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Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) 17, Green Bay Packers (8-4) 13

Monday December 26th 1960 (at Philadelphia)



(PHILADELPHIA) - The Packers are the uncrowned "world champions" of professional football - certainly in the eyes of Packerland and the handful of Green Bay fans in Franklin Field Monday. They belted the Eagles all over the place and then left them reeling and hanging on for dear life just nine yards away from a Green Bay victory when the gun marked the end. The final score was a hard fought 17-13 - the lowest total score in a title game since Detroit beat Cleveland 17-7 in 1952.


The Packers did everything to the Eagles but beat them on the scoreboard and the Eagles' 17 was their lowest this season. But this was a classic in frustration for the Packer offense, which moved the ball for an amazing 22 first downs and 401 yards, and yet came out with only one touchdown and two field goals. The offense, engineered by Bart Starr, boiled into action in the last minute and a half and provided one of the most hectic finishes in the colorful history of the playoff series.


The huge throng of 67,325 was stunned at the end and wondered if their favorites really survived. The gun closed what might be the beginning of a powerful era and the end of another when young Jim Taylor was ground to an unwilling halt in the arms of old Chuck Bednarik on the Eagles nine-yard line. Bednarik and the Eagles' great QB, Norm Van Brocklin, are both retiring. Taylor will be bashing away for a long while. Star had won the Pittsburgh game, the Bays' only Eastern opponent this year, with a 65-yard drive in the last few minutes. The distance and time were similar Monday. Starr ran seven plays in the last 1:30. He threw to Taylor for five yards and to Tom Moore for four. Taylor ran eight and Starr passed to Knafelc for 19 to the 30, with 30 seconds left.


Starr then pitched to Dowler in the corner of the end zone. He was bumped by Jim Carr and Don Burroughs but no interference was called, though Dowler complained bitterly. Starr then threw to Knafelc for eight and Taylor took Starr's pass and crashed 13 to the nine. It took somebody like Bednarik to bring down the wild smashing Taylor. But that was it. Green Bay had gained great respect but lost in its first playoff game since 1944. This was a great shock to the Eagles and Eastern fans since the Eagles seemed lucky to win. The Philly defense was extremely hard-nosed but the Packers had the unbelievable total of seven chances to score from down in Eagle territory. They came out with two field goals of 20 and 23 yards and Starr's seven-yard pass to Max McGee for a touchdown.


The Bays reached the Eagle 14 and 23 thanks to a lateral and fumble recovery in the first frame: the Eagle 17 and 7 in the second; the 26 in the third; and the eight and nine in the fourth. The Packers twice lost the ball on downs and lost three points when Hornung missed a field goal 14 yards out on the last play of the half. The Packers dominated the offense, running off 77 rushes and passes against the Eagles 48. Green Bay held three different leads, 3-0 and then 6-0 before Van Brocklin hit Tommy McDonald for a 35-yard TD pass and a 7-6 lead. Bob Walston kicked a 15-yard field goal to put the Eagles ahead 10-6 at the half.


The third quarter was scoreless but the Bays scored early in the fourth on Starr's pass to McGee. That TD drive of 80 yards in 12 plays was set off by a fourth-down punt fake and run by McGee for 35 yards to midfield. A 58-yard runback of the next kickoff by Ted Dean set up the final TD and the Eagles' final lead. The Eagles went in from the Packer 39 in eight plays. The Packer defense, while it was run on in the game-winning drive, gave up only 296 yards, but 197 was on nine Van Brocklin completions. He gave the Eagles a 10-6 lead on four completions - a 22-yard shot and the 35-yard pitch to McDonald for the TD and then a 41-yard throw to Pete Retzlaff and a 22-yarder to Dean to set up the field goal. The Packers recovered two fumbles - by Bill Quinlan and Bill Forester, and intercepted one pass - a key steal by John Symank in the end zone.


