Paul Hornung

Paul Vernon Hornung (born December 23, 1935), nicknamed The Golden Boy, is a former professional American football player and a Hall of Fame running back for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 to 1966. He played on teams that won four NFL titles and the first Super Bowl. He is the first pro football player to win the Heisman Trophy, be selected as the first overall selection in the NFL Draft, win the NFL most valuable player award, and be inducted into both the professional and college football halls of fame.[1]

A versatile player, Hornung was a halfback, quarterback, and placekicker. He was an excellent all-around college athlete at Notre Dame, where he played basketball in addition to football.

Paul Hornung
refer to caption
Hornung in 1961
No. 5
Position:Halfback
Personal information
Born:December 23, 1935 (age 83)
Louisville, Kentucky
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Louisville (KY) Flaget
College:Notre Dame
NFL Draft:1957 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:3,711
Rushing touchdowns:50
Receiving yards:1,480
Receiving touchdowns:12
Field goals:66/140 (47.1%)
Extra points:190/194 (97.9%)
Player stats at NFL.com

Early years

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Hornung was an outstanding athlete at Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget High School in Louisville, and lettered four years each in football, basketball, and baseball. He was recruited by Bear Bryant at Kentucky in nearby Lexington, but chose to attend Notre Dame instead.

College career

After spending his sophomore season of 1954 as a backup fullback, Hornung blossomed as a halfback and safety during his junior year in 1955. He finished fourth in the nation in total offense with 1,215 yards and six touchdowns. His two touchdowns on offense and two interceptions on defense spurred a victory over No. 4 Navy, and his touchdown pass and field goal beat Iowa. In a loss to Southern California, Hornung ran and threw for 354 yards, the best in the nation in 1955. Hornung, nicknamed "The Golden Boy", won the Heisman Trophy in 1956 as the year's outstanding college football player in the United States and is the only player from a losing team (Notre Dame finished 2-8 that year) ever to win the trophy.[2] Highly versatile, he was a quarterback who could run, pass, block, and tackle. Many consider Hornung the greatest all-around football player in Notre Dame history.[3][4][5] In the 1956 season, he led his team offensively in passing, rushing, scoring, kickoff and punt returns, and punting. He also played defense and led his team in passes broken up and was second in interceptions and tackles made. He has joked about the fact that he was among the nation's leaders in kickoff returns by saying, "We gave up so many points that our opponents were always kicking off to us."

Hornung also played basketball during his sophomore year at Notre Dame.[6] He has said that he attended Notre Dame in part for the opportunity to play basketball, and that he was asked not to continue playing in order to help keep his grades up.[7]

At the 1957 College All Star game in August in Chicago, Hornung had a famous match race with Abe Woodson. Woodson said, "We had Jim Brown, Jim Parker, John Brodie, Jon Arnett, Len Dawson, Paul Hornung, and Tommy McDonald, with Curly Lambeau and Otto Graham as our coaches, and we still lost 22-7 to the New York Giants. Oh, well." Just for fun, Woodson, one of the fastest players ever to put on pads, and Hornung agreed to a 100-yard (91 m) match race. Hornung won by five yards.

Passing statistics

Year Comp   Att   Comp % Passing   TD  
1954 5 19 26.3 36 0
1955 46 103 44.7 743 9
1956 59 111 53.2 917 3

Professional career

After graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in business, Hornung was the first selection overall in the 1957 NFL Draft. He was taken by the Green Bay Packers, with whom he went on to win four league championships, including the first Super Bowl in January 1967.

Hornung was the only Packer on the roster who did not play in Super Bowl I. A pinched nerve sidelined him, and he chose not to enter the game in the fourth quarter.

As a professional, Hornung played the halfback position as well as field goal kicker for several seasons. Hornung led the league in scoring for three straight seasons from 195961. During the 1960 season, the last with just 12 games, he set an all-time record by scoring 176 points. Hornung also passed for two additional touchdowns, which did not add to his point-scoring total. The record stood until the 2006 season, when running back LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers broke the record with 180 points by scoring his 30th touchdown on December 17, leaving him with four points more than Hornung's record with more than two games to play (but in his 14th game, compared to Hornung's 12 games).

