cold -- before entering the Lambeau Field press box -- I'm afraid I would have to give the edge to the "Ice Bowl."

In reply to your second question, as far as I know, NFL Films would be the only source for films of the Packers 1961 and '62 championship game victories over the New York Giants.

Hello Lee, I just have a quick question. I have been a Packers fan my whole life and have been devoted to a lot of Packers history. There's one thing I can't put my thumb on, and I think I maybe involved in. However, this might be the young fan coming out in me. When I was 11 or 12, I took my bike down to watch the Packers practice back in '91 or '92. I started to become very infatuated with watching them and was really only one of a few people out there watching them practice under a hot July sun. I remember letting Vince Workman ride my bike to practice. This is where my question comes. Do you recall when the Packers first began riding kids' bikes down to practice? I don't want to take responsibility for this treasured tradition but I am curious. Thanks. - Jason (De Pere, Wisc.)

Jason, the tradition of Packers players riding kids' bikes to training camp practices is believed to have been initiated in 1961 at a time when the Packers built a new administration building on the stadium's north concourse. Vince Lombardi, incidentally, was the first coach to ask his players to ride bikes to practice in an effort to further the Packers' unique relationship with their fans.

My initiation to pro football was in the early fifties with a game played at Marquette Stadium in Milwaukee. The Packers were leading by 20 points with less than 5 minutes to play against the Rams. The Packer QBs were Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli. The Packers couldn't seem to hold the ball and lost by a point or two. Could you resurrect the details? - Tom (Kabul, Afghanistan)

Tom, the game you refer to was played at Marquette Stadium in 1952 (October 12), the only year the Packers played games at Marquette Stadium. The Packers, under Coach Gene Ronzani, were leading 28-6 early in the fourth quarter. At that point, Bob Waterfield kicked a field goal, the Rams "closing" to 28-9. Los Angeles went on to post three more touchdowns (and three conversions), thus scoring 24 consecutive unanswered points while the Packers went scoreless. Thus the Rams subsequently pulled out an unbelievable, 30-28 victory.

Hi Lee! Thanks a lot for all you do, it's great to learn more about the rich Packers tradition. My question is actually in response to a previous question regarding the origins of the Milwaukee County Packers games. I would like to know -- not why they began playing there -- but why they recently stopped. I would assume the answer is based on financial reasons, but it was such a great way to spread the Packers spirit that I wonder why it was halted. Did it have anything to do with the new Miller Park? Thank you! - Evan (Iowa City, Iowa)

The answers to both questions involve financial considerations. The Packers began playing games in Milwaukee in 1933 because team officials felt they needed a broader fan base and more income than they then were getting in the depths of the Depression. And they moved out of Milwaukee County Stadium following the 1994 season because of the need for increased revenue, income which Lambeau Field subsequently provided with its private boxes and club seats, amenities not available in County Stadium.

In response to your second question, the move did have something to do with Miller Park. The Packers and their potential needs in the stadium were under consideration at one point in the planning process. However, the Packers' involvement in a visit to the Texas Rangers' then new, baseball-only stadium in Arlington, Texas, prompted a change in the team's thinking, influenced in part by the realization that omitting the Packers' potential needs in Miller Park would save the Brewers millions of dollars and enable them to substantially reduce their overall indebtedness. And the Packers, of course, would be enhancing their revenue.

Packers President Bob Harlan, incidentally, expressed the organization's gratitude for Milwaukee's longtime support of the franchise by offering all of County Stadium's season ticketholders a three-game "package" in Lambeau Field in connection with the move, and 96 percent of them availed themselves of the opportunity the first year.

Why don't the Packers have cheerleaders like other NFL teams? As far back as I can remember, they did have cheerleaders in the late 70's. Thanks for taking time to answer this question. - Dennis (Berlin, Wisc.)

Just for the record, I believe the team employed cheerleaders into the mid-'80s. During that period, both the cheerleaders' routines and attire drew some criticism from fans, prompting the organization to adopt new uniforms in consecutive years in an effort to mollify the critics. Along the way, the organization also submitted a question to our fans via WFRV-TV, asking whether we should continue to have cheerleaders. The vote was approximately 50-50, indicating it was hardly a mandate to carry on the tradition. So, the decision was made to go without Packers cheerleaders. In the 20-year interim, we have received no complaints.

I should point out, however, that we still do have cheerleaders at our games. Cheeerleading teams from neighboring St. Norbert College, where the Packers have conducted training camp annually since 1958, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alternate in that role throughout the home season on a game-by-game basis.

Being a native from Beloit, Wisc., for 24 years, I heard we had a football team named the Beloit Fairys that once defeated the Packers in a game during a season in which the Packers ended up winning a championship. Is this true, and if so, what year did this occur, and what other information can you dig up? Thanks, from a life-time Packers fanatic. - Ricky (Beloit, Wisc.)

Ricky: Yes, it is true that a Beloit Fairies team defeated the Packers. It was in 1919, the first year of the Packers' existence. The Fairies defeated Green Bay, 6-0, in a game played in Beloit, thus dealing the Packers the first loss in their history. It was the season finale for the Packers, who had entered the game with an undefeated (10-0) record and having outscored their opponents, 565 to 6. I might add that three Packers touchdowns were called back by penalty -- by a home town (Beloit) referee named Zabel.

Lee, in 1972, I believe Chester Marcol won the NFC offensive rookie of the year and Willie Buchanan won the defensive rookie of the year. Have two players on the same team ever done that before or since then? Thanks. - Mike (Hartford, Wisc.)

Mike, according to the Elias Sports Bureau of New York, the official keeper of all NFL records and statistics, only once have two players from the same team been so honored -- in 1967, when Mel Farr and Lem Barney of the Detroit Lions were named the league's Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, respectively.

For the record, the official Rookies of the Year in 1972 were Franco Harris, Offense, and Willie Buchanon, Defense.

Lee, thanks for all the great info. What can you tell me about Harry Jucunski, who played for the Packers years ago? He was my freshmen coach in college and someone I will not soon forget. If I remember correctly, Harry went to school with Vince Lombardi at Fordham. Thanks again. - Serge (Seymour, Conn.)

Harry Jacunski was signed by the Packers as a free agent in 1939 and enjoyed a six-year career in Green Bay, helping the Green and Gold win two NFL championships -- as a rookie in '39 and in 1944, his sixth and final season.

Jacunski caught 52 passes for 985 yards, an 18.9-yard average, and scored 36 points on six touchdowns over his Packers career. In 1943, he had a career-high average of 22.0 yards on 10 receptions.

Harry wore jersey number 48 throughout his playing career, becoming only the fourth player in team history to wear it, following Pro Hall of Famer Clarke Hinkle (1934), Frank Butler (1935-36) and Dokie Miller (1938).

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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