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Why have the Bears played 34 more NFL games than the Packers?


How is it that the Bears have played 34 more games within the NFL than the Packers? The Packers joined the league one 12 months after the Bears.

There was no set league schedule within the early years. Teams scheduled their very own games, and it was principally easier for the Bears to achieve this because other teams could earn more money playing in Chicago than in Green Bay or at home in some cases against an opponent aside from Green Bay.

In 1920, the primary 12 months of the American Skilled Football Association (now the NFL), the Decatur Staleys played 13 games. In 1921, they played 11, while the Packers played six in what was their maiden season within the APFA.

That 12 months, the Packers had difficulty scheduling games and didn’t play their first league game until Oct. 23, almost a month after the league opener. At the top of that season, the Staleys – renamed the Chicago Bears in 1922 – scheduled additional games, including their first meeting with the Packers, because they were in a good race with Buffalo and Akron for the league title and searching to pad their victory total. George Halas didn’t comply with play the Packers until five days before the Nov. 27, 1921 game, a story told in greater detail in “The Biggest Story in Sports,” our four-volume history of the Packers.

Consequently, the Bears played two games before the Packers played their first league game in 1921 and three games after the Packers played their last league game. Those first two APFA seasons alone accounted for 18 of the 34 extra games.

In 1922 and ’23, the Bears played a combined 4 additional games. In 1924, each teams played 11 games.

In 1925, the Bears played 17; the Packers, 13. That was the 12 months the Bears signed Red Grange out of the University of Illinois in late November and launched a barnstorming trip, where they played eight games in 12 days from Dec. 2-13 with five of them counting within the league standings because they were against league opponents. The Packers played one game in December that season.

There was a four-game disparity again in 1927. The Bears played 14; the Packers, 10. That was the 12 months, the Packers played the Frankford Yellow Jackets on Thanksgiving after which called it quits. They’d a game scheduled at Windfall on Dec. 11, but did not have the cash to spend 18 days on the road awaiting that game, and so they failed to seek out every other opponents based within the league’s Eastern cities willing to play them.

While the Packers headed home, they loaned two of their best players, Verne Lewellen and Jug Earp, to the Latest York Yankees. Each played three games for the Yankees over the rest of the season after which returned to the Packers in 1928, per the team’s agreement with Yankees owner C.C. Pyle.

The truth is, the Yankees had asked the Packers in the event that they could borrow each Lewellen and Curly Lambeau because three of their best backs were coping with injuries, and so they had two games left on their schedule against the eventual champion Latest York Giants. The Yankees were of their first season within the NFL, and Pyle was seeking to beat the Giants and claim superiority in Latest York. Considered one of the Yankees’ injured backs was Grange, who had left the Bears after that barnstorming trip, and was now the Yankees’ star and leading gate attraction. While the Packers granted Lewellen permission to play with the Yankees, their executive committee denied Pyle’s request for Lambeau because they thought “it unwise for the captain and coach of the Packers to associate himself with every other club in any capability,” in line with the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the time.

The Bears also played three more league games than the Packers in 1926 and two more in 1929. The Packers played yet one more game than the Bears in 1931. The subsequent 12 months, the NFL divided its teams into two divisions and ever since, the Packers and Bears have played the identical variety of games.

Bill from Menomonee Falls, WI

Not a Packers query per se, but an NFL query. Is it true that the Chicago Bears’ first NFL game because the “Bears” was at Horlick Field in Racine, Wis.?

Yes. As stated here previously, the Bears modified their nickname from the Staleys in 1922, and their season opener was played against the Racine Legion at what The Racine Journal-News referred to on the time as “Horlick’s Athletic field.” It was the Horlick Malted Milk Co. field. The corporate operated in Racine from 1873 to 1975. The Racine Legion was a member of the NFL from 1922-24, while the Racine Tornadoes were a member in 1926.

The Bears-Legion game drew an estimated 4,000 fans, and the Bears won, 6-0, on two field goals.

Andrew from Greensboro, NC

My dad attended VPI (now VA Tech) from 1938-42, then off to war. He and I within the ’60s and now my daughter too, because Carroll Dale was a VPI alum, became Packer fans. After all, I’m biased, but other receivers from the Lombardi years appear to get mentioned way more regularly than Dale. I’d love to listen to some stories of Dale and his time with the Packers. Why the trade with the Rams at the moment? Does Dale still hold any of the Packers’ receiving records?

First, Greg from Clarks Summit, Pa., also asked for more details about Dale because that was his favorite player.

Yes, Dale’s 19.72 average per catch on his 275 receptions remains to be the Packers’ club record. And his 23.7 average per catch on 37 receptions in 1966 remains to be second to Don Hutson’s single-season record, a 24.9 average on 34 receptions in 1939. Those numbers alone are staggering when you think about that not one of the Packers’ No. 1 receivers during the last 30 years has averaged as much as 16 yards a catch. Antonio Freeman and Greg Jennings own the perfect profession averages amongst that group at 15.4 yards.

