George Whitney Calhoun

George Whitney Calhoun (September 16, 1890 – December 6, 1963) was an American newspaper editor and co-founder of the Green Bay Packers, a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After establishing the Packers in 1919 with Curly Lambeau, Calhoun served the team in various capacities for 44 years until his death in 1963. Utilizing his editorial job at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, he became the team's first publicity director, helping to establish local support and interest. He also served as the first team manager and was a member of the board of directors of the non-profit corporation that owns the team. Although often overshadowed by the more famous Curly Lambeau, Calhoun was instrumental to the early success of the Packers. In recognition of his contributions, Calhoun was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1978.

George Whitney Calhoun
A portrait shot of George Whitney Calhoun
BornSeptember 16, 1890
DiedDecember 6, 1963 (aged 73)
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Occupation
Known forFounding the Green Bay Packers
Parent(s)
  • Walter A. Calhoun
  • Emmeline Whitney Calhoun

Personal life

George Whitney Calhoun was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin on September 16, 1890, the son of Walter A. Calhoun and Emmeline Whitney Calhoun. The Calhoun family was well-known in the area: Walter was employed at the Green Bay Water Company and Emmeline was the granddaughter of Daniel Whitney, one of the founders of Green Bay.[1] Calhoun and his family moved to Buffalo, New York, where they lived until 1915. While in New York, Calhoun attended the University at Buffalo where he played hockey and football.[2] While being tackled during a collegiate football game, he crashed into a goalpost, which left him temporarily paralyzed and permanently unable to play competitive sports.[3] Calhoun recovered and completed his studies in 1913. Before moving back to Green Bay in 1915, he started working in the newspaper industry for the Buffalo Times, where he stayed for two years.[1]

In 1915, Calhoun was hired by the Green Bay Review as a telegraph editor,[note 1] where he worked for two years. He then joined the Green Bay Press-Gazette, also as a telegraph editor, a job he held for 40 years until his retirement in 1957.[2] While working for the Press-Gazette, Calhoun helped form hockey, baseball, and football teams across the region.[5] He also became a well-known sportswriter who was respected by his peers for his knowledge of the Green Bay Packers and the early history of the National Football League (NFL).[6] Calhoun died on December 6, 1963, in Green Bay, six years after retiring from the Press-Gazette.[3][7]

Green Bay Packers

1921 dope sheet
An example of The Dope Sheet written by Calhoun in 1921

Professional football began in Green Bay in 1919, although various city teams had been organized for years. During a chance encounter, Calhoun raised the idea of starting a football team with Curly Lambeau. Calhoun was familiar with Lambeau's sports experience at Green Bay East High School and maintained a friendship with him while Lambeau was at the University of Notre Dame to play football.[1] Their encounter occurred after Lambeau had dropped out of Notre Dame due to illness.[8] Lambeau still wanted to play football, so Calhoun recommended they start a football team together. Lambeau persuaded his employer the Indian Packing Company to sponsor the team and pay for its uniforms and equipment.[1] Calhoun, using his job at the Press-Gazette,[9] wrote a few articles inviting potential football players to attend a meeting to discuss the formation of a local football team.[10] The Green Bay Packers were officially organized on August 11, 1919, in the Press-Gazette office.[11] A second meeting three days later on August 14 attracted up to 25 people interested in playing for the newly formed team.[5]

After two years of playing teams around Wisconsin, the Packers entered the American Professional Football Association, the precursor to the modern-day NFL.[note 2] Calhoun became the team's publicity director and traveling manager, helping to organize games and promote the new franchise.[13] Because the Packers played in such a small market, they relied heavily on the revenue from away games, which was generated by Calhoun's efforts promoting the team.[5] He also helped raise funding for the Packers during periods of financial difficulty.[14] Before the Packers charged for admission, he organized cash collections during games to raise additional funds.[15] After the Packers erected a fence, Calhoun manned the front gates and ensured game attendees paid to enter the grounds.[1]

Calhoun wrote The Dope Sheet, the Packers' official newsletter and game program from 1921 to 1924. Because of the constant changing of teams and players in the NFL during the 1920s, The Dope Sheet was important in keeping fans up-to-date on the Packers and their opponents.[6] Calhoun used his job at the Press-Gazette to network with other sports editors and maintain a vast database of early NFL game summaries and statistics. His love of beer and his unique networking abilities were so well known that Calhoun's hotel room was a popular venue before and after Packers games.[1][5]

Calhoun continued in his role as publicity director until 1947, when he was forced to resign by Lambeau.[1] This was unpopular and permanently damaged Calhoun's relationship with Lambeau.[16] Even after leaving the team, Calhoun remained a strong supporter of the Packers and attended every home game from 1919 to 1956, and served on the Board of Directors of Green Bay Packers, Inc. until his death.[1][3]

Legacy

Packers Heritage Trail Plaza
The Packers Heritage Trail plaza includes a statue of Calhoun.

