top of page

Detroit Lions (8-1) 28, Green Bay Packers (4-6) 24

Thursday November 25th 1954 (at Detroit)



(DETROIT) - The Packers defensed the most powerful and best balanced offense in pro football down to a measly 14 points here Thursday afternoon. But the world champion Detroit Loins – their own attack all but stalled cold by an injury-riddled Packer defense – found two other ways to score, returning a punt for one touchdown and running back an intercepted pass for another. It all added up to another heart-breaking Packer loss, 28 to 24 – even more tear jerking than the 21 to 17 setback to the same team in Green Bay last Sunday. This year’s Thanksgiving classic – witnessed by 55,532 in the flesh and 30 million via 150 television stations around the country – couldn’t have been more thrilling if it had been produced in Hollywood. But the ending was both tragic and heroic – to Packer Backers, for the Green Bays accomplished a great plenty under most damaging handicaps and again gained more respect and praise around the league and among pro football followers. If ever Detroit was going to break loose for its usual “45” yesterday was the day. The Packers played without Val Joe Walker, their ace defensive halfback; John Martinkovic was so sick with the stomach flu right up to game time that he could hardly walk; and the other defensive end, Stretch Elliott, went out with a leg injury in the second quarter. And to top it all off, Packer pass catchers dropped eight (8) throws from quarterback Tobin Rote who was operating brilliantly on a leg and a half. Yet the Packers picked up 24 points, held leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 17-14 in the ding-dong battle, and captured all of the statistical honors – most notable of which was holding the Lions’ vaunted running game to 85 yards while rushing for 133 themselves. And, lest we forget, it was the Packers’ sixth loss of the season – all by a total of 27 points. Two of the setbacks were to the world champs by eight (count ‘em) markers – two field goals and a safety, if you please. With Clayton Tonnemaker and Roger Zatkoff switching linebacking positions and Veryl Switzer filling in nicely for Walker in the deep secondary, the Packers never let Detroit get beyond its own 45-yard line in the entire first quarter while Green Bay was taking a 7-0 lead on Breezy Reid’s 48-yard run on a lateral from Rote. But the Lions launched a 71-yard TD drive near the end of the first frame and scored after 25 seconds of the second heat, Bobby Layne throwing to Doak Walker 18 yards for the touch and a 7-7 score. Two minutes later, Green Bay was back in a 14-7 lead on a 63-yard, seven-play blast, with Rote ploughing over from the one-foot line. Just before the half, Detroit scored the first of two cheap TDs, Jack Christiansen intercepting Rote’s pass on the Packer 30 and running into the end zone. Fred Cone hammered his 9th field goal of the season to start the 24-point third period and put the Bays head 17-14 but the Lions were in front 21-17 on Layne’s eight-yard toss to Lew Carpenter and 28-17 on Christiansen’s 61-yard punt return. On the last play of the third frame, Rote and Max McGee worked an 82-yard touchdown pass play and the score was 28-24. The Packers suffered three costly penalties, though only one was turned into a Detroit touchdown. Midway in the third period, Martinkovic was accused of a personal foul on Layne, giving Detroit a first down on the Packer 39. Two plays later, Carpenter scored for a 21-17 lead. At the start of the scoreless fourth quarter, Dave Stephenson was guilty of roughing punter Jug Girard, giving Detroit a first down on the 50. Then, with 10 minutes left in the game, the Packers had third down and five on Detroit’s 29 but a too-much-time penalty set ‘em back on the 34. A pass went incomplete and on fourth down Cone missed a field goal from the 43. The eight pass drops robbed the Packers of many first downs along the way but the payoff was No. 7 with 3:50 left in the game. Al Carmichael worked himself all along on the Detroit 45 but dropped Rote’s long throw. Al had a clear field ahead. The miscue must have reminded fans of the game in Green Bay when McGee dropped a touchdown throw in the end zone, though Carmichael had a more difficult catch and, of course, was 45 yards out. The pass muffs – most of them first downers of about 10 and 11 yards – left Rote with only 13 completions in 38 attempts. He stretched the completions into 217 yards – three more than the combined total of Bobby Layne and Tom Dublinski. Rote, despite the interception, was a whale of a figure again. He handicapped 98 times, picked up 39 yards rushing, passed for one TD, scored another himself, and, bum leg and all, stood as an inspirational figure to his teammates. With the exception of the last Detroit offensive play, Dublinski played the entire last quarter as the Packers seemed to have Layne’s number. Dublinski completed four out of eight but saw one of his throws intercepted by Deral Teteak to set up the last Bay drive into Detroit land. In total yards, the Packers had the edge 350 to 299 and in first downs the Bays won out 16-15. The Lions made only three first downs rushing, with Dave Hanner, Jerry Helluin and Bill Forester jamming up the line against the Bays’ eight. In FD’s passing, Detroit had ten, Green Bay six. The Packers received a terrible scare right quick. Two plays after the opening kickoff, Rote ran left end for 30 yards to Detroit’s 44 but on the next play he was smeared for a nine-yard loss trying to pass. The Bay QB appeared to be hurt as he called time but he remained in. After an exchange of punts, the Packers moved to Detroit’s 42, where a pass drop and two other incompletions brought a 48-yard field goal try by Cone but the ball was short. A holding penalty forced Girard to punt and Switzer returned 16 yards to the Lion 34. The Packers missed a first down on the 24 by inches and on fourth they were offside, Detroit refusing and taking the ball. The Packers broke the scoring ice just after Jim Psaltis almost blocked Girard’s punt and forced him to get off a 23-yard boot. After Ferguson lost seven yards on a pitchout to the Packer 28 and Carmichael dropped Rote’s pass, Reid made a pretty catch of a Rote pass for 24 yards to the Detroit 48. With Reid warming up, Rote lateraled to him on an option run around right end, and Breezy dashed down the sideline 48 yards for the touchdown. Cone made the first of three extra points for a 7-0 score. The Lions immediately went on a 71-yard scoring rampage. Moving to the Lion 44 on a Layne to Hoernschemeyer pass, Layne hurled to Dorne Dibble for 15, to Leon Hart for 11 and two plays later to Walker for the touchdown. It was Layne’s 100th touchdown pass in his career and Walker booted the first of four extra points to knot the score. Carmichael returned the kickoff 36 yards to the bay 37 and the Pack had a touch in seven plays. Rote rolled out to his right and hurled to Ferguson on the left for a 49-yard gain to Detroit’s 14. Ferguson dropped a Rote throw on the 9, but Howton took a pass to the five. Rote sneaked twice for a first down on the 2, and then tried it twice more for the touch and 14-7 lead. Clarence Self dropped a Layne throw for a possible shot from Detroit’s 20, but Girard was forced to punt. A Detroit clipping penalty gave the Pack position on the Detroit 34 but Howton dropped a Rote pass and Christiansen intercepted Rote’s next throw. Again Detroit was forced to punt and the Bays started from their own 20. Reid made a yard but on second down Rote rolled to his left and tried to toss to Ferguson as he was tackled from behind. Christiansen scooped it just above the turf on the 30 and cut to the middle for the touch and it was a tie game 14-14 shortly before the half. The Detroit fans appeared quiet as Walker was injured on the second half kickoff on his 17. What’s more, Tonnemaker plucked the ball out of Girard’s hands after he took a Layne pass to give the Bays position on the Detroit 25. Rote lost three, Howton dropped a short pass and then took one for nine to the 19 before Cone booted a field goal from the 26 for a 17-14 lead. Girard and McGee exchanged punts, with Detroit getting a good start from its own 41. Carpenter picked up four to the 45, but a personal foul on the Packers on an incompleted Layne pass put the ball on the Packer 39. Dibble made a nice catch and run of a Layne pass for 31 yards to the Bay eight and on first down Carpenter took Layne’s throw, evaded Self and went in for the score and a 21-17 lead. Starting from their own 20, the Packer put on a drive to the Lion 39 where Rote fumbled and Detroit recovered. Carmichael, Ferguson and Reid advanced nine yards in three tries to the Packer 31 and Rote hurled to Reid on the screen for 11 after an offside penalty on Detroit. Rote’s nine-yard pass to Carmichael and Rote’s lateral to Carmichael produced a first down on the Lion 42. After Reid made three, Hart tackled Rote from behind as he went back to pass and Gandee recovered the fumble on the Packer 33. The Packers went to work and stopped the Lions for a minus 1 yard in three tries so Jim Martin took a field goal from the 42, the ball falling short, Switzer returning 15 yards to the 17. The Packers couldn’t gain so McGee stood on his goal line to punt. He got off his best punt but Christiansen took it on his own 39 and went straight up the middle for the touch. Switzer returned Martin’s kick 27 yards to the Packer 31 and on the first play the Detroit line smothered Rote back 13 yards. On the next play, the protection was perfect and Rote spotted McGee all alone on the Detroit 35, where Max took the pitch and went in untouched on the final play of the third quarter and the last score of the game. After Detroit reached the Packer 27 on the roughing the kicker penalty and Dublinski’s 23-yard pass to Dibble, Teteak snatched Dublinski’s pass on the Bay 25 and raced 16 yards. This looked like “it” as Rote lateraled to Johnson for five and threw to Dublinski for 7 to the Detroit 47. Ferguson cracked twice for seven yards and Rote made it a first down on the Detroit 36. Ferguson punched to the 30, and Carmichael added a yard. Then came the too much time penalty and a stab from the officials. On third down, McGee went to his left about eight yards, was pinched between two Lions, but broke away as the pass sailed over his head. As he was pinched, the official reached for his back pocket – presumably to pull out his flag to signify interference. But the flag never came out and it was fourth down and 10. Cone stepped back on the 43 for a field goal but the kick was short. After a series of penalties, runs and passes, Girard was forced to punt and Switzer made a fair catch on the Bay 16. With 4:10 left, Rote’s long pass to McGee was incomplete and Carmichael dropped a pitch on the Detroit 45. Reid took a Rote throw wide to left for 14 and a key first down. With 3:00 left, three Rote passes to McGee went incomplete and Max had to punt. A holding penalty on Detroit with two minutes left brought some passing from Dublinski and Dillon just missed intercepting with virtually a clear field ahead of him. Girard punted and the Packers got another shot from their 28 with 1:11 left. Rote hit Reid on a screen for 17 yards on the first play but two long passes to Howton went incomplete. Rote was hit back nine yards, and another long throw to Howton was incomplete as time ran out.

