To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby Oszuscik » Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:42 pm

What was your most enjoyable year/years watching the Packers between the Lombardi era and the Ron Wolf era (1968-1991)?

I was born just before Brett Favre became a Packer, so fortunately for me I missed the decades of losing after Lombardi. Were there any bright spots you enjoyed? Any years that got you invested in the team and gave you hope? I asked this same question to my dad and he named the 1989 Majik year as being the most fun he had watching the team during those down years.

Would love to hear anybody's experiences on being a fan during that time.
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby JWL » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:14 pm

The Majik year was a down year? That would be an up year for my team.
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby Citizen » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:13 am

I adopted the Packers at age 6 in 1969, so I had a front-row seat to a quarter-century of dysfunction and mediocrity before being richly rewarded in the years since.

That doesn't mean there weren't some wonderful, exciting times, though. There was 1972, when the two-headed hydra of Brockington and Lane vaulted Green Bay to the top of the NFC Central seemingly out of nowhere. Or 1978, when super-rookie James Lofton helped GB to a 7-2 start before a brutal second-half schedule did them in. Or 1982, when the Dickey/Lofton/Jefferson/Coffman tandem helped them to their only playoff win during those years.

But 1989 was special. Green Bay was probably no better than average that year, but thanks to a surplus of lucky breaks and great play by Majkowski, Sharpe, Harris et al., they were about as dynamic and entertaining as any team in the league.

Of course, the common thread between those four seasons was that in each case the Packers went back into the tank the following year. That's why my optimism following a winning record in the first Wolf/Holmgren/Favre year was heavily tempered: Like many Green Bay fans, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop in '93.
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby Ronfitch » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:10 pm

1978.

I grew up in a baseball neighborhood, really unaware of football until we moved when I was six. In my new neighborhood, everybody - it seemed - was into football and the NFL. This was a few years after the Lombardi years and in NE Iowa, where the CBS games were frequently the Vikings for much of the '70s. But my new best friend was a Packers fan, so I was in. I have some memories of Donny Anderson's last season in Green Bay and the Brockington-Lane big back backfield of the '72 season with some great play from Fred Carr, Jim Carter, Ken Ellis, Bob Brown, Mike McCoy and rookies Chester Marcol and Willie Buchanon. Plus some of the Lombardi era players - starters Robby, Carroll Dale, Ken Bowman (Bob Brown also played for Lombardi) - plus Nitschke, Gilly (whose year was ended in the pre-season by the completely incompetent Dan Devine). So there was a strong link to the history of the team and league, which pulled me in even more.

Then five years of poor seasons.

Then, 1978.

By then, I had a good knowledge of the history of the team and was a regular visitor to the libraries for anything Packer-related (796.xx in the non-fiction shelves). Probably even fewer games on TV because the Vikings owned that decade and Green Bay had slipped so far, but I had the Packer Report every week.

So, 1978 began in game 9 of 1977, when the hopes of the post-Brockington offense was a wonderful pure passer with limited mobility named Lynn Dickey. IMO, Dickey is the best passer I have seen in Green Bay until Rodgers. Hopes were high, despite the lack of offensive talent. Bart Starr was entering his third year as a coach and the team finally had draft picks in '77, which he used to get DEs Mike Bulter and Ezra Johnson at 1a and 1b - Bulter was a starter as a rookie and I believe Johnson contributed - plus T Greg Koch in the second round. The '77 season was bad, but there were some young players added. Then, in game 9, Lynn Dickey got hurt at the end of a blowout by the Rams, an injury that would sideline him for two seasons.

Then, in the 1978 draft, the Packers grab WR James Lofton and LB John Anderson in the first round, add LBs Mike Hunt and Mike Douglass. Lofton, Anderson and Hunt would be starters in '78, Douglass would start a few games. Add returning vets CB Buchanon, K Marcol, TE Rich McGeorge, C Larry McCarren, LB Gary Weaver and a small but exciting returner in Steve Odom to the players from the '77 draft plus a young secondary which added Mike P. McCoy, Steve Luke and Johnny Gray. Suddenly, there was a nice core of young players.

The Packers go 6-1 and then 7-2 to start the year, with second-year quarterback David Whitehurst and some guy named Terdell Middleton suddenly among the league's leading rushers, a second-year player who had done little in '77. Nevermind that they were 6-1 against poor teams, because in '73 - '77, they were likely to be 1-6 against poor teams in the league. It was surprise ... to everyone. And fun to still be in the race in the third week of the season. Going into week eight, they were not playing to keep out of double-digit loses for the season (yeah, the '70s were rough for the Packers).

Then it all crashed. They went 1-6-1 the rest of the way to finish 8-7-1, losing the tie-breaker for the division with the Vikings, who also went 8-7-1 in a down year for them.

Which set us up for '79, full of hope again for a seasoned David Whitehurst, the possible return of Lynn Dickey and a great number one pick in Eddie Lee Ivery out of Georgia Tech ...
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby 74_75_78_79_ » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:07 pm

’81 & ’83 were twin-heartbreakers, sandwiching their second and final playoff berth in that ‘dark era’. Each resulted in them losing their finale (dropping them to 8-8 in each case) that, had they won, they get final playoff spot. Instead, two teams whom the Pack beat in each case - Giants (twice) & Rams - would make it instead. Whereas Jets destroyed GB from the get-go, the ’83 finale had to be more heartbreaking - Starr never calling any of his three timeouts as the Walter-less Bears march down into FG-range with a minute-and-change to go thus ending Bart’s long player/coach tenure in Titletown.