Calhoun's legacy is complicated and often overlooked when compared to his counterpart, Curly Lambeau.[17] Lambeau served as both a player (for ten years) and the head coach, a role he had for thirty years from 1919 to 1949. The prominence of these roles and the early success of the Packers helped enshrine Lambeau in the Pro Football Hall of Fame[18] and led to the Packers naming their current stadium after him.[19] Calhoun never received these same honors, although his contributions were significant.[1] Calhoun's penchant for publicizing the team, his ability to raise funds, and his role as team manager were essential to the Packers surviving as a franchise and succeeding on the field.[1] He is attributed with developing the name "Packers"[note 3] and his Dope Sheet was essential to keeping fans informed of game results, statistics, and players.[1][6]

The Packers have recognized Calhoun's influence and contributions in many ways. After Calhoun's death in December 1963, his ashes were scattered on the field at City Stadium.[1] In 1978, Calhoun was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in recognition of his status as a founder of the team, publicist, and Board member.[21] In 2013, a bronze sculpture of Calhoun was dedicated as part of the Packers Heritage Trail plaza in downtown Green Bay.[22] Decades after its last publication, the Packers revived the title The Dope Sheet for its modern-day game program to honor Calhoun's early contributions to the team.[23]

Notes

  1. ^ The word telegraph refers to electrical telegraph, the transmission of electronic messages. After the development of the technology in the 1830s, newspapers used telegraphy to distribute news stories across the country.[4]
  2. ^ The league was called the American Professional Football Association for two years before being renamed in 1921 to the National Football League.[12]
  3. ^ Some sources defer on the attribution of the name Packers, although they agree it was based on the Indian Packing Company, and later the Acme Packing Company. Some sources attribute the name to Curly Lambeau's girlfriend, and not Calhoun.[20] Calhoun had used various names to describe the team in the beginning, including the Bays, the Indians and the Packers.[13] Regardless of the source, the name stuck after Calhoun's printing and publicity of the name Packers.[1][3]

References

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Hendricks, Martin (October 2, 2008). "A founding figure behind the scenes". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "One of Packer Founders Dies". The Daily Telegram. December 7, 1963. p. 11. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  3. ^ a b c d "Packers' Co-Founder, George Calhoun, Dies at 73 in Green Bay (part 1)". The Post-Crescent. December 6, 1963. p. B7. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ "America's original wire: The telegraph at 150". CBS Interactive Inc. Associated Press. October 24, 2011. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Dougherty, Pete (August 21, 2018). "Dougherty: Fledgling Packers needed unlikely lifeline to survive, soar". Green Bay Press-Gazette. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Povletich 2012, p. 10.
  7. ^ "Packers' Co-Founder, George Calhoun, Dies at 73 in Green Bay (part 2)". The Post-Crescent. December 6, 1963. p. B8. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. ^ Povletich 2012, p. 4.
  9. ^ Christl, Cliff (March 26, 2016). "The Truth and Myth About the Hungry Five". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Povletich 2012, p. 5.
  11. ^ Christl, Cliff (August 11, 2016). "High Five: Biggest myths about Packers birthday". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  12. ^ "1922 American Professional Football Association changes name to National Football League". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on August 6, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Povletich 2012, p. 6.
  14. ^ Srubas, Paul (October 12, 2017). "Too lazy to walk the Packers Heritage Trail? Read this". Green Bay Press-Gazette. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Christl, Cliff (July 27, 2017). "The Greatest Story in Sports". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  16. ^ Povletich 2012, p. 67.
  17. ^ Dougherty, Pete (August 8, 1993). "Sportswriter's idea spurred Lambeau". Green Bay Press-Gazette. p. 156. Archived from the original on December 9, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  18. ^ "Earl (Curly) Lambeau". Pro Football Hall of Fame. 2018. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "'Lambeau Field' voted by council". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. August 5, 1965. p. 3-part 2. Archived from the original on 2016-05-10. Retrieved August 3, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  20. ^ The Legend of Lambeau Field: The Heroes, the Highlights, the History. Frozen Tundra Films. February 23, 2010. ASIN B0000CC88W.
  21. ^ "Green Bay Hall of Famers". Green Bay Packers, Inc. 2018. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  22. ^ "Packers Heritage Trail unveils new plaza, statues". Nexstar Media Group. September 14, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Dope Sheet" (PDF). Green Bay Packers, Inc. October 17, 2006. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.

