Ray Nitschke

Raymond Ernest Nitschke (December 29, 1936 – March 8, 1998) was a professional American football middle linebacker who spent his entire 15-year National Football League (NFL) career with the Green Bay Packers.[1] Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978, he was the anchor of the defense for head coach Vince Lombardi in the 1960s, leading the Packers to five NFL championships and victories in the first two Super Bowls.[2][3]

Ray Nitschke
refer to caption
circa 1966
No. 66
Position:Middle linebacker
Personal information
Born:December 29, 1936
Elmwood Park, Illinois
Died:March 8, 1998 (aged 61)
Venice, Florida
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:235 lb (107 kg)
Career information
High school:Maywood (IL) Proviso East
College:Illinois
NFL Draft:1958 / Round: 3 / Pick: 36
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Interceptions:25
Interception yards:385
Touchdowns:2
Player stats at NFL.com

Early life

Born in Elmwood Park, Illinois,[4] Nitschke was the youngest of three sons to Robert and Anna Nitschke. His father was killed in a car accident in 1940,[5] and his mother died of a blood clot when Ray was 13. Older brothers Robert Jr. (age 21) and Richard (age 17) decided they would raise Ray on their own.[6]

Proviso High School

Nitschke entered Proviso High School in Maywood shortly before his mother's death. The loss of both parents enraged Nitschke, and the lack of a parental disciplinarian to quell his rage caused him to engage in fights with other kids in the neighborhood. During his freshman year at Proviso, he played fullback on one of the school's three football teams. He was a poor student and his grades eventually caught up with him as he was declared academically ineligible to play sports his sophomore year. He would lament this embarrassment for the rest of his life.[7]

He succeeded in raising his grades sufficiently enough in his sophomore year to allow him to play sports his junior year, when he had grown significantly (to six feet tall). He starred on the varsity football team, playing quarterback on offense and safety on defense for coach Andy Puplis. He played varsity basketball and was a pitcher and left fielder for the varsity baseball team. His baseball skills brought him an offer from the professional St. Louis Browns with a $3,000 signing bonus.[8] Nitschke was also offered scholarships from college football programs around the country. Puplis advised him to accept a football scholarship. Due to his desire to play at a Big Ten university, with a chance to play in the Rose Bowl, he accepted a football scholarship to the University of Illinois in 1954.

University of Illinois

While at Illinois, Nitschke smoked, drank heavily, and fought at the drop of a hat. Never a good student in high school, his grades suffered at college. Similar to his contemporary, Jerry Kramer, Nitschke was ostracized by his professors because he attended the university as the result of a football scholarship.

In his sophomore year in 1955, due to a depletion of players in the offensive backfield, Illini head coach Ray Eliot moved Nitschke from quarterback to fullback,[9] shattering his childhood dream of quarterbacking a team to a victory in the Rose Bowl. At this time, college football had reverted to primarily single-platoon football, meaning those players that were on offense had to switch to defense, and vice versa, when ball possession changed. On defense, Nitschke played linebacker. He proved to be a very skilled player and tackler as a linebacker, so much so that, by his senior year, Paul Brown considered him the best linebacker in college football.[10]

In his junior year in 1956 against Ohio State, Nitschke lost his four front teeth on the opening kick-off. Nitschke never wore a face mask and one of the Buckeye's player's helmets hit him in the mouth knocking out two teeth initially; the other two were hanging by the roots. He played the rest of the game.[11]

NFL career

Growing up in the outskirts of Chicago, Nitschke had idolized the Bears and he hoped to be chosen by them in the 1958 NFL Draft, held on December 2, 1957. However, he was chosen by the Green Bay Packers late in the third round (36th overall) of what is considered the greatest draft in the franchise's history.[12] It included three other significant Packers of the 1960s, linebacker Dan Currie of Michigan State (3rd overall), fullback Jim Taylor of LSU (15th overall) and right guard Jerry Kramer of Idaho (39th overall). Their rookie season in 1958 under first-year head coach Ray "Scooter" McLean was dismal, with just one win and one tie for the worst record in the twelve-team league. Nitschke wore number 33 in 1958 and 66 the rest of his career with the Packers.

