By Eric Goska
|Vince Lombardi is one of six men to produce|
a winning record while coaching the Packers.
Win. It’s the goal of every coach, player and team in the National Football League.
Win. It’s what the Green Bay Packers have been doing since their earliest days.
Now, all that hard work by the Pack might pay off in a uniquely satisfying way. Green Bay – at the expense of its oldest rival, the Chicago Bears – has a chance to become the winningest team in NFL history.
The Packers enter the 2022 season with 782 regular-season wins. The Bears have 783.
Should both teams post records similar to what they have over the past three seasons, the Green and Gold will supplant Chicago at No. 1.
This run at the record has been a long time in the making. Chicago has been king of the mountain for just over 100 years.
The Bears are one of two remaining teams (Cardinals) that were part of the original NFL (then called the American Professional Football Association) in 1920. Chicago posted the most or second most regular-season wins in 19 of the first 30 years of league play (1920-1949).
A number of teams, most notably the Buffalo All-Americans and the Akron Pros, challenged Chicago for supremacy in those first two years. But after Dutch Sternaman booted a third-quarter field goal to down the All-Americans 10-7 on Dec. 4, 1921, Chicago moved out front for good.
The Packers joined the APFA in 1921. Though they produced winners in 26 of their first 27 seasons, the team could not catch the Bears.
Second fiddle – or worse – for a century, Green Bay is poised to wrest the mantle from their longtime nemesis. What’s amazing: 30 years ago this would have been unthinkable.
Back then, the Packers were coming off a 4-12 record. That dismal showing cost head coach Lindy Infante his job.
In the 24 seasons between Vince Lombardi’s departure as coach and Mike Holmgren’s arrival at the helm, Green Bay suffered through 15 losing campaigns. The team’s regular-season record during that time (146-201-9) hardly inspired confidence.
As 1992 dawned, the Bears had 561 regular-season wins to 476 for the Packers. Chicago was up by 85 wins.
The turnaround engineered by the Green and Gold after that low point has been nothing short of remarkable. That the resurgence could possibly enter a fourth decade boggles the mind as well.
Over the last 30 years, the Packers have gone 306-173-2 during the regular season. The Bears are 222-259-0. That’s a difference of 84 victories.
Only one team – the New England Patriots – won more games during a 30-year stretch.
Green Bay has been fortunate that each of its last six coaches – Holmgren (75-37), Ray Rhodes (8-8), Mike Sherman (57-39), Mike McCarthy (125-77-2), Joe Philbin (2-2) and Matt LaFleur (39-10) – all finished .500 or better over that span. That’s rare in this business.
Furthermore, the team has had two world-class quarterbacks – Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers – for most of that stretch. Favre (160-93) and Rodgers (139-66-1) were the starters for 299 of those 306 wins.
And so Green Bay enters the 2022 season having won 13 regular-season games in each of its last three seasons. The Bears have not had a winning record during that time.
Based on that, expect the Packers to pull ahead of the Bears sooner rather than later, maybe even when Chicago comes to Lambeau Field on Sept. 18 in Week 2. What not to expect: Green Bay to hold onto the record for as long as the Bears did.
October 26th, 1952.
In the 2nd quarter, Curley Morrison has punted to Woodley Lewis early in the 2nd quarter, and Rams begin on own 35. Rams lead at this point in the game 3-0. Towler had thundered off tackle for 29, and one first down Bob Waterfield completed to Smith for 9, so on 2nd and one at the Bears twenty-seven George Conner intercepts and returns 22 going from his own ten to thirty-two.
In the third quarter as Bears lead 7-3 and Night Train Lane intercepts Steve Romanik on Bear thirty-nine and rambles 20 yards to nineteen. Rams have 4th and 9 on the eighteen, and instead of kicking field goal, Bob Waterfield is again intercepted by Conner, this time on six, and he returns 9 yards. Not 100% sure, yet believe this is where the photo comes from, as Big George stiff arms Smith on return. Bears advance to mid-field as the quarter ends.