Bibliography

External links

1930 All-Pro Team

The 1930 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1930 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Green Bay Press-Gazette (GB), based on the returns of ballots sent to the league's coaches, club officials, sports writers and officials, and Collyer's Eye (CE).

Bob Monnett

Robert C. Monnett (February 27, 1910 – August 2, 1978) was a professional American football player who played halfback for six seasons for the Green Bay Packers. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1973.

Charley Brock

Charles Jacob "Charley" Brock (March 15, 1916 – May 25, 1987) was an American football center and linebacker.

Curly Lambeau

Earl Louis "Curly" Lambeau (April 9, 1898 – June 1, 1965) was a professional American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). Lambeau, along with his friend and fellow Green Bay, Wisconsin native George Whitney Calhoun, founded the Green Bay Packers in 1919. From 1919 to 1929, Lambeau served as a player-coach and maintained de facto control on the day-to-day operations of the team. As a player, Lambeau lined up as a halfback, which in the early years of the NFL was the premier position. He was the team's primary runner and passer, accounting for 35 touchdowns (eight as a rusher, three as a receiver, and 24 as a passer) in 77 games. He won his only NFL championship as a player in 1929.

From 1919 to 1949, Lambeau was the head coach and general manager of the Packers. He led his team to over 200 wins and six NFL championships, including three straight from 1929 to 1931. He shares the distinction with rival George Halas of the Chicago Bears and later, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots of coaching his team to the most NFL championships. Lambeau also coached eight players who went on to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With players such as quarterback Arnie Herber and split end Don Hutson, his teams revolutionized the use of the passing game in football. After a falling out with the Packers Board of Directors, Lambeau left the Packers to coach the Chicago Cardinals for two seasons and then Washington Redskins for two more. He retired from the NFL in 1953.

For his accomplishments, Lambeau has been widely recognized and honored. He was named to the NFL 1920s All-Decade Team as one of the top halfbacks in the league's first decade of existence. He was an inaugural inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1970 in recognition for his role as founder, player, and coach of the Packers. Shortly after his death in 1965, the Packers home stadium, which is still in use today, was renamed to Lambeau Field in his honor.

Gerry Ellis

Gerry Ellis (born November 12, 1957

in Columbia, Missouri) is a former professional American football player who played running back for seven seasons for the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame was the first hall of fame built to honor a single professional American football team. William L. Brault, a Green Bay restaurateur and Packers fan, founded the Hall of Fame in 1966. According to Brault, he got the idea after visitors to Green Bay would repeatedly ask about the Packers' storied history. Sensing opportunity, Brault went to Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, suggesting a "Hall of Fame" should be made to educate tourists about the Packers and their history. Lombardi gave Brault his approval, and according to Brault, as he left, Lombardi called out to him, "Don't screw it up!"

The "Hall" started off as a series of exhibits displayed in the concourse of the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, although it was not a permanent residence, as the exhibits had to be removed each autumn to make room for the Green Bay Bobcats hockey team, which played its home games at the Arena. In 1967, the Packer Hall of Fame Association, a separate corporate entity from the team, was founded and annual induction banquets were subsequently launched in 1970. The Hall did not become a permanent site until 1976 when its new home, an addition to the Brown County Veterans Arena, was formally dedicated on April 3, 1976, by President Gerald R. Ford. Outside of the Hall of Fame was a 'Receiver Statue' that was dedicated to the invention of the Forward Pass.