In 1961, Hornung set the scoring record in an NFL championship game with 19 points.[8][9][10] That record stood for 56 years until James White scored 20 points in Super Bowl LI. In Green Bay's 1965 championship win, he rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on a very muddy field against the Cleveland Browns.[11][12][13] In October of that same year, he set a record for most points in a calendar month with 77. This was also broken by Tomlinson, who posted 78 points in November 2006.

Hornung was voted the league's most valuable player in 1961 and was chosen as an All-Pro twice and named to the Pro Bowl twice. He is one of only nine players to have won both the Heisman Trophy and the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award.[14] He is also the only one to ever make a 50+ yard fair catch kick which came in 1964 on September 13, at the end of the first half of the opener against rival (and defending champion) Chicago.[15][16][17]

In 1965 at age 29, Hornung scored a team-record five touchdowns (three rushing and two pass receptions) in a 42–27 road win over the Baltimore Colts on December 12.[18][19] Hornung's five TD's were overshadowed by the record-tying six touchdowns scored by Chicago's Gale Sayers later that same day against San Francisco at Wrigley Field.[18][20] But the Packers' victory over the Colts proved important for the Packers, as they wound up tied with the Colts in the Western Conference standings at season's end (forcing an extra playoff game on December 26 which the Packers won in overtime to advance to the NFL Championship). In that NFL championship game against the Cleveland Browns on January 2, Hornung ran for 105 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' 23–12 win for their third league title under Lombardi.[11][12][13]

A pinched nerve in Hornung's neck severely curtailed his playing time in 1966,[21] and Hornung did not see action in Super Bowl I, when the Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35–10. Hornung was selected in the expansion draft by the New Orleans Saints,[21] who later traded for Hornung's backfield mate at Green Bay, former LSU All-American Jim Taylor. Hornung never suited up for the Saints, as the neck injury forced him to retire during training camp. Taylor & Hornung were affectionately known as "Thunder & Lightning" by Packer fans of the early 1960s.

Hornung holds the record for most games with 30+ points (2), the most games with 25+ points (3), and the most games with 13 points in a season (8 games in 1960). He also holds the dubious distinction of having missed an NFL record 26 field goals in a season, doing so in 1964.[22]

Honors and awards

Hornung was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985,[23][24] the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986,[25] and the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990. Also, the "Paul Hornung Award" is given out annually to the state of Kentucky's top high school player. Starting in 2010, an award named in Hornung's honor is given out to the most versatile college football player in the nation.[26] Hornung's number 5 was also unofficially retired by Lombardi on July 10, 1967,[27][28] as there has not been a ceremony to have his number on the wall of retired numbers at Lambeau Field.[29]

Off the field

Paulhornung2004
Hornung signing a copy of his book Golden Boy in 2004

Hornung was obliged to serve in the U.S. Army and he was called to active duty during the 1961 season, but he was able to get weekend passes to play on Sundays. Head coach Vince Lombardi was a friend of President John F. Kennedy, and it was arranged for a pass so Hornung could play in the NFL championship game against the New York Giants.

Sport magazine named Hornung the most outstanding player in the 1961 championship game, which led to a tax dispute that cemented the tax status of awards to athletes. Hornung was awarded a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette, but the car's fair market value was not included on his tax returns for either 1961 or 1962. Because it would have been impossible for Hornung to take possession of the Corvette in 1961 – the game was played on December 31 in Green Bay and the car was in a closed dealership in New York – it was determined that the car should have been included in income in 1962. More importantly for the athletic community, the court in Hornung v. Commissioner also determined that awards for achievement in the field of athletics do not fall under the exceptions provided under section 74(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. From this point on, it became impossible for athletes to exclude any awards they are given for athletics from their gross incomes.[30]

