There was little time left on the morning of Oct. 22, 1974. The heat in Dan Devine's Lambeau Field office had reached tropical levels and this had nothing to do
with where his thermostat was set. He had to do something before it was too late. In his mind, he had no choice but to place that long-distance call to Los Angeles.
For more than three years as the Green Bay Packers' coach, Devine had struggled to find a quarterback of the future. And on that Tuesday morning over 30
years ago, Devine's own future in Green Bay was never more imperiled as this quarterback subplot intensified to new heights. The Packers, who had followed up
a miraculous 10-4 record in 1972 with a 5-7-2 disappointment in '73, were in serious trouble. The night before, a Watergate-weary nation had witnessed the
listless Packers slump to 3-3 following a 10-9 loss to the Chicago Bears in a Monday night game at Soldier Field. More distressingly, it had become obvious that
Jerry Tagge, Devine's hand-picked quarterback of the future for the Packers - Tagge was drafted in the first round in 1972 - was never going to succeed. The kid
who had led Nebraska to back-to-back national championships in 1970 and '71 simply could not translate his limited passing skills to the NFL level. And Devine,
who doubled as general manager, no longer could afford to stay with a quarterback who had led the Packers to just three touchdowns in the previous 17 quarters
Not with a 19-22-4 record in Devine's three-plus seasons in Green Bay. The heat was on. "I can't say I saw him being panicky, but I feel he probably was about
that time,'' said Packers historian Lee Remmel, who was in his first year as public relations director for the team in 1974. "Things were going badly and they got
worse.'' Had circumstances played out differently, the immensely talented Archie Manning, the No. 2 overall selection in the 1971 draft who had fallen out of
favor with the pathetic New Orleans Saints, might have been Devine's savior. Devine had apparently agreed to a tentative trade the previous week to bring the
then 25-year-old Manning to Green Bay, but fate intervened. On the afternoon of Oct. 20, Bobby Scott - Manning's projected successor with the Saints - had gone
down with a knee injury in a game against the Falcons at Atlanta and was lost indefinitely. The Saints had no choice but to go back to Manning, killing the deal
with Green Bay and drastically altering history. "We were playing in Atlanta and Scotty got hurt and that kind of nixed it,'' Manning said. "I was in the middle
of all that trade stuff. I had heard it was Green Bay. I was being shopped and I remember there were several things going on with the Giants, 49ers, Packers,
Saints and Rams.'' Devine also had held discussions with Gil Brandt, then the player personnel director of the Dallas Cowboys, about 31-year-old Craig Morton.
But Morton had mostly been a backup to first Don Meredith and then Roger Staubach since entering the league in 1965 and Devine desperately wanted an
established starter. This lingering issue just had to be resolved once and for all. Scott Hunter hadn't worked out as the Packers' quarterback. Neither had Jim Del
Gaizo, for whom Devine had been panicked into squandering two No. 2 draft picks to the Miami Dolphins in 1973. And Tagge, who finished 1974 with one
touchdown pass and 10 interceptions, was a bust, too. Enough was enough. So on the morning of October 22, a desperate Devine placed that call to Los Angeles.
And then he mortgaged a franchise's future, paying the staggering price of two No. 1 draft choices, two No. 2 picks and a No. 3 to the Rams for John Hadl. As
great as Hadl had been, he was 34 years old. And regardless of Hadl's credentials, there's no way anyone other than Devine could justify paying that price for a
quarterback who was clearly in the twilight of his career. It was a panic-inspired trade that stirred a buzz through the National Football League that persisted
for weeks. "It was one of those things where you couldn't believe anybody would do that,'' said Ron Wolf, then general manager of the Oakland Raiders. "It was a
hard trade for me to understand,'' Brandt said. "It was not a good trade for them (the Packers). "What happens is, people make a trade because they feel that
trade can maybe get them into the playoffs or win a championship for them. But I remember there were a lot of people who said, `I can't believe that Green Bay
gave up that much for a 35-year-old quarterback.' " And to this day, the lop-sided nature of that trade lingers in Green Bay. "It was the worst trade in Packers
history, without a doubt, and one of the worst in pro football history,'' Remmel said. "That trade deprived us of two No. 1 picks, two No. 2s and a No. 3. It was
pretty hard for his successor, Bart Starr, to rebuild the football team without those premium draft choices.'' As for Hadl,he is quick to remind people that he
wasn't the one who made the trade - just as he contended 30 years ago. "The press was saying, `They paid way too much,' " said the 64-year-old Hadl, who is
involved in fund-raising for the University of Kansas, his alma mater. "My line was, and it was the truth, `I had nothing to do with it.' I was in Los Angeles
playing on a great team and, all of a sudden, I was traded. I could either go home or come to Green Bay and so I came to Green Bay. "But I enjoyed Green Bay. I
really did. It was just a great experience."