GREEN BAY -  7  7 10  0 - 24

DETROIT   -  0 14 14  0 - 28

                       GREEN BAY       DETROIT

First Downs                   16            15

Rushing-Yards-TD        31-133-2       25-85-0

Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 38-13-254-1-2 34-20-225-2-2

Sacked-Yards                4-37          1-11

Net Passing Yards            217           214

Total Yards                  350           299

Fumbles-lost                 1-1           0-0

Turnovers                      3             2

Yards penalized             5-45         11-90


1st - GB - Reid, 48-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0

2nd - DET-Doak Walker, 18-yard pass from Bobby Layne (Walker kick) TIED 7-7

2nd - GB - Rote, 1-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 14-7

2nd - DET - Jack Christiansen, 30-yard interception (Walker kick) TIED 14-14

3rd - GB - Cone, 26-yard field goal GREEN BAY 17-14

3rd - DET - Lew Carpenter, 8-yard pass from Layne (Walker kick) DETROIT 21-17

3rd - DET - Christiansen, 61-yard punt return (Walker kick) DETROIT 28-17

3rd - GB - McGee, 82-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) DETROIT 28-24


GREEN BAY - Breezy Reid 7-61 1 TD, Tobin Rote 7-39 1 TD, Howie Ferguson 12-17, Al Carmichael 5-16

DETROIT - Lew Carpenter 6-39, Doak Walker 1-16, Tom Dublinski 1-11, Bobby Layne 2-8, Bill Bowman 8-8, Bob Hoernschemeyer 7-3


GREEN BAY - Tobin Rote 38-13-254 1 TD 2 INT

DETROIT - Bobby Layne 26-16-178 2 TD 1 INT, Tom Dublinski 8-4-47 1 INT


GREEN BAY - Breezy Reid 4-67, Billy Howton 4-34, Howie Ferguson 2-56, Al Carmichael 2-15, Max McGee 1-82 1 TD

DETROIT - Bob Hoernschemeyer 5-50, Dorne Dibble 3-80, Bill Bowman 3-2, Doak Walker 2-30 1 TD, Jug Girard 2-21, Lew Carpenter 2-18 1 TD, Leon Hart 2-11, Cloyce Box 1-13



NOV 25 (Detroit) - Buddy Parker, coach of the Detroit Lions, Thursday night called the officiating at Thursday's Detroit-Green Bay game "the worst I have seen in 20 years of pro football." Parker, who started his professional career as a fullback with the Lions in 1934, made the angry comment on a television program. The veteran coach's statement was doubly unusual in that his team won the nationally televised game, 28-24, and virtually clinched its third straight Western Division title. Parker, apparently angered by a series of offside penalties against Detroit, suggested "it might be a idea to have a special TV program for officials who like to parade in front of the cameras." The team of officials, who usually works the league's nationally televised Saturday night games, include William Downes, referee; Joseph Connell, umpire; Louis Palazzi, head linesman; Henry Wisenbaum, back judge and Sam Giangreco.


NOV 26 (Detroit-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn, bitterly disappointed with the loss, called the Thanksgiving Day Packer-Lion clash here Thursday “a beautiful game.” Liz, of course, was referring to the spectator phase. The Bay coach, who understandably had a tough time making with a smile after the game, felt that the Packers “did better here than we did in Green Bay. We were able to discover a few things about their blocking patterns (in the line) in the first game and we did a better job against their running.” And how true! The Lions were limited to 85 yards rushing which in turn reduced the champions’ passing game. In all, the Lions counted only two touchdowns off their own offense all afternoon. Blackbourn noted the loss of defensive halfback Val Joe Walker. “The length of some of Detroit’s runs after passes was attributable to the fact that Walker was not in,” Liz said. He was referring mostly to the 31-yard gain Dorne Dibble made on a 10-yard pass to set up the touchdown that gave Detroit a 21-17 lead in the third quarter. Liz figured that the loss of Stretch


Elliott hurt. Stretch went out in the second with an ankle injury. Rookie Gene Knutson of Michigan, playing in his home school area, did what Liz called “a great job” in filling in for Stretch at defensive end. On offense, Blackbourn said, point blank, “You’ve got to catch the ball!” Packer receivers dropped eight throws, leaving Tobin Rote with only 13 completions – not to mention possible loss of the game. Liz thought that Rote played “another one of his great games” and called the interception by Christiansen (for a touchdown) a “bad break.” He said that Tobin was “in his right to throw the ball because the receiver was there.”…Detroit Coach Buddy Parker said the only thing he could under the circumstances: “We were lucky to win!” The Lion mentor, fresh from his second four-point scare at the hands of the Pack, put it this way: “This was our poorest showing of the season. When you play as bad as we did and come out on top, it has to be luck.”…How true, Buddy! The Packers had the Lions defensed so tough that the great Bobby Layne had to be relieved after three quarters. He appeared to be buckling under the pressure late in the third session and Parker installed Tom Dublinski to start the fourth. Layne was back for just one more play – presiding on a simple handoff preceding Detroit’s last punt…BRIEFS: Joe Szalkowski, former Press-Gazette golf tournament champion, was among many Packer fans at the game. Joe was up at 4 a.m. Thursday in Kalamazoo where he works to catch a train for Detroit…In addition to 150 TV stations, the game was covered by 525 radio outlets – 475 on a Mutual hookup and 50 on the Wisconsin network. Radio and TV coverage was second only to the College All Star game – among football events. The 55,532 represented the largest crowd ever to witness a Packer-Lion game in Detroit…Packer Scout Jack Vainisi missed the game, but went to Washington, D.C., instead to enter a hospital for a physical examination…Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn was the first today to hear of Bill Forester’s new baby – a boy born to Mrs. Forester in Texas last night. Long distance was unable to contact Bill at 4:30 this morning so the operator called Liz and the coach promptly gave her Bill’s phone number.


NOV 26 (Green Bay) - “Nothing until 10 o’clock Monday morning. Have a good Thanksgiving, and a good rest!” That’s what Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn told the players as their Capital Airliner moved to a stop at Austin Straubel field at 5:25 Thursday evening. A moment later, a crowd of approximately 1,000 Packer Backers cheered the coaches and players as they left the plane. Tony Flynn of WJPG introduced the Bays individually on a public address system and Blackbourn, noting that “this was our last trip back home,” thanked the fans for turning out. Fireworks topped off the reception.