Nitschke Helmet
Nitschke's helmet from coaching tower incident
in September 1960

A month after the 1958 season ended, Vince Lombardi was hired as head coach. Nitschke became a full-time starter in 1962, the anchor of a disciplined defense that helped win five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls in the 1960s. He was the MVP of the 1962 NFL Championship Game, accepting the prize of a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette. In the game, Nitschke recovered two fumbles and deflected a pass that was intercepted. The Packers won 16–7 and finished the season with a 14–1 record. In Super Bowl I, Nitschke contributed six tackles and a sack. In Super Bowl II, Nitschke led Green Bay's defense with nine tackles.

At the end of the 1972 season, the 9–4 Packers traveled to New Orleans to play the 2–10–1 Saints on December 17 at Tulane Stadium, which turned out to be Nitschke's last regular season game. He recorded the only pass reception of his career, a 34-yard gain after a blocked Packer field goal attempt, and they won 30–20 to finish at 10–4, their best regular season record since 1966.[13][14] Green Bay had clinched the NFC Central division title the week before at Minnesota for their first playoff berth in five seasons.[15] In the divisional round of the playoffs on Christmas Eve, Green Bay lost 16–3 at Washington.[16] Nitschke returned for a sixteenth training camp in 1973, then retired in late August.[17][18][19]

Nitschke was known for his strength and toughness, exhibited prior to his third season in 1960. On the Packers' practice field on September 1, a 1,000-pound (450 kg) steel coaching tower was blown over by a strong gust of wind, on top of Nitschke.[20][21][22][23][24] (It was errantly first reported as 5,000 lb (2,270 kg).)[20][21] Lombardi ran over to see what had happened, but when told it had fallen on Nitschke, said, "He'll be fine. Get back to work!" According to Nitschke's biography, a spike was driven into his helmet, but did not injure him. The helmet (with the hole) is currently on display in the Packer Hall of Fame in Green Bay. Although Nitschke was known for his hard hitting, he was an athletic all-around linebacker who also intercepted 25 passes over his career.

Personal life

Nitschke was married on June 26, 1961 to Jackie Forchette.[25] Jackie was unable to have children, so they adopted three: John in 1963, Richard in 1966, and Amy in 1972. Ray and Jackie had a winter home in Naples, Florida. Lombardi gave partial credit to Nitschke's success to Nitschke's wife, whose calming influence helped him focus on his career. Nitschke remained popular in Green Bay after retiring, even having his phone number and home address published in the Green Bay phone book.

In the late 1980s, Nitschke owned an automobile dealership in Green Bay. He performed several of his own TV commercials in which he brought out his dog, "Butkus", named in honor of his Chicago Bears nemesis, Dick Butkus (who like Nitschke, played for the Illinois Fighting Illini). He appeared in the comic film Head, starring The Monkees, as a footballer who repeatedly tackles Peter Tork in a mock war movie sequence. His character is listed in the credits as "Private One" because his jersey is emblazoned with the number "1". Nitschke also appeared in the 1974 football comedy The Longest Yard as Guard Bogdanski.

Nitschke died of a heart attack in Venice, Florida at the age of 61 in 1998.[1] He had been driving to the home of a family friend, according to his daughter, Amy Klaas, who was with him when he was stricken. He was pronounced dead at Venice Hospital.[2]

Honors

Packers retired number 66
Nitschke's number was retired by the Packers in 1983

His No. 66 was retired in 1983, the fourth of six numbers retired by the Packers.[26] The only other Lombardi-era player to have his number retired is quarterback Bart Starr, whose #15 was retired in 1973. Also, the team has named one of its two outdoor practice fields "Ray Nitschke Field".

In 1969, he was awarded as the NFL's all-time top Linebacker by the NFL in honor of the NFL's 50th Anniversary. Thus he is the only linebacker to have made both the NFL's 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.[27] Every year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has a luncheon the day before its induction ceremony, attended by most of the living members and honoring the new inductees. Nitschke always spoke at this luncheon, telling the new inductees what a great honor they were receiving, and that they were now members of the greatest team of them all. Following his death, the Hall named the luncheon after him. He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981.