A MAN NAMED HADL : The man Devine called upon to rescue the foundering Packers - and his job - is one of the greatest quarterbacks never to be inducted
into the NFL Hall of Fame. Playing mostly during an era when rules made life so much more difficult for quarterbacks, Hadl passed for 33,503 yards and 244
touchdowns in a career that lasted from 1962-77. His primary receiver during his years with the San Diego Chargers was Lance Alworth, who was inducted
into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1978. While with the Chargers from 1962-72, Hadl developed into one of the great quarterbacks of the old AFL. Five times he
played in the Pro Bowl as a member of the Chargers. And a man who was one of the last NFL quarterbacks to wear a number higher than 19 (Hadl wore No. 21)
passed for more than 3,000 yards in a season three times and threw for 20 or more touchdowns in a season six times while with San Diego. Furthermore, the
guy was indestructible, never missing a game during his 16-year career because of an injury. "You know, he's been a candidate for the Hall of Fame several
times and he is a viable candidate,'' said Jerry Magee, who covered the Chargers for the San Diego Union-Tribune from 1961-85 and is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame selection committee. "If you look at his statistics, you could make an argument that the guy belongs in the Hall of Fame. "He was not a stylist. He didn't look all that good. He was kind of a stocky kind of guy, but he had a rare skill and his rare skill was that he could throw a 50-yard pass or 60-yard pass as accurately as he could a 6-yard pass. "And he grew to understand the game. It helped him no measure that he had Lance Alworth running out there catching those 50- and 60-yard passes. He just had a great rapport with him. "John was a very good competitor and he was really, I think, underrated as a quarterback.'' By 1973, though, Hadl was in need of a change of scenery. At least in part because of his difficult relationship with Chargers offensive coordinator Bob Schnelker - who went on to hold the same position with the Packers under Starr - Hadl was traded to the Rams for defensive end Coy Bacon and journeyman running back Bob Thomas prior to the 1973 season. Bacon and Hadl were both coming off Pro Bowl seasons at the time. It would be the last time a trade involving players who had appeared in the Pro Bowl the previous season was consummated in the NFL until this year, when the Washington Redskins traded cornerback Champ Bailey to the Denver Broncos for running back Clinton Portis. In what proved to be his only full season with the Rams, Hadl was clearly revitalized. Surrounded by talent that included wide receiver Harold Jackson and running backs Lawrence McCutcheon and Jim Bertelsen, Hadl earned NFC Most Valuable Player honors after passing for 2,008 yards and 22 touchdowns. Behind Hadl, the Rams improved from 6-7-1 in 1972 to 12-2 in '73. It appeared the Rams, under first-year coach Chuck Knox, were entering a prosperous new era with Hadl at the controls. "He meant everything to us that year,'' Knox said. "He was the Most Valuable Player offensively in the National Football League that year. The Rams had won very few games the year before and then we went 12-2. We lost two games that year with John Hadl at quarterback. We got beat by Minnesota 10-9 and we lost a tough game in Atlanta 15-13 when (Nick) Mike-Mayer kicked five field goals on us and we had a touchdown for an interception called back. "John Hadl was an inspiration. He was a great player and he was just everything you could want in a quarterback and a person.'' But the magic didn't last. Hadl seemed to be missing something in 1974, when the Rams lost two of their first five games. When he completed just six of 16 passes for 59 yards during a 17-6 loss to the Packers on a rain-swept day at Milwaukee County Stadium Oct. 13, Hadl was benched in favor of James Harris. Nine days later, Hadl would become a Packer.
