Fans may not have known exactly what the ‘new’ Green Bay Packers were all about in the summer of 1959 but the players who returned for training camp definitely knew there was a new sheriff in town.
Vince Lombardi was given the task of not only building a winner but changing the culture of a once proud franchise that had fallen on hard times. His impact was immediate. After his first meeting with team members that season, Bart Starr phoned his wife, Cherry, and told her excitedly, “we’re going to start winning.”
That they did, finishing 7-5 the first season, winning a Western Conference title the next, then back-to-back NFL championships in 1961 and ’62, followed by three more in 1965,’66 and ’67.
Our Photo of the Day from RMY Auctions is this 8×10 posed image from early August 1959 which shows Lombardi and his coaching staff prior to the first pre-season game. Filed into a newspaper archive six months to the day after Lombardi had accepted the coaching position, the photo is one of more than 300 up for bid this month.
Lombardi’s coaching staff included, left to right, Tom Fears, Phil Bengtson (who would succeed Lombardi a decade later), Bill Austin, Norb Hecker and Red Cochran. They would form the offensive and defensive juggernaut that became the NFL’s elite franchise.
Lombardi’s commitment to winning ignited a frustrated fan base and beginning in 1960, the Packers sold out Lambeau Field—a streak that continues to this day and includes a waiting list for season tickets that numbers nearly 90,000.
For more information on the August auction, click here.