Upon the election of former teammate Henry Jordan to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the eve of Super Bowl XXIX in Miami Gardens, Florida, Nitschke flew down to Florida to participate in the game's coin-toss ceremonies, joining three other 75th Anniversary Team representatives--Otto Graham (1950s), Mean Joe Greene (1970s) and Gale Sayers (1960s), all three of whom had been announced as representatives of their respective decades in the ceremony months prior to the PFHOF election—as well as three of Jordan's fellow Class of 1995 newcomers, all of whom represented the 1980s: Kellen Winslow, Lee Roy Selmon, and then-U.S. Congressman Steve Largent, who ended the pregame ceremonies by flipping the coin.

In 1999, he was ranked number 18 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, making him the highest-ranked player coached by Vince Lombardi, second among Packers behind Don Hutson, and third among linebackers behind Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus.

Legacy

Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge
Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge

The Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge, a twin-leaf bascule bridge over the Fox River on Main Street (US 141) in Green Bay,[28] was named in honor of Nitschke.[29] The bridge was constructed in 1998 to replace the former Main Street Bridge built in 1923.

References

  1. ^ a b McGinn, Bob (March 9, 1998). "Packers legend Nitschke dies". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 1A.
  2. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard (March 9, 1998). "Ray Nitschke, 61, linebacker during Packers' glory years". New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  3. ^ "Fierce linebacker anchored Packers". Toledo Blade. Ohio. Associated Press. March 9, 1998. p. 13.
  4. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 20
  5. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 21
  6. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 25
  7. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 29
  8. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 37
  9. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 44
  10. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 62
  11. ^ http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/40250287.html
  12. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 54
  13. ^ Lea, Bud (December 18, 1972). "Packers leave 'em laughing". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  14. ^ Beldsoe, Terry (December 18, 1972). "Packers get last laugh in slapstick game". Milwaukee Journal. p. 14, part 2.
  15. ^ "Packers win division title". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 11, 1972. p. 1, part 1.
  16. ^ Lea, Bud (December 25, 1972). "Redskins burst Packers' bubble". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  17. ^ Johnson, Chuck (August 28, 1973). "Nitschke retires, with some reluctance". Milwaukee Journal. p. 11, part 2.
  18. ^ Lea, Bud (August 29, 1973). "Ray of hope dies for old pro Nitschke". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  19. ^ "'No hard feelings' says Ray Nitschke". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. (Associated Press). August 29, 1973. p. 17.
  20. ^ a b "5,000 pound tower falls on Nitschke". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. September 2, 1960. p. 3, part 2.
  21. ^ a b "Crashing tower falls on player". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. September 2, 1960. p. 10.
  22. ^ "(Photos)". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. September 2, 1960. p. 11, part 2.
  23. ^ http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1960/09/02/page/43/article/helmet-saves-ray-nitschke-as-steel-tower-falls-on-him
  24. ^ "Nitschke OK: Vince names vet starters". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. September 3, 1960. p. 4, part 2.
  25. ^ Gruver, 2002 pg. 103-105
  26. ^ http://www.packers.com/team/players/nitschke_ray/
  27. ^ Hofmann, Dale (July 29, 1978). "Hard nosed Ray Nitschke just a softie over induction". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 4, part 2.
  28. ^ Bridgehunter Main Street Bridge (New)
  29. ^ Merit Award: Moveable Span "Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge"
  • Gruver, Edward (2002), Nitschke. Lanham:Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 1-58979-127-4

External links

Further reading

  • Kaplan, Richard (1970), Great Linebackers of the NFL, ISBN 0-394-90152-5
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.

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 Green Bay Packers season

The 1962 Green Bay Packers season was their 44th season overall and their 42nd season in the National Football League. The club posted a 13–1 record under coach Vince Lombardi, earning them a first-place finish in the Western Conference. The Packers ended the season by defeating the New York Giants 16–7 in the NFL Championship Game, the Packers second consecutive defeat of the Giants in the championship game. This marked the Packers' eighth NFL World Championship.

In 2007, ESPN.com ranked the 1962 Packers as the fifth-greatest defense in NFL history, noting, "The great 1962 Packers had a rock-solid defense front to back, with five Hall of Famers: defensive linemen Willie Davis and Henry Jordan, linebacker Ray Nitschke, cornerback Herb Adderley, and safety Willie Wood. (They also had 1962 All-Pro linebackers Dan Currie and Bill Forester.) Green Bay gave up just 10.8 points per game, shutting out opponents three times. The Packers held opposing QBs to a 43.5 rating, due, in part, to Wood's league-leading nine interceptions. The Packers' defense allowed the Giants 291 yards in the NFL championship game, but held the Giants offense scoreless as the Packers won, 16–7 (New York scored on a blocked punt)."