THE TRADE : When the largely reviled Devine, who was considered to be arrogant, conniving and petty by many of his players, announced the trade, he immediately went into damage control. "There are several quarterbacks in the league who are the same age as Hadl,'' said Devine, who died in May 2002. "Roman Gabriel, Fran Tarkenton and Charlie Johnson are. Billy Kilmer, Norm Snead, Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen and Earl Morrall are older. "I'm not concerned about John's age. He takes excellent care of himself and is in top condition. I feel he can be with us a long time and John says he wants to play another four or five years.'' Meanwhile, the late Don Klosterman, the Rams' general manager, was giddy over his windfall from a desperate coach. "Green Bay came to us with an offer you can't refuse,'' Klosterman said. "As Carroll Rosenbloom (the Rams owner at the time) has always said, we strive for continuity. The draft choices leave us in excellent shape.'' While Klosterman and Rosenbloom are no longer around to speak of the trade from a historical context, Knox remembers it as one that the Rams simply couldn't pass up. "They had a football coach there (Devine) who also had control of personnel,'' Knox said. "He could make trades or whatever and he didn't have to go through a lot of people. So he wanted a quarterback very badly and Carroll Rosenbloom and Don Klosterman decided that we would be able to get along - we had a very good football team. We had James Harris and (Ron) Jaworski and quarterbacks like that. "So we decided that two ones, two twos and a three, that's probably one of the greatest trades made in the history of the National Football League. We got some good football players out of that mix and, in five years there, we won 54, lost 15, tied one and won a divisional title five straight years.'' And as time would tell, the same draft choices that fortified would gut the Packers, hastening their slide into an era of ruin that lasted for the better part of a quarter century. But the wasn't the issue for the Packers in October 1974. They had a far more pressing problem one day after the trade - enticing Hadl to come to Green Bay. Hadl, recognizing the value of those draft choices to Los Angeles and the value of an experienced quarterback to Devine, decided to become an astute businessman. "It's just a business deal right now,'' Hadl said on Oct. 23. "I won't play there unless I get the cash money I want. Football is just like any other business. A cold, hard business. And when money is involved in anything, the personal feelings of a person is never considered.'' Devine, meanwhile, held firm as he anxiously waited out his recalcitrant new quarterback.
"We will pick up his current Los Angeles contract, which is what the terms of the trade call for,'' Devine insisted. "Nothing else. There will be no renegotiation, no cash payments, nothing like that.'' By Thursday, Hadl was on a flight to Green Bay. One of the two parties had obviously given in and, as Hadl insists 30 years later, it wasn't him. "What happened was the Rams and the Packers got together and made it happen because I wasn't going to go,'' Hadl said. "It was nothing against Green Bay or anything. I just found how what a 1, 2, 3 and 1, 2 was worth. There was a lot of money on the value of those draft picks. "I think at the time I was making ninety or a hundred thousand and I just told them I wasn't coming unless I was going to make a lot of money and I didn't care how it worked. That's what happened. Rosenbloom and the Packer people got together and made a deal.'' Just as the Rams received a windfall for Hadl, Hadl received a windfall himself. "It was for about five times (what he was making),'' Hadl said. "It was $450,000 total (including what his salary had been with the Rams). I think it was in deferred money and a combination of things. I got about a $300,000 raise is what it amounted to. It was a two-team deal and the Packers paid half of it.'' Devine finally had his quarterback. And with eight games remaining in the season, there will still time for Devine to save his job.
IT JUST DIDN'T WORK : With Jack Concannon serving as stopgap quarterback as Hadl learned a new offense with the greatest of urgency, the Packers lost two more games to drop to 3-5, three games behind the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Central Division. When Hadl finally made his first start for the Packers Nov. 10 against the Bears at Milwaukee County Stadium, the division race was all but over. Under Hadl's guidance, the Packers surged to three straight victories, but then lost their last three to finish 6-8. There was only so much Hadl could do with pedestrian receivers the likes of Barry Smith and Jon Staggers, with a rapidly fading John Brockington (who averaged just 3.3 yards per carry that season) lining up behind him. During his abbreviated season with the Packers, Hadl completed 89 of 184 passes for 1,072 yards, with just three touchdowns and eight nterceptions. Devine's mistake was this: He greatly overestimated the talent that would surround Hadl when he pulled the trigger on the trade. That reality was underscored by the fact the Packers would have just two winning seasons (1978 and '82) between the time Devine left Green Bay in 1974 and Mike Holmgren arrived in 1992. "Career-wise, it