Preseason: New York Giants 38, Green Bay Packers (2-4) 27
Saturday September 18th 1954 (at Milwaukee)
GAME RECAP (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE)
(MILWAUKEE) – The Packers lost their final non-league football game of the 1955 season here Saturday night, but a lot of people benefitted – including the Packers. First off, the estimated 17,000 spectators received more than their money’s worth in the 65-point, nine touchdown, tennis-neck thriller. Secondly, lest we forget, thousands of crippled children will be helped from proceeds from the game – the fifth annual Midwest Shrine classic. And thirdly, the Packers profited to this extent: They learned that mistakes can be costly. The final score was 38 to 27 in favor of the New York Giants, leaving the Packers and Big Town with identical 2-4 records in exhibition play. The Green Bay fought back twice to gain ties, 7-7 and 14-14, and then forged ahead 20-17 at the half. The Giants were in front 31-20 at the end of three quarters – thanks to the first of two costly errors. The Packers made it 31-27, and then skidded back when they erred again. This was an offensive chiller just about all the way. There wasn’t a punt in the first half and the Packers scored touchdowns the first three times they fingered the ball, finally missing on the fourth try when time ran out in the half. The first punt of the game, with two minutes gone in the third period, shaped up as the first miscue. The fourth down pass from center went way over Max McGee’s head and the Giants recovered on the 16, scoring three plays later for a 24-20 lead. Midway in the fourth heat, another punt figured in the damage department. This time, the Giants’ Ray Wietcha blocked McGee’s boot and the Giants were on the Packer eight. They scored in three plays for a 38-27 edge, and the victory. The Packers had themselves a good night on offense – what with four touchdowns and a total of 361 yards, 16 more than the Giants, but the defense, for the first time this season, generally lapsed – especially against the Giants’ powerhouse backfield, led by Frank Gifford. The Giants were limited to two yards in the air in the second half, but they rushed for 133 in that period. While the Packer defense seemed to give at times, in the final reading it was the two “free” touchdowns that spelled the difference. In the matter of earned TDs, the Packers had the edge 4-3 and possibly the game 27-24. Despite all of the Giants’ backfield power, the top ground gainer of the game as the Packers’ quarterback – Tobin Rote, who rushed for 97 yards in 10 carries, beating out New York’s Eddie Price, who had 62 in 10. Rote, who completed 14 passes in 39 attempts for 202 yards, performed a sparkling 38-yard quarterback sneak to put the Packers ahead 20-14. It came on fourth down with about a foot to go for a first down, with Rote busting off right guard Buddy Brown. Rote also figured in the longest pass play, hurling to Al Carmichael to complete a 75-yard scoring move and give Green Bay a 7-7 knot. The Packers’ two linebackers, Clayton Tonnemaker and Roger Zatkoff, had themselves a field night making tackles but they received little support from the secondary when Price, Long, Johnson and others broke loose. The Giants rolled up six first downs in their 16-play, 87-yard game opener touchdown and in each series young Clatterbuck had a hand in making the first down. He “snuck” for three for the first on the Giant 25 and then threw to McAfee for 23 on second down, to Topp for 11 on third, to Gifford for nine on third and to Gifford for 11 on third to put the ball on the Packers’ three. Price rammed it over at 7:03, with Agajanian kicking the first of five extra points. The Giant defense hardly had to work at all while the Packers tied it up. Cone hit left tackle for three after which Carmichael took Rote’s pass on the Packer 45 to complete a 75-yard aerial touchdown. Cone’s kick tied the count and the crowd had seen 14 points in 8:33. The Giants roared right back to move 63 yards in five plays for a touch. Johnson and Price ran for 13, Price was held to one, Clatterbuck hurled to Gifford for 21 and then pitched to Schnelker for the TD – just like that. It was 14-7 with 11:35 gone in the period. Starting on their own 17, the Packers promptly moved 83 yards in 18 plays for the tying score again (Rote sneaking over from the two with 4:50 gone in the second frame). Key gainers in the drive were a 10-yard pass to Carmichael by Rote, a 19-yard keeper by Rote, a 23-yard pass to McGee by Rote, an eight-yard quarterback sneak by Rote, and, not to forget, three holding penalties on the Giants – two for hugging on Elliott on short passes over the line. The Packer defense became the first to prevent a score on the next series, though it wasn’t easy. The Bays had the Giants stopped on the Giant 40, but our boys were guilty of illegal use of their mitts and the Giants got a first down on the Bay 45. Then, needing only a yard on fourth down, the Giants were in motion so Agajanian did the next best thing – tried a field goal from the 47. It was short and the Bay defense had reason to feel chesty. The Packers bounced back mighty hard, ripping 80 yards for a YD in seven plays. Rote hurled to McGee for 30 yards on the third play, pitched to Carmichael for seven on the fifth, and performed his long quarterback sneak outside his own right guard on the seventh. Cone’s kick was good but the Packers were holding and Fred missed the try from the 24. It was still 20-14 for the Bays. Just before the half, the Giants moved from their own 31 to the Bay 23 and Agajanian stepped back on the 31 and kicked a field goal with 40 seconds left. Packer fortunes began to change early in the second half when tackle Art Hunter went out with an injury. On the third play, however, Rote hurled to McGee for 15 yards and a first down on the 35. But the Giants stiffened and McGee stepped back to give the crowd a rare sight – the game’s first punt. The pass from center Ringo was too high and McGee never had a chance as 300-pound tackle Earl Putnam recovered for the Giants on the Packer 17. The Giants quickly scored. Gifford ran right end and fumbled but Schnelker recovered on the three for a 14-yard gain. Price punted it over on second down in 3:05 and the Giants, with the kick, went in front 24-20. The Giants stormed back for another TD after forcing a punt and taking over on their own 48. Price raced 30 and on the seventh play in the series, Long went over left guard on fourth down for the TD at 8:30. The automatic kick made it 31-20. The Packers, facing a must-score situation, did just that in 14 plays for 81 yards. Cone opened the drive with a 14-yard run and three plays later romped 32 up the sidelines. Rote faced two fourth down situations along the way. On the first, he hurled to McGee for six and on the other he ran 16 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Howie Ferguson bolted from the three and fumbled into the end zone, Reid recovering for the touchdown with 10 seconds gone. Both defenses grew tough and forced an exchange of punts. The Giants, however, blocked McGee’s boot, Ray Wietecha doing the honors, and the ball bounced out of bounds on the Bay eight. On third down, Don Heinrich pitched to Jim Monachino out to the right for the TD, with 9:05 gone. The Packers quickly moved to midfield but the Giants tightened and Cone missed a field goal from the 47. The Packers forced the Giants to punt with less than two minutes left and on the two final plays Rote pitched to Ferguson for three and to Veryl Switzer for 16. What next? Pittsburgh at Green Bay Sunday!