Hornung's penchant for high-living would prove disastrous when, in 1963, a major scandal erupted and Hornung and another of the league's top stars, defensive tackle Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions, were suspended from football indefinitely in April 1963 by commissioner Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games and associating with undesirable persons.[31][32][33] Forthright in admitting to his mistake, Hornung's image went relatively untarnished, and in 1964 his suspension, and Karras's, were re-evaluated by the league and both were reinstated in March.[34][35][36]

In a September 2006 interview with Bob Costas, Hornung stated that it was his belief that it was Lombardi's constant lobbying of Rozelle that got him reinstated for the 1964 NFL season. In exchange for Lombardi's efforts, Hornung agreed not to have anything to do with gambling, to stay out of Las Vegas and to even forgo attending the Kentucky Derby which he had done annually.[37]

Hornung was employed as a color analyst on Minnesota Vikings radio broadcasts from 1970 to 1974, as well as TVS WFL telecasts in 1974, CBS NFL telecasts from 1975 to 1979, and ABC Radio USFL broadcasts from 1983 to 1985. He also worked as a sideline reporter for CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XII. Hornung did college play-by-play for TigerVision, LSU's pay-per-view broadcasts in 1982 with ex-Green Bay Packers teammate Jim Taylor.[38][39]

During a radio interview on March 30, 2004, Hornung, speaking about the recent lack of football success at Notre Dame, said, "We can't stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because we've got to get the black athletes. We must get the black athletes if we're going to compete."[40] The response was immediate. The University replied, "We strongly disagree with the thesis of his remarks. They are generally insensitive and specifically insulting to our past and current African-American student-athletes."[40] Famed former Notre Dame head coach Ara Parseghian also disagreed with Hornung, saying that Notre Dame didn't lower admission standards for him.

Hornung said that he was not differentiating between races. "We need better ball players, black and white, at Notre Dame."[40]

Upon Rozelle's retirement in 1989, Hornung wrote him a letter crediting him with promoting the NFL's growth and for having been "the best commissioner of any [sports league]."[37]