NOV 27 (Green Bay) - The Packers continued to rest and recuperate today – all except one. Ready to play right now is Gene White, the rookie defensive back who has been placed on the active roster, thus becoming eligible to play at San Francisco Dec. 5 and Los Angeles Dec. 12. A valuable cog in the Packer secondary, White hurt his back in the Eagle game at Philadelphia Oct. 30. He was placed on the inactive list for four weeks and Lou Mihajlovich was called up to bolster the defensive backfield – in case of additional injuries. To make room for White now, Mihajlovich, who started the season with the club, has been placed on waivers. Loss of White was the first serious blow to the Packer defense – especially in the bitter 28-23 loss to the Chicago Bears and continuing in the two defeats at the hands of world champion Detroit. White came into his own against his next two opponents – the Forty Niner and Rams, when the Bays met those clubs in Milwaukee. He became the club’s No. 1 front-right secondary player after the opening loss to Pittsburgh when Don Miller was placed on waivers and eventually grabbed by the Eagles. Jim Psaltis took over in White’s spot after the onetime college end was hurt but later exchanged positions with Clarence Self. The second blow to the Bay defense was the loss of Val Joe Walker for the second Detroit game, though Veryl Switzer filled in admirably in the Thanksgiving Day battle, playing opposite Bobby Dillon in the deep secondary…After playing two games in five days against the Lions, the Green Bay players enjoyed their rest more today as some of the soreness started to disappear. Coach Liz Blackbourn has called an official halt to all practices until Monday when the squad will meet at 10 o’clock in the morning and then report for outdoor practice at 2:30 in the afternoon. The team will leave for the west coast next Friday. Trainer Bud Jorgenson was busy Friday morning as “all who need it” reported for treatment. Among the cases were quarterback Tobin Rote, who is still


nursing an injured leg, Stretch Elliott, who hurt his ankle in the second quarter Thursday and had to retire, and the aforementioned Walker. Blackbourn expects all hands to be ready and able to go for the Forty Niner game. The coaches were to get their first look at the Thanksgiving Day game pictures today…The two-game series vs. the world champions produced a total of 90 points – 49 by Detroit and 41 by Green Bay. The Lions won the opener 21-17 and the nightcap 28-24 but were outplayed generally in both games – particularly the second. Oddly enough, neither team was able to score in the fourth quarter of the two games, and 76 of the 90 markers were produced in the second and third frames – 38 in each. Green Bay scored all of the 14 points produced in the first quarters – for 7-0 leads in each game. Here’s the composite scores by quarters for the two games:

DETROIT   –  0 28 21 0 – 49

GREEN BAY – 14 10 17 0 – 41

The Packers went through their first eight games without permitting a touchdown in the third quarter, but Detroit broke the amazing string, scoring three – two in the No. 3 period of the second game. Here’s the Packer scoring by frames for the season thus far:

GREEN BAY – 31 57 77 42 – 207

OPPONENTS – 37 59 27 58 – 181

With 10 games under their belts, the Packers are averaging 20.7 points on offense and 18.1 on defense. A year ago, the Bay offense was averaging 16.9 and the defense 25.7…LEFTOVERS: Detroit Lions President Edwin Andersen congratulated Coach Blackbourn in the Packer dressing room after the game for the excellent showing the Bays made. Sam Greene, veteran Detroit scribe, was popeyed after the game with praise for the Packer players and coaches. The Detroit press appeared stunned during the game – especially after Tobin Rote’s 82-yard aerial maneuver with Max McGee. As one Motor City writer asked rather sheepishly, “What’ll they (the Pack) do to us next year?”…Bob Mann, former Packer end placed on waivers earlier in the season, visited the Bay dressing room after the game and talked with Liz and the players. “I was pulling hard up there in the stands for Green Bay to win,” Bob said.


NOV 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Take it from an NFL scout - Green Bay's Tobin Rote is the most feared quarterback in the pro ranks. "It's frustrating to map a defense against Rote. He's a good passer, but what makes him doubly dangerous is his running ability. No other quarterback in this league can step out of the pocket and run like Rote. He can kill you because a defense never exactly knows what Tobin is going to do." Taking in Detroit, Thursday, was Chuck Drulis, assistant coach of the Packers last season who was scouting the Lions for the Eagles, their next opponent. Rote, a one-man team if ever there was one, handled the ball on 98 plays, passing for one touchdown and scoring another. He was masked and taped to protect his broken nose and bruised shoulder. "Tobin was quite dejected, losing this one," said Coach Liz Blackbourn Friday. "He played a tremendous game, but what a bad day our receivers had." Blackbourn revealed that Rote is in better physical condition now than since the day he broke his nose in Chicago several weeks ago. His charley horse in his leg is not jammed - an indication that more running is a-comin. "We went over to Detroit to win this one," said Liz of the Packers' sixth too-close defeat. "Frankly, I didn't believe it would be that close with our defensive secondary weakened." Val Joe Walker was sidelined with a wrenched knee and Gene White missed his fourth game because of a back injury. Both will be available for the 49ers game in San Francisco December 5. "We didn't use anything difference on Detroit this time," added Blackbourn. "But it was line which must have bothered the Lions mostly. It played its bruising best. And did you know John Martinkovic had a touch of the flu Wednesday night? I wasn't going to use him, but what a game he played!" Coach Buddy Parker of the Lions singled out Roger Zatkoff and Clayton Tonnemaker as the best linebackers in the business. The Packers' first touchdown was scored on a pitchout from Tobin Rote to Breezy Reid who praced 48 yards for the score. Al Carmichael was sent out as a flanker and did not lateral to Reid as was previously reported. Blackbourn gave his club a four-day holiday before setting strategy and drills Monday for his West Coast invasion.


NOV 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Following Detroit's 21-17 victory over the Packers at Green Bay last Sunday, a member of the Lions' official family was heard to predict: "We had a terrible day. We'll annihilate those guys Thursday." The inference was obvious. The Packers didn't belong on the same field with the Lions, who were overconfident and nowhere near up for that one. Came Thursday and another thriller that the Packers finally lost, again by four points, after threatening to win it right down to the final gun. So what came out of Detroit? A news service story that emphasized the "bad game the Lions got our of their system" and explained that the champions played "loosely on both offense and defense" and were "dull and unimaginative." And some lusty screaming by Coach Buddy Parker about the officiating - "the worst I have seen in 20 years of pro football." According to the only specific part of the report, Buddy "apparently was angered by a series of offside penalties against Detroit." Significantly, he made no mention of the serious penalties dished out to the Packers in key spots for roughing the kicker and passer. It would have been interesting, too, to have the coach build up a "we were robbed" case out of the pass interference call against Carl Karilivacz, especially after publication of a picture in a Detroit paper showing the Lion defender hooking Max McGee's arm. In other words, the Packers were a lucky bunch of stiffs. Lucky they caught the Lions in a charitable, unimaginative mood and playing completely uninspired ball - not once, but twice over a four day span. Lucky they had the officials on their side. That's just plain silly on two counts. In the first place, winners serve their own purpose best in graciously giving the losers a pat on the back. No. 2: It isn't true that the games were close only because the Lions had an off day each time. The Packers had a lot to with that "off" business. All of which points to some underlying danger signs for the entire organization. The Lions have a fine football team but they have yet to prove they are blood relatives of Superman. They can be run and passed against. They can be tackled and blocked. Others are just as smart and fast and tough as they are. The day they start thinking otherwise, the day they get the idea the other team should pay to get in - that day can mean the beginning of the end. Bigger and better organizations have collapsed under their own weight. Maybe they're all overwhelmed by the tremendous attendance in recent years. Sure, they've packed 'em in. But they shouldn't forget the not too distant past when crowds of fifteen to twenty thousand weren't unknown the Auto City. Watching a game over television, it is impossible, of course, to pass judgment on individual calls. But I had the feeling that the officiating was the best I've seen in the pro league this year from the standpoint of mechanics. Referee Bill Downes and his co-workers gave signals clearly, spotted the ball accurately, kept the game moving and apparently were decisive in everything they did. A coach doesn't always agree with an official's judgment. Liz Blackbourn, for instance, probably questioned the roughing the kicker foul called against the Packers when Jug Girard was bumped and decked as an incidental part of a near block. Had a righto to question it, too. When it's all over, however, a fairminded coach usually looks only at the total job. Was it snappy or sloppy? Did the officials have the game under control? Did they call 'em as they saw 'em? If the coach's answer to himself is yes in each case, as a rule he soft-pedals difference of opinion in judgment matters.