NEW YORK - 14 3 14 7 - 38
GREEN BAY - 7 13 0 7 - 27
NY GIANTS GREEN BAY
First Downs 22 21
Rushing Yards 43-205-2 30-159-2
Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 19-12-140-1-0 39-14-202-1-0
Total Yards 345 361
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Turnovers 0 1
Yards penalized 8-76 6-65
1ST - NY - Eddie Price, 3-yard run (Ben Agajanian kick) NEW YORK 7-0
1ST - GB - Al Carmichael, 75-yard pass from Tobin Rote (Fred Cone kick) TIED 7-7
1ST - NY - Bob Schnelker, 31-yard pass from Bobby Clatterbuck (Agajanian kick) NEW YORK 14-7
2ND - GB - Rote, 2-yard run (Cone kick) TIED 14-14
2ND - GB - Rote, 38-yard run (Cone kick failed) GREEN BAY 20-14
2ND - NY - Agajanian, 31-yard field goal GREEN BAY 20-17
3RD - NY - Price, 1-yard run (Agajanian kick) NEW YORK 24-20
3RD - NY - Buford Long, 1-yard run (Agajanian kick) NEW YORK 31-20
4TH - GB - Breezy Reid, fumble recovery in the end zone (Cone kick) NEW YORK 31-27
4TH - NY - Jim Monachino, 7-yard pass from Don Heinrich (Agajanian kick) NY 38-27
GREEN BAY - Tobin Rote 10-97 1 TD, Fred Cone 10-67, Floyd Reid 7-8, Howie Ferguson 2-2, Max McGee 1-(-19)
NY GIANTS - Eddie Price 10-62 2 TD, Frank Gifford 9-46, Bobby Epps 6-29, Buford Long 6-23, Herb Johnson 7-14, Jim Monachino 3-17, Bobby Clatterbuck 1-3, Don Heinrich 1-1
GREEN BAY - Tobin Rote 39-14-202 1 TD
NY GIANTS - Bobby Clatterbuck 18-11-134 1 TD, Don Heinrich 1-1-6
GREEN BAY - Al Carmichael 5-108 1 TD, Max McGee 4-74, Veryl Switzer 1-12, Howie Ferguson 1-2, Carleton Elliott 1-(-1), Fred Cone 1-(-1)
NY GIANTS - Frank Gifford 4-62, Herb Johnson 2-11, Bobby Epps 2-4, Bob Schelker 1-31 1 TD, Ken MacAfee 1-23, Bob Topp 1-11, Jim Monachino 1-6
Relaxing at the Schroeder Hotel after the game, Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn, who made his debut in Milwaukee on the same field he labored as Marquette's head coach, warmly praised the Giants' great running backs (Long, Johnson, Price and Epps) but pointed out that "our defense was off some tonight - and, of course, we gave them two touchdowns in the second half." Liz felt that the two clubs "certainly put on a fine scoring show." The type of battle certainly removed some of the sting of defeat in the minds of Packer fans, what with nine touchdowns, 65 points and changing leads. The liberty taken with the Packer defense was most surprising to Blackbourn and his staff. The Bays had limited each of their previous four opponents to an average of less than two touchdowns per game. But, as Blackbourn said last Thursday, "I'm really worried about this game - The Giants are a real good team." They were just that Saturday night!...Chuck Cherundolo, line coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, scouted the game for his club - Green Bay's opening league foe at City Stadium next Sunday. Coach Joe Stydahar and several of his Chicago Cardinals players scouted the Giants - the Cardinals' opening opponent in Chicago Sunday....When the score of the Baltimore-Washington game came in (the Colts won 49-14), Scout-Coach Herman Ball of the Redskins was warned that he may be the next Washington head coach - a post he stepped down from several years ago. "I'll go west first," Herman laughed...Packer public address announcer Tom White, fresh from an auto accident that hospitalized him for nearly two weeks, stuck out the entire game...When Tobin Rote scored on his 38-yard quarterback sneak, the Giants' three middle linemen submarined into the line at the same time. "And they were flat on the ground still tight together when Rote crossed the goal line," Blackbourn said. Rote was just as surprised himself as the Giant defense. "First thing I know, old Landry is near me," Rote said. Landry was deeper in the Giant secondary and made a futile attempt to stop the Bay QB...Both teams warmed up before the game in McCormick Field while the Shriners used the stadium for their impressive pregame ceremony.
TRADE BAUER TO GIANTS
SEPT 20 (Green Bay) - The Packers have traded former Illinois tackle John Bauer to the New York Giants for an undisclosed 1955 draft choice, Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn announced today. Bauer came to the Packers in the recent six-player deal with the Cleveland Browns. Blackbourn was expected to set the squad at 33 players, the league limit, after practice this afternoon.
PACKERS CUT 12, MEET LIMIT
SEPT 20 (Green Bay) - Coach Liz Blackbourn wasted little time trimming the Packer squad to 33 men Monday, the league limit which was to be met Sunday when Green Bay opens its 36th season against Pittsburgh here. Getting the axe were eight backs, two guards, a center and an end. They were: quarterback Elry Falkenstein, halfback Bud Roffler, fullback Clyde Sanders, halfback Evan Slonac, halfback Tom Pagna, linebacker Nick Adduci, linebacker Lou Mihajlovich, linebacker Mike Maccioli, guard Dick Coleman, guard Mike Takacs, center Charles Grant and end Hosea Sims. That left the Packers with quarterbacks Tobin Rote and rookie Bobby Garrett to direct play with two fullbacks, eight halfbacks, three centers, five guards, six tackles and seven ends. The Packers heard the scouting report of the Steeler-Lion game Monday morning. Detroit crushed Pittsburgh, 42-14, Sunday. In the afternoon Blackbourn directed workouts with concentration on protecting the punter. Mistakes in that department ruined a fine Green Bay performance Saturday as the Giants capitalized on the miscues for a 38-27 win. Earlier, Blackbourn announced that tackle Jon Bauer, former Illinois star who was obtained from the Browns in the Parilli-Garrett deal, was traded to the Giants for an undisclosed draft choice.
IT'LL TAKE SPECIAL EFFORT TO BEAT LA, SF OR LIONS
SEPT 20 (Milwaukee) - Did it ever occur to you how the Packers would stack up this season against the so-called powerhouses of the Western Conference - namely Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles? Jim Lee Howell, a firm believer of the old twist that any team in the National League can beat any other team on a given Sunday, furnished something of an answer here Saturday night. His observations must be considered authentic because his Giants played all of the Western Conference clubs except Baltimore. His White Shirts lost to Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Chicago Bears. First, we asked him "how do we compare with the Bears - from what the Bears showed in their game against you?" Howell, a monster of a man who formerly played end for the Giants, drawled forth: "Wal, the Bears beat us on a couple of fumbles in the last half and we beat our boys. That should make the Bears some tougher than you, but I think you've got a little better ball club than the Bears. They (the Bears) will be plenty tough for you, though." The other three (Detroit, SF and LA)? Howell shook his head and cautioned: "All three are real deep - much deeper than the Packers and us. It'll take a special effort and plenty of breaks to beat those three." Howell was especially pleased with his club's 38-27 victory over Green Bay. "We're trying to score more," he said, referring to his Giants' bid to recapture New York fandom via touchdowns and adding: "People like to see a lot of scoring and they got their money's worth tonight - We want to do the same thing back home." Howell thought the Giants and Packers played a similar game. "We spotted some of your weaknesses and you certainly found ours in a hurry. That Rote's a tough one out there and I thought he called a wonderful game," Howell pointed out, adding: "you boys were hurt without Mann and Howton together. Thought we'd seek more of Switzer but Carmichael gave us plenty of trouble"..