The Packers' +267 point differential (points scored vs. points against) in 1962 is the best total of any NFL team in the 1960s. Cold Hard Football Facts says that the 1962 Packers "may have been the best rushing team in the history of football. And that team etched in historic stone the image of Lombardi's three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust Packers that is still so powerful today."

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.

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.

1972 Green Bay Packers season

The 1972 Green Bay Packers season was their 54th season overall and their 52nd season in the National Football League. The club posted a 10–4 record under second-year head coach Dan Devine, earning them the NFC Central division title. The Packers returned to the playoffs after a four-year drought; their most recent division title was in 1967, completing that postseason with a decisive win in Super Bowl II in January 1968.

In 1972, Green Bay entered the penultimate regular season game at Minnesota on December 10 with an 8–4 record. The Vikings (7–5) had won the season's earlier game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay by breaking a fourth quarter tie with two interceptions for touchdowns. This time, the Packers overcame a 7–0 halftime deficit at Metropolitan Stadium with 23 unanswered points to clinch the division title. Running back John Brockington became the first in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, and did it again the following season.

Placekicker Chester Marcol established an NFL rookie record for field goals in a season (since broken). It was the fifteenth and final season of hall of fame linebacker Ray Nitschke.

The Packers' next division title came 23 years later, in 1995.

1994 Green Bay Packers season

The 1994 Green Bay Packers season was the team's 76th season overall and their 74th in the National Football League. The Packers posted a 9–7 record for their third straight winning season. 1994 marked the first of 8 seasons in which Packers' quarterback Brett Favre would throw more than 30 touchdown passes. It also marked the second season in which he started all 16 games for the Packers, starting a record-breaking starting streak which would continue throughout his career. This was the final season that the Packers played at Milwaukee County Stadium; they played home games exclusively at Lambeau beginning in 1995. Three Packers had the distinction of being named to the NFL's All-Time 75th Anniversary Team: Reggie White, Don Hutson, and Ray Nitschke. After defeating the Detroit Lions 16–12 in the NFC Wild Card Game, the season ended in a 35–9 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game.Despite another stellar season, Brett Favre, for the first time in his career, was not eligible for the Pro Bowl.

Andy Puplis

Andrew Joseph Puplis (February 1, 1915 in Chicago, Illinois – January 25, 1990) was an American football player and coach.

As a quarterback at Harrison Tech High School, Puplis twice received all-state honors, and won a Chicago city championship, compiling a 12-0 record in 1931. At Notre Dame, he joined the football team as both a kicker and a kick and punt returner. In 1936, he became the starting quarterback but still led the team in kickoff returns with 5 for 136 yards. In his senior year in 1937, he earned All-American honors as he led the Irish in scoring and averaged 12.4 yards per play. In 1938, Puplis was the starting quarterback for the College All Stars team that defeated the Washington Redskins, 28-16. He had also received monograms for playing on the baseball team, and received an offer from the Cleveland Indians.

After college, Puplis was hired as the head football coach at Crystal Lake High School before moving on to Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois in 1940, where he would remain until his retirement in 1972, except for a hiatus in the Navy during World War II, and one year as a defensive back for the Chicago Cardinals in 1943. (4) During his tenure at Proviso East he would coach eventual NFL stars such as Ray Nitschke and Ed O'Bradovich as well as Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, and would compile a record of 128-84-12, including three undefeated seasons and six West Suburban Conference titles.

In 1981, Puplis was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association.

Bob Long

Robert Andrew "Bob" Long (born June 16, 1942) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League who played in the 1960s and 1970s and earned two Super Bowl rings. He attended suburban Pittsburgh's Washington Township High School (near Apollo), and Wichita State University. His seven-year pro-career was spent with both the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins. He was an instrumental part of Vince Lombardi's wins at Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. Long was inducted into the State of Kansas Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Wichita State Hall of Fame in 1972. Recently, in 2008 he was added to the Western Chapter of Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

After being a Third Team All American at Wichita State University, Bob was drafted in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers in 1964. He played on the Green Bay teams that won the NFL Championship in 1965, and won the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and 1967. That Packers team is the only team in NFL history to win three championships in a row.