wasn't as good as far as on the football field,'' Hadl said. "The Rams had a good team and a lot of good players and the Packers at that time were kind of low in talent and obviously had problems when Devine was there.'' In the season-finale against the Falcons at Atlanta Dec. 15, the Packers managed just one field goal in a 10-3 loss. Devine's desperation move had failed. This partnership between Devine and Hadl had lasted just 54 days. As for the trade, its repercussions would linger in Green Bay for years to come. "Let me tell you this one,'' Hadl said. "He was getting blown out in Green Bay and we were down in Atlanta for the last game and it was raining about a foot a second. Anyway, the game is over, we go in and I say, `Coach, I'm sorry this thing didn't work out.' "He said, `John, don't worry about me. They're going to announce me as the head Notre Dame coach tomorrow.' I couldn't believe that. He knew that before that game was over!' "
A LONG SEASON : Going into the 1975 season, there was reason to believe the old Hadl might re-emerge. Starr had been hired to replace Devine and it was a reasonable assumption that two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history would combine to comprise an ultimate braintrust. Hadl even was back to wearing his familiar No. 21. He had been forced to take No. 12 upon his arrival with the Packers because defensive back Charlie Hall was wearing his old number, but Hadl and Hall were able to strike a bargain in 1975. "When I first got there, I offered Charlie Hall some money,'' Hadl said. "I can't remember how much and he wouldn't take it. He said, `Let's talk next year.' And the next year, he gave it to me for a six-pack! Of course, that's pocket change now.'' Nothing, though, not the arrival of Starr and not the return of No. 21, could salvage this season. The reality was, the 1975 Packers almost had expansion-team talent with players on offense the likes Pat Matson, Keith Wortman and the over-the-hill Ernie McMillan, Bruce Van Dyke and Brockington. Gale Gillingham, one of the greatest guards in NFL history, was so disgusted with the team's offensive direction that he sat out the 1975 season after Starr refused to trade demand. And Hadl, playing behind a makeshift line, was left to run for his life most of the season as he tried to pass to his new receivers, Ken Payne and Steve Odom. "They were nice guys, but they just weren't NFL caliber, most of them,'' Hadl said. "We had Kenny Payne, who was a real tough kid. He was pretty good. Odom was fast. But there was the time factor throwing the ball. We didn't have a lot of time, so we had to adjust our routes a little bit and get rid of it a little bit quicker.'' It was an unmitigated disaster. The Packers, losing eight of their first nine games, finished 4-10. And Hadl, playing his only full season in Green Bay, completed 191 of 353 passes for 2,095 yards, but with just six touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Meanwhile, there was no help on the way. They had not drafted until the 47th pick in 1975. And if Starr had not traded future Hall-of-Fame linebacker Ted Hendricks to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round choice, the Packers wouldn't have made their first selection in 1976 until the 72nd pick. Had Devine not panicked into overpaying for Hadl, the Packers would have been in position to draft such quality players as Dennis Harrah, Russ Francis, Louie Wright, Tom "Hollywood" Henderson, Fred Dean and Doug English. Instead, what Devine left behind was utter chaos. Ironically, during a time when Starr was trying to build something out of so little, Devine, who never could find a quarterback in Green Bay, found one at Notre Dame. Maybe you heard of him. His name was Joe Montana.
THE AFTERMATH : Following that disastrous 1975 season, Starr obviously recognized he wasn't going to be able to build something lasting around a quarterback who would turn 36 Feb. 15, 1976. Later that spring, he traded Hadl and cornerback Ken Ellis to the Houston Oilers for the then 26-year-old Lynn Dickey, who finally gave Green Bay a talented young quarterback. Hadl backed up Dan Pastorini for two seasons in Houston before retiring following the 1977 season. "It's funny,'' Hadl said. "My contract ran out and they offered about half of what I had been making, which was still nice. But I just got tired of being in shape ... I just got tired of it. Al Davis called and wanted to go out and try out with the Raiders and I thought about that for a little bit, but I just hung it up and I'm glad I did. It was time. "I had 16 years in. I wish I could have 16 years today - Geezus Criminy!'' Following his retirement, Hadl served as offensive coordinator for two seasons with the Rams under Ray Malavasi, was John Elway's first quarterbacks coach with the Denver Broncos and also was head coach of the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League. As great as Hadl's playing career was, he will always be linked to one of the most unpleasant chapters in the history of the Packers - through no fault of his own. "I just hope they respect my efforts and what I tried to do in a short period of time there as a quarterback,'' he said. "I certainly have a lot of respect for Green Bay and the people there. Obviously, their franchise is one of the tops forever.''