PACKERS SET AT 33 FOR STEELER OPENER
SEPT 21 (Green Bay) - The fortunes of the 1954 Packers today were placed in the hands of 24 veterans of professional football, including one newcomer to our town, and nine rookies. This came about at 4:30 Monday afternoon when Coach Liz Blackbourn reduced the squad to the NFL limit of 33 players. Thus, the new Packers were set - after 58 days of blood, sweat, tears in practice, six non-league games and a half-dozen trades and deals - for the championship opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at City stadium Sunday afternoon. Blackbourn, in the midst of his ninth month as Packer head coach, and members of his staff, Tom Hearden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus, decided in the final cuts over the weekend and launched Opener Week with a spirited drill Monday afternoon. The fact that nine rookies made the '54 Packers is an indication that Blackbourn and his aides are in the process of rebuilding the Bays. The following simon-pures were elected: quarterback Bobby Garrett of Stanford, defensive halfbacks Don Miller of Southern Methodist and Gene White of Georgia, offensive halfbacks Veryl Swtizer of Kansas State and Joe Johnson of Boston College, guard Al Barry of Southern California, tackle Art Hunter of Notre Dame, defensive end Gene Knutson of Michigan and offensive end Max McGee of Tulane. Each rookie is bolstering a key position - especially Garrett, who will understudy veteran quarterback Tobin Rote. Johnson and Switzer move in behind veterans Breezy Reid and Al Carmichael, respectively. Clinching starting positions are Barry, the Packers' 30th draft choice a year ago, and Hunter, the Packers' No. 1 pick last January. Barry will open at offensive left guard and Hunter starts at offensive right tackle. McGee will spell Bob Mann at left end, though he has been starting in that position since Mann was injured. Knutson works behind Stretch Elliott at defensive end, but started in the spot when Elliott worked on offense. Miller and White are working into the defensive backfield with veterans Val Joe Walker, Bobby Dillon and Clarence Self. The one newcomer in the lineup, who already has two years of pro experience under his belt, is big Jerry Helluin, obtained last summer from the Cleveland Browns for the Packers' fourth draft choice. The list includes Deral Teteak, the former Wisconsin linebacker who is fast recovering from a broken bone in his ankle. Teteak likely won't be ready, though, for a game or two. With two dozen of them, veterans are well sprinkled throughout the squad. Blackbourn has been successful in scattering experience throughout the two platoons. Nine players were dropped over the weekend, including John Bauer, who was traded to the New York Giants for an undisclosed draft choice. Waivers were asked on Elry Falkenstein, halfback Bud Roffler, linebacker Nick Adduci, fullback Clyde Sanders, halfback Mike Maccioli, center Charley Grant, halfback Tom Pagna and end Hosea Sims...This will be a busy week for the fans as well as the Packers. The team attends class every morning at 10 o'clock and goes through its drills in the afternoon in the Bluejay baseball field. Night meetings are also scheduled. The entire squad will make one public appearance this week - at the free Quarterback Club rally at Washington Junior High School Thursday night. Members of the team will be introduced and there will be short talks by Blackbourn, General Manager Verne Lewellen and members of the staff. In addition, movies of the Packers' 31-3 victory over Washington will be shown...Nine Packer rookies were introduced to the Green Bay Kiwanis Club at the regular meeting Monday noon at Hotel Northland, and Packer Assistant Coach Ray McLean and General Manager Verne Lewellen promised "the kind of a team Green Bay will be proud of" when the Packers open the league season here Sunday.
AN OLD STORY: MORE GAMES LOST THAN WON
SEPT 21 (Milwaukee Sentinel-Lloyd Larson) - It is often said that more game are lost than are won. In other words, the team that makes the least mistakes generally wins and, conversely, the club guilty of the most errors loses. Although the principle involved applies also to individual sports like golf and tennis, and to other forms of team competition like baseball and basketball, it is spotlighted oftener perhaps in football. The Packers certainly emphasized the point in their 1954 Milwaukee debut last Saturday night at Marquette Stadium, where they dropped a 38-27 decision to the much improved New York Giants. Liz Blackbourn's boys could have won that thrilling contest, well played on an overall basis, but for a couple of particularly damaging bloopers - both boomerang deals on attempted punts. Fourth down punts usually are routine and foolproof in pro ball, but routine operations went haywire and so did the Packers as a result. The most damaging came early in the third period after the Bays had zoomed to a 20-17 halftime lead and seemed to be getting the battle under control. Max McGee didn't get a chance to kick, for the pass from center was bad. The Giants gained possession only 16 yards from touchdown territory and, obviously lifted by the break, scored in three plays to take a lead they never relinquished...AND MORE OF THE SAME: Green Bay was still in the ball game, 31-27, when kicking disaster struck again late in the game, this time in the form of a clean block of the ball as it left McGee's foot deep in his own territory. The leather rolled out of bounds on the Packer seven and once again the Giants cashed in. They needed three downs and had to switch from ramming the Bays' line to passing, but they finally cashed in. Which is all that counts. Add the perfect touchdown pass that was dropped in the clear near the Giant goal line, a TD that could very well have iced the game for the home club early in the second half, and the fouled up pass play that lost more than 20 yards in the next series of downs, and the Packers' "mistake" case rests. The game, the last of six exhibitions, naturally doesn't count in the league standings. It's part of the philosophical view, too, to say that if disastrous mistakes are to be made, it's much better to make them before they start playing for keeps. Yet one can't gloss over the fact that victory is a sweet thing at any time - a mighty helpful thing, too, to a team in the rebuilding process like the Packers. They need all the confidence they can muster - confidence born of winning. Well, that's that for the pre-season business. The Packers have come a long way since mid-August. If they keep on improving, they can give the favorites a real run for their money and win their reasonable share, too.