A wild card date between they and Philly at the Vet may have been an interesting matchup; and safe-enough to assume they take advantage of Big D’s sudden-free-fall-mode two years later. A GB@Wash divisional would have been better anticipated if only due, of course, to the Pack beating Wash in that season’s classic MNF track meet, 48-47. Highly doubtful they get annihilated as Rams did. Going into such a hypo-divisional round, perhaps some may have hoped for a GB@Det NFCCG!


How about 1980 down-the-stretch? Completing their sweep of eventual-division-winner, Vikes, in Week #12, they were now 5-6-1 with four weeks to go. Were any of you Packer-fans at the time feeling optimistic; or did you see the collapse (low-lighted by that infamous 61-7 drubbing at Chicago) coming?
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby Oszuscik » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:57 am

Of all the seasons during the "dark era" where the Packers managed to give some hope (namely '72, '78, early 80's, and '89), I imagine the Dan Devine era had to be the most frustrating. I didn't live it, but the Packers seemed to have a decent roster, especially in 1972! John Brockington was Offensive Rookie of the Year in '71, Willie Buchanon Defensive Rookie of the Year in '72. Gale Gillingham was arguably the best guard in pro football, Ken Ellis was only 25 and already an All-Pro CB, Chester Marcol was a rookie All-Pro who led the league in scoring, Scott Hunter was a young game-manager... Fred Carr, Rich McGeorge, MacArthur Lane, and Sweeney Williams all were play-makers. I understand the passing game was the Achilles heel in '72, but going into '73 the fans had 2nd year pro Jerry Tagge, a QB who won back to back national championships, and 1st round pick Barry Smith, the "next Fred Biletnikoff", to look forward to. I know they both flamed out, but I'm sure that wasn't expected by fans going into 1973.

With the talent on the early 70's teams, not to mention the winning 60's being fresh in the rear view mirror, I would imagine those years were tough to swallow. In a way the losing years can be most interesting to look at, trying to figure out where things went wrong and what the team's ceiling really was.
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans.

Postby Teo » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:38 am

74_75_78_79_ wrote:’81 & ’83 were twin-heartbreakers, sandwiching their second and final playoff berth in that ‘dark era’. Each resulted in them losing their finale (dropping them to 8-8 in each case) that, had they won, they get final playoff spot. Instead, two teams whom the Pack beat in each case - Giants (twice) & Rams - would make it instead. Whereas Jets destroyed GB from the get-go, the ’83 finale had to be more heartbreaking - Starr never calling any of his three timeouts as the Walter-less Bears march down into FG-range with a minute-and-change to go thus ending Bart’s long player/coach tenure in Titletown.

A wild card date between they and Philly at the Vet may have been an interesting matchup; and safe-enough to assume they take advantage of Big D’s sudden-free-fall-mode two years later. A GB@Wash divisional would have been better anticipated if only due, of course, to the Pack beating Wash in that season’s classic MNF track meet, 48-47. Highly doubtful they get annihilated as Rams did. Going into such a hypo-divisional round, perhaps some may have hoped for a GB@Det NFCCG!


How about 1980 down-the-stretch? Completing their sweep of eventual-division-winner, Vikes, in Week #12, they were now 5-6-1 with four weeks to go. Were any of you Packer-fans at the time feeling optimistic; or did you see the collapse (low-lighted by that infamous 61-7 drubbing at Chicago) coming?


I would choose 1983, since it appeared that they could win their division, and with Dickey, Lofton, Jefferson and Coffman they had a decent chance to advance deep into the playoffs. But as we know it, all the mistakes, poor defense and all the losses like the 47-41 OT defeat at Atlanta were heartbreaking.
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby Citizen » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:57 am

1983 was a killer. In seven games the Packers had a lead of at least 17 points, and only one of those leads held up. As Larry McCarren later put it, "What do you expect when you have a bunch of f***ing Daryle Skaugstads on your defense?"

The 1980 team should not have been 5-6-1 when they got crushed by Chicago. Take away the infamous Tom Birney game in Tampa and Sipe beating an ill-advised fourth-down blitz to win in Cleveland, and they're 7-5 with a respectable shot at taking the division. When they lost to Tampa in week 12 (Stenerud missing a last-second game-tyer) that was all she wrote.
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Re: To longtime Green Bay Packers fans...

Postby Teo » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:13 am

Citizen wrote:1983 was a killer. In seven games the Packers had a lead of at least 17 points, and only one of those leads held up. As Larry McCarren later put it, "What do you expect when you have a bunch of f***ing Daryle Skaugstads on your defense?"

The 1980 team should not have been 5-6-1 when they got crushed by Chicago. Take away the infamous Tom Birney game in Tampa and Sipe beating an ill-advised fourth-down blitz to win in Cleveland, and they're 7-5 with a respectable shot at taking the division. When they lost to Tampa in week 12 (Stenerud missing a last-second game-tyer) that was all she wrote.


The 1983 Packers defense had some productive players (DE Ezra Johnson and LBs John Anderson and Mike Douglass came to mind), but not much else.
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