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Earl Lambeau - Joins The Nfl

Famous Sports StarsFootballEarl Lambeau Biography - Founds Green Bay Packers, Joins The Nfl, Career Statistics, Lambeau's Legacy, Chronology

Joins the NFL

In 1921 the Packers joined the new National Football League, a move that cost $50. Lambeau got into trouble by playing college students under assumed names, and the team's franchise was revoked. However, when Lambeau apologized and paid $250, it was returned.

Financially, the team struggled just to stay afloat, and throughout the 1920s, the team made enough to scrape by through holding dances at the Green Bay Elks Club and raffles at the local American Legion post. During this period, Lambeau realized that he could not simply rely on local talent, and began scouting for players, convincing them that despite its harsh winters, Green Bay was a great place to play and live. He acquired several superstar players, including Verne Llewellen, Lavvie Dilweg, and Red Dunn. When the team played the young Giants in New York, they won, 7-0.

In 1929, 1930, and 1931, Lambeau led the team to championship victories. In the next thirteen years, they won four division titles and three more NFL championships. Green Bay celebrated with parades, torchlight parties, and near-worship of Lambeau. But although fans loved Lambeau, the players had a difficult relationship with him. When he won, he would buy drinks for everyone; when he lost, he had seething tantrums.

Despite their success, the Packers went through bouts of financial trouble and were only bailed out by the efforts of their fans, who held benefits and raised enough to keep the team barely afloat.

During these hard times, Lambeau began to slip out of favor with fans and players alike. Local fans believed he was too extravagant, arrogant, and flashy; they questioned his management methods, and argued about the merits of his coaching. Committees were set up to over-see Lambeau's work.

Lambeau had also alienated himself from his wife, and on May 23, 1934, he and Van Kessel divorced. He moved to California, bought a house and a ranch, married twice more, and divorced both times. He was married to his second wife, Sue, from 1935 until their divorce in 1940; his third marriage, to Grace Nichols, lasted from 1945 to 1955.

After World War II, many of Lambeau's players were ex-servicemen who would not put up with his attitude. His relations with players and fans came to a final showdown when he tried to arrange a takeover of the team, and it failed. He left the team in 1949.

Career Statistics

Passing Rushing Receiving
Yr Team ATT COM YDS TD INT ATT YDS TD REC YDS TD
GB: Green Bay Packers.
1921 GB 58 18 361 1 8 29 96 2 0 0 0
1922 GB 55 26 469 2 4 60 203 3 0 0 0
1923 GB 118 43 752 3 17 133 416 1 13 217 2
1924 GB 179 75 1094 8 29 132 457 0 7 112 1
1925 GB 121 47 711 5 7 74 224 0 5 39 0
1926 GB 80 30 504 3 5 44 112 0 5 86 0
1927 GB 54 26 417 1 4 64 231 2 6 121 0
1928 GB 30 11 149 1 3 10 14 0 4 48 0
1929 GB 5 2 36 0 1 3 9 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 700 278 4493 24 78 549 1762 8 40 623 3

In the early 1950s, Lambeau coached for the Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins; his coaching career ended in 1954. In 1963, Lambeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lambeau died from a heart attack on June 1, 1965, in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

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