FANS, PACKERS WARNED OF STEELERS' NEW APPROACH
SEPT 22 (Green Bay) - Since the immortal Don Hutson put away the moleskins in 1945, the Packers played the Pittsburgh Steelers in seven NFL games. Green Bay has been able to win only two of those seven – a 17 to 7 verdict at the expense of the late Jock Sutherland in ’46 and a 35 to 33 marathon off Johnny Michelosen in ’51. In the other five events, the Steelers nipped our boys 18-7 in ’47, 38-7 in ’48, 30-7 in ’49, 28-7 in the second game in ’51 and 31-14 in ’53. The above three paragraphs were set forth merely as a warmup for today’s gospel entitled, “The Changeths Which have Cometh over Pittsburgh.” The following words are aimed at Press-Gazette readers who haven’t purchased tickets yet for Sunday’s Packer-Steeler test at City Stadium and the new and fairly-new Packer athletes. Today’s epistle started to take shape shortly after the Packers walked off Forbes Field with a 36 to 14 victory over the Steelers last Aug. 28. There seems to be a mistaken impression that the Packers will walk off City Stadium turf Sunday with something similar. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn, of course, is mindful of such thoughts. After yesterday afternoon’s drill, he was asked, “what do you think will be the biggest difference in the Steeler team we played at Pittsburgh over the one we’ll be playing Sunday?” Liz didn’t wait long to answer: “Why, they’ll (the Steelers) have an entirely different approach to Sunday’s game. That’s No. 1, of course. That other game was an exhibition and Sunday’s game is for keeps. Sunday, they should be the tough club that they really are.” Getting into Pittsburgh personnel, Blackbourn went on: “They have two of the best defensive linemen I’ve seen in the six exhibitions – this Dodrill and Stautner. Dodrill blocked one of our punts out there and was the best defensive linemen on field. We’re worried about Fran Rogell, their fullback. He’s another Eddie Price when he’s running right. He had a tough time against us out there but, being a veteran, he should be back in form Sunday. Their left half (Ray Matthews) is another Gifford and they’ve got plenty of power at right half in Chandnois and Lattner. And we can’t forget Ferry. Remember that Ferry (former Packer Lew) wasn’t playing left defensive tackle, where we made a lot of gains, when we played ‘em last.” Getting back to the Steelers’ new approach, it must be recalled that the Pittsburghers were in the midst of coaching trouble last month. The day after the game, Owner Art Rooney accepted Joe Bach’s resignation and big Walt Kiesling was named his successor. Kiesling, the former Packer line coach, promptly made several personnel switchers and pulled the club together. Thus, Kiesling has figured heavily in bringing about Pittsburgh’s new approach to the season. Kiesling, a fixture in Pitt in one way or another since he left Green Bay, and even before he came here, led the Steelers to a 7-4 record in 1943, the second best in Pitt history. Sutherland had the best, on a percentage basis – 8-4 in 1947…PACKER-PITT PALAVER: Cigars have been plentiful around the Packer clubhouse. Offensive Backfield Coach Ray McLean boasted a new daughter over the weekend and the wife of rookie end Gene Knutson gave birth to a daughter in South Bend, Ind., Monday. The McLeans named their newcomer Maureen Ann and the Knutsons selected Sherry Kae…Steeler defensive back Art DeCarlo received notice yesterday that he will be inducted into the armed forces something this week…Jim Carmichael, a brother of the Packers’ Al, is a regular end for the University of California this season…You’ll hear more about this later, but the early weather report for Sunday’s game is “no rain”. With all the rain we’ve had lately, bub, that’s news!...Washington picked up Nick Adduci, one of the players placed on waivers by the Packers.
PICK PACKERS OVER STEELERS BY 6 POINTS
SEPT 23 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) - They have never done it before and the oddsmakers predict they'll fail again by six points but the Pittsburgh Steelers have hopes of winning for the first time on Sunday in Green Bay's City Stadium, part-time home of the Packers. The local pros open their NFL campaign in the compact little bowl which seats 25,500 and are eager to avenge a 36-14 loss here which didn't count because it was an exhibition. The all-time series stands at 10 to 5 in favor of the Packers but the abroad victories of the Steelers were gained in the State Fairgrounds, Milwaukee, where the Packers played a few "home" games each season. Of course, they have now switched to the new Milwaukee County Stadium. Word from Green Bay yesterday was to the effect that 16,000 tickets had already been sold and at least 20,000 are expected for the debut of Lisle Blackbourn as new head coach. There was one absentee from the Steeler training camp at Ligonier. Guard Rudy Andabaker, former Pitt star who returned from the squad this year after a hitch in the Army, is still uncertain due to a leg injury suffered in an early exhibition game. He will be examined here today by Dr. Phil Faix, team physician, but it seems unlikely he will see any action in the lidlifter. Quarterback Paul Held and defensive end Dewey Brundage, rookies secured from the Detroit Lions, were given special attention yesterday by Coach Walter Kiesling. Of course Jimmy Finks will start at the field general's position but Held is the only reserve available now that Maury Duncan and Bill Mackrides have been released. Brundage takes over the troublesome left win where the departure of giant George Tarasovic via the Army draft has left the Steeler defense extremely vulnerable. Several candidates tried there have failed to fill the bill.
RONZANI WANTS REVENGE ON PACKERS!
SEPT 23 (Green Bay) - Gene Ronzani will want revenge on the Packers at City Stadium Sunday. That sounds like the prize understatement of the century. But it is merely mentioned, in fairly large type above, as a means of emphasizing the eagerness the Pittsburgh Steelers will show against our men. Needless to say, Ronzani is giving head coach Walt Kiesling plenty of help this week in keying the Steelers for the NFL opener. In addition, Ronzani, who head coached the Packers from 1950 until he resigned with two games left in the ’53 season, is well acquainted with 23 Packers who played under him during his reign. The remaining 10 include nine rookies and one former Cleveland Brown, tackle Jerry Helluin. Where Ronzani will operate Sunday isn’t known yet. During the Packers’ non-league game in Pittsburgh Aug. 28, Ronzani worked on the telephone upstairs but he had been on the sidelines with Kiesling in the last two games against San Francisco and Detroit. Gene is Pitt’s backfield coach. Sunday’s game shapes up as something of an “old home week” since the audience will also include Curly Lambeau, founder and head coach of the Packers for 30 years. Kiesling played a season with Green Bay and also worked as line coach under Lambeau. Thus, with Head Coach Liz Blackbourn directing the Packers, Green Bay will have the only three head coaches the team ever had in attendance Sunday. Blackbourn is the key figure in the Green Bay corner. The former Marquette mentor, who will be making his debut in league competition, has worked tirelessly with his staff – Tom Hearden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus – in preparing the squad for its new season. If you’re superstitious (and Blackbourn is not), it might be pointed out that Liz will be facing some sort of “rubber opener” in that Lambeau’s team won the first league game the Packers ever played and Ronzani lost his debut in ’50. In that NFL kickoff in 1921, the Packers nipped Minneapolis 7 to 6, with Lambeau kicking the extra point. The Packers, coached by Ronzani, lost to Detroit 45 to 7 in the ’50 starter…The Packers put in a spirited workout yesterday afternoon and finished off with about 15 minutes on furnishing protection for the punter. Blackbourn is especially anxious to remove the danger of blocked punts along the league trail. The Bays had considerable difficulty in this department in at least two non-league games, including the Steeler battle. Dale Dodrill, the Steelers’ middle guard despite his 210 pounds, blocked one of Max McGee’s boots at Pittsburgh. The New York Giants also blocked one in Milwaukee last Saturday night. The seriousness of a blocked punt was hammered home in the Giant game. This miscue virtually gave the game to NY. McGee and Packer middle guard Bill Forester handled the punting in practice and, generally, the offensive blockers were able to keep the defensive rushers at a reasonable distance…The Packer ticket office at 349 S. Washington St. will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. the
remainder of the week to sell ducats for the Pittsburgh game. Ticket Chief Carl Mraz announced today that 16,193 tickets had been sold up to this morning for Sunday’s contest. Packer officials have been booming the sale in an effort to “insure” a sellout. A ticket drive was launched a month ago for the purpose of filling the stadium for all three home games. The Bear game here Oct. 3 is virtually a sellout now but tickets for the Detroit test Nov. 21 are still available. The weather prediction for Sunday is “no rain”.