NOV 29 (Green Bay) - With a pair of sixes in mind, the Packers launched full-scale preparations today for the first of two games on the west coast – the Forty Niners in San Francisco Sunday. The half-dozen represents the best record the Packers could post (6-6) if they can lick the Forty Niners and then the Rams in Los Angeles Dec. 12. Green Bay’s task was complicated some by events of yesterday, the Forty Niners being victimized by Baltimore 17-13 and the Rams falling before the Chicago Bears, 24 to 13. Frisco, a preseason favorite to wrestle Detroit for the title, now has a 5-4-1 record and undoubtedly will rebound against the Packers. The Forty Niners close against Baltimore the following Sunday! The Packers made their first group appearance since last Thursday in Detroit at 10 o’clock this morning at 349 S. Washington, second floor, to hear the start of plans for Sunday’s game from Coach Liz Blackbourn and Aides Tom Hearden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus. The first order of business was official news of the Forty Niners’ performance in Baltimore. It was relayed via a game scout report by Jack Vainisi, who witnessed the game in Baltimore after undergoing a physical examination in Washington. Needless to say, it was something of a surprise since the Forty Niners weren’t expected to lose. But they lost in the last two minutes on a 78-yard pass from Gary Kerkorian to Royce Womble – a few moments after the Frisco eleven had gone ahead 13-10 on Gordy Soltau’s second field goal. Most interesting was the fact that the Forty Niners were unable to score more than one touchdown – despite such power backs as Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson – after penetrating deep into Colt territory. The rugged Colt defensive line played a tremendous game. Perry and Johnson, the 

Packers were informed, weren’t exactly standing still. Joe gained 93 yards and John Henry 82 of the Forty Niners’ 205 yards rushing. The Packers went outdoors this afternoon on snow covered City stadium to loosen up for the first time since the brutal loss in Detroit. The players were given the holiday weekend off, though a number of them reported to Trainer Bud Jorgenson for treatment…There were some indications today that the Bays will be at full strength for Sunday. The top two casualties – defensive halfback Val Joe Walker and defensive end Stretch Elliott – healed considerably over the weekend and moved about well today on their hurt legs. Walker was hurt in the first Detroit game and missed the Thanksgiving Day event, his place being filled by Veryl Switzer. Elliott went out in the second quarter of the Turkey Day match and was replaced by Gene Knutson. The squad was at full strength in more ways than one. Ready to make his first game appearance in four weeks is defensive halfback Gene White, who was placed on the active list Friday. To make room for him, Lou Mihajlovich was placed on waivers. Today’s practice was the fourth last of the season in Green Bay. The Packers will leave for San Francisco by plane Friday morning and then move down to Los Angeles after the game Sunday night…Games of the weekend left the Packers as the fourth best defensive team in the league, permitting an average of 18.1 markers in 10 games. Detroit went into the past week leading the circuit in defense but the Lions were nicked for 41 points by the Bays in two game and presently rank second with an average of 15.3. Cleveland is tops with 14.1 and New York is third with 15.2. Offensively, the Packers are well down the list in scoring, averaging 20.7. Detroit, which went into the Packer series averaging 33 per, now has a 31 ratio. San Francisco, incidentally, is averaging 26.8 – this best in the league. Cleveland is tops with 27.7.



NOV 30 (Green Bay) - Liz Blackbourn and Buck Shaw could collaborate on a pistol of a best seller. It could be called (the book, that is) something like this: “Tragedy!” Blackbourn, head coach of our Packers, has experienced six losses by only 26 points. All six of the losses could have gone the other way, which would have left Green Bay with a spotless 10-0 record. Shaw, head coach of the San Francisco Forty Niners, has suffered through only four losses and one tie. But two of those setbacks were suffered in less than two minutes; the Chicago Bears edged him out on a long pass in the last 35 seconds 35-27 and the Baltimore Colts did practically the same last Sunday, scoring on a long pass in the last minute to win 17-13. The Shawmen lost four games by 57 points – not so sad until you consider that Detroit’s bulge was by 41 points 48 to 7. Thus, Frisco lost the other three by 16. Blackbourn’s losses have been of a slightly different nature. Most horrible was the 28-23 loss to the Bears in Chicago, a fumble of a punt setting a blaze. Any of the five other losses could be surveyed to work champion Detroit sort of take the cake. A sure touchdown was dropped in the end zone of the opener which would have given the Bays a lead with minutes to go. In the nightcap the Pack defensed the Lions down to 14 points, but they got two “extras” on punt and interception returns. What fortune is ahead for Blackbourn and Shaw when they tangle in San Francisco Sunday? It’s a good question, as they say, but Liz is due. Shaw held a psychological stick in the opener at Milwaukee - one quarterback Y.A. Tittle, who came off the bench in the last quarter to pull the game out of the fire. Tittle didn’t play the first three quarters because he had a broken left hand. Liz isn’t having a world of luck building up for Sunday’s game. One of the club’s ace offensive linemen, right tackle Art Hunter, wasn’t at practice yesterday afternoon. Later in the day, Hunter and his wife left by auto for Los Angeles where he will make an effort to transfer his service draft papers from Akron, O., his hometown, to a board near Los Angeles. He had gone to Akron after the Detroit game Thursday. Hunter has expected to be called into the service during most of the season. Blackbourn said today that “there is a possibility Hunter will report for the San Francisco game.” The Packers were a wee bit stiff at the joints in Monday’s workout – the first since the Detroit match. The players were given the weekend off. The Bays, working on a frozen-solid field for the first time, featured offense in today’s outdoor drill. After today, only two more practices are scheduled here – Wednesday and Thursday, and Blackbourn is hoping the cold departs long enough for one “hot” warmup. The team will fly out of Milwaukee Friday morning for San Francisco.


NOV 30 (Green Bay) - If Breezy Reid was winded briefly after his 48-yard touchdown run off a lateral from Tobin Rote in the first quarter at Detroit Thursday, he can be excused. On the previous play, Reid made a picture catch of a 24-yard pass from Rote. Thus in two successive plays, Reid raced 72 yards and became virtually a one-man Lion tamer. Reid took the pass with a two-hand stretch just before stepping out of bounds in the left flat. He then took a lateral from Rote on one of those run-or-keep options around the right side of the Packer line. Tobin was about to be tackled by Jim David when he let fly and Breezy had a clear road down the sideline. Calling that particular play was a smart move by Rote. First off, the Lions might not have figured Reid to be going again and second and more important the Lions apparently never expected it because the Packers hadn’t used it much in the last few games. It was a good call. As a matter of fact, Rote was calling an excellent game – a most difficult job in the ever-changing fortunes of professional football. Two of the Packer touchdowns were scored directly on plays on which Detroit was caught with its moleskins slightly down. And the other touch was set up by a moleskin-dropping maneuver. The first TD, of course, was Reid’s run which was just as much of a surprise to us as it was to Detroit. The next set up Rote’s quarterback sneak and a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. Rote rolled out to his right, sucking the Lion defense along with him, and promptly hurled to his left to Howie Ferguson who was standing all by his lonesome around the Lion 25. Howie continued to the Lion 14, the play covering 47 yards, and six plays later Rote popped into the end zone. The third and final bit of surprise occurred on the last play of the third quarter after Rote had been thrown back 13 yards trying to pass. On the next down, Rote moved back and rolled slightly to his left while the Packer offensive line and blockers bunched the Detroit defense into what looked like a corner away from Rote. Tobin just stood there and waited for Max McGee to break loose. McGee squeezed Rote’s long throw around the Detroit 35 and raced in, completing an 82-yard aerial score. This play undoubtedly didn’t surprise the Lions as much as the other two but the fact that Tobin rolled slightly to his left caught the Lions off stride – enough to permit the Bay blockers to hold ‘em off long enough for Tobin to crank up and McGee to break away. While Rote appeared to be calling an exceptional game – on a leg and a half, incidentally, the lanky Texan found little consolation in the words of praise. “Don’t forget that interception,” he reminded after the game. He was referring to Jack Christiansen’s grab of his pass and return for a touchdown which gave Detroit a 14-14 tie. Rote was within his right judgment because he had a receiver open and it wasn’t a wild toss even though he threw when he was about to be tackled. Christiansen made a great catch of the ball, grabbing it just before it hit the ground.