The Eagles went through without a penalty and the Pack had four for 27 yards. Starr, with good protection, was never trapped once and completed 21 out of 35 for 178 yards. The most amazing figure was the Pack's 223 yards rushing, with Taylor getting 105. The Packers lost Hornung halfway through the third period when a tackle by Bednarik pinched a nerve in his shoulder. Moore replaced him and gained 22 yards in five carries but his loss removed the threat of the option pass. The field "grew" slippery and muddy as the sun melted the frozen turf and then hurt the defensive backs. Gremminger slipped and fell on McDonald's touchdown and on the big play that set up the Eagle field goal. Forester couldn't keep his footing to prevent a first down.


The Packers got two gorgeous breaks but couldn't turn them into a 14-0 lead. On the first play of the game Van Brocklin threw a pass to Barnes in the left flat. Quinlan, out like a shot, intercepted on the Eagle 14. Taylor and Hornung made nine in three downs and on fourth, Taylor fumbled the handoff and recovered for no gain. Dean fumbled it right back. Forester recovering on the Eagle 23. This time the Bays scored. Hornung and Taylor ran to the 12 and after an in motion penalty on the Pack three passes fell incomplete. On fourth down, Hornung booted a 20-yard field goal.


After Van Brocklin punted twice and McGee once, the Packers started a field goal drive from the 37. Hornung and Taylor gobbled up 13 plays and Starr hurled to Knafelc for eight. Taylor hit up the middle for 13 and on the first play of the second heat Hornung hurled to 


Dowler but Bob Freeman kayoed the ball on the goal line. Three incompletions and an offside penalty forced Hornung to try and make a 23-yard field goal. The Eagles made their second first down of the game on the Eagles' next try but they got nowhere. After an exchange of punts, including McGee's 30-yard punt, the Eagles exploded. Van Brocklin fired to McDonald straight down the middle for 22 yards to the Packer 35. Van Brocklin then rifled a shot to McDonald down the right corner on he four and Tommy ran in. Walston's kick made it 7-6. McGee had to punt right back and the Eagles were off again. Van hurled to Retzlaff for 41 yards to the Packer 33 and then Dean took a pass for 22 to the eight. The Bays put on a good rush and Van incompleted three straight, bringing on Walston's field goal from the 15. The Packers slammed right back and almost scored just before the half. Hornung ripped 16 on a left tackle draw and Taylor picked up 13 in three tries. After two eight yard gains by Hornung and Taylor, Starr hurled to Taylor 15 yards to the 20. Starr completed two passes to Hornung and Knafelc to the seven with 44 seconds left. On a quick lineup the Eagles were offside and the Packers refused the penalty and Hornung got a chance to kick with no rush. The boot was wide by a few feet.


The second half opened with a punt exchange and then both teams made threats. The Bays, with Hornung going 14 and Taylor 16, got to the 34. The drive ended with Hornung getting hurt and Taylor missing a fourth down rush by one foot on the 24. The Eagles put together three first downs, with Van hurling 33 yards to the Packer 40. Four short gains later Symank took a pass aimed at McDonald in the end zone to kill a big threat. The Packers tried three passes and on fourth down McGee surprised up an alley to the right for 35 yards to the Eagle 46. It was a gamble but the Eagles were loaded to the opposite side.


Starr hurled to Knafelc for 17 and on the first play of the last quarter Moore made 11 to the Eagle 23. Taylor and Moore made 16 yards in three plays and on second down Starr hit McGee for the touchdown in front of Tom Brookshier. Now it was the Eagles' turn. Dean took Hornung's kickoff on the three and went up the sidelines to the Packer 39 where Willie Wood and Ron Kramer booted him out of bounds. A holding penalty on the Pack, 12 yards by Dean, a loss of 7 for Van by Ray Nitschke, Van's screen pass to Barnes for 13 to the 14 and three runs, the last by Dean, produced the winning score. Walston booted the point. After a first down, McGee took a pass from Starr for 12 yards to the Eagle 48 but fumbled and Bednarik recovered. With 7 minutes left the Bays forced Van Brocklin to punt. The Eagles returned the compliment and so did the Pack, Van punting to Lew Carpenter on the Packer 35 with 1:30 left. The Bays then went down with colors flying, looking for that last "big play." It couldn't be found Monday.

