While Vince Lombardi’s first championship team was “the greatest team in the National Football League” in 1961, the Packers of 1962 were arguably the greatest football team of all time.
A single loss kept Green Bay from an unbeaten season. The Packers scored a league-high 415 points and held opponents to a league-low 148. Green Bay had the NFL’s top running game (2,460 yards) and second-best defense (3,277 yards allowed).
The team reeled off 10 straight wins to start the season, then posted three more to close. When championship time arrived, the Packers beat the Giants for the second straight year, this time 16-7 on a bitterly cold day in New York.
A pair of 49-0 blowouts attested to the Packers’ power. On September 30, Green Bay piled up 244 yards rushing, intercepted five passes and held the Bears to seven first downs. A month-and-a-half later against the Eagles, the team set club records for total yards (628), first downs (37) and touchdowns rushing (six).
Not everything went according to plan. The Detroit Lions gave the Packers all they could handle. In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Lions held a 7-6 lead with 1:25 left. Only after Herb Adderley intercepted Milt Plum to set up Paul Hornung’s game-winning field goal, did the Packers breathe easier.
Green Bay was not so fortunate in the rematch, 10 weeks later. The Lions (8-2) sacked Bart Starr 11 times and intercepted him twice in posting a 26-14 win. Detroit also forced three other turnovers and with the win, moved to within a game of the front running Packers.
“From now on, we’ll be a lot better ball club for it. I think we’re all a little relieved,” said Lombardi.
“The players have been under tremendous pressure in recent weeks because of the winning streak. But, take nothing away from the Lions. They did a terrific job today.”