NOV 30 (Baltimore) - The Baltimore Colts have failed


again to win in the NFL, but you may put aside any thought that means they are through. Carroll Rosenbloom, their biggest financial backer, last night faced the facts and still insisted he had faith in producing a winner. Or else, he’ll get out and let somebody else try. Rosenbloom gave his second annual “pull-no-punches” party for newsmen. It was scheduled before the Colts won their second game out of 10 over San Francisco last Sunday. He said bluntly that the season had been a disappointment to everybody and particularly contrary to his statement at a similar party last year than the Colts would improve this season. Last year, the Colts won three games. “If we win, all of us directors should take credit,” he said. “If we lose, I’m to blame.” Rosenbloom said he still has faith that the Colts can be built into a winner. “If they can’t, I will not burden Baltimore fans with my ownership and I will turn the job over to somebody else. But I still think I can give them a winner.” Rosenbloom, whose money brought the Colts back here from Dallas, two years ago didn’t blame the coaching of Weeb Ewbank. He said Ewbank will be back next year and that every effort will be made to give him the material necessary to win.


NOV 30 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers went back to work Monday preparing for the 49ers at San Francisco Sunday, and the oddsmakers promptly installed the West Coast club a 7 1/2 point favorite. It could be they're figuring the 49ers will be boiling after falling flat on their dignity at Baltimore Sunday, losing to the hapless Colts, 17-13. Coach Liz Blackbourn's troopers, addicted to losing the close ones too often, should be ripe to steal some paydirt glory. They have never found success in 49er territory. Physically, the Packers should be in good shape. On the other hand, San Francisco almost went to pieces when halfback Hugh McElhenny suffered a shoulder separation. The only doubtful starter for the Packers is defensive halfback Val Joe Walker, still bothered with a wrenched knee. Gene White, out since the Philadelphia game with a back injury, will bolster the Packer defensive backfield. Tobin Rote, the key man in Green Bay's success this season, was still nursing a charley horse as the Packers worked out lightly at City Stadium. However, Rote should be ready for the works Sunday. A Detroit game casualty was Stretch Elliott, who sprained his ankle. Trainer Bud Jorgenson will have Elliott ready for the 49ers. Breezy Reid, the Packer workhorse, continues to be the club's top ground gainer, having picked up 469 yards in 88 carries for a 5.3 average. Veryl Switzer, the league's best punt returned, dropped to 11.7 yards a return, having a fair catch tacked on him in the Detroit game. Rote needs only 40 more yards passing to surpass Cecil Isbell's 2,021 yards passing in one season. Incidentally, a 96-yard Rote to Billy Grimes pass in 1950 was the longest play in Packer history. Rote and Max McGee combined for a 82-yard touchdown thriller against the Lions. An 83-yard touchdown aerial play, New York's Frank Gifford to Eddie Price, is the league's longest this season. The Packers will enplane to San Francisco Friday with a workout scheduled there Saturday morning. It will give the team a chance to see the telecast of the Los Angeles-Baltimore game Saturday afternoon. Green Bay moves into Los Angeles after Sunday's game for the season's finale against the Rams.


DEC 1 (Green Bay) - Jerry Helluin and Roger Zatkoff expect to get a better shot at the San Francisco Forty Niners Sunday than they did last Oct. 10. These two defensive specialists represent where the Packers were hurt the most in the ’54 opener between the Packers and Forty Niners in Milwaukee. They had to be retired after suffering injuries early in the 23-17 loss and, while their replacements did themselves well, the loss of Zatkoff, who was kayoed on the opening kickoff, and Helluin, who injured his ankle, weakened the Packers’ defense against the rushing of Joe Perry, John Henry Johnson and Hugh McElhenny. Presently, Helluin and Zatkoff are in good physical and mental condition and are anxiously awaiting a full shot at Perry and Johnson. McElhenny won’t play since he was hurt two weeks after the Packer game and will be lost for the season. Perry and Johnson offer the Packers a fearsome threat. They rank one-two in the league’s rushing table, Joe with 870 yards in 135 attempts and John Henry with 634 in 124. Perry is averaging 6.4 per try and Johnson 5.1. McElhenny, incidentally, still ranks fifth with 515 yards in 64 carries for an average of 8 per. As a reminder, McElhenny picked up 103 yards in 15 trips, Perry 100 in 23 and Johnson 81 in 14 in the first game against Green Bay. In all, the Forty Niners rushed for 269 yards that day. The Forty Niners easily rank as the league’s leading ground gaining team. They picked up 2,163 yards along the turf in 10 games for a fantastic 5.8 average. By comparison, the Packers gained 1,199 yards for an average of 4.3. The Forty Niners rushed 372 times and the Packers 279. Actually, the Packer average ranks third in the circuit – behind Frisco and Los Angeles with 5.0. In addition to possessing the league’s top rushers, the Forty Niners also have the loop’s leading pass catcher – hard working Billy Wilson, who caught 49 for 696 yards. Pete Pihos of Philadelphia is second with 47 for 670 and the Packers’ Billy Howton and LA’s Bob Boyd are tied for third with 44 receptions each. Boyd stretched his catched to 1,023 yards and Howton’s went 669…The Packers, drilling for the first time this season on frozen turf yesterday, sounded like a pack of horses on a basketball court as Coach Liz Blackbourn sent them through a noise session on defense. Most of the players wore stocking caps or helmets to keep their ears warm. After practice, Blackbourn predicted, “that may be our last good practice – there’s supposed to be a blizzard tomorrow.” The heavy snow and wind never arrived so the Packers received another chance to work outdoors today…BRIEFS: Middle guard Bill Forester has been passing out cigars. The new son has been named Michael William…Kezar Stadium, where the Packers and Forty Niners play Sunday, will be a familiar place for two Packer rookies, Veryl Switzer and Bobby Garrett. Both players were stars in the West’s surprise 31-7 victory over East in the Shrine game last January. Switzer scored 12 of West’s points and Garrett quarterbacked and passed the West team…It’s a case of knowing White from Black. Gene White, the Packer defensive halfback, has a sister in Commerce, Ga., by the name of Mrs. Annie Black…When rookie offensive end Gary Knafelc fell to the ground with a bump while catching a pass yesterday, he yelled “that’s the hardest I’ve been hit all season.” It struck the other players funny because Gene hasn’t been playing much.


DEC 1 (Green Bay) - Former Packer halfback Dick Curran, who filed suit for $26,000 against the Packers in Phoenix for alleged breach of contract and damages, “was not released while his leg was in a cast,” Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn said today. In his claim the former Arizona State star said he was released by the Packers while his leg was still in a cast as the result of an injury. He said that, under NFL rules, a “player is protected against release while on the injured list.” He was released before an exhibition game with Pittsburgh. Curran said he “virtually had the team made. There was no indication otherwise.” Blackbourn said Curran indicated he was completely recovered from a strained ligament when he was released. “And as far as his statement that virtually had the club made,” Blackbourn said, “if he had it made, there would have been no reason for releasing him.”



DEC 2 (Green Bay) - The Packers closed out the home phase of the 1954 season today. At 7 o'clock Friday morning, they'll board the North Western for Milwaukee where they will take off in a chartered United Airliner for San Francisco, arriving there in time for a late afternoon warmup. After Sunday's game against the Forty Niners, the Packers will fly to Los Angeles to start preparations for the windup against the Rams Dec. 12. An offensive tuneup marked the final workout in Green Bay this afternoon, and Coach Liz Blackbourn was thankful for the good weather even though the practice field was frozen solid. Since their last game was Thanksgiving Day in Detroit, the Packers opened light drills on Monday after resting over the weekend. Blackbourn figured the squad would lose a full day of practice Wednesday since a blizzard was predicted for that day but happily the snow missed our town. Thirty-two players will make the west coast trip, the lone missee being tackle Art Hunter, who drove out earlier in the week with his wide in an effort to switch his draft headquarters from Akron, O., to Los Angeles. Hunter is due to go into service shortly but Blackbourn feels there is a possibility that he may join the squad for the Forty-Niner game. If Hunter is lost, the Packers may be forced to operate with 30 players, since defensive end Stretch Elliott and defensive halfback Val Joe Walker are ailing - Stretch with a sprained ankle and Walker with a cartilage-locked knee. Both were on the training table during yesterday's drill and under the care of Trainer Bud Jorgenson. Both expect to play Sunday! Jorgenson almost had another patient yesterday - the head coach, himself. Blackbourn was accidentally knocked down in practice by end Bill Howton as he went out for a pass, sustaining shoulder and leg injuries. Liz was in the defensive outfield at the time observing some of the defensive halfbacks while Howton, running at full clip, never noticed the coach as he went down for a catch. "Funny thing," Liz laughed afterwards, "that