GREEN BAY    -  3  3  0  7 - 13

PHILADELPHIA -  0 10  0  7 - 17

                       GREEN BAY  PHILADELPHIA

First Downs                   22            13

Rushing-Yards-TD        42-223-0       28-99-1

Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 35-21-178-1-0  20-9-204-1-1

Sack Yards Lost              0-0           1-7

Total Yards                  401           296

Fumbles-lost                 1-1           3-2

Turnovers                      1             3

Yards penalized             4-27           0-0


1st- GB - Paul Hornung, 20-yard field goal GREEN BAY 3-0

2nd- GB - Hornung, 20-yard field goal GREEN BAY 6-0

2nd - PHIL - Tommy McDonald, 35-yard pass from Norm Van Brocklin (Bobby Walston kick) PHIL 7-6

2nd - PHIL - Walston, 15-yard field goal PHILADELPHIA 10-6

4th - GB - Max McGee, 7-yard pass from Bart Starr (Hornung kick) GREEN BAY 13-10

4th - PHIL - Ted Dean, 5-yard run (Walston kick) PHILADELPHIA 17-13


GREEN BAY - Jim Taylor 24-105, Paul Hornung 11-61, Max McGee 1-35, Tom Moore 5-22, Bart Starr 1-0

PHILADELPHIA - Ted Dean 13-54 1 TD, Billy Ray Barnes 13-42, Norm Van Brocklin 2-3


GREEN BAY - Bart Starr 34-21-178 1 TD, Paul Hornung 1-0-0

PHILADELPHIA - Norm Van Brocklin 20-9-204 1 TD 1 INT


GREEN BAY - Gary Knafelc 6-76, Jim Taylor 6-46, Paul Hornung 4-14, Max McGee 2-19 1 TD, Tom Moore 2-9, Boyd Dowler 1-14

PHILADELPHIA - Tommy McDonald 3-90 1 TD, Bobby Walston 3-38, Pete Retzlaff 1-41, Ted Dean 1-22, Billy Ray Barnes 1-13



DEC 27 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Though the world championship of football has eluded them, Vince Lombardi was quick to inform America's sporting public minutes after Philadelphia's opportunistic Eagles wrested a hectic 17-13 decision from the Western Division champions here Monday afternoon. "I'm very proud of our ball club," Lombardi, ringed by a crush of press, radio and television newsmen in the capacious old dressing room, declared. "I think they played a great football game. They stayed in there all the way." At the same time, Vince said he was "happy for Buck," his Eagle coaching opponent, silver-haired Buck Shaw. "Seeing he's going to retire, that's a nice note for him to go out on." It was Ted Dean's 58-yard runback of a Paul Hornung kickoff early in the fourth quarter, at which point the Packers led 13-10, that triggered Buck's sweet swan song, Lombardi indicated. "You've got to consider that the big play of the game," he said. "If it weren't for that," he said, "we might have held 'em. That gave him their last score." There were at least two other situations that precipitated the Packers' demise, Vince felt. "That was the break of the game right there," he observed, "when we came out with only three points on those two scoring chances early in the first quarter. The field at that time was very difficult to run on. The sun still hadn't had too much of an effect and some spots were still pretty icy."...SLIPPED ON ICE: "I don't offer that as an alibi, though," he cautioned. "We were beaten and we were beaten - that's all there is to it. Hank Gremminger slipped on the ice, too, when McDonald scored that first touchdown, but that was just of those things that happen