Over the next 26 years, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame encountered many expansions and renovations. In 2003, renovations to Lambeau Field provided a new home within the new Lambeau Field Atrium for the Hall. Packers legends Bart Starr and Ron Wolf rededicated the Hall on September 4, 2003. The Hall contains a vast array of Packers memorabilia, a re-creation of Vince Lombardi's office, plaques representing each of the inductees and the Lombardi trophies from Green Bay's four Super Bowl wins. As of 2017, the Packers Hall of Fame has inducted 159 people, 24 of whom have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 2018 inductees were offensive tackle Mark Tauscher and kicker Ryan Longwell.

Hagemeister Park

Hagemeister Park was the name of a park in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was the home of the Green Bay Packers from their founding in 1919 and their first two seasons playing in the National Football League, 1921 and 1922.

Owned by Hagemeister brewery, the park was located on the northern end of Washington Park (now Johannes Park). It was a classic sandlot, located near Baird and Walnut Streets, adjacent to the East River. The playing field was roped off from the spectators' standing area. There were no ushers, band, or public address system. There also were no gates, since there was not a fence. Spectators would jump off the streetcar and walk over to the sideline to watch. Fans who drove to the game could park their cars about ten yards behind the ropes. Fans often sat in their cars or on top of them, although most stood on the sidelines, following the action up and down the field. At halftime, the teams adjourned to opposite end zones and discuss tactics for the second half. Spectators would form a ring around the players and join in on the discussions.

George Whitney Calhoun, a writer for the Green Bay Press-Gazette and the club's unofficial press representative, would pass a hat among the spectators for donations.

In 1920, a small section of grandstand was built on one side of the field, with a capacity of a few hundred, and a fee was charged to sit there. In 1921, a portable canvas fence was erected around the entire field, and a regular admission fee was inaugurated.

Hagemeister Park was torn down in 1923 to make way for the new Green Bay East High School, and the Packers moved their games to Bellevue Park. They would return to a site just north of the park two years later, at City Stadium.

Hank Bruder

Henry George "Hank" Bruder Jr. (November 22, 1907 – June 29, 1970) was an American football player in the National Football League. He played nine years with the Green Bay Packers from 1931 to 1939 and was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1972. Bruder attended Northwestern University, where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.He was part of the offensive line that blocked for Pro Football Hall of Fame back Johnny "Blood" McNally.

Hank Gremminger

Charles Henry "Hank" Gremminger (September 1, 1933 – November 2, 2001) was an American football player, a defensive back in the National Football League for eleven seasons. He played ten seasons for the Green Bay Packers (1956–1965) and one for the Los Angeles Rams in 1966.

John Fay (American football)

John Carl (Doc) Fay, Sr. (November 27, 1895 – March 14, 1983) was an end in the National Football League who played for the Green Bay Packers.

Fay was born in La Crosse in 1895, and attended St. Mary's Catholic Grade School along with Central High School. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1918, where he played football and basketball. He organized and captained the basketball teams of 1916 and 1917. Graduating in 1918 with a dentistry degree, Fay briefly practiced with a dental company in Georgia as an enlisted serviceman in World War I, then moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and finally to Menasha, Wisconsin, working as a dentist. With the help of reporter George Whitney Calhoun, he was offered to and signed a contract with the Packers for 1922, earning $100 per game. He retired from professional football after that season. He quit the dentistry profession, stating that he "didn't care for it" after two years of practice in Menosha, and worked for a wholesale furniture company until it folded during the Great Depression. Fay was later a petroleum inspector for the State of Wisconsin. He retired in 1960 after a 27-year career. He was married to Mildred Waters and had two children.

List of Green Bay Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are currently members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL), and are the third-oldest franchise in the NFL. Founded in 1919 by coach, player, and future Hall of Fame inductee Curly Lambeau and sports and telegraph editor George Whitney Calhoun, the Packers organization has become one of the most successful professional football teams, having won a total of 13 professional American football championships—nine NFL Championships and four Super Bowls—the most in the NFL. The franchise has recorded 18 NFL divisional titles, eight NFL conference championships, and the second most regular season and overall victories of any NFL franchise, behind the Chicago Bears. In 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame was created to honor the history of professional American football and the individuals who have greatly influenced it. Since the charter induction class of 1963, 31 individuals who have played or coached for the Packers have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Of the 30 inductees, 25 made their primary contribution to football with the Packers, while five only contributed a minor portion of their career to the Packers and two were assistant coaches. Of the original 17 individuals inducted in 1963, four spent the major part of their career with the Green Bay Packers. This includes the founder Curly Lambeau, the NFL's all-time offensive tackle Cal Hubbard, the 1941 and 1942 Most Valuable Player Don Hutson, and 1931 All-NFL player Johnny (Blood) McNally. The first two decades of the Hall of Fame's existence saw 17 Packers enshrined, including one inductee who was not a player for the Packers, Vince Lombardi. Coaching the Packers from 1959 to 1967, Lombardi led the team to five NFL Championships, plus winning the first two Super Bowls against the American Football League, and an overall winning percentage of .754. The most recent Packer to be inducted was Jerry Kramer in 2018.