happens once every year and I was beginning to think I'd be lucky this year with only two games to go." Blackbourn recalled that the "hardest I've ever been hit was by my own boy (Lisle, Jr.) during a scrimmage at Wisconsin one time. The kids sure got a laugh out of that."...Though he's a three-year veteran, defensive halfback Bobby Dillon will be making his second trip west. He missed the final paid on the coast last year because of injuries suffered in the '53 Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit. Safety Dillon intercepted four passes against the Lions that day, giving him a total of nine in 10 games. Bobby now tops the Pack with five - with two games to go. After the knee injury, Dillon went back to Texas, rested up and then underwent an operation on his knee. Bobby took it easy during the early weeks of training, toughening up his legs, and then suddenly blossomed out on two new legs. After a slow start, the Packers now have intercepted a total of 16 enemy passes. Under Dillon is the injured Walker, who swiped four, giving the two deep men nine of the 16. Clarence Self picked off two and Deral Teteak, Bill Forester, Gene White, Dick Afflis and Roger Zatkoff each bagged one. Packer interceptionists, looking foward to the Forty Niners and Rams, captured only two enemy throws in the first two games against the west coast teams. Dillon grabbed a second quarter throw by 49er Jim Cason in Milwaukee Oct. 10 and Walker snared one of Ram Norm Van Brocklin's tosses in the first quarter in Milwaukee Oct. 17.


DEC 2 (Green Bay) - Liz Blackbourn has been given a new contract as head coach of the Packers, at an increase in salary, Packer President Russ Bogda announced today. The new pact was given "in view of his excellent performance this season," Bodga said. The Packers have a record of 4-6, the six losses coming on a total deficit of 27 points. Blackbourn was named Packer head coach last Jan. 7, replacing Gene Ronzani.


DEC 2 (Green Bay) - News yesterday that Dick Curran brought suit against the Packers for $26,000 refreshed a memory of one afternoon during the training season at Stevens Point last August. Curran came into the coaches' room to say goodbye and Coach Liz Blackbourn wished him "the best of luck" as they shook hands. It was one of those scenes we generally don't like to witness for the simple reason that it is unhappy for both parties. Blackbourn, in effect, is disappointed that the boy couldn't make the squad, despite his fine college record, and thus loses a chance to play football and earn the money that goes with it. Curran is disappointed for similar reasons. It's a tough situation but certainly nothing uncommon. Each team in the NFL releases an average of almost 30 boys before each season - a total of 360 times the aforementioned departure scene is re-enacted in some manner. Cutting players is a hard job for any coach but undoubtedly more difficult for Blackbourn who - at that time - was experiencing the unpleasant chore for one of the first times. You can bet that Liz, a right fair guy from the word go, was especially careful - as he always will be. Curran claimed in his suit that he was released while still wearing a cast on his leg. Blackbourn said he wasn't wearing a cast. We have two eyes to back us up on that...While the Packers stand to lose five or six boys to Uncle Sam, they'll be getting some in return. One expected returnee is Bill Reichardt, the fullback from Iowa who broke into pro ball here in 1952 and then went into the Air Force. Lt. Reichardt presently is playing with the Bolling Air Force eleven out east and will battle Fort Ord, Calif., the Western Military Titlist, in the Poinsetta Bowl in San Diego Dec. 19. Bolling won the Eastern title by whipping Fort Belvoir 48-27 in Virginia the other day and Reichardt showed that he has lost none of his power. He carried the ball 22 times for 171 yards and an average of 7.8 per trip, while teammate quarterback Tommy O'Connell, former Illinois and Chicago Bear player, hurled six touchdown passes. Accounts of the game say that Reichardt did everything but score a touchdown, setting up all of O'Connell's touchdown throws with his running. Reichardt did manage six points - all on boots after touchdowns. Bill's rushing total for the one game was 50 yards more than he gained in the entire '52 season for the Pack. He lugged 39 times that campaign for 121 yards, playing under Freddie Cone and Bobby Jack Floyd, and caught five passes for 18 yards. Reichardt did most of the field goal kicking in '52, trying 20 and making five. Cone batted 1.000 in FG's, converting his only attempt...Incidentally, Cone moved into fifth place in the all-time Packer scoring derby with his six points against the Lions in Detroit Thanksgiving day. With 51 already this season, Cone now has a career total of 228, which moves him past the immortal Johnny Blood, who had 224. Don Hutson (825 points), Ted Fritsch (392), Clarke Hinkle (373) and Verne Lewellen (301) are ranked in the first four places. Cone's career total of 108 extra points (24 this season) is second only to Hutson's mark of 174. Cone has also kicked nine field goals this season to give him a four-year total of 20, which rates him back of Fritsch (36), who taught Cone the art of booting, and Hinkle (28).


DEC 2 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Hopes will be higher than Uncle Walt on a Saturday night when the Packers try to shake their heartbreaking luck and beat the 49ers for the first in San Francisco Sunday. Six league losses by 27 points! Playing the World Champion Detroit Lions to a near standstill twice! There's little doubt that any one of those six losses could have resulted in Packer wins with a decent break here and there. But the record shows four wins and six losses. And Sunday the 7 1/2 point underdogs will try to snap a six-game losing streak to the 49ers, the last Packer win being a 25-21 decision in the snow at Green Bay in 1950. Coach Liz Blackbourn's club almost turned the trick at County Stadium this fall before Y.A. Tittle came off the bench to engineer a 23-17 win. Tittle will be going all the way Sunday, but the 49ers will be without their great running halfback, Hugh McElhenny, out for the season with a separated shoulder. With the NFL season in the home stretch, Joe Perry of the 49ers is well on his way to a successful defense of his ball carrier honors. Perry has gained 870 yards on 135 attempts for a 6.4 average. Second is teammate John Henry Johnson with 634 yards. Norm Van Brocklin of the Rams maintained his passing leadership with an average gain of 10.34 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cleveland's Otto Graham moved up from fifth to second. The Packers' Billy Howton is tied with Pete Pihos, Eagles, and Bob Boyd, Rams, as runnerups to Bill Wilson of the 49ers as the league's best pass receivers. Wilson has grabbed 49 and Howton 44. Fred Cone, who did not play football until he tried out with Clemson, has developed into one of the NFL's greatest kickers - thanks to Ted Fritsch's teaching. Cone's career total of 108 extra points (24 this season) is second only to Don Hutson's mark of 174. Fred has also kicked nine field goals this season to give him a four year total of 20. Cone has thus kicked his way into fifth spot in Packer all-time scoring with 228 points (51 this season) which moves him past the immortal Johnny Blood who had 224. Hutson, of course, is the untouchable leader with 825.


DEC 3 (San Francisco-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - "You've got to catch the ball..." That's about the only public reference Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn made to the Packers' inability to hang onto quarterback Tobin Rote's throws in the two four-point losses to Detroit. Privately, Liz was deeply disappointed with the unexpected deficiency and he had a right to be. Max McGee's drop in the end zone with five minutes left to play and nobody around him robbed the Bays of a chance to take a 24-21 lead with only five minutes to go in the first game. With a minute to go in the nightcap at Detroit, halfback Al Carmichael found himself going away from the last defender but he dropped Rote's perfect pitch and a 31 to 28 lead. In all, Packer receivers dropped eight passes in the Thanksgiving Day match. Most of the drops were on first-down, 10-yard hooks to Bill Howton and/or McGee in the second test. In the Detroit


opener, Howton had a good day nailing the short jobs despite jarring tackles from behind. In the two games, Rote hurled 79 times and completed 33 for 548 yards - well below 50 percent. He might have reached the magic "half" had his receivers been more sticky-fingered. Blackbourn is anxious to see if the change of weather helps the pass catchers. He's for sure the Bays will need every catch they can make to beat the Forty Niners in Kezar Stadium Sunday. Cold weather often will handicap a receiver some, though the weather for the two Detroit tests wasn't abnormally frigid. Back in 1951, the Packers were playing the Rams in Milwaukee in 22-degree temperature. The Packers dropped something like 13 passes while the Rams, fresh out of warm California, found it difficult to drop anything within reach. The Packers, aware of their pass-dropping, were catching the ball well despite the cold weather during practice in Green Bay this week. The Forty Niners were home Monday already after a three-week swing in the cooler east, in which they dropped a lot of passes in posting one victory in three starts. Frisco beat Pittsburgh 31 to 3, but lost to Detroit 48-7 and Baltimore 17-13. The Packers, due to arrive here later this afternoon in their chartered United Airliner, were wondering if tackle Art Hunter would report. He drove out with his wife from Green Bay Monday to work out his military affairs with a draft board in Los Angeles. Blackbourn feels that "there is a possibility Hunter will play Sunday." Loss of Hunter would be a tough blow to the Bays' offensive line. If Hunter doesn't play, Steve Ruzich will be assigned to the right tackle position. Ruzich played the position, along with guard, during training camp and until Hunter arrived from work in the College All Star game. Blackbourn hoped to arrive here this afternoon in time for a brief workout. The squad will drill in Golden Gate Park Saturday morning. Headquartering at the Bellvue Hotel in downtown Frisco, the Packers will leave by plane for their season windup in Los Angeles immediately after the game in Kezar Stadium. Kickoff Sunday is set for 4 o'clock, Green Bay time. The Packer casualty list grew by one non-player this week. In addition to Stretch Elliott and Val Joe Walker, who were hurt in the Detroit games, Blackbourn was accidentally knocked down by Bill Howton in practice Wednesday. He was plenty stiff Thursday and limped some. But Liz and all of the Packers were in good spirits today. They're looking forward to the chance to finish out the season with a six-six record!