in the ball game. Give Van (Van Brocklin) all the credit in the world," Vince added, almost in the same breath. "He completed the big ones today. The Eagles are a real, sound football team." Had the Eagles surprised him in any way? "No, they did everything we expected," Lombardi replied. "We did nothing different and they did nothing different. You don't get this far and then make a lot of changes. Our big trouble was we couldn't cash in on our breaks," he pointed out. "We just couldn't bring the ball in and score." On the subject of quarterbacking, he felt, "Starr (Bart) didn't have a great day or a bad day. He missed McGee (Max) going into the end zone early in the first quarter but that was the only bad pass he threw all day." It appeared the Pack had taken to the air more than had been its wont. "We had to throw because of the ground," Vince said. "We couldn't run as we would have liked. This is the first time we've been down close this year and haven't scored, you know." Why had the offside penalty on Paul Hornung's first half-ending field goal attempt been declined? "It would have given us a poorer angle for the kick," Vince said. Did he feel the third quarter injury to Hornung had hurt the Packers' chances? "No," came the forthright response. "I don't think it had any effect on the outcome. Tom Moore ran very well in his place." He hadn't been surprised over McGee's sparking dash from punt formation in the third quarter, Vince said. "We work on that sort of situation in practice," he said. What had happened on this one? "Everybody backed up so he just took off. Nobody was rushing him." Did he feel the Pack's failure to produce more than three points on those first two "breaks" had been destructive of morale? "Oh, no," he said emphatically, "we didn't go down then." Demonstrating he hadn't lost his sense of humor, Vince chuckled, "If we could have added a couple of more minutes, one at the end of the first half and one at the end of the game, we would have been all right."...Shaw, whose cup understandably was running over, attributed the Eagles' success in large part to a stunting defense. "If we had played them honest, they would have handled us pretty well," he said, the man who retires with his first title and coach of the year honors. "When you play them honest, they know right where you are. Today, we showed them a 4-3, then changed at the snap of the ball. The defensive end would move in tight and the linebacker would move out to take his responsibility. We had to do it - they're a pretty damned good blocking team. I think we beat a good football team - they're a good solid outfit." He was not confident of victory, he added, until it was all over. Buck, patiently holding court for wave after wave of writers, smiled, "The time we had it in our grasp was when that final gun went off." Shaw said he was surprised to note that Tommy McDonald, the Eagles' gifted receiver, had been "single covered pretty much of the afternoon. Most of the teams we play in the Eastern Division have been putting two men on him." All this time, a photographer standing on a box was snapping flash pictures of Shaw at point blank range. At this point, he interjected, "Hey, Buck, will you scratch your head and look like your thinking?" After graciously complying, Buck responded to another query, "We put an extra halfback in on defense at the end and took a linebacker out. We had a kind of umbrella setup because we knew they had to score and wouldn't settle for three points, so they would be throwing the ball." Shaw admitted, on another subject, that "our defensive end (Joe Robb) got a little careless on that fake punt and let them run the ball. That," he said soberly, "could have been the turning point." He also felt his Birds "looked pretty bad there for a while in the early going. We were pretty tense and didn't show much poise in the first quarter - but we relaxed a little as time went on." Stopping the Packers after those two early fumbles "helped us," Buck confided. "It made us believe we could do the job - and it as a team effort. Everybody did a job. Nobody stood out." Was he definite about retirement? "Yes, I am. I think I still have my health - and I want to keep it," the one-time member of the Notre Dame's famed Seven Mules declared. "I've had 39 years of it, and that's enough." What's next? "I'm in the corrugated box manufacturing business in San Francisco," Buck said, adding with a grin, "I'll go back to work and start earning an honest living." He later left the door open to a coaching offer, however - on his own terms. "It would have to be part time, and it would be something other than a head coaching job," Shaw said flatly. What a post with the Eagles? "That's possible," Buck replied, "but not as a head coach. We haven't even discussed it, however."...In the next room, an exuberant Norm Van Brocklin was holding court for the press - and insisting he also was calling it a career. "I'm definitely not returning," the Dutchman asserted. But somehow there persisted the doubt that the new-old "Mr. Quarterback," who recently supplanted erstwhile King John Unitas in the United Press International poll, was turning in his playbook. Pontificating with his usual gusto, Norm delivered himself of opinions on other subjects. On one he said, "We really didn't play up to our potential. We really didn't play very good football. It seems that's the kind of a club we are - we play as hard as we have to. Defensively, I think we did a hell of a good job but we didn't do too well on offense." He also took a pot shot at the officials. "The Packers were molesting our receivers all the time," he said, "but they wouldn't call it. They choke up in a championship game," Van Brocklin sneered. "They won't call a thing."