LAMBEAU HERE, NOT INTERESTED IN COACHING
SEPT 23 (Green Bay) - Curly Lambeau, founder and head coach of the Packers for 30 years, will be among the spectators at Sunday’s Packer-Pittsburgh game at City stadium. The former coach of the Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins arrived in Green Bay last night and is visiting his mother, brothers and son. Lambeau, who plans to remain here for three or four days, said that he has no immediate plans for the future. He pointed out that “I am not interested in a head coaching job in the NFL.” Lambeau will be watching his first game here since August of 1953, when his Redskins defeated Green Bay 13-6.
LATTNER BEST SINCE DUDLEY
SEPT 23 (Green Bay) - Bullet Bill Dudley was well remembered by Packers fans as Mr. Pittsburgh Steeler. Dudley has long vanished from the professional ranks, but Steeler coaches are praising a rookie this season as their best prospect since Bullet Bill galloped for Pittsburgh. He's Johnny Lattner, Notre Dame's bread and butter player of the past two season. Lattner, Pittsburgh's first draft choice, has lived up to all expectations and then some. His play in exhibition action has earned him a starting halfback assignment when the Steelers clash with the Packers at City Stadium Sunday. Running opposite Lattner will be Lynn Chadnois, rated as one of the top backs in the NFL. Coach Walt Kiesling, who took over last month for Joe Bach, has juggled personnel since the Packers romped to an easy 36-14 exhibition win and promises his Steelers won't be the "soft touch" they were in August. Paul Cameron, another great rookie, has been shifted from an offensive left halfback to the defensive platoon. This was caused when Art De Carlo was called into service this week. Cameron will become a safety man. Packer coach Liz Blackbourn, knowing Sunday's game is for keeps, has made a few changes himself for Pittsburgh. Blackbourn has decided to use rookie halfback Veryl Switzer on defense. The scat back will also share offensive duties with Al Carmichael at right half. The Packers should be at their best physical condition for Pittsburgh. Guard Al Barry, fullback Fred Cone and tackle Art Hunter, injured in the New York game Sunday, will be ready. For the first time in a long time the Packers will rule favorites over the Steelers, mainly because of the lopsided exhibition victory. However, since 1945, the Packers have been able to beat Pittsburgh only two of seven games. With the weather outlook favorable, a crowd of well over 20,000 is expected. Tickets are still available in three price ranges - $4.75, $3.50 and $2.40.
FIVE NEW HEAD COACHES IN NATIONAL PRO LEAGUE
SEPT 23 (United Press) - The 12-team NFL begins its 35th season Sunday with five new head coaches and all of them appear to be headed for plenty of loser's weekends. Wilbur (Weeb) Ewbank, Baltimore Colts; Jim Lee Howell, New York Giants; Lisle Blackbourn, Green Bay Packers; Walt Kiesling, Pittsburgh Steelers and Joe Kuharich, Washington Redskins, are the new field leaders. Kiesling recently became the Steeler boss for the third time and Kuharich formerly was head coach of the Chicago Cardinals so they have previous experience in trying to beat the league's talent rich clubs. Of the new coaches, Ewbank posted the best exhibition record. He doesn't have the wealth of talent he handled for the past five years as tackle coach for the Cleveland Browns, but his Colts won four of their five exhibition games. Only the champion Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia - all of whom have strong squads, established coaching staffs and title hopes - equaled or bettered Baltimore's showing. The Colts made their strong warm-up record against Eastern Division clubs and Baltimore's regular season spot in the Western Division. That means two games apiece against such powerhouses as Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Howell and Blackbourn each compiled 2-4 exhibition records. Howell, former end coach for the Giants, plans to emphasize offense. The Giants were noted for their strong defensive units in the past under Steve Owen. Howell is the club's first new head coach since Owen took the job in 1931. All the new coaches except Blackbourn have had experience in the NFL as assistants or head coaches. Blackbourn came straight to the Packers from Marquette University, where he had an impressive collegiate record. Like Ewbank, he will be tested in the rugged Western Division. Kiesling replaced Joe Bach as Pittsburgh head coach after the team lost its first three exhibitions. The Steelers wound up with a 1-6 record, handing Baltimore its only pre-season loss. Kuharich replaced Curly Lambeau after the exhibition campaign was underway and the Redskins finished it with an 0-6 mark.
ANOTHER LUJACK? LATTNER IN PRO DEBUT VS. PACKERS
SEPT 24 (Green Bay) - Frank Leahy has often mentioned Johnny Lattner in the same breath with the famous Johnny Lujack. The retired Notre Dame coach explains the two L’s this way: “They are easily Notre Dame’s two greatest all-around backs in the past decade.” Lujack closed out a spectacular, award-winning Notre Dame career in 1947 and then joined the Chicago Bears the following year. He first stepped on our town’s sacred turf, commonly called City Stadium, on Sept. 26, 1948 and promptly led the Bears to a 45 to 7 victory. The crafty quarterback scored one touchdown, kicked two extra points, led the Bears to 240 yards rushing and played defense, intercepting two passes. That, indeed, was quite a debut! Now comes the other “L” in Leahy’s eye – Lattner. It is coincidental that Pittsburgh Steeler right halfback Lattner also is making his debut on a Sept. 26 – next Sunday afternoon, to be specific. It is also coincidental that these two L-raisers are well known on Green Bay’s west side; each addressed 500 men at Annunciation Church Holy Name banquets – Lujack in the winter of ’47-48 and Lattner last winter. Each said the same thing in effect: “Professional football offers a great challenge; I hope I can make it…” Lattner won’t be making his first appearance in City stadium. He played halfback for Chicago Fenwick High against Central Catholic here in ’49. Lattner, a tailback in the single wing then, played only briefly because of a leg injury, but his team won 27-7. Lattner won’t be troubled by injuries on his next trip to City stadium. Hurt earlier in the non-league season, Johnny is now ready for full duty. Lattner is the only rookie in the Steelers’ No. 1 backfield. At the other halfback will be Ray Matthews, one of the fastest halfbacks in the league. Veteran Fran Rogell will go at fullback and sharpshooting Jimmy Finks will handle the quarterbacking. Known as Notre Dame’s “bread and butter” player for the last two seasons because he always provided the necessary yardage for a first down or made a key interception, Lattner is hoping to do the same for Coach Walt Kiesling and the Steelers. Since Lattner’s role as a pro will be largely on offense, the ex-Irish star won’t be able to bat heads with an old N.D. buddy – Packer tackle Art Hunter. Hunter likely will be doing most of his playing at offensive right tackle; the rookie 245-pounder is scheduled to start in that position. While Lattner is rated highly, the real backbone of the Steelers’ right half platoon is Lynn Chandnois, the former Michigan State wizard. Lynn can do just about everything with the football, including pitching it, but his main asset is just plain hard running…The Steelers are scheduled to land at Austin Straubel field around 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon. They’ll practice here later in the afternoon. They are headquartering at the Northland Hotel. Coming in with the squad will be Owner Art Rooney…The Packers tapered off a week of hard work with a light drill this afternoon in the stadium. The squad had practiced in the Bluejay baseball park earlier in the week. The Bays are not in the best of physical condition. Linebacker Deral Teteak, of course, will miss the contest due to an ankle fracture in training camp. On the aching list are Bob Mann, Bill Howton, Art Hunter and several others. The Steelers, incidentally, also have several injured players, including Dale Dodrill, the hard-hitting middle guard. Dodrill is expected to play, however…Plenty of good tickets in all price ranges for Sunday’s game are still available, Ticket Chief Carl Mraz said today. The ticket office at 349 S. Washington St. will be open
until 8 o’clock tonight and until 5 p.m. Saturday evening. Ticket windows at the stadium will open at 11 o’clock Sunday morning.
