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The champions -- 1939

Jan. 28, 2011
 
Front row (left to right): Andy Uram (42); Charley Brock (29); Don Wilson (49); Herm Schneidman (51); Joe Laws (24); Clarence Thompson (50); Dick Zoll (57); Francis Twedell (62); Chester (Swede) Johnson (15); Dick Weisgerber (33); Pete Tinsley (21); John Biolo (32); Ed Jankowski (7). Middle row: Coach Curly Lambeau; Larry Craig (54); Paul Kell (41); Clarke Hinkle (30); Milt Gantenbein (22); Arnie Herber (38); Earl Svendsen (53); Bill Lee (40); Cecil Isbell (17); Charles (Buckets) Goldenberg (43); Hank Bruder (5); Lee Mulleneaux (18); Russ Letlow (46); Paul (Tiny) Engebretsen (34). Back row: John Brennan (37); Frank Balazs (35); Harry Jacunski (48); Warren Kilbourne (58); Frank Steen (36); Tom Greenfield (56); Buford (Baby) Ray (44); Carl (Moose) Mulleneaux (19); Larry Buhler (52); Allen Moore (55); Don Hutson (14); Charles Schultz (60); Clarence Thompson (10); Assistant Coach Richard (Red) Smith. Press-Gazette archives
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A pair of three-point losses kept the Packers from a perfect season in 1939.

But while Green Bay posted the second-best record (9-2) in the league, the team rarely dominated.

Six of the team’s wins were by a touchdown or less.

Its offense ranked third and its defense fifth. Only one player, end Don Hutson, made the All-League team.

But the team saved its best for last. After having clinched the Western Division crown, Green Bay faced the New York Giants in the title game.

And after that game was over, and the Packers had wrapped up a fifth championship, the football world came to realize how truly powerful the Packers of 1939 were.

The Press-Gazette’s John Walter wrote: “It was cold-blooded murder in broad daylight as the Green Bay Packers drowned the championship hopes of the New York Giants under a 27 to 0 pasting before 32,279 enthralled fans at State Fair Park here Sunday afternoon.”

Other reporters echoed Walter.

Said Pat Gannon:

“The Packers undressed them (Giants). It was the greatest strip act in recent football history.”

Or offered advice.

“My advice to Tim Mara (Giants owner) is just to pretend it never happened,” said Bill Corum.

Defensively, Green Bay intercepted six Giants’ passes and limited New York to 164 total yards. Offensively, the Packers stuck mainly to the ground (52 rushes for 136 yards) due to bitter, 35 mph winds.

Green Bay’s road to the championship game began on Sept. 17 when the Packers defeated the Chicago Cardinals 14-10.

The team followed up with a 21-16 win over the Bears. But two losses in the next five games spelled trouble.

After seven weeks, the Packers (5-2) trailed Detroit by a game. On Nov. 12, Green Bay piled up 376 yards and toppled the Eagles 23-16 in Philadelphia.

At the same time, the Bears knocked off Detroit 23-13 to allow Green Bay to move into a first-place tie with Detroit.

That tie was broken one week later when the Packers shut out Brooklyn 28-0 at Ebbets Field.

That win, combined with Detroit’s 14-3 loss to Cleveland, gave Green Bay sole possession of first-place, a spot it nailed down with two final wins at Cleveland and Detroit.

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