DEC 27 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - "It was nothing to be ashamed of the Packers represented the Western Division well," was the way Muggsie Halas, son of Bear owner-coach George Halas, reacted after the game. "Green Bay could have won going away but this wasn't the Packers' day," Halas added...Scooter McLean, the former Packer aide and head coach, complimented Packer coach Vince Lombardi. "You've got to hand it to him. He went for those seven points twice. He wanted to get away big." McLean had noted the Packer' twice losing the ball on downs deep in Eagle territory. "It was a gamble. If he had scored that first time, you might have won big," Scooter said...Gross receipts of $747,876 (including radio and TV) were a new playoff record. Another record was the winning player share - $5,116, which was high due to the small number of shares, 43 1/2. The Packers had 48, with each full share being $3,105. The Packers cut full shares to 40 players, including Joe Francis and Jim Temp, the five coaches and trainer Bud Jorgensen and equipment chief Dad Braisher, a half share to Mrs. Jack Vainisi, wife of the late Packer talent scout and business manager, and quarter shares went to game scout Wally Cruice and Dr. James Nellen...Nick Skorich, former Packer line coach now with the Eagles, was emphatic at the Eagles' party: "The Packers are the best in the Western Division, whew, this was a great game. What a thriller." Skorich had been mentioned as a possibility for the Minneapolis job - the Minnesota Vikings. "I head Sid Gillman had it all wrapped up," Nick said...Norm Van Brocklin, who admitted "I've had it as far as playing is concerned," expressed surprise that the Eagles could run on Green Bay. "Well, at least near the end. On that last drive our guys came back and said to run so we did quite a little. 

That Jordan is a good tackle, though. Funny game. We wind up running when we're supposed to be a passing team and the Packers completed 21 passes."...BRIEFS: The league held a meeting last night and reported talked about draft plans and division alignment, what with the Vikings coming into the league. This isn't scheduled for discussion now until the Jan. 24 convention in New York, other than telephone talks...Eight dollar tickets were sold by scalpers for $5 at the game...The biggest advantage in having the draft the day after the playoff, commented the Giants' Wellington Mara, is that it gets everybody here for the title game. The league had a buffet dinner for the clubs and the Eagles had their own party. Former Packer Bob Freeman and his wife missed the Eagles celebration because their oldest boy is ill. The Eagles have two other ex-Packers - Tim Brown and Bobby Jackson...FALSE PROPHET: Vince DePaula, who came all the way from Baltimore to haul the Packers' equipment to and from Franklin Field, saw a personal record broken. "I hauled the campions (the Baltimore Colts) the last years and I'm going to do it again this year," Vince predicted before the game...TURF TEST: Vince Lombardi conducted an extensive series of tests on the Franklin Field gridiron before deciding the Packers should wear cleats. Nearly two hours before game time, he had Dick Pesonen, in sneakers, and Paul Winslow, in cleats, practicing starts and cuts. Some players, among them Bill Forester, also made their own tests, wearing one sneaker and one cleated shoe...HELP FROM HOME: Eight Packer wives were in the stands to cheer on their husbands, along with those of three coaches, the Mmes. Vince Lombardi, John (Red) Cochran and Bill Austin. The players' spouses included the Mmes. Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, Hank Gremminger, John Symank, Gary Knafelc, Lew Carpenter and John Miller...TRAPPER ON HAND: Dave (Trapper) Stephenson, Packer center and guard in the early 50's, drove in from West Virginia for the big playoff. "It's the first time I've seen the Packers 'live' since 1958," Trapper said. "I saw five games on television this season, though." Also present and pulling for the Pack was former Green Bay golf star Harry Montevideo, now pro at Whippoorwill Country Club, Rye, N.Y.