George Blanda is short on 51-yard field goal attempt, and the 4th Q is all Rams. The "lights are turned on" at the Coliseum after Quinlan's touchdown run, and Romanik on first down is intercepted again by Night Train on the Bear thirty-four and he weaves his way to four-yard line.
So in this game, we have George Conner's only two-interception game of his career and the Night Train's first two-interception game. The player roster lists him as an end, not a back. Believe this is just his second start at right corner...he did NOT start the first three games...Pro Football Reference has this listed incorrectly
Also on this date, and is significant, the best pass-rushing day in NFL history as the Texans & Niners combine for the most sack yards ever in a game, and Norm "Wild Man" Willey & Pete Pihos take down Connerly and Benners for 127 yards on 14 sacks—Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman attended and charted the game and insisted that Willey had 8 sacks on the day.
|Washington in a 6-2 Double Eagle alignment with the |
linebackers outside the defensive ends
|Washington, versus the New York Giants, in a more traditional 6-2|
with linebackers inside the defensive tackles
|Rod Goode (#21) carries in snow-covered field in game vs Steelers|
By Jeffrey J. Miller
Bob Talamini, a three-time AFL champion with the Houston Oilers and New York Jets, passed away on May 31, 2022. Like so many offensive linemen who toiled in the part of the field known as “the pit,” Talamini played his entire career in relative anonymity, especially when compared to some of his more illustrious teammates such as George Blanda, Billy Cannon, Don Maynard and Joe Namath. But to close observers of the old American Football League, and especially teammates and opponents, Talamini was an outstanding player who enjoyed a highly successful nine-year career.
The Louisville, Kentucky, native earned third-team All-SEC honors while playing collegiate ball at the University of Kentucky, and that caught the eye of the Houston Oilers of the new American Football League, which was starting play in 1960. By the end of his rookie season, Talamini was a fixture as the Oilers’ starting left guard. In 1962, he earned his first of six straight trips to the AFL All-Star Game. Talamini also won two league championships (1960 and 1961) playing alongside fellow All-Star Bob Schmidt (center) as they paved the way for the offensive fireworks of quarterback Blanda, halfback Cannon and wide receiver Charlie Hennigan. Though the Oilers fortunes faded over the next several seasons, Talamini’s star shone brightly as he earned All-AFL honors in 1963, ‘65 and ’67. The Oilers had a brief resurgence in ‘67, winning the AFL East, but lost to the Oakland Raiders in the championship game. Talamini, tired of the Oilers’ lack of success, held out of camp in 1968. This led the Oilers to trade the six-foot, one-inch, 255 pounder to the New York Jets for a draft choice. It was the best thing that could have happened to the aging warrior.
Talamini put together a solid season anchoring a very highly rated Jets offensive line and was rewarded with a trip to the Super Bowl in which the Jets pulled off a stunning upset of the NFL’s Baltimore Colts. Shortly after taking part in the Jets’ unlikely run, Talamini decided to call it a career, announcing his retirement the following summer. Not everyone gets to go out on top, but Bob Talamini certainly did!
Talamini (61) provides interference for running
back Bill Mathis (31) against the Baltimore
Colts in Super Bowl III.
(Contrast Talamini’s career with that of fellow guard Pete Perreault, whose path was practically the inverse of Talamini's. Perreault spent five seasons with the Jets but was left unprotected in the 1968 expansion draft. The new Cincinnati Bengals selected him and denied him the opportunity to play in the very same Super Bowl. Poor Pete returned to the Jets the following year, but the team never made it back to the big game.)
When this writer was working on the book Rockin’ The Rockpile: The Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, I had the opportunity to speak to Billy Shaw, another great guard who, like Talamini, spent his entire career in the AFL. Both were named to the AFL’s All-Time Team selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970. Shaw, of course, went on to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1999. I asked Shaw if there were any players from those old days that he watched or studied, and he told me Talamini was the only one he would watch. He cited Talamini’s footwork as outstanding. That is quite a compliment when a Hall-of-Famer is studying your technique.
Talamini was enshrined in the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame (yes, there is such a thing!) in 2011.