After joining the Atlanta Falcons in 1968, Long reunited with Lombardi in 1969 with the Washington Redskins. He spent his final season with the Los Angeles Rams in 1970.

Long was the only active player ever to play for both the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins under Vince Lombardi and is part of the "Lombardi Legends."

He has been very active in charity events in the state of Wisconsin. He served as President of NFLPA Retirees for Wisconsin. He has raised over $1,500,000 for various charities with the Long Journey to the Super Bowl Raffle. He works tirelessly for the Ray Nitschke Foundation, Special Olympics, Task Force Against Family violence and Alzheimers. He also brought the first Pizza Hut to northern Wisconsin from 1968–1979.

CityDeck

The CityDeck is a riverfront boardwalk/promenade along the edge of the Fox River in downtown Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is about one-quarter-mile in length and situated between the Walnut Street bridge and the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge with multiple platforms extending out over the Fox River. There is 720 lineal feet of dock space amongst the platforms. It operates as a City park but also a key part of the Fox River State Recreational Trail. It was designed by Boston landscape architects Stoss Landscape Urbanism.

Clarke Hinkle Field

Clarke Hinkle Field is one of the two outdoor American football practice facilities of the Green Bay Packers (the other being Ray Nitschke Field). These fields, together with the Don Hutson Center, comprise the team's training complex.

The field is named for Clarke Hinkle, who played for the Packers from 1932 to 1941. Hinkle is a member of both the Pro Football and Packers halls of fame. The field itself has been in use by the team since 1958, and was named for the former player in 1997.Clarke Hinkle Field has a sand-based natural turf surface, installed in 2005. The natural grass surface is reinforced with artificial fibers using the Desso GrassMaster system. It was installed at Clarke Hinkle Field as a test for the turf problems that plagued Lambeau Field in the later months of the season which proved successful, as Lambeau Field itself was sodded with the Desso GrassMaster system in 2007. The nearby outdoor Ray Nitschke Field has an artificial FieldTurf surface, allowing the team to practice on surfaces used by the majority of NFL teams.

Don Hutson Center

The Don Hutson Center is the indoor practice facility of the Green Bay Packers. Located across the street from Lambeau Field, it was built in 1994 at a cost of $4.7 million.

The center is named after Don Hutson, who played for the Packers from 1935 to 1945. A member of both the Pro Football and Packers Halls of Fame, Hutson was the dominant player of his era, setting records that stood for 50 years after his retirement.

The Don Hutson Center is the largest element of the Packers' practice complex, which includes Ray Nitschke Field and Clarke Hinkle Field, which were also named after Packer greats.

There are two practice fields inside the Center: a 70-yard (64 m) field runs east-west, with another 60-yard (55 m) field running north-south, allowing the offense and defense to practice simultaneously. With 90-foot (27 m) and 85-foot (26 m) high ceilings over the respective fields, the facility allows the special teams to run full punting and kicking practices. The FieldTurf surfaces allow the Packers to replicate game conditions for road games where they will have to play indoors or on artificial surfaces.

The Packers' video department has elevated camera positions on the inside of the Hutson Center for filming practices, as well as four porches on the exterior of the west side for filming practices at Clarke Hinkle Field.

The Center was dedicated on July 18, 1994, at a ceremony presided over by the then 81-year-old Hutson himself.

Head (film)

Head is a 1968 American satirical musical adventure film written by Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson, directed by Rafelson, starring television rock group the Monkees (Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith), and distributed by Columbia Pictures.

During production, one of the working titles for the film was Changes, which was later the name of an unrelated album by The Monkees. Another working title was Untitled. A rough cut of the film was previewed for audiences in Los Angeles in the summer of 1968 under the name Movee Untitled.

The film featured Victor Mature as "The Big Victor" and cameo appearances by Nicholson, Teri Garr, Carol Doda, Annette Funicello, Frank Zappa, Sonny Liston, Timothy Carey, Percy Helton and Ray Nitschke. Also appearing on screen in brief non-speaking parts are Dennis Hopper and film choreographer Toni Basil.

John Anderson (American football)

Roger John Anderson (born February 14, 1956) is a former American football player.

A native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, Anderson played 12 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) as a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers from 1978 to 1989. He was selected as the Packers' most valuable defensive player three consecutive years. At the end of his career with the Packers, he was the team's all-time leader in tackles and was tied with Ray Nitschke for the Packers' career record in interceptions by a linebacker. Anderson was named a second-team player on the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1996.

Anderson also played college football as a linebacker and defensive end for the University of Michigan from 1974 to 1977. He was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference player in 1976 and a first-team All-American in 1977. In 2009, he became the linebackers coach at Carroll University.

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.

List of Green Bay Packers retired numbers

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Since their founding in 1919, over 1,600 players, including 30 Pro Football Hall of Famers have played for the team. Of those 30, 6 players have had their uniform numbers officially retired by the organization. Professional sports franchises, including the Packers, retire uniform numbers to recognize the contributions that a player has made towards the team. It is customary that after the uniform number is retired, it is no longer worn by future players with that team. These uniform numbers are usually prominently displayed within the team's arena or stadium. In the case of the Green Bay Packers, the retired numbers are displayed above the box seats in the north end zone of Lambeau Field.The first number retired by a team in a professional sport was ice hockey player Ace Bailey, whose No. 6 was retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1934. The retirement of jersey numbers has spread to all major sports since then, including baseball, cricket, ice hockey, basketball, American football, and association football. There is no formal process for retiring jersey numbers; the criteria for and necessity of doing so are left up to each team. Some teams have even retired numbers to honor their fans, such as the Twelfth Man or the Sixth Man, and to honor the victims of tragedies, like when the No. 58 was retired by the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team to honor the 58 people killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

Ray Nitschke Field

Ray Nitschke Field is one of the two outdoor practice facilities of the Green Bay Packers (the other is Clarke Hinkle Field). These fields, together with the Don Hutson Center, comprise the team's training complex.

The field is named for Ray Nitschke, who played for the Packers from 1958 to 1972 and whose number 66 was retired by the team. Nitschke is a member of both the Pro Football and Packers Hall of Fames.

On June 18, 2003, the Brown County Board voted 23–0 to approve a new lease for Ray Nitschke Field which gave the Packers the use of the site through 2020. The lease began in 2004 and started at $125,000 with an increase of $5,000 in each succeeding year. The Packers had been leasing the field from the County since 1997 for $15,000 a year. This field had an artificial FieldTurf surface, installed in 2004 (Clarke Hinkle Field has a natural grass surface).

The Packers have since signed a 15-year lease with Brown County to move the field closer to the Don Hutson Center, with their paying $200,000 to the county this year and increasing $6,500 each subsequent year. The new location is in a former parking lot for the Resch Center and as part of the deal the Packers had to build a 205-space parking lot at the former site of Nitschke Field.

On August 1, 2009, the Packers unveiled major renovations to the practice facility, including bleacher seating for 1500 fans, a sound system for announcements and music as well as natural grass field with underground heating. The heating system will enable the team to host outdoor practices in the winter, something they have been unable to do in the past. The exterior facade uses the same brick style as Lambeau Field and the 170 × 75-yard field is considered a state-of-the-art practice field unlike anything else in the National Football League.

Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge

The Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge is a twin-leaf bascule bridge over the Fox River on Main Street (US 141) in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is named in honor of the former Green Bay Packer linebacker Ray Nitschke.

The Longest Yard (1974 film)

The Longest Yard is a 1974 American sports comedy film directed by Robert Aldrich, written by Tracy Keenan Wynn and based on a story by producer Albert S. Ruddy. The film follows a former NFL player (Burt Reynolds) recruiting the group of prisoners and playing football against their guards. It features many real-life football players, including Green Bay Packers legend Ray Nitschke.The film has been remade three times, including for the 2001 British film Mean Machine (a shortened version of the title used for the original's UK release), starring Vinnie Jones, the 2005 film remake, The Longest Yard featured Reynolds as coach Nate Scarborough, and as the 2015 Egyptian film Captain Masr. In the two non-American remakes, the sport was changed from American football to association football.

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