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Packers-Redskins Rivalry




The Packers' rivalry with the Washington Redskins, spanning eight decades, is something of a paradox.

Theirs is one of the National Football League's oldest series, dating back to 1932 and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's arrival in the White House. Yet, they have met only 28 times over that 71-year span.

Nonetheless, they share significant NFL and major mutual history - including the highest scoring game in the Packers' 85-year annals.

For earliest example, they were the principals in the fourth league championship game ever played - in 1936, when the Redskins were in the process of moving from Boston to the nation's capital and thus were no longer welcome in Beantown, "requiring" that the Skins transfer the title contest to New York's Polo Grounds.

The Packers had the better of it in that matchup - on Dec. 13, 1936, when FDR was closing out his first term in Washington - posting a decisive, 21-6 victory in the "Big Apple."

In the 67-year interim, they also have shared the two most successful coaches in Green Bay's history - founder Curly Lambeau and latter day "savior" Vince Lombardi. After winning 11 NFL championships between them in Green Bay, they subsequently left Titletown to serve as head coaches of the Redskins during a 20-year span, Lambeau in 1952-53 and Lombardi in 1969.

More recently, the Packers and the Redskins combined forces to stage what remains the premier shootout in the history of "Monday Night Football" - as well as the highest scoring game in Green Bay' storied annals - the Green and Gold prevailing, 48-47, via Jan Stenerud's last-minute field goal.

And just three years ago, the Redskins were the Packers' Lambeau Field opponents when NFL teams returned to regular season play in 2001 after a one-week hiatus dedicated to dealing with the incredible aftermath to the "9-11" tragedy, a somber and highly emotional occasion for both players and fans alike.

Next Sunday's 29th meeting between the teams, incidentally, will in itself be somewhat historic. It will find the Packers paying their first visit to Washington in 25 years - since 1979.

Sunday's showdown, by the way, will be only the sixth meeting between the teams since that '79 contest, won by the Redskins, 38-21.

Overall, the Packers lead what has been a closely contested series, 15-12. There also has been one tie, a 7-7 standoff played at Green Bay's "old" City Stadium in 1933 - the year after the rivalry was launched. Sunday's principals are 1-1 in postseason play, the Redskins having gained a modicum of revenge for that championship game defeat in 1936 by posting a 16-3 victory in their 1972 divisional playoff game at Washington's RFK Stadium.

In that '36 title game, staged in front of 29,545 fans, then second-year pro Don Hutson was the catalyst - as he often proved to be over a legendary, 11-year career. The "Alabama Antelope" caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Arnie Herber in the first three minutes and the Packers never trailed.

Green Bay's two second-half scores were set up, respectively, by a 52-yard pass from Herber to Johnny Blood and when Lon Evans blocked a punt.

It was, for the record, the Packers' third victory over the Redskins during the '36 season. They had defeated the Skins, 31-2, in Green Bay on Oct. 11 and again prevailed in a much closer rematch in Boston (Nov. 8), 7-3.

The Packers' memorable "Monday Night Football" shootout with the Redskins at Lambeau Field in '83 was an obvious "ball" for the fans (55,255 of the faithful sat in on the occasion) and, unquestionably, a spectacular smorgasbord for statisticians.

Taking on the defending Super Bowl champions Skins on that October evening, the Packers prevailed in a contest featuring 11 touchdowns, 11 extra points and 6 field goals.

In the high-scoring process, the principals amassed 1,025 yards of offense, the Redskins weighing in with 552 and the Packers with 473.

Washington quarterback Joe Theismann passed for 398 yards and two touchdowns, via 27 completions in 39 attempts, and the Packers' Lynn Dickey, hitting on 22 of 31 attempts, was similarly productive, throwing for 387 yards and three touchdowns.

Dickey's two primary targets, tight end Paul Coffman and running back Gerry Ellis, emerged as 100-yard receivers, Coffman snaring six passes for 124 yards and Ellis four for 105 yards.

Not surprisingly, each team punted only once during the see-saw pointfest.

Stenerud's 20-yard field goal with 54 seconds left decided the issue, although the result was to remain in doubt until the end. The Redskins' Mark Moseley missed a 39-yard field goal attempt - his kick sailed wide right - as time expired.

Lambeau, who had led the Packers to six NFL championships and over 200 victories, did not enjoy success during his two-year tenure in Washington, exiting the Redskins' headquarters with a record of 10 wins, 13 losses and one tie.

One of those 13 losses came at Green Bay's hands in 1952, when the Packers - coached by Gene Ronzani, Lambeau's successor, dispatching Curly's Redskins at Marquette Stadium in Milwaukee, 35-20.

It was the only time Lambeau faced his former team in a regular-season game after leaving Green Bay. He had coached the then-Chicago Cardinals in 1950-51, immediately upon leaving Packers following the 1949 season, but was to face the Packers only in preseason contests as the Cardinals' field leader -- in both 1950 and '51, the Packers winning both games by a 17-14 score.

Curly did subsequently split a pair of preseason contests with the Packers while head coach of the Redskins, losing a 13-7 decision to Green Bay in a game at Kansas City in 1952 and posting a 13-6 victory at old City Stadium in 1953 - the last time he was to coach against the Packers.

Lombardi, who had resigned as Green Bay's general manager following the '68 season (he had stepped down as head coach after the 1967 campaign), had better fortune in Washington than Lambeau.

In 1969, the only season he was to serve as Washington's coach before being felled by colon cancer, he escorted the Redskins to their first wining season in 15 years, forging a 7-5-2 mark. He died Sept. 3, 1970, at the age of 57.

The Packers did not face Washington during Lombardi's lone season with the Redskins.

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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