DEC 3 (Green Bay) - Two players, fullback Howie Ferguson and defensive halfback Gene White, missed the train as the Packers left on the 7 o'clock Chicago and North Western this morning for San Francisco - but they ultimately were able to make connections. The pair boarded an 8 o'clock North Central Airlines plane and arrived in Milwaukee at 10:15, 45 minutes ahead of the Packers' scheduled departure for the West Coast via Capital Airlines.


DEC 3 (Milwaukee Journal) - Lisle Blackbourn, Green Bay coach, was both happy and unhappy as his Packers took off by chartered plane from Billy Mitchell Field here Friday morning for their final NFL games, at San Francisco Sunday and at Los Angeles a week later. He was happy because of the new contract the Packers gave him Thursday. He was unhappy because of the physical and possibly mental condition of the Packers for their last two engagements. Victories would give them .500 for the season. "We're not in too good shape," Blackbourn said before the plane took off. Defensive back Val Joe Walker still is troubled by a locked knee. Gene White, another defensive ace in the backfield, is ready to go again. But the rookie from Georgia will have to shake off the rust of four weeks' inactivity. Linebacker Clayton Tonnemaker, Blackbourn said, "is gimping around a bad knee." And defensive end Stretch Elliott may play little against the 49ers Sunday, due to a strained ankle suffered against the Lions in Detroit Thanksgiving Day. One encouraging thing about Elliott's injury, though, was the way Gene Knutson, the rookie from Beloit by way of the University of Michigan, came through as his his replacement. "Gene proved himself a capable defensive end," Blackbourn said. "He's a good prospect." Art Hunter, rookie offensive tackle from Notre Dame, may not be available for the coast contests. If he is, he hardly will be ready for peak performance. Hunter is about to be drafted into the Army and has been away from Green the last few days. With the Lions all but assured of their third straight Western Division title, Blackbourn could see little difference in the incentive for the Packers as compared with that of either the 49ers or the Rams. "I know it's hard to win on the coast," Blackbourn said. "I've been out there with both Marquette and Wisconsin. Perhaps it is the difference in temperature. But it seems to me that the West Coast teams always are higher than a kite when they play at home." Blackbourn said the Packers had a bad week of practice. "We were breaking camp, so to speak," he said, "and everyone was around saying goodbye to the players. It's not good, either, practicing on frozen ground - you just can't maneuver right. The boys didn't seem quite so eager as before, but you can't blame them after all the tough games we've had, especially those two with the Lions in five days."



DEC 3 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - When the highly touted San Francisco 49ers returned to the West Coast Monday after a most disastrous road trip Head Coach Buck Shaw was faced with a new dilemma - the heat was on. Shellacked in Detroit by a 48-7 count and upset, 17-13, in the final minutes by the Baltimore Colts last Sunday - those things are not suppose to happen to a Shaw-coached team. This was to be the year for San Francisco, a team which has often been a bridesmaid but never a bride in the NFL title picture. But when the 49ers landed in San Francisco to prepare for Sunday's game with the Green Bay Packers, the squad went on record with a whole-hearted vote of confidence for their field boss. Gordy Soltau, Nick Feher and Bob St. Clair were among those outspoken in their praise of Shaw. Said Soltau: "Shaw is the best coach in the business. We're always well prepared for our games. And we've been just as well prepared for the ones we've lost as for the one we've won." Feher said this: "Shaw and his coaching staff of ours is tops. There is more thought given to the plays we use, for example, than any other ball club or any other team I've played for. And the way he handles men. He gets the very best out of them. That's a tremendous thing in itself." St. Clair contributed: "I've only been playing pro ball for two years. Maybe I'm not expected to know too much yet. But people have told me I've done real well on offense this year. Well, I never played offense before. The coaching is responsible if I'm doing a good job. Buck and the rest of the coaching staff taught me what to do." It's building up to one thing. The 49ers will be roaring for a crunching victory over the Packers. This is a must win for Shaw.


DEC 3 (San Francisco) - Seemingly oblivious to the "Fire Shaw!" and "No comment!" turmoil that is embroiling all of their fans, the San Francisco 49ers yesterday began putting on the finishing touches for their next comeback of a difficult season. They worked out in a drizzle. Except for guard Nick Feher, they looked chipper and healthy as they went through another drill between downpours at Menlo College in preparation for the return bout with the tough Green Bay Packers on Sunday in Kezar. Feher was bedded down with a slight attack of flu. Joe Perry, the loop's leading ground gainer, abstained from exercise. Joe was dunking a sore knee in the whirlpool bath and declaring that this injury "hurts to the bone." Perry didn't say he will not play against the Packers. After all, Joseph needs only 130 yards to surpass the 1,000 yards mark per season for the second straight time...SHAW UNRUFFLED: Coach Buck Shaw seemed placid enough in the face of owner Tony Morabito's failure to say anything more than "no comment" about his (Shaw's) coaching status for 1955. Buck said he hadn't spoken with Tony since the Pittsburgh victory two weeks ago and they spoke then only because Tony was phoning Lou Spadia, the general manager, and Buck happened to be in the room. "There's no significance to that," Shaw assured. "Sometimes we go along for weeks without discussing the team, results or anything else. He leaves me alone and I leave him alone." "Are you still firm friends?" I asked Buck. He grinned and said: "I'll have to call him and find out." Obviously, the players have determined to win the remaining two games at home, with Green Bay and Baltimore, for Shaw as for themselves. Meanwhile, they hope that Morabito will expand his "no comment" phrase as a declaration in favor of Shaw...30,000 EXPECTED: A crowd of at least 30,000 is expected to sit in, granted the weather clears. Several fans have written me to start a "Buck Shaw Day" in testimonial to the first and only coach the 49ers ever had. The 49ers will have to do that themselves since it is obvious the 49er front office is not in accord with anything but "no comment". The 49ers had to come from behind to beat Green Bay in the fourth quarter in the first game, which was played in Milwaukee a week after the 49ers had been tied 24-24 by the Rams in Los Angeles and had lost Art Michalik, Don Burke and Y.A. Tittle. The latter broke his left hand. Tittle had to come to the rescue of Jimmy Cason, who bravely was trying to carry on. The doughty Packers ate up a 10-0 deficit to go ahead 17-10 as the fourth period started. Tittle, carrying his broken left hand in a cast, came into action, and directed the 49ers to tow touchdowns. They had to get the second TD because Gordy Soltau's placement kick after the first score hit a goal post and bounced back...PACKERS BEATEN TWICE: Since that day, the Packers have lost to the Champion Detroit Lions twice by 4 points, Chicago Bears by 7 and 5 points, and Pittsburgh Steelers by 1. Thus Green Bay has lost six games by a total of only 27 points. Green Bay has a well coordinated attack engineered by Tobin Rote, one of the loop's good generals. Figures of the week show that Green Bay uses a nice mixture of passing and running. They've made 1,199 on the ground and 1,748 in the air. However, the principal stock in trade of the Packers is defense, Jim Psaltis (UCLA), Clayton

Tonnemaker and Roger Zatkoff provide the toughest trio of linebackers in the business. Veryl Switzer and Bobby Dillon complete a defensive backfield that is rugged...ROTE PASSES: The principal phase of the attack is the Rote to Max McGee pass. Max is also one of the loop's better punters. Rote also hurls to Al Carmichael, Floyd "Breezy" Reid and Bill Howton, while Howard Ferguson supplies the power from fullback.