PACKER-PITTSBURGH GAME A NEW STADIUM CHALLENGE!
SEPT 24 (Green Bay) - That new stadium challenge is upon us. Everybody in and around our Football Factory, including the Packers, are convinced that the Bays must have a new ball yard sooner or later. But the Packers are equally convinced that there isn’t much use building a new stadium if the arena they’ve got can’t be filled for all games. Thus, the Packers’ league opener against Pittsburgh Sunday stands as the first of three test cases this season. The Bear game here Oct. 3 is a virtual sellout, though a few seats remain, and the Detroit Lion match Nov. 21 undoubtedly will fill up. That leaves the Steeler game as the key. Packer General Manager Verne Lewellen hammered the new stadium theme in a talk before 500 members of the Quarterback Club at Washington Junior High school last night. Lewellen and Toastmaster Bernard Darling urged Quarterbackers to “go out and push a sellout.”…The Packers made two public appearances yesterday. They were introduced individually by Coach Liz Blackbourn at the Rotary club luncheon at noon and at the QB gathering. They received rousing ovations, as did Blackbourn and members of his staff – Tom Hearden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus, on both occasions…Blackbourn told the QB’ers that “we are attempting to play an honest game, always doing our best. We have been able to do just that so far.” Liz emphasized the “team idea”, pointing out, “We are not a squad of stars; if one man makes a mistake, the entire team makes it and if one man does something spectacular the entire team does it.” He told the attentive audience, “The Packers are your club and I’ll be disappointed if you don’t bleed with us when we lose and don’t exult with us when we win.”…Ed Kiely, publicity director of the Pittsburgh Steelers, complimented the QB’ers for their “fine enthusiasm toward the Packers” and said he was looking “for a real good game Sunday.” He told about several of the Steeler stars, reporting that quarterback Jimmy Finks had a 60 percent throwing average in exhibition games and that Paul Cameron, the California star, will probably play defense in place of Art DeCarlo who has been called into service. He spoke highly of Johnny Lattner, revealing that “Johnny isn’t the best passer, runner or defensive player but he has a tremendous football heart – one that could make him a great pro star.”
GO, YOU PACKERS
SEPT 24 (Green Bay) - Sunday afternoon the Green Bay Packers will open their thirty-fifth professional football season. During all these years of play the club has had only three head coaches and by an unusual set of circumstances all three will be present for the opening game. Curly Lambeau, who started the team on its way back in 1919, and guided them through thirty seasons, is in the city and will be among the spectators. Gene Ronzani, who served as head coach for four seasons, is appearing as backfield coach for Pittsburgh. Liz Blackbourn, the present head coach, will be directing the Packers for the first time in a league game. That is just a sidelight on the Packers. Professional football as represented by the Packers has become an institution in Green Bay. It is a phenomenon, recurring annually, and apparently permanent and yet so singular that many people outside of Green Bay regard each of the past seasons as a sort of an accident that cannot possibly happen again. Before this season is over experts in large eastern cities will write that Green Bay cannot possibly exist in the league another season. During this same season, some large city in the east will probably drop out of the league and Green Bay will probably go right on as it has in the past. The Packers know the recipe for success. They play the best football they know every minute until the final whistle. When such playing loses the crowd loses and suffers with the players. When such playing wins the crowd wins and knows the big lift of victory. In either case the crowd sees and knows good football and will always come back for more.
ROONEY STILL THINKS STEELERS CAN TOP DIVISION
SEPT 24 (Pittsburgh Press) - Art Rooney, outspoken owner of the Steelers, said today he still thinks his team can win the NFL's Eastern Division championship - if it tries hard enough. The graying Irishman from the North Side, relaxing in a swivel chair and chewing vigorously at the frayed end of an unlit cigar, had just returned from Ligonier, Pa., where he had watched his team preparing for Sunday's game with the Green Bay Packers. "Every time I see those guys practice," he began slowly, half apologetically, "they look like world beaters. But when the gun goes off, something always happens." The "something" he referred to were 36-14, 37-14 and 42-14 defeats administered by the Packers, San Francisco Forty-Niners and Detroit Lions in preseason games. "I've been in this league a long time," Rooney continued, "but I've had some good teams and some lousy teams but this is the first team I can't figure out at all. We have good personnel. At least when I look at the payroll I figure these guys must be good. They can't be bums. Not at the money they're getting." Rooney though the biggest problem is in the team's mental approach to the game. "What's that remark you wrote about Paul Brown?" he asked. "That business about football being a game of heart and emotions? That's the answer. I think Brown hit the nail right on the head. The team that wins in this league is the team that wants to win. And if this team gets it in its head that it wants to win, if it tries hard enough, it can win the division championship." Rooney, victim of more than his share of disappointments since bringing pro football to Pittsburgh 21 years ago, is solidly behind his coaching staff. "I have no criticism of the coaching," he said. "(Walt) Kiesling is working harder at his job right now than any coach in the league. In fact, the only complaint I have is that he's working too hard. The whole staff is putting in 16 hours a day on football."
PACKERS TO START FOUR ROOKIES IN OPENER
SEPT 24 (Green Bay) - Four rookies have been given starting assignments by coach Liz Blackbourn for the Packers' league opener against the Steelers at City Stadium Sunday. Given the nod were end Max McGee, guard Al Barry, tackle Art Hunter and defensive halfback Don Miller. McGee was nominated for his left end spot in favor of veteran Bobby Mann, whose knee injury is still bothersome. Blackbourn concealed his 33-man squad inside the baseball park here Friday as the squad tapered off drills. Linebacker Deral Teteak, who broke his ankle a month ago at the Stevens Point training site, was the only Packer not taking part in the active drills. Teteak was placed on the inactive list but will be ready for action against the 49ers at Milwaukee October 10. The Steelers are scheduled to arrive here Saturday afternoon from their Ligonier, PA training camp. They will hold a light drill upon arriving. Incidentally, a unique situation has arisen in this pro hotbed. Curly Lambeau, Gene Ronzani and Blackbourn (the only coaches the Packers have ever had) will be present at the game Sunday. Lambeau arrived in town early this week strictly on a pleasure trip, saying he's not interested in any kind of professional head coaching job. Ronzani, who coached the Packers for four seasons before Blackbourn took over, will be with the Steelers as their backfield coach. The advance sale is over 18,000, with good weather the prediction for Sunday. The crowd is expected to go well over 20,000. However, tickets are still available in all price ranges.