The Glory Years of the 1960s lasted just eight years. The Gory Years that followed lasted 24. "When you look at the record, how many seasons we were 4-12, yet the stands were still full," said Brian Noble, a talented linebacker for nine seasons. "There was a stretch in there where we not only were a crummy football team, but think of all the other things that transpired off the field." Pure hell for Packer fans everywhere was watching those stumbling, bumbling teams of the Phil Bengtson, Dan Devine, Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg and Lindy Infante eras. Some of the most forgettable quarterbacks in the history of the game played in the Green and Gold: Frank Patrick, Jim Del Gaizo, Don Milan, Bill Troup and Anthony Dilweg to name just a few. The sometimes crazy decisions of the front office where stuperfying. The huge price Dan Devine paid in 1974 for the sore armed quarterback John Hadl from the Rams virtually mortaged the teams future by surrendering the teams first five draft choices over the next two years. And what about first round draft picks when we weren't giving them away. Great failures included Rich Moore who played defensive tackle as if he were stuck in wet cement; Barry Smith who shivered and cringed every time he was the intended receiver on a crossing pattern; Rich Campbell wobbly duck throws and Tony Mandarich who played offensive tackle as if he were knee-deep in a swamp. The long awaited return of the Glory years was something for all long-suffering Packers fans to once again cherish. But we can not and should not forget our past if we want to keep striving Back to the Future. So here is a glimpse at those "GORY YEARS".
1972 - NFC Divisional Playoff - Washington Redskins 16, GREEN BAY 3 (at Washington)
1983 - Super Bowl Tournament - GREEN BAY 41, St. Louis Cardinals 16 (at Green Bay)
1983 - Super Bowl Tournament - Dallas Cowboys 37, GREEN BAY 26 (at Dallas)
THE PACKERS (1968-1991)
THE PHIL BENGSTON ERA (20-21-1)
YEAR W L T .PCT PF PA POS HOME AWAY
1968 6 7 1 .462 281 227 3 2-5-0 4-2-1
1969 8 6 0 .571 269 221 3 5-2-0 3-4-0
1970 6 8 0 .429 196 293 T3 4-3-0 2-5-0
THE DAN DEVINE ERA (25-27-4)
1971 4 8 2 .333 274 298 4 3-3-1 1-5-1
1972 10 4 0 .714 304 226 1 4-3-0 6-1-1
1973 5 7 2 .429 202 259 3 3-2-2 2-5-0
1974 6 8 0 .429 210 206 3 4-3-0 2-5-0
THE BART STARR ERA (53-77-3)
1975 4 10 0 .286 226 285 T3 3-4-0 1-6-0
1976 5 9 0 .357 218 299 4 4-3-0 1-6-0
1977 4 10 0 .286 134 219 4 2-5-0 2-5-0
1978 8 7 1 .531 249 269 T1 5-2-1 3-5-0
1979 5 11 0 .313 246 316 4 4-4-0 1-7-0
1980 5 10 1 .344 231 372 T4 4-4-0 1-6-1
1981 8 8 0 .500 324 361 T2 4-4-0 4-4-0
1982 5 3 1 .611 226 169 1 3-1-0 2-2-1
1983 8 8 0 .500 429 439 T2 5-3-0 3-5-0
THE FORREST GREGG ERA (25-37-1)
1984 8 8 0 .500 390 309 2 5-3-0 3-5-0
1985 8 8 0 .500 337 355 2 5-3-0 3-5-0
1986 4 12 0 .250 254 418 4 1-7-0 3-5-0
1987 5 9 1 .367 255 300 3 2-5-1 3-4-0
THE LINDY INFANTE ERA (24-40-0)
1988 4 12 0 .250 240 315 T4 2-6-0 2-6-0
1989 10 6 0 .625 362 356 T1 6-2-0 4-4-0
1990 6 10 0 .375 271 347 T2 3-5-0 3-5-0
1991 4 12 0 .250 273 313 4 2-6-0 2-6-0
BLUE - PLAYOFF TEAM
1. Chicago Bears 13, Packers 10 -- Nov. 3, 1968 - A young Errol Mann, just recently signed, missed field goals from 44 and 29 yards out. Chuck Mercein missed a 22-yarder. Eight games into Bengtson's first season as coach, three different kickers had made just six of 17 field-goal tries. "It just gets worse and worse," Bengtson moaned after the game. Dan Devine lost his opener with the Packers, 2-0, to the Bears.
2. Detroit Lions 40, Packers 0 -- Sept. 21, 1970 - Worse than the score was the humiliation of watching quarterback Greg Landry turn a quarterback sneak into a 76-yard run that set up Detroit's final touchdown. When asked after the game whether the Packers defense had suffered a breakdown on the play, Bengtson said he had noticed at least three of them. This loss came on opening day. The Lions crushed the Packers, 20-0, to end the season and Bengston's coaching tenure.