DEC 4 (Green Bay) - The Packers are ripe for a good whipping. "We're about the only team in the league that hasn't been kicked around at least once," Coach Liz Blackbourn observed shortly after the squad arrived at the Bellevue Hotel here Friday night. "The Forty-Niners were shellacked by Detroit, we took the Rams and Eagles apart, Pittsburgh beat the daylights out of Cleveland, the Bears got it bad from Cleveland - guess everybody but us and Detroit are still free from a big loss," Liz pointed out. The Packers played 10 straight tight games; nobody beat 'em by more than seven points and their six losses were suffered by a total of only 27 points...CINDERELLA-LIKE SERIES: This Cinderella-like series of performances from a team that had little more than a prayer last Aug. 1 is due to come to an end when the Bays tackle the Frisco powerhouse in Kezar Stadium Sunday afternoon. And it's not just because "we're due" that bothers Blackbourn. "We've been here only a couple of hours," Blackbourn said, "but I'll bet all of our boys have read already the criticism they (the Forty Niners), and Coach Buck Shaw have been getting. They're back home now after three games on the road and they've got their backs to the wall. It's always hard to beat that kind of team." Buck Shaw has been under fire by fans in some sections of the press. To make it worse, Forty-Niner Owner Tony Morabito has yet to step forth with a word of confidence in Shaw. The Forty-Niner player have taken matters in their own hands and, through Capt. Bruno Banducci, will dedicate Sunday's game to Shaw. And in the event the Forty Niners win, the game ball will be given to Shaw. "The old boy needs a lift," explained Banducci, "and this will be a good way to let him know how highly we regard him, both as a man and as a coach."...HIGHER THAN KITES: It is unfortunate that the Packers must face this sort of situation. The Forty-Niners will be higher than that proverbial kite and quite likely as difficult to handle as they were the day they whipped Detroit. To toughen things, the Packers may have to play without three regulars - Stretch Elliott, Val Joe Walker and Art Hunter. Both recovering slowly from injuries, Elliott and Walker aren't expected to play much at all. Blackbourn is undecided whether to risk them Sunday or keep 'em quiet to make sure they'll be ready for the windup at Los Angeles Dec. 12. Veryl Switzer will fill in for Walker and Gene Knutson replaces Elliott. Hunter, the offensive tackle, hadn't reported, by phone or in person, up to bedtime Friday night. He is supposed to be in Los Angeles trying to get his draft headquarters changed from Akron. He drove from Green Bay last Monday. If Hunter doesn't show today, Steve Ruzich will take over offensive right tackle. The rest of the Packer cast is in good condition, though Clayton Tonnemaker is keeping his fingers crossed. He's been bothered with knee troubles in the last three games. Clayton, Roger Zatkoff and other members of the defense are being banked on to stop the power thrusts of Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson - not to mention Y.A. Tittle's passing...KNEE INJURY HEALING: Perry came out of the 17-13 loss to Baltimore with a knee injury and he has been spending this week on the training table. Shaw expects him to be at full strength once the whistle blows. The Forty-Niners this week emphasized offense to combat what Shaw called "Green Bay's great defense - especially that Zatkoff and Tonnemaker," while the Bays tailored their defense to stop the league's top ground gainers. Perry needs 130 yards in the two games to gain his second straight 1,000-yard season. Bent on finishing with a six-six record. the Packers will depend on quarterback Tobin Rote to try and engineer enough points to better anything the Forty-Niners offer. Rote, of course, will need some help from his two main receivers, Max McGee and Billy Howton, who, Blackbourn hopes, dropped their last passes of the season in Detroit Thanksgiving Day. The Packers lost a chance to get in a good practice lick on California turf Friday - not a particularly pleasing twist to Blackbourn and aides Tom Hearden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus...TOOK NINE HOURS: The club's United Airlines charter bucked strong headwinds all the way from Milwaukee and the non-stop trip was stretched out to almost nine hours. The team arrived here about 7:30 p.m., Green Bay time, after leaving Milwaukee at 11 a.m., and was greeted by steady rain. The Packers practiced at Golden Gate Park surrounding Kezar Stadium this morning - the first time this week the squad worked on soft soil. The practice field back home was frozen solid for all four drills starting Monday. Forty-Niner officials are hoping for a crowd of around 25,000 Sunday, although rain is predicted. Kickoff is set for 4 o'clock, Green Bay time. The squad will go directly from the stadium to the airport after the game and take off for Los Angeles...BRIEFS: Greeting the Packers on their arrival here was Heraly McDonald, Public Service manager visiting here; Earl Falk of the Packer ticket office who is vacationing; and former Packers J.R. Boone and Marv Johnson. Three Vocational School directors from the Milwaukee area stopped in to wish Blackbourn and the Packers well. They are here for a national Vocational School convention and were saddened by the death of Harry Eiken, director of the Green Bay school. Mr. Eiken had planned to attend the convention...Four Packers are back in their home state - Al Carmichael, Jim Psaltis, Al Barry and Bobby Garrette. All but Carmichael will remain here after the last game; Al will return to Green Bay, pick up his wife and drive back via Texas...The temperature stood at 56 when they arrived Friday night - 42 degrees higher than Green Bay's weather Friday morning...The Forty Niners are favored to win by 10 points.


DEC 4 (San Francisco) - The weather may not be the only stormy situation at Kezar Stadium Sunday when the Green Bay Packers battled the San Francisco 49ers at 4 o'clock, Milwaukee time. The game will be broadcast over WEMP and WTMJ. If the Packers can beat the 49ers for the first time since their NFL series opener back in 1950, the San Francisco hierarchy is bound to sever its relations with Buck Shaw - the only coach in 49er history. Fans here are divided into several factions as a result of: 1) the 49ers' shocking skid from the Western Division lead and 2) Owner Tony Morabito's failure to give Coach Shaw a public show of confidence. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn, realizing the critical situation, reasoned that his club would face a San Francisco team which has its back to the wall and is fighting mad. Although his Packers are seven point underdogs, Blackbourn declared they are physically and mentally fit to reverse the 23-17 fourth quarter victory the 49ers scored in Milwaukee last October. Only halfback Val Joe Walker and end Stretch Elliott, defensive stalwarts, are shelved with injuries. Shaw admits his pass defense is not strong. Twice the 49ers were beaten in the final seconds by long touchdown passes. Blackbourn, on the other hand, is hoping his receivers - chief of whom are Bill Howton, Max McGee and Howie Ferguson - hold on to Tobin Rote's passes. Dropped aerials cost the Packers two successive games with the Champion Detroit Lions. Joe Perry, 49ers fullback, has missed practice all week, but he rarely need work this late in the year. He has been soaking his injured knee in hopes he will be able to gallop for a hunk of the 130 yards he needs to boost his season total beyond the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight year. Art Hunter, Packer rookie tackle, hasn't worked out all week but is expected to play. He has been in Los Angeles conferring with his draft board.


DEC 4 (San Francisco) - The Green Bay Packers ran through a light drill at Kezar Stadium this morning in their final preparation for their NFL game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers arrived from Milwaukee Friday afternoon in a chartered airliner, too late to test the stadium turf. The entire squad, from Coach Liz Blackbourn on down, were happy to find firm footing after a week of drilling on the frozen field at Green Bay. Sunday's game with the 49ers will be the first of two on the West Coast for the Packers who will meet the Rams at Los Angeles a week later. Blackbourn pronounced his squad in "nearly top shape" for the 49ers and indicated that even Val Joe Walker, defensive halfback sidelined by injuries for the past few weeks, probably would see action. "We still have some bumps and bruises," Blackbourn said after arrival, "but you have to expect those in this game, particularly after playing Detroit twice in less than a week. We could be a lot worse, certainly." The Packers, who have never beaten the 49ers in San Francisco, were hungry to avenge their 23-17 loss to Buck Shaw's boys at Milwaukee County Stadium in October. It took a spell of fourth quarter heroics by Y.A. Tittle to give the 49ers the victory after they trailed going into the final period. Green Bay, the league's hardluck team, has lost its six games by a total of 27 points - by one to Pittsburgh, by four each time to Detroit, by five and seven to the Chicago Bears and six to the 49ers. Despite the loss of Hugh McElhenny, the 49ers still have the NFL's top rushing backs in Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson. Perry leads the pro circuit with 870 yards in 135 attempts and Johnson had 634 in 124 tries. Tittle, his injured hand much better, will be in the lineup all the way offensively.

bottom of page