See also

References

  1. ^ List of Heisman Trophy winners
  2. ^ "1956 - 22nd Award". Heisman.com. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
  3. ^ "Biography of Paul Hornung". All American. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
  4. ^ "Heisman History: A Look Back At 1956". The Heisman Pundit. November 10, 2006. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
  5. ^ "Notre Dame Heisman Trophy Winners". Rivals.com. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
  6. ^ Douchant, Mike (1995). Encyclopedia of College Basketball. International Thomson Publishing. ISBN 0-8103-9640-8.
  7. ^ Live interview during the broadcast of the March 15, 2012 NCAA Tournament first round game between Murray State and Colorado State.
  8. ^ Lea, Bud (January 1, 1962). "Packers World Champions!". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1M.
  9. ^ "Facts and figures". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 1, 1962. p. 1S.
  10. ^ Strickler, George (January 1, 1962). "Green Bay 37, New York 0!". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 6.
  11. ^ a b Strickler, George (January 3, 1966). "Green Bay wins N.F.L. crown, 23 to 12". Chicago Tribune. pp. 1, 3.
  12. ^ a b Lea, Bud (January 3, 1966). "Packers blast Browns for title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  13. ^ a b Hand, John (January 3, 1966). "Green Bay's ball-control tactics beat Browns for title, 23-12". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. p. 18.
  14. ^ Chris Huston. "M-V-P!". Heisman.com. Retrieved December 7, 2017. The others are: Frank Sinkwich (1944), Roger Staubach (1971), OJ Simpson (1973), Earl Campbell (1978 and 1979), Marcus Allen (1985), Barry Sanders (1997) and Cam Newton (1916).
  15. ^ Lea, Bud (September 14, 1964). "Packers hammer Bears, 23-12!". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 4, part 2.
  16. ^ "Green Bay uses fair catch rule". Lawrence Journal-World. Kansas. Associated Press. September 14, 1964. p. 10.
  17. ^ Sell, Jack (September 17, 1964). "Something for free". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. p. 37.
  18. ^ a b "Paul's pure gold for Pack; Sayers scores 6 Bear TD's". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 13, 1965. p. 12.
  19. ^ Bochat, Rel (December 13, 1965). "Hero Hornung lauds mates". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  20. ^ Strickler, George (December 13, 1965). "Bears win; 6 touchdowns by Sayers". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, section 3.
  21. ^ a b "Move to New Orleans no surprise to Hornung". Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. Associated Press. February 11, 1967. p. 6.
  22. ^ Who Holds the Record for Most Missed Field Goals in a Season?
  23. ^ "Hornung, Miller make hall of fame". Milwaukee Journal. AP and UPI. February 11, 1985. p. 2, part 3.
  24. ^ "Hornung finally enshrined into College Hall of Fame". Gainesville Sun. Florida. Associated Press. October 30, 1987. p. 5D.
  25. ^ "Hornung celebrates long-sought honor". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. August 3, 1986. p. D3.
  26. ^ "Home". The Paul Hornung Award. September 17, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  27. ^ "Vince: Got what we wanted". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. July 11, 1967. p. 1, part 2.
  28. ^ Johnson, Chuck (July 11, 1967). "Milwaukee will get play-off game if the Packers win division crown". Milwaukee Journal. p. 9, part 2.
  29. ^ Christl, Cliff. "No. 5 should hang on Lambeau wall". jsonline.com. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  30. ^ Samuel A. Donaldson, "Federal Income Taxation Of Individuals: Cases, Problems and Materials", 2d. edition (St. Paul: Thompson-West 2007, 2d edition), 353-359
  31. ^ "Hornung suspended". Milwaukee Sentinel. April 18, 1963. p. 1, part 1.
  32. ^ "Suspend 2 football stars". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. April 18, 1963. p. 1, section 1.
  33. ^ Grimsley, Will (April 18, 1963). "All pro leagues honor suspension of Paul Hornung, Detroit's Karras". Lakeland Ledger. Florida. Associated Press. p. 28.
  34. ^ "Hornung's exile is ended; Karras reinstated as well". Milwaukee Journal. March 16, 1964. p. 12, part 2.
  35. ^ Lea, Bud (March 17, 1964). "Can Paul overcome year's lay-off". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  36. ^ "N.F.L. lifts suspensions". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. March 17, 1964. p. 12.
  37. ^ a b "Reggie Bush". Costas Now. Episode 202. 2006-09-06. HBO.
  38. ^ "Rabalais: When it comes to LSU, Paul Mainieri has and does set his love of Notre Dame aside". theadvocate.com. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  39. ^ "LSU's Brodhead has Eye of Tiger(Vison)". newspapers.com. September 9, 1982. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  40. ^ a b c "Sports of The Times; Hornung Has Failed to Meet Standard of Common Sense". The New York Times. April 1, 2004. Retrieved December 18, 2011.

Further reading

  • Encyclopedia of Kentucky. New York City: Somerset Publishers. 1987. pp. 149–150. ISBN 0-403-09981-1.

External links

1956 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1956 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1956 NCAA University Division football season.

Paul Hornung carried the ball 94 times his senior year for 420 yards for an average of 4.5 yards per try. He completed 59 of 111 passes for a total offensive figure of 1,337 yards. He is the only Heisman winner to have played on a losing team as the Irish were 2–8 in 1956.

1958 Green Bay Packers season

The 1958 Green Bay Packers season was their 40th season overall and their 38th season in the National Football League. The club posted a 1–10–1 record under first-year head coach Ray McLean for a last-place finish in the league in 1958 and the worst record ever posted by a Packers team.

In the immortal words of New York sportswriter and Green Bay native Red Smith: "they overwhelmed one opponent, under-whelmed ten, and whelmed one." The tie came in week two and the three-point win in week five; during the seven-game losing streak to end the season the Packers lost by an average margin of over 22 points and got no closer than ten. The Packers finished 1958 allowing a league-worst 382 points in the 12-game season (31.8 points per game).

McLean was the top assistant on the coaching staff in 1957 and was given a one-year contract as head coach after Lisle Blackbourn was fired in early January 1958 with a year remaining ($25,000) on a five-year contract. Following the final game of the 1958 season, McLean resigned on December 17, which paved the way for the historic hiring of Vince Lombardi in January 1959.The underachieving 1958 team was loaded with talent, with future hall of famers Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Jim Ringo, Forrest Gregg, and Jerry Kramer, as well as future All-Pros Ron Kramer, Max McGee, Bill Forester, and Dan Currie.