KIESLING, RONZANI IN OLD HAUNTS
SEPT 24 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) - Two Pittsburgh Steeler coaching will be returning to familiar scenes on Sunday when the Black and Gold starts its NFL campaign in Green Bay against the Packers. Walter Kiesling, head skipper of the Rooneymen, played guard for the Bays when they were Western Division runnersup in 1935 and league champions in 1936. He returned as an assistance coach to Curly Lambeau from 1945 through 1948 so he knows his way around the little Wisconsin football hotbed. Gene Ronzani, backfield mentor for the locals, spent almost four seasons as head tutor in Packertown but was dropped near the end of 1953. The former Chicago Bear star is close-lipped concerning the circumstances of his departure but makes no secret of his desire to help "Kies" plaster the Packers in their own backyard. The Steeler faithful remain hopeful of success despite an underdog role for their team in the pregame odds. They like to recall last season's NFL triumph here by 31-14 when the home team rolled up 282 yards rushing to only 34 for the Packers. Fran Rogel, veteran fullback, ran wild with 169 yards in 19 attempts. But the painful part in the memory course comes from that 36-14 exhibition loss which cost Joe Bach his job last month. Coach Lisle Blackbourn's invaders blocked punts, dropped on fumbles and uncorked enough offense of their own to send most of the customers home in disgust long before the final whistle. Neither club has set the grid world on fire since that eventful Saturday night. The Steelers lost to the Eagles, 49ers and Lions, considered top-notchers, and beat the Colts. The Packers failed against the Eagles and Giants but trimmed the Redskins.
NEW PACKERS BATTLE PITTSBURGH AT STADIUM SUNDAY
SEPT 25 (Green Bay) - The new Packers become a reality at City Stadium Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh’s Steelers, victor over Green Bay five times in seven starts since Don Hutson retired, will be guests for the historic occasions, marking the start of the third regime in the 35-year history of the Bays. More than 20,000 fans are expected to witness the 1954 opening of the NFL season. Kickoff is set for 1:30. Some 256 days, 55 players, six non-league games and hours of sweat and toil have disappeared since the Packers were placed in charge of Head Coach Liz Blackbourn last January. Yet, the new Packers remain something of a mystery today since nine rookies and one veteran from the Cleveland Browns are sprinkled among 23 holdovers from the Gene Ronzani regime. Three rookies will be entrusted with key roles in the offensive line – left end Max McGee, who may take over for injured Bob Mann, and starters Al Barry at left guard and Art Hunter at right tackle. If these three click, the Packer offense stands a good chance of moving. On defense, the key rookie is halfback Don Miller, who is listed as one of the four simon-pure starters. The lanky Texan will toil alongside two other Texans – veterans Val Joe Walker and Bobby Dillon. The rest of the Packer lineup generally will be all veteran. Tobin Rote, launching his fifth pro season, will be in sole charge of the Packer offense for the first time since 1950 when he ran the club along with Paul Christman was brought forth. He’ll engineer a veteran backfield composed of Breezy Reid at left half, Al Carmichael at right half and Fred Cone and Howie Ferguson at fullback. Four veterans will be in the starting line – Len Szafaryn at left tackle, Co-Captain Buddy Brown at right guard, Jim Ringo at center and quick-stepping Bill Howton at right end. Actually, Howton will be making only his second league opener in three years. He sat out the ’53 start with damaged ribs. The Packer defensive line, pushed around some by a quick-charging New York Giant wall last Saturday night, will have John Martinkovic and Stretch Elliott at ends, former Brown Jerry Helluin and Dave Hanner at tackles and Bill Forester in the “mike” slot. Behind them will be Co-Captain Clayton Tonnemaker, Roger Zatkoff and Clarence Self as linebackers, depending on the defense. One of the leading marked men in the stadium Sunday will be Veryl Switzer, the Kansas State rookie who has shown flashes of unusual form in exhibition play. Switzer played behind Carmichael at right half but pairs up with Al on kickoff and punt returns. The Pittsburghs, coached by Walt Kiesling, the former Packer line coach, also will unveil a sparkler at right half, Johnny Lattner, but, like Switzer, Lattner will play behind a veteran – Lynn Chandnois – at right half. Kiesling is expected to open with an all-veteran backfield. The unit will be led by Jimmy Finks, who suffered through ’53 with countless injuries but returned this season in excellent condition. Ray Mathews, Cone’s teammate at Clemson, will open at left half; Chandnois at right, and Fran Rogell, one of the top pounders in the league, at fullback. This quartet will have the protection and openings furnished by an all-veteran line which is led by Captain Elbie (Elbow) Nickel at right end and 235-pound Bill Walsh at center. Defensively, the Steelers will be much stronger than they were in the 36-14 exhibition loss to the packers Aug. 28. The main difference will be at left tackle where Lew Ferry is ready to stop his ex-teammates. Ferry missed that exhibition and the Packers gained a lot of yardage through his position. Blackbourn rates middle guard Dale Dodrill and tackle Ernie Stautner “the two best defensive players we faced” in the exhibition series. Both will be back to plague the Pack Sunday, though Dodrill, who blocked a punt on the Bays in the non-looper, is bothered by injuries. Two of the key figures in the
secondary likely will be All-American Paul Cameron of UCLA who has replaced the departed Art DeCarlo and Dewey McConnell, a swift rookie obtained from the Los Angeles Rams. The game is generally rated as a tossup, though in some circles the Packers are favored by a point or two due to the Bays’ earlier win over Pitt. However, at that time the Steelers were pretty well banged up physically and the change of coaches apparently was in the offing then. The Steelers have had sufficient time to work under Kiesling and giant Walt undoubtedly has given his men a new approach – not to mention new life. Sunday will tell the story…!
TICKETS LEFT FOR SUNDAY'S PACK-PITT GO
SEPT 25 (Green Bay) - A number of tickets, in all price ranges, are still available for the Packers’ NFL opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at City Stadium Sunday afternoon, Ticket Director Carl Mraz said today. Ticket windows at the stadium will be open at 11 o’clock Sunday morning, he reminded. The Green Bay weather bureau has predicted ideal weather, with no hint of rain, for Sunday afternoon…Two of the NFL’s five new head coaches, the Packers’ Liz Blackbourn and Walt Kiesling of the Steelers, make their official debuts Sunday. Actually, Kiesling will be starting his second term as a head man in the pro ranks since he also directed the Steelers in 1942. The other newcomers are Wilbur (Weeb) Ewbank of the Baltimore Colts; the New York Giants’ Jim Lee Howell and Joe Kuharich of the Washington Redskins. Kuharich served as head coach of the Chicago Cardinals in 1952 while Howell and Ewbank are beginning maiden ventures. Holdovers are George Halas, Chicago Bears; Joe Stydahar, Chicago Cardinals; Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns; Raymond (Buddy) Parker, Detroit Lions; Hampton Pool, Los Angeles Rams; Jim Trimble, Philadelphia Eagles; and Lawrence (Buck) Shaw, San Francisco Forty Niners. All 12 NFL members will be in action Sunday. In addition to the Packer-Pittsburgh contest here, the schedule will find the Chicago Bears at Detroit, Cleveland a Philadelphia, Los Angeles at Baltimore, New York at the Chicago Cardinals, and Washington at San Francisco…The Steelers were scheduled to arrive at Austin Straubel Field at 2 o’clock this afternoon. They will headquarter at the Hotel Northland and enplane for Pittsburgh immediately following the game…There will be an “old home week” flavor to Sunday’s game since the only three head coaches the Packers have known will be present simultaneously in City Stadium for the first time. Curly Lambeau, the club’s founder and first coach, will be in the press box, while his successor, Gene Ronzani, will be stationed on the north side of the field in his new capacity as backfield coach of the Steelers and Liz Blackbourn, of course, will be making his league debut as the Packers’ head coach. The theme will be further enhanced by the presence of Walt Kiesling, former Packer line coach, who is the Steelers’ new head coach…Press-Gazette carrier boys and dealers, 675 in all, will be guests of this newspaper at the game. Pregame entertainment also has been planned for the out-of-town carriers and dealers. While here, they will headquarter at the YMCA, where the day’s program will open with swimming in the “Y” pool at 10 o’clock. It will be followed by movies and dinner at 11:30, after which the group will adjourn to City Stadium…One of the Midwest’s foremost marching bands, the Four Lakes Council Boy Scouts drum and bugle corps of Madison, will entertain between halves. The Four Lakes unit was awarded second place in the VFW’s 1954 national competition at Philadelphia. The Packer Lumberjack Band also will officially launch its 16th season…All stadium employees, including gatemen, ushers, inside and outside police, are reminded by Chief of Police H.J. Bero to report at City Stadium not later than 11:30 Sunday morning. Gates will be opened at 12 o’clock.