Why the trade for Dale? It reflected Lombardi’s philosophy on personnel. When the Packers acquired Dale, Max McGee was about to show 33. Lombardi was a firm believer within the axiom that it was higher to switch players too soon slightly than too late, although Lombardi kept McGee on the roster as a backup because he valued, I think, his influence within the locker room and playmaking ability. What’s more, it was a straight-up trade and the LA Rams received linebacker Dan Currie, who was damaged goods, in return.

Inside months after being named coach of the Packers, Lombardi had accomplished his film study of the players he inherited from Scooter McLean and determined that Currie, a No. 1 draft pick in 1958, was the perfect of his young players. Higher than fellow linebacker Ray Nitschke, fellow ’58 draft picks Jim Taylor and Jerry Kramer, in addition to Paul Hornung, Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr and each other player on his roster with three years or less of experience. And Currie performed as much as expectations during Lombardi’s first 4 or five seasons. He was named to either the Pro Bowl or certainly one of the three most recognized all-pro, first teams from 1960-63. Nevertheless, Currie suffered a knee injury in November 1962 and his performance slipped thereafter.

As for comparing Dale to McGee and Boyd Dowler, it will be a toss-up attempting to rank them. All three were excellent receivers. Longevity with the Packers probably has had something to do with Dowler and McGee receiving more accolades, if that is truly been the case. McGee played 12 years in Green Bay; Dowler, 11; and Dale, eight, five of them post-Lombardi. Plus, Dowler was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team within the Sixties and had probably the most catches of the three. Plus, he made big catches: 4 TDs in Lombardi’s five NFL championship victories and one other in Super Bowl II. As for McGee, Lombardi considered him certainly one of the nice clutch players in NFL history. McGee also ranks third all-time in Packers history with an 18.4 average per catch.

Buddy from Palermo, Maine

Early within the Lombardi years, Max McGee often played split end and Boyd Dowler was the flanker. It appears that evidently once Carroll Dale arrived, Dowler played more split end at times, with Dale at flanker. Any idea why? I’d guess Dale was faster and would appear to be more suited to separate end.

You are right, McGee played mostly split end when he was the starter during Lombardi’s first six seasons, but that was because he at all times lined up at left end and that was often the weak side of the formation. Dowler, in turn, played on the proper side once he was inserted as a starter within the seventh game of his rookie 12 months and that was often the strong side, or the side where the tight end lined up.

Dowler’s first 12 months also was Lombardi’s first as coach in Green Bay and for the primary six games he began three backs with Hornung playing left halfback and Don McIlhenny or Lew Carpenter at right halfback. McGee was the left end and Gary Knafelc the tight end. That said, although there have been three backs on the sphere that did not mean the Packers at all times – and even mostly – lined up in a full-house backfield. Considered one of the halfbacks would split out, at the very least in a slot position, while Dowler also would sub for the 2 RHBs. In essence for the ultimate six games of that season, Dowler lined up on the proper side at what was called the flanker position. But on the rare occasions when it was a powerful left formation with Knafelc to the left side, then Dowler was essentially the split end and McGee, the flanker, because they didn’t flip-flop sides. And that remained true through 1964.

In 1965 when the Packers acquired Dale, they began flip-flopping their outside receivers with Dowler playing split end on the weak side and Dale playing flanker on the strong side. I can not let you know what Lombardi was pondering when he made the change, but I’d guess you are right that Dale’s speed had something to do with it.

But possibly more importantly, Lombardi’s signature play was the facility sweep and the ball carrier almost at all times was the LHB, Hornung when he was healthy, running right with, by then, Marv Fleming playing tight end on that side and being liable for the important thing block on the skin linebacker. As certainly one of many offshoots to the facility sweep, the fullback, Jim Taylor through 1966, would run a weak-side sweep often back to the left side. That meant the split end, now Dowler, could be on the left side, where he needed to line up closer to the tackle and make the block on the skin backer. Presumably, Lombardi considered Dowler a greater blocker than Dale. Dowler was three inches taller and about 25 kilos heavier than Dale.

Has any skilled quarterback ever suffered the Rick Ankiel Syndrome?

I could possibly be a sensible, you understand what, and answer numerous them. Remember, I began writing in regards to the Packers in 1970 and covered them as a beat author or columnist for many of the subsequent 20 years when their quarterbacks finished twentieth or lower in passing stats 13 times with a 14th 12 months where they didn’t also have a qualifier.

But I do not remember any of those QBs having the yips.

Only recently, Ian Rapaport of the NFL Network wrote that Jets quarterback Zach Wilson had been coping with the yips since last spring. I think one other promising Jets QB who didn’t make it, Christian Hackenberg, was also a victim of the yips after being drafted within the second round in 2016. He stood 6-4, 228, and scouting reports on the time said he had a robust arm. Closer to home, I also consider it happened to former UW quarterback Joel Stave after his starting job was taken from him. And I’m assuming there have been others than I do not learn about and possibly no one else does either.

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