1959 Chicago Bears season

The 1959 Chicago Bears season was their 40th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted yet another 8–4 record under the coaching of George Halas.

1960 Green Bay Packers season

The 1960 Green Bay Packers season was their 42nd season overall and their 40th season in the National Football League. The club posted an 8–4 record under second-year head coach Vince Lombardi to win the Western Conference and a berth in the NFL championship game. It was the Packers' first appearance in the title game since winning it in 1944. After a Thanksgiving Day loss at Detroit, the Packers won their final three games, all on the road, to win the crown.

The championship game was against the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia Eagles (10–2), played at Franklin Field in Philadelphia on Monday, December 26. Two years earlier in 1958, both teams had been last in their respective conferences, winning a combined three games.

In a close game, the Packers led in the fourth quarter, but lost 17–13. Green Bay returned to the title game the next two seasons and won both.

1960 NFL Championship Game

The 1960 National Football League championship game was the 28th NFL title game. The game was played on Monday, December 26, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.In addition to the landmark 1958 championship game, in which the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in sudden death overtime, the 1960 game has also been called a key event in football history. The game marked the lone playoff defeat for Packers coach Vince Lombardi before his Packers team established a dynasty that won five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls, in a span of seven seasons. The victory was the third NFL title for the Philadelphia Eagles, and their final championship until the team won Super Bowl LII in 2018, ending a 57-season championship drought.The American Football League was in its first season and held its inaugural title game less than a week later. First-year NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle convinced owners to move the league's headquarters from Philadelphia to New York City, and with Congressional passage of the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 received an antitrust exemption that allowed the league to negotiate a common broadcasting network representing all of its teams, helping cement football's ascendancy as a national sport.This was the second and last NFL championship game played in Philadelphia, and the only one at Franklin Field. A dozen years earlier, the 1948 title game was held in the snow at Shibe Park and was also an Eagles' victory.

Ticket prices for the game were ten and eight dollars.

1961 Green Bay Packers season

The 1961 Green Bay Packers season was their 43rd season overall and their 41st season in the National Football League. The club posted an 11–3 record under coach Vince Lombardi, earning them a first-place finish in the Western Conference and ending a fifteen-year playoff drought. The Packers ended the season by defeating the New York Giants 37–0 in the NFL Championship Game, the first title game ever played in Green Bay. This was the Packers 7th NFL league championship.

The 1961 season was the first in which the Packers wore their trademark capital "G" logo on their helmets.

1961 NFL Championship Game

The 1961 National Football League Championship Game was the 29th title game. It was played at "New" City Stadium, later known as Lambeau Field, in Green Bay, Wisconsin on December 31, with an attendance of 39,029.The game was a match-up of the Eastern Conference champion New York Giants (10–3–1) and the Western Conference champion Green Bay Packers (11–3). The home team Packers were a 3⅓-point favorite.Packers Ray Nitschke, Boyd Dowler, and Paul Hornung, were on leave from the U.S. Army. Hornung scored 19 points (a touchdown, three field goals, and four extra points) for the Packers and was named the MVP of the game, and awarded a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from Sport magazine.The victory was the first of five NFL titles won in a seven-season span by the Packers and their head coach, Vince Lombardi. It was the Packers' seventh league title and their first in 17 years.

1962 NFL Championship Game

The 1962 National Football League Championship Game was the 30th NFL title game, played on December 30 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. It matched the New York Giants (12–2) of the Eastern Conference and Green Bay Packers (13–1) of the Western Conference, the defending league champions.The Packers were led by hall of fame head coach Vince Lombardi, in his fourth year, and the Giants by Allie Sherman, in his second season. Green Bay was favored by 6½ points. The attendance for the game was 64,892, and the weather during the game was so cold that television crews used bonfires to thaw out their cameras, and one cameraman suffered frostbite. The conditions also made throwing the ball difficult.

