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The champions -- 1931

Jan. 28, 2011
 
Front row (left to right): Joseph (Red) Dunn; Nate Barrager; James Bowdoin; Wuert Engelmann; LaVern (Lavvie) Dilweg; August (Mike) Michalske; Fay (Mule) Wilson; Paul Fitzgibbons. Middle row: Roger Grove; Waldo DonCarlos; Hank Bruder; Milt Gantenbein; Bo Molenda; Rudy Comstock; Russell Saunders. Back row: Curly Lambeau; Dick Stahlman; Johnny (Blood) McNally; Elmer (Red) Sleight; Robert (Cal) Hubbard; Tom Nash; Hurdis McCrary; Francis (Jug) Earpe; Arnie Herber. Press-Gazette archives
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Usually, when an organization is gunning for three consecutive titles and a piece of history, the remaining teams in the league aim to dethrone the champion.

One team, however, that wanted no part of Green Bay in 1931 was the Portsmouth Spartans. That is, until it was too late.

In the short time the NFL had been in existence, only one team (the Canton Bulldogs 1922-23) had repeated as champions. Just to last three seasons in the ever changing NFL was an accomplishment.

Green Bay jumped out to nine straight wins. The only team to score more than seven points against the Packers in that span was Providence, but Green Bay steamrolled that club 48-20.

A perfect season was spoiled when the Cardinals and Ernie Nevers defeated the Packers 21-13 on Nov. 15. Then, on the season’s final week, the Bears edged Green Bay 7-6. But by then, the Packers had nailed down a third straight title, or so they thought.

The Spartans disagreed. After Green Bay defeated Brooklyn 7-0 on Nov. 29 to move two games ahead of second-place Portsmouth with one week remaining, the Ohioans claimed Green Bay owed them a game.

“We do not plan to put our title in jeopardy,” said Head Coach Curly Lambeau, “but if the Packers defeat the Chicago Bears we may follow through with a game against Portsmouth December 13.”

Green Bay and Portsmouth had tentatively scheduled a date earlier in the season, but he Spartans had refused to play in Green Bay. After a loss to the Bears on Dec. 6, the Packers declined the offer.

The matter went to the league. Joe Carr, NFL President, agreed with Lambeau. The Packers did not have to honor the date. Green Bay was assured of a third consecutive championship.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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