PACKERS VS. STEELERS TODAY
SEPT 25 (Green Bay) - The Packers enter their 36th year in the NFL against the Steelers here Sunday with a combination they hope will bring back some of the glory of old. There's a new coach, a new general manager and, for all practical purposes, a new team. Liz Blackbourn, only the third coach in Packers history, and Verne Lewellen, all-time Packer great and the club's first general manager, are in the driver's seat. Only nine of the 33-man Packer squad are rookies, but any resemblance to last year's veterans to the Blackbourn trained players is purely unintentional. Pittsburgh's the first test "for keeps". It's only because Green Bay won a 36-14 decision over the Steelers last August in an exhibition game that they are a touchdown favorite. "The Steelers are going to be an inspired and fired-up club under (Walt) Kiesling," Blackbourn warned. Kiesling was rushed in to avert disaster at Pittsburgh when the club went to pot under Joe Bach. Since the self-styled "old man" of the Steelers took over it's been a complete reversal, according to Blackbourn's judgment. "They're going to be laying for us," said Liz, adding, "Don't you forget three of their best veterans, including halfback Ray Mathews, were on the sidelines when we beat them." Yet Blackbourn wasn't too pessimistic regarding his Packers. Coyly, he calls the game a toss-up with the team getting the breaks winning. "Our organization is strong but we have definite weaknesses in player personnel. We have no stars, we play as a team," explained Liz.
STEELER OPEN DRIVE AT GREEN BAY
SEPT 25 (Green Bay) - The Pittsburgh Steelers, down-hearted over a disastrous 1-6 preseason campaign, swing into the thick of the NFL championship race here tomorrow. A near sellout crowd of 25,000 wild-eyed Green Bay partisans will bulge City Stadium to welcome the highly-pitched, favored Packers and to see the Steelers for the first time since 1947. The odds-makers, experts who rarely go wrong handicapping a football game, have installed Coach Lisle Blackbourn's green-jerseyed Pack as six point favorites in their league inaugural. The key consideration, no doubt, was the 36-14 victory scored by the home club over the Steelers four weeks ago. The Steelers, operating at near-peak efficiency for the first time in seven weeks, flew into Green Bay today. After a brisk warmup drill at the stadium, the team returned to the hotel for a series of last-minute meetings on defensive strategy. Blackbourn, making his first start in a league game, displayed none of the same optimism that has been generated by his fellow townsmen. He has relegated the Packers to a "spoiler" role while the rest of the populace figures the Packer would be a cinch in the soft Eastern Division. Blackbourn will start almost the lineup that faced the Steelers in their earlier game, holding Veryl Switzer, the spectacular rookie halfback, in reserve. In the fleet Kansan's place will be veteran Al Carmichael. Fred Cone has replaced Breezy Reid in the fullback role. Injuries are still a problem with the Steelers. Linebacker Dick Flanagan injured his knee against the Baltimore Colts and re-injured it in last Sunday's exhibition against the Detroit Lions. Steeler Coach Walt Kiesling was still undecided as to whether he'd use Lynn Chadnois or Johnny Lattner at the right halfback berth.
PACKERS RATE SIX POINTS EDGE IN PRO LOOP OPENER TODAY
SEPT 26 (Green Bay) - Lisle Blackbourn, who is only the third head coach in the Packers' 36 seasons, will attempt to launch his first NFL campaign with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Sunday. Watching will be both of his predecessors, and when when the kickoff is made at 1:30 p.m, the three will have decidedly different viewpoints on the proceedings. In the stands, just as another of the 24,500 spectators who are expected to cram City Stadium will be Curly Lambeau, the man who organized the Packers in 1919, and led them to many successes before he resigned after the 1949 season. On the Steelers' side, as backfield coach under Walt Kiesling, who once coached Green Bay's line under Lambeau, will be Gene Ronzani, the man Blackbourn succeeded. Lambeau, Ronzani and Blackbourn will certainly be interested, each in his own way, in how Blackbourn's first pro team performs in the the first game that counts. They will, however, be no more interested perhaps than the fans, who have some reason to hope that, under Blackbourn, the Packers at last may be on their way up. The Packers are favored by six points. This may be due more to Pittsburgh's 1-6 record in exhibitions, one of the defeats a 36-14 pasting by the Packers themselves, than how to Green Bay has progressed. The Packers, for all of Blackbourn's good coaching, won two and lost four in preseason play. They did, however, improve from game to game for the most part and, if they can shake a tendency to make little mistakes, something better than a 2-9-1 record of last season may come about. In the exhibitions, mistakes cost the Packers a better record. A first down pass interception late in the game ruined an excellent chance to beat Cleveland and the Browns won, 14-13. A fumble and an interception gave Philadelphia two touchdowns and the Eagles won, 24-13. Last week, at Marquette Stadium, everything went wrong and the Giants won, 38-27. All told the Packers gave away or gave up six touchdowns in these three games. In all three they held their own otherwise. Injuries to Bill Howton and Bob Mann, the ace catchers, have not helped Tobin Rote's passing record to date. Howton will be available and Mann may be available this time. Rote so far has been especially effective with his hard running and his excellent faking. Because of improved blocking, he has had more time to throw and more places to run. The improved blocking, too, has made the Packers more of a threat running than at any time in recent seasons. To go with the blocking they have some boys to exploit the openings - rookies Veryl Switzer and Joe Johnson, and the revitalized veterans Rote, Fred Cone, Breezy Reid, and Al Carmichael. Two key rookies in the offensive line, tackle Art Hunter and guard Al Barry, missed the second half against the Giants and the Packers missed them. Both will play today. With Switzer and Carmichael in double safety, the Packers have an extremely potent kickoff and punt return game.