Green Bay won 16–7, behind the performances of game Most Valuable Player linebacker Ray Nitschke, and fullback Jim Taylor. Right guard Jerry Kramer, filling in as placekicker for the injured Paul Hornung, scored ten points with three field goals and an extra point. The Giants fumbled twice, with Nitschke recovering both for the Packers, while the Packers recovered all five of their own fumbles and intercepted a Giants pass.This was the third and final NFL title game played at Yankee Stadium; the others were in 1956 and 1958, with the Giants winning the first. There would not be another NFL title game in greater New York City for 51 seasons until Super Bowl XLVIII, which was played February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium and resulted in the Seattle Seahawks defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8. Previous championship games hosted by the Giants in New York were played across the Harlem River at the Polo Grounds in 1934, 1938, 1944, and 1946; the Giants won the first two. An additional title game was played at the Polo Grounds in 1936, hosted by the Boston Redskins and won by the Packers.

1963 Detroit Lions season

The 1963 Detroit Lions season was their 30th season in Detroit and their 34th season overall. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle indefinitely suspended Lions Defensive Tackle Alex Karras along with Packers Halfback Paul Hornung for placing bets on NFL teams. Five other Lions players were fined $2000 each for betting on games that they did not play in. The Lions franchise was fined $2000 each on two counts for failure to report information promptly and for lack of sideline supervision. The gambling controversy proved to be a big distraction on the field as well, as the Lions could not build on the success of the previous season, finishing 5–8–1.

1963 NFL season

The 1963 NFL season was the 44th regular season of the National Football League. On April 17, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle indefinitely suspended Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras for gambling on their own teams, as well as other NFL games; Hornung and Karras would miss the entire season. In addition, five other Detroit players were fined $2,000 each for placing bets on one game in which they did not participate.

The season ended with the Chicago Bears defeating the New York Giants at Wrigley Field in the NFL Championship Game.

1964 NFL season

The 1964 NFL season was the 45th regular season of the National Football League. Before the season started, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle reinstated Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras, who had been suspended for the 1963 season due to gambling.

Beginning this season, the home team in each game was allowed the option of wearing their white jerseys. Since 1957, league rules had mandated that the visiting team wear white and the home team wear colored jerseys. The NFL also increased the regular season roster limit from 37 to 40 active players, which would remain unchanged for a decade.

The season ended when the Cleveland Browns shut out the Baltimore Colts 27–0 in the NFL Championship Game.

1965 NFL Championship Game

The 1965 National Football League Championship Game was the 33rd championship game for the National Football League (NFL), played on January 2, 1966, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This was the first NFL championship game played in January, televised in color, and the last one played before the Super Bowl era.

The game matched the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Browns (11–3), the defending NFL champions, and the Green Bay Packers (10–3–1) of the Western Conference. A week earlier, the Packers defeated the Baltimore Colts in a tiebreaker Western Conference playoff at County Stadium in Milwaukee, while the Browns were idle. The Packers were making their first appearance in the championship game in three years, since their consecutive wins in 1961 and 1962. Green Bay was relegated to the third place Playoff Bowl the previous two seasons, with a victory over the Browns and a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The home field for the NFL title game alternated between the conferences; in odd-numbered seasons, the Western team was the host. Home field advantage was not implemented in the NFL playoffs until 1975.

With the 23–12 victory, the Packers won their ninth NFL title, sixth in the championship game era.

1966 Green Bay Packers season

The 1966 Green Bay Packers season was their 48th season overall and their 46th in the National Football League. The defending NFL champions had a league-best regular season record of 12–2, led by eighth-year head coach Vince Lombardi and quarterback Bart Starr, in his eleventh NFL season.

The Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL championship game, the Packers' second consecutive NFL title, fourth under Lombardi, and tenth for the franchise. Two weeks later, the Packers recorded a 35–10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the inaugural AFL-NFL Championship Game, retroactively known as Super Bowl I.