3. Bears 2, Packers 0 -- Aug. 7, 1971 - It was only an exhibition -- Devine's first as a head coach -- but it was an exercise in futility that will long be remembered. Miscast, 6-foot-7 quarterback Frank Patrick, who had been drafted as a tight end the year before, faded back to pass in the third quarter and faded too far, beyond the end line at County Stadium for a safety and the only score of the game.
4. Los Angeles Rams 24, Packers 7 -- Oct. 21, 1973 - Leading just 13-7 going into the fourth quarter, the Rams scored on an NFL-record two safeties
by defensive end Fred Dryer. He blew past tackle Malcolm Snider twice in a 5-minute span to smother first Hunter and then Del Gaizo in the end zone.
"I just got beat," a subdued Snider said after the game. "I'm really embarrassed."
5. Detroit 30, Packers 16 -- Sept. 21, 1975 - The Lions welcomed Steve Broussard to the NFL by blocking three of his punts in Starr's first game as
coach. Adding insult to injury, the Lions turned all three into touchdowns in a game played at County Stadium. They recovered the first one in the end zone
returned the second one 34 yards for a touchdown and scored from a yard out three plays after the third one. Bart Starr could never translate his success
as Packer QB into success as Packer coach. "I remember wondering after a while if I was going to be allowed to continue punting," Broussard said after
the game. The Packers had no choice. He punted nine times in all and almost had two others blocked.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14, Packers 14 -- Oct. 12, 1980 - The Packers had 569 yards of total offense compared to 262 for the Buccaneers, but they
could only muster 14 points and settled for a tie. Tom Birney, signed just four days earlier, missed a 24-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation time and a 36-yard try at the end of overtime. "As a Christian, I have peace within me," Birney explained in the locker room. "I am disappointed for my teammates, though. But I thank God for the good things and I also thank Him for the bad. I thank Him for this, too."
7. Bears 61, Packers 7 -- Dec. 7, 1980 - After the Packers had suffered the second most lopsided defeat in their history, Starr charged across the field to confront Bears coach Neill Armstrong. Starr was upset because defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan had the Bears blitzing from all angles in the fourth quarter. "Bart Starr was upset," Armstrong said after the game. "He did the talking and I did the listening. He said he'd rather not hear what I had to say, something to that effect, and he left." Two years later, Bill Tobin, the Bears' vice president of player personnel at the time, revealed that he had been instructed by general manager Jim Finks during the off-season to study film and decode the Packers' signal system for relaying plays to the quarterback. Tobin, who had been in the Packers' front office during the Devine years, had been fired by Starr in 1975 as part of a wholesale housecleaning. "I went at it like a tiger does good meat," Tobin said at the time.
8. Indianapolis 37, Packers 10 -- Oct. 27, 1985 - The Packers staged a better fight in the locker room than they did on the field. Reporters standing outside the Packers' dressing room doors at the Hoosier Dome after the game could hear shouts of obscenities and the sounds of a scuffle, but it wasn't until a day later that they learned what had triggered the mayhem. Virgil Knight, one of Gregg's more volatile assistants, had thrown a full can of Coke at the head of linebacker Mike Douglass. "If it would have hit him, it would have killed him," another staff member recently said.
9. Minnesota Vikings 42, Packers 7 -- Sept. 28, 1986 - Not only did the Packers fall behind, 28-0, in the first quarter, but they lost their starting quarterback when Wright fainted outside the huddle. Former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo replaced him and started calling plays out of the Rams' playbook. "This one right here will have to live in my mind forever as the worst," Gregg bristled after the game.
10. Philadelphia Eagles 31, Packers 0 -- Dec. 16, 1990 - Tony Mandarich had to block Reggie White and the results were a disaster. White had 1 1/2 sacks, six knockdowns, two passes batted at the line and a forced fumble. "To tell you the truth, I gave it my damndest," Mandarich said after the game. "He timed my step and then he'd toss me. I could have held on to him, but why hold? Why go back 10 yards."
Mossy Cade: In 1985, Packers coach Forrest Gregg gave up a first-round pick and a conditional 5th-round choice to San Diego to acquire the defensive back out of Texas. But just a few months into his Packers career, in November 1985, Cade was arrested on three counts of second-degree sexual assault for assaulting a woman who was a guest in his De Pere home. In May 1987, he was convicted on two counts of second-degree sexual assault. He served 15 months of a two-year prison term.
