Passing the football always fascinated Curly Lambeau. His passion was reinforced as a star prep athlete at Green Bay East High School and as a freshman under Knute Rockne at Nortre Dame in 1918.
Lambeau took his football fervor home with him where he recovered from tonsillitis. In 1919, he convinced the Indian Packing Company to sponsor a Green Bay football club, known as the “Blues” because of their jersey color and also the “Indians” because of their original sponsor.
The club dominated regional opponents. In 1921, the team joined the fledgling National Football League and their popular nickname stuck, the Packers.
Whether is was Lambeau or passers such as Charles Mathys, Red Dunn, Arnie Herber, Cecil Isbell, Irv Comp, Jack Jacobs and others, Lambeau’s Packer teams put the ball in the air in an era of pro football dotted with intricate running formations.
As pro football evolved in the 1920s, Lambeau went from player-coach to full-time coaching. He pioneered summer training camps, daily practices, film study, structured player personnel study and scouting. By the 1930’s, the Packers were flying to games. In the 1940s, they had purchased their own training facility.
In 31 seasons as Packer coach, Lambeau’s teams won 212 games, lost 106 and tied 21. As a player, Lambeau threw 24 touchdown passes and scored 11 himself. He kicked six field goals and 20 extra points.
Following the 1944 championship season, the Packers faced competition for player talent with the new All American Football Conference and struggled financially. The Packers finished at 3-9 in 1948 and 2-10 in 1949.
A fractious relationship developed over control of the Packers and Lambeau resigned early in 1950. He coached the Chicago Cardinals in 1950 and ‘51, moved on to the Washington Redskins in ‘52 and ‘53 and coached the annual College All Star squads against the NFL champions from 1955-’57.
Lambeau was elected as a charter member of the Pro football Hall of Fame in 1963
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