Dec. 8, 1929: The Green Bay Packers' First League Title


Stoney M’Glynn
Milwaukee Sentinel
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Editor's note:This story was originally published Dec. 9, 1929.

The 1929 Green Bay Packers: Top row, left to right: Cal Hubbard, Hurdle McCrary, Tom Nash, Bernard Darling, Claude Perry, Red Smith, Verne Lewellan, Roger Ashmore, Johnny "Blood" McNally, Jim Bowdoin, Lavvie Dilweg, Jug Earp. Bottom Row: Curly Lambeau, Paul Minnick, Bo Molenda, Roy Baker, Eddie Kotal, Red Dunn, Dick O'Donnell, Mike Michalske, Bill Kern, Whitney Woodin, Carl Lidberg.

Chicago, Ill. – The Green Bay Packers clinched the National Professional Football league championship here Sunday afternoon in a most convincing fashion when they humbled the once haughty Chicago Bears, 25 to 0, in the Packers’ final league game of the season. The victory gives the powerful Bays the unique distinction of being the first team in the history of the pro league to complete a season with a record unmarred by defeat.

A crowd of over 5,000 diehards witnessed the game. They came with the expectations of seeing an aroused Bear team humble the champions, but they remained to marvel at the brilliance of the Packers, who were champions in every respect.

Lidberg Proves Hero.

Carl Lidberg, the former Gopher, out-Joested Joesting with the terrific plunging, tearing off gain after gain in ripping the Bear line to pieces. And when Carl wasn’t rending the Chicago line, little Eddie Kotal, former Lawrence star, was snaring passes the like of which has seldom been seen on any gridiron.

Big Carl had a field day, displaying one of the greatest all around games any fullback ever played anywhere. He was smacking through the line on defense to nail Bear runners, he was intercepting passes everywhere, was plunging with bitterness and blocking with a forethought. But it remained for little Eddie to provide the thrill of the day with a leaping one handed catch of a forward pass and a 25-yard run to a touchdown.

Grabs Off Pass.

Closely covered by Red Grange, Illinois’ former Galloping Ghost, Eddie leaped high in the air, hooked the ball with his left hand, came down with feet a-flying and scampered away 25 yards for the marker. It brought the whole crowd to its feet.

Lewellen and Dilweg also played star games for the winners.

Because of the slippery going, the Bays had trouble getting started, but along midway in the first period they carried the ball into Bear territory. Two passes which just missed completion by inches kept them from scoring on this spurt.

Shortly before the period ended Walquist of the Bears fumbled, after an exchange of punts and Kotal recovered on the Bear 13-yard line. Both sides were offside on the first play, but on the next Lidberg crashed through right guard and over the goal line. Dunn’s kick for the extra point looked good, but was ruled wide.

Bears Are Fooled.

Right after the start of the second half, the Packers advanced to the 12-yard line. Lidberg made 11 yards in three tries.

The Bears, expecting Lidberg again, were crossed completely, Lewellen taking the ball off left tackle and crossing the goal line before a hand touched him. Dunn’s kick was wide again.

Lidberg intercepted Holmer’s pass on the Bear 25-yard line shortly after the next kickoff. Kotal then snared a pass from Dunn, out-dodging Red Grange and outspeeding the other Bear back and racing to the goal. Dunn place kicked the extra point.

Lidberg again provided the Bays with their next scoring chance when he intercepted another Bear pass on the Bear 28-yard line. Then followed Lewellan’s pass to Kotal and Eddie miraculous catch for the final touchdown. Dunn’s kick was wide to bring the score to 25 to 0.

Plan Big Homecoming.

The Bays entered the game with the sole idea of not being made victims of an upset. They knew of Green Bay’s elaborate plans for the homecoming celebration on Monday and Tuesday, and they were determined that their brilliant season should not be spoiled by a last game defeat.

Statistics of the game reveal the Packer superiority. The Bays piled up fourteen first downs to five for the Bears, and three of the latter came in the second quarter, when they were deep in their own territory. The Packers attempted eighteen passes and completed seven for a total gain of 111 yards, while the Bears tried twenty passes, completed five for a gain of 64 yards, and had four intercepted.

1929 Packers at a Glance

Coach: Curly Lambeau

Record: 12-0-1

Hall of Fame players: Cal Hubbard, Curly Lambeau, Johnny "Blood" McNally, Mike Michalske

Key statistics: The Packers allowed just 22 points and registered eight shutouts in 13 league games. . . . They scored 127 of their 198 points in the second half.

A story worth retelling: The NFL was just 10 years old and recognized its league champion based on the final standings. So there was no playoff money. But on Nov. 26, the day after the Packers beat the New York Giants to secure sole possession of first place, the Green Bay Press-Gazette initiated a "Championship Fund" to raise money for the players. Although the stock market had just crashed, throwing the country into a depression, more than $5,000 was raised in two weeks. Two days after the season ended, the fans of Green Bay held a banquet for the players and gave each one $220 plus a watch.

Cliff Christl, 1998

Box Score

Green Bay 6-0-19-0-25
Chicago     0-0- 0-0-0

Scoring: Touchdowns - Lidberg, Lewellen, Kotal, 2. Kick after touchdown - Dunn.

Packers-Bears lineups

Green Bay
Lavvie Dilweg
Bill Kern
Mike Michalske
Jug Earp
Jim Bowdoin
Cal Hubbard
Dick O'Donnell
Red Dunn
Verne Lewellen
Eddie Kotal
Cully Lidberg

Luke Johnson
Packie Nelson
Zuck Carlson
Bert Pearson
Joe Kopcha
Don Murray
Bill Fleckenstein
Paddy Driscoll
Red Grange
Laurie Walquist
Walt Holmer

Packers' championship titles

1. Dec. 8, 1929: The Green Bay Packers' first league title

2. Dec. 14, 1930: Tie clinches second straight championship

3. Nov. 29, 1931: Punter/halfback Verne Lewellen helps secure third title

4. Dec. 13, 1936: Green Bay's first championship decided by a post-season game

5. Dec. 10, 1939: Fifth title dubbed the Dairy Bowl

6. Dec. 17, 1944: The Packers' final championship under Curly Lambeau

7. Dec. 31, 1961: Vince Lombardi's first NFL title

8. Dec. 30, 1962Packers still champs as Ray Nitschke leads way

9. Jan. 2, 1966:1st of 3 straight Packers titles began with 'Mud Bowl'

10. Jan. 15, 1967: Packers beat Chiefs to win Super Bowl I

11. Jan. 14, 1968: Packers rout Raiders to repeat as Super Bowl champions

12. Jan. 26, 1997: Power and the Glory. Packers win Super Bowl XXXI.

13. Feb. 6, 2011: Packers survive injuries to beat Steelers in Super Bowl XLV

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