DEC 27 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The best team lost on the hard, icy turf of ancient Franklin Field here Monday afternoon. Of this, largely without rancor or malice, the Packers are convinced. Analyzing the day's painful events from the objective distance of 18,000 feet above Pennsylvania in their Green Bay bound plane, the Western Division champs paid unstinting tribute to the Philadelphia Eagles' pluck - but otherwise conceded the football world's new royalty nothing. There were no alibis, no complaints. History had recorded its decision and Vince Lombardi's athletes accepted it, not without the pain and chagrin that must inevitably fall to men of pride. Some were more outspoken than others. One such was Hollywood handsome Dan Currie, the jolting Michigan State alumnus who has become one of the NFL's premier linebackers. "We're better than they are," he rapped disgustedly. "That's what hurts. We just kicked away our opportunities." His fellow linebackers, Defensive Capt. Bill Forester and Ray Nitschke, emphatically concurred, "We're definitely better than they are," Bubba declared. "There's no doubt about it." And Nitschke later appended, "This is a tremendous bunch of guys - we should have had it." A somber Max McGee, almost hero of this piece with his unscheduled flight from punt formation drawled, "I'm convinced we're better than they are - but you've got to hand it to 'em - we got the breaks and we didn't do anything with them. I do think, though, that they played way over their heads." Comparing the Eagles to the Western Division opposition the Packers normally encounter, Max pinpointed organization as the Birds' prime asset. "I think they're a little better organized than the teams we play in the West - they always know what they're doing. I don't think their personnel is too great - they just wait around and sit on the bomb. They're not consistent, they wait for the big one." Explaining that tingling dash from punt formation, the laconic veteran declared, "It wasn't a play but it wasn't a gamble. I held the ball long enough to see them all turn tail so I went with them. It definitely wasn't a gamble - I could see 10 yards."...'COULD SEE TOUCHDOWN': "In fact, as it was, I could see touchdown, if I'd gone the other way," Max added dryly. "I saw about four blockers ahead of me and their two safety man. They were looking up as though they expected to catch the ball. I cut to the inside and I should have gone to the outside. I would have gone all the way." His roomie, Paul Hornung, sidelined most of the second half with a pinched nerve in his shoulder, felt even worse when he scanned the game's sobering statistics. "Seventy-seven to 48," he mused in disbelief. "We had the ball for 77 plays to their 48. That should spell win." Even more disconsolate was Bart Starr, one of the Packers' seven contributions to the imminent Pro Bowl game in Los Angeles. "There were a lot of little things that hurt us all day," he said sadly, "but I think we finally lost it when we missed on that pass to Gary (Knafelc) with 4 1/2 minutes to play." "If we had hit on that, we would have been all right," Bart signed. "As it was, it gave them a chance to kill more time." Did he agree with his colleagues about the rivals' respective merits? "I don't want sound like sour grapes," Bart said with customary candor, "but I sure do feel we're the better team." Another unhappy citizen was Hank Gremminger - and with abundant reason. Hank, one of the NFL's most accomplished cornerbacks, was a victim of the Eagles' Tommy McDonald through a quirk of fate in the second quarter - and it proved expensive. "He turned in and I was with him. Then he went out and I lost my footing," Gremminger said softly. "I got up and made a lunge but I couldn't hold him." Bruising Jim Taylor, the recipient of Starr's last stab at the world title, didn't know where he had been brought to earth "but somebody told me it was on the nine-yard line."...'GAME OF INCHES': It remained for the jarring fullback, already assured of Packer immortality after only three years in the NFL, to sum it up, "We didn't cash in when we had the opportunities," Taylor said matter-of-factly. "We pushed them all over the field in the first quarter but we didn't put 'em on the board. Those close first downs win them," he added thoughtfully, dinner fork poised above his steak. "This is a game of inches, you know."