Quarterback Starr was named the league's most valuable player (MVP) in 1966. Said Cold Hard Football Facts about Starr's 1966 season, "Starr, always underappreciated, was at his classic assassin-like best in 1966, his lone MVP season. He led the league in completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating, while his 4.7-to-1 [touchdown-to-interception] ratio remains one of the very best in history. Starr, as always, cranked out great performances when he absolutely had to: the 1966 Packers, for example, were the worst rushing team in football, with a meager average of 3.5 [yards-per-attempt] on the ground, despite the reputation Lombardi's Packers still carry with them today as a dominant running team." Cold Hard Football Facts also notes that 1966 Packers had the best passer rating differential (offensive passer rating minus opponents passer rating), +56.0, in the Super Bowl Era.

In 2007, the 1966 Packers were ranked as the 6th greatest Super Bowl champions on the NFL Network's documentary series America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions.

1967 NFL expansion draft

The 1967 National Football League expansion draft was a National Football League (NFL) draft held on February 9, 1967 in which a new expansion team named the New Orleans Saints selected its first players. On November 1, 1966 (All Saints Day), NFL owners awarded its 16th team franchise to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints selected 42 players from every team roster except for the Atlanta Falcons, who had began play in the 1966 season. The expansion draft included future Hall of Famer running back Paul Hornung, who set an NFL record by scoring 176 points in only 12 games in 1960 for the Green Bay Packers, but did not play in Super Bowl I. Hornung never played a down for the Saints and retired in the preseason due to a neck injury.

Following the expansion draft, the Saints signed Hornung's backfield mate with the Packers, Jim Taylor to a 10-year, $400,000 contract. Taylor played just one season in his home state (Taylor was a native of Baton Rouge and was an All-American at LSU) and retired in September 1968.

Jabrill Peppers

Jabrill Ahmad Peppers (born October 4, 1995) is an American football strong safety and return specialist for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Michigan, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. A standout athlete early in high school, he was named the Air Force National Sophomore of the Year in 2011. Sports Illustrated named Peppers one of their "Future Game Changers," a group of 14 young athletes who are considered to be the brightest talents of their respective sports. Peppers was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year, Freshman All-American, and a Second-Team All-American in 2015. Peppers was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year, Return Specialist of the Year, and an All-American in 2016.

List of Green Bay Packers players

The following is a list of notable past or present players of the Green Bay Packers professional American football team.

Lombardi (play)

Lombardi is a play by Eric Simonson, based on the book When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Cornelious Beckham Jr. (born November 5, 1992) is an American football wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Beckham played college football at nearby Louisiana State University (LSU), and was drafted by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 12th overall pick. Since entering the NFL, Beckham has been one of the most productive and popular players, but he has drawn media scrutiny for his conduct on and off the playing field.

Beckham started the 2012 BCS National Championship Game in his first year playing for the LSU Tigers, and won the Paul Hornung Award following his junior season in 2013. In his first season with the New York Giants, Beckham broke numerous NFL rookie receiving records, despite missing the first four games of the season due to injury. Beckham became the first player to record more than 75 receptions, 1,100 yards, and ten touchdowns in a rookie season, and broke the rookie record for the most average receiving yards per game. During Week 12 of his first season, Beckham came to national attention when he made a one-handed touchdown catch whilst falling backwards in a Sunday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys, which numerous pundits and athletes called the greatest catch ever made. Beckham went on to win the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Beckham continued his remarkable form beyond his rookie season. In 2016, he became the fastest player in NFL history to reach both 200 career receptions and 4,000 career receiving yards. In 2016, he recorded his first 100-reception season and reached the NFL playoffs for the first time in his career, after helping the Giants to an 11–5 season record. Beckham was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, and has been named a second-team All-Pro twice.

Paul Hornung Award

The Paul Hornung Award is a college football award that was created in January 2010 by the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) with the support of Paul Hornung, a native and resident of Louisville, Kentucky and member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The mission of the award is to recognize and reward versatile, high-level performers in major college football; to help preserve the legacy of Hornung, one of Louisville's native sons and sports icons; and to promote Louisville as a great sports town.

Paul Hornung—awards, championships, and honors

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