List of Green Bay Packers seasons

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Since their founding in 1919 by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, the Packers have played over 1,350 games in 100 seasons of competitive football. The first two seasons the Packers played against local teams in and around Wisconsin. In 1921, they became part of the American Professional Football Association, the precursor to the National Football League (NFL). In their 99 seasons, the Packers have won 13 professional American football championships (the most in NFL history), including nine NFL Championships and four Super Bowls. They have captured 18 divisional titles, eight conference championships, and recorded the second most regular season (738) and overall victories (772) of any NFL franchise, behind the Chicago Bears.

The franchise has experienced three major periods of continued success in their history. The first period of success came from 1929–1944, when the Packers were named NFL Champions six times. This period saw the Packers become the first dynasty of American football (1929–1931). The second period of success was between 1960–1967, where the Packers won five NFL Championships and the first two Super Bowls. The Packers also won three consecutive NFL Championships for the second time in franchise history (1965–1967). The most recent period of success ranges from 1993–present, where the franchise has reached the playoffs 19 times, including three Super Bowl appearances, winning two in 1996 and 2010. This period included the 2011 season, where the team won 15 games, the most the Packers have won in a single season.

The Packers have also experienced periods of extended failure in their history. The two most notable times were from 1945–1958, where the franchise never placed higher than 3rd in the league standings and recorded the worst record of any Packers team, going 1–10–1 in 1958. The second period of continued failure occurred between 1968–1991, where the club only went to the playoffs twice, and recorded only six winning seasons.

The 2018 NFL season is the Packers 100th season of competitive football and 98th season as part of the NFL.

List of Green Bay Packers starting quarterbacks

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) and are the third-oldest franchise in the National Football League (NFL). The club was founded in 1919 by coach, player, and future Hall of Fame inductee Curly Lambeau and sports and telegraph editor George Whitney Calhoun. The Packers competed against local teams for two seasons before entering the NFL in 1921.

The Packers have had 46 starting quarterbacks (QB) in the history of their franchise. The Packers' past starting quarterbacks include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees Curly Lambeau, Tony Canadeo, Arnie Herber, Bart Starr and Brett Favre. The team's first starting quarterback was Norm Barry, while the longest serving was Brett Favre. The Packers' starting quarterback for the 2018 season was Aaron Rodgers, who was playing in his 14th season in the NFL.

They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Packers.

Packers Heritage Trail

The Packers Heritage Trail is a self-guided walking tour that traverses locations relating to the history of the Green Bay Packers. 22 of the sites have bronze commemorative plaques. 21 sites are located within a two-mile radius of downtown Green Bay.

W. Webber Kelly

W. Webber Kelly (December 7, 1875 – August 3, 1951), born William Webber Kelly, was a prominent medical doctor in the state of Wisconsin known for being the third president of the Green Bay Football Corporation (now called Green Bay Packers, Inc.), the non-profit organization that owns the Green Bay Packers. Kelly was a practicing physician in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area for almost 50 years and a respected civic leader. During his one year as president of the Packers for the 1929 season, the team went 12–0–1 and won its first NFL Championship. Kelly was identified as part of The Hungry Five, a group of Green Bay businessmen who were instrumental in guiding the Packers through multiple financially challenging periods. In addition to his presidency, Kelly served as the team physician from 1921 to 1943 and as a member of the Packers Board of Directors from 1923 to 1949. After a falling out with Packers co-founder, head coach, and general manager Curly Lambeau, Kelly resigned from the Board in 1949. Two years later he died of a heart attack at the age of 75. In recognition of his contributions, Kelly was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1994.

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