Bruce Clark: OK, technically never a Packer. But Packers coach Bart Starr tabbed the Lombardi Award winner out of Penn State with the fourth overall pick in the 1980 NFL draft. Starr's intent was to make Clark a nose tackle. When Clark heard that, he went into draft dodger mode and headed to Canada, proving he was clearly not enamored with the Packers' rich history. Clark wanted to play defensive end, a sentiment that was either never passed on or simply ignored. After playing two years with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, the Packers gave up and traded Clark's rights to the New Orleans Saints, where in 1984 he had his only Pro Bowl season.
Rich Campbell: The QB from Cal was selected sixth overall in the 1981 draft and was hailed as a strong-armed quarterback who would be the team's future. But in the ensuing camps, it was determined there was a flaw in Campbell's delivery, giving credence to the notion that football really is rocket science. The end result was a four-year career, with Campbell appearing in just seven games, completing 31 of 68 passes with three touchdowns and nine interceptions. Bitter Packers fans forever note that two picks later, the 49ers selected future Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. Campbell later came over to the dark side, and is editorial page editor of the newspaper in Hattiesburg, Miss., the offseason home of Favre.
John Hadl: Desperate times call for desperate measures and in 1974, with his job in jeopardy, coach Dan Devine risked the future of the team with the trade for the 34-year-old Hadl from the Los Angeles Rams. Devine gave up first-, second- and third-round draft picks in 1975, and first- and third-round choices in 1976. Hadl played the final eight games of 1974 and finished with three TDs and eight picks. The Packers went 3-5 in the span and Devine was dumped. Starr inherited Devine's mess, was stuck with Hadl the next season, and watched him throw 21 picks against just six TDs as the Packers went 4-10. Getting rid of Hadl also was costly as the Packers sent him to Houston for quarterback Lynn Dickey, they also had to send to the Oilers defensive back Ken Ellis, a fourth-round draft pick in 1976 and a third-round pick in 1977. Hadl cost the Packers seven draft picks and a player.
Tony Mandarich: As all Packers fans, even the unborn, know, Green Bay passed on Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders out of Oklahoma State to take the Michigan State left tackle with the second overall pick in the 1989 draft. Initially called "the best offensive line prospect ever" by Sports Illustrated, Mandarich was later tabbed "The Incredible Bust" by SI after his disastrous four-year stint in Green Bay. Holding out until just five days before the season opener he had threatened to get into the ring with Mike Tyson instead Mandarich finally signed a four-year, $4.4 million deal. The Packers tried to switch him to right tackle from the left side, but he failed to adjust and was limited mainly to special teams during his rookie year. He did start 31 straight games at one point, but was average at best and was beaten often. He also was dogged by rumors that he was the player he was in college only with the help of steroids. That he had poor technique didn't help, either.In May 1992, Mandarich contracted a parasitic infection when he drank out of a stream during a hunting trip. That caused him to lose 30 pounds in three weeks. The Packers moved him to left tackle, but three quarters into the preseason opener, he banged heads with Kansas City's Brent White and sustained a severe concussion. Upon further examination by doctors, it was discovered Mandarich had hypothyroidism, which caused him to feel mentally and physically sluggish. He missed the entire season and the Packers let him go.
The draft pick from hell - Perhaps there was no way of knowing how much of a character risk Randy Woodfield was before the 1974
draft, but he was a time bomb of the worst kind. A wide receiver from Portland State, he was selected by former coach Dan Devine in the
17th and final round that year. Today, he is serving a life sentence plus 165 years in the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Ore. He was
tried in two separate cases in 1981 and found guilty of murder, attempted murder, five sodomy charges and a firearms charge. One of
Oregon's most notorious criminals, Woodfield was known as the "I-5 Bandit" and suspected of 16 murders and 104 rapes, robberies and
sodomies. Woodfield was released by the Packers in training camp but hooked on with the semi-pro Manitowoc Chiefs. Before he was
drafted, he was twice convicted of indecent exposure. Crushed over his release by the Packers, Woodfield boasted about his tryout and
saved everything from a helmet to all his correspondence from the brief time he spent with the team. The Volkswagen bug that Woodfield
used to cruise the interstate highway with between California and Washington during his crime sprees even sported a Packers decal.
WR: Barry Smith, 1973-'75 -- A first-round draft pick, he averaged 8.8 yards per catch his last season.
WR: Ollie Smith, 1976-'77 -- Barry couldn't catch in a crowd, Ollie couldn't run away from one.