DEC 27 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - A subdued band of Packers, their bid for the world football domination thwarted a few hours before, came home to a small but heartfelt welcome Monday night. A quiet but cheerful and sincere crowd variously estimated from 500 to 1,500 fans were on hand to greet the NFL Western Division champions who had lost their bid for a league title against the Philadelphia Eagles. It was in marked contrast to the scene of a week before when over 10,000 whooped it up in much colder weather after the Packers clinched the division championship in Los Angeles. However, there was no lack of cordiality in Monday's night welcome. As the players, led by Max McGee, straggled quietly into the terminal the crowd lining the fence shouted encouragement to individuals and generally let the team know it was satisfied with the effort. It wasn't had for defensive end Bill Quinlan to pinpoint the cause of the Packers' 17-13 loss on the team's return...BLAMES THE DUTCHMAN: Said Quinlan as he got off the plans which had returned some of the Packers to Green Bay, "It was that damn Dutchman" - Eagle quarterback Norm Van Brocklin. Offensive end Gary Knafelc looked at the crowd, and said, "It's just not like last week. The team is down, real down." Knafelc had nothing but praise for Chuck Bednarik, the great Eagle center and defensive linebacker who played the entire game. "He's one of the real pros," the tall Green Bay end said. "His reactions are very quick and he's one of the toughest men I've faced."...WAS A GREAT GAME: One of the 200 fans who had just returned from Philadelphia commented: "It was a great game but we were just outplayed." "Outplayed, nuts," another exclaimed. In town no citizens were happy but did try to find something to smile about. Said one fellow, "So what if they got beat? They're still Western Conference champs." A friend added, "Yah, there's nothing to be ashamed of." Most local fans attributed the loss to Green Bay's inability to punch touchdowns across after two breaks - pass interception and a fumble recovery - early in the first quarter...SCORE FIELD GOAL: The Packers failed to score at all after the first break and then got only a field goal the second time. On both occasions the Packers had taken over the ball inside the Eagles' 25. In the crowd gathering at the airport for the 8 p.m. arrival, the general feeling was that Green Bay had nothing to be ashamed of. The Packers had come through, a feeling strengthened by returning fans whose four chartered planes began arriving from Philadelphia shortly before the big United Airlines carrier with the players aboard. About two-thirds of the squad and two coaches returned to Green Bay. Those whose home are in the East remained behind and so did Vince Lombardi and assistants Phil Bengtson and Bill Austin, who stayed in Philadelphia for today's NFL draft session. The two coaches who returned were Red Cochran and Norb Hecker. As the crowd quietly scattered a few minutes after the Packers had made their way through the terminal and into waiting buses, the attitude was "Wait 'til next year."


Lombardi regretted fourth-and-1 calls - They cost Packers title-game loss in Philadelphia

(By Cliff Christl -

GREEN BAY—In some ways, sports writing and sports reporting have never been better than they are today. But over my 35-plus years in the newspaper business, one of my biggest complaints was too many sportswriters neglected to provide accurate and detailed historical perspective in stories that cried out for it. And things have only gotten worse with today's around-the-clock sports coverage. The examples are countless, but in our little niche of the sports world, a recent one would be the reaction to the Packers' playoff meltdown in Seattle, which, in turn, resurrected recollections of Mike Sherman's decision 11 years ago to punt rather than go for it on fourth-and-less-than-a-yard in the closing minutes of a divisional playoff loss in Philadelphia. Let's go back to Dec. 26, 1960, Vince Lombardi's first championship game as head coach of the Packers. The scene was Franklin Field in Philadelphia. On the game's first offensive play, Norm Van Brocklin's swing pass was intercepted by defensive end Bill Quinlan, giving the Packers the ball at the Eagles 14-yard line. Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor gained eight yards on three running plays, setting up fourth-and-2 at the Eagles 5. Lombardi went for it and Taylor was stopped short of a first down. As a result, when the Packers recovered another fumble deep in Eagles territory three plays later and settled for a Hornung field goal, they had only a 3-0 lead to show for two turnovers in less than six minutes. The Packers would continue to dominate play – they would run 77 plays to the Eagles' 48 – but trailed 10-6 midway through the third quarter when they took possession at their 36-yard line following a punt. Hope soared when Hornung burst up the middle for 14 yards and Taylor ripped through the middle again on the next play for 16 more. The 


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and lineman Chuck Bednarik shake hands at the coin toss to start the 1960 NFL title game. (Credit: Philadelphia Eagles)


Paul Hornung looks for an opening during the 1960 Packer-Eagle NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.


Eagles halfback Ted Dean (35) (Credit: Associated Press)


Eagles' suspect run defense looked vulnerable. Three more running plays netted nine yards and left the Packers facing fourth-and-1 at the Eagles' 25. Lombardi gambled again. Taylor slammed into the middle of the line again. Again, he was stopped short. The game would end with middle linebacker Chuck Bednarik pinning Taylor to the ground as the final seconds ticked away. Taylor had just picked up a first down at the Eagles' 22, but the Packers were out of timeouts and needed a touchdown to win. Lombardi blamed himself for the 17-13 loss, regretting his two fourth-down gambles. Power football was the hallmark of the Lombardi Packers. They had finished second in the NFL in rushing yards in 1960. They had averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Taylor and Hornung combined for 1,772 rushing yards. They would outrush the Eagles in this championship, 223 yards to 99. Three of their five offensive linemen – Jim Ringo, Forrest Gregg and Jerry Kramer – were named first-team all-pro that year by the Associated Press. Ringo and Gregg would eventually be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On the other side of the line was an Eagles defense that had ranked 12th in yards allowed rushing in what was then a 13-team NFL. Although short field goals at that time weren't the sure points they are today, two chip shots against the Eagles might have produced a 20-17 victory. Lombardi apparently thought so. According to David Maraniss' book, When Pride Still Mattered, Lombardi told broadcaster Ray Scott that night, "I learned my lesson today. When you get down there, come out with something." And Lombardi would coach accordingly the rest of his career. Each of the next two years the Packers would rank No. 1 in the league in rushing and win back-to-back NFL titles. They would finish second in rushing in 1967 and win their fifth and final title under Lombardi, despite losing starting backs, Elijah Pitts and Jim Grabowski, to injuries midway through the season. But no matter how strong his running game was over the seven seasons in which his teams won those five titles, Lombardi would face six more fourth-and-1 situations from the opponents' 40-yard line or closer in the postseason and settle for field goals four times, according to Eric Goska, author and keeper of historical Packers stats. One of the advantages of being a pundit is you rarely run the risk of being wrong. What's more, spin it right by ignoring contradictory historical perspective and you can make yourself look even smarter. When pundits revisit Sherman's decision to punt from the Eagles' 41-yard line with a 17-14 lead, how often do they also remind you Sherman had gambled and lost on a fourth-and-goal from inches away just before halftime? The Packers' ballyhooed offensive line couldn't budge Philadelphia's defense and Ahman Green, who had rushed for 1,883 yards and averaged 5.3 per carry that season, was stuffed short of the goal line on the team's signature power play. Fourth-and-short is never a sure thing. Arguably, the greatest of all football coaches knew that better than anyone. Lombardi produced maybe the greatest power-running teams in the history of the NFL but lost a chance to twice win three straight NFL championships under the league's playoff format because his offense couldn't dislodge an out-manned defense for two measly yards.

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