TE: Len Garrett, 1971-'72 -- Nicknamed "Graveyard", he had hands of stone.
T: Tony Mandarich, 1989-'91 -- Drafted ahead of Barry Sanders and Deion Sanders, he will live in infamy as the biggest bust of all time.
T: Malcolm Snider, 1972-'74 -- A serviceable guard, he had to fill in at tackle in 1973 and gave up an NFL record two safeties in a game against the Los Angeles Rams.
G: Arland Thompson, 1981 -- He was a basket case when he was thrust into the starting lineup for the final game in 1981 with a playoff berth at stake. Never has a player been more unnerved than he was at the prospect of facing the New York Jets' Sack Exchange. Moreover, the coaching staff, in all its wisdom, elected to run behind him on consecutive plays at a critical point in the game. Second and 1 at the Jets' 13 quickly turned into a fourth-and-2 situation.
G: Bill Bain, 1975 -- He became a solid lineman with the Rams for seven years, but he was a time bomb with the Packers. Drafted in the second round, he walked out of a film session at the end of training camp his second year and demanded to be traded. "I felt there was too much pressure on me," he said at the time. "Maybe I'm not tough enough mentally yet."
C: Wimpy Winther, 1971 -- Believe it or not, the Packers traded a fifth-round draft pick for a center named Wimpy.
QB: Frank Patrick, 1970-'72 -- Drafted as a tight end, the Packers tried to make him a quarterback with predictable results. His career stats were: 8 completions, 23 attempts, no touchdowns & "that safety".
HB: Michael Haddix, 1990-'91 -- He was the go-to back in a Lindy Infante offense that was better suited for flag football. In 1990, he led the team in rushing with an anemic 311 yards, the lowest total by the Packers' team leader in 32 years.
FB: Vickey Ray Anderson, 1980 -- With a name like that, he was never mistaken for Bronco Nagurski.
E: Greg Boyd, 1983 -- "Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." Never has that scout's adage more fittingly applied to a player.
E: Donnie Humphrey, 1984-'86 -- Along with having a weight problem and a drug problem, he could hardly wait for practice to end so he could puff on a cigarette in the locker room.
T: Rich Moore, 1969-'70 -- He was a no-name when they drafted him in the first round and was still a no-name when they dumped him.
T: Carl Barzilauskus, 1978-'79 -- A first-round bust with the Jets, the Packers traded two high draft picks to get him. He was just as big a bust for them.
MLB: Tom Perko, 1976 -- A fourth-round draft pick, he sparkled in his first nutcracker drill, whipping veteran tackle Dick Himes three straight times. But when it was 11 on 11, he couldn't make a play.
OLB: Putt Choate, 1987 -- Not much of a player, but his name has a linebacker ring to it for pre-game introductions.
OLB: Rydell Malancon, 1987 -- Like Choate, a strike replacement player who makes the team on name only.
CB: Estus Hood, 1978-'84 -- Not even Terrell Buckley got beat deep as often as he did.
CB: Ike Thomas, 1972-'73 -- After he returned a kickoff 89 yards against the Bears, their coach, Abe Gibron, said he never saw
anybody run so far and look so scared in all his years in the NFL.
SS: Mossy Cade, 1985-'86 -- The Packers traded a first-round draft pick to get him from San Diego and had his services for 30
games. They got nothing in return when he was convicted of sexual assault and sent to Fox Lake Correctional Institution for a 15-month prison term.
FS: Hurles Scales, 1975 -- The name said it all. Although his stay was short, he was the deserving winner of the team's "Ugly Man Contest," a training camp ritual at the time.
K: Booth Lusteg, 1969 -- "I feel I'm better than Don Chandler was at his best," he boasted during his brief stint with the Packers. Chandler ranks 15th in all-time Packers scoring. Lusteg made one of five field goal tries.
P: Steve Broussard, 1975 -- He had three punts blocked in his first game and was cut after his fourth with a 31.8 average.
Eighty-three years of professional football history; 12 world championships; 20 hall of fame players and coaches; countless epic games; the only town-team remaining in pro sports, yet one of the most enduring stories about the Green Bay Packers comes down to a dog. Dan Devine's dog. A dog long gone. It's a simple story clouded by more than 30 years of hearsay and sloppy reporting among the national medianot to mention fans of the Bears, Lions, and Vikings. When classicwisconsin recently stopped at its favorite Green Bay tavern, St. Michael's Pub on Riverside Dr., and overheard another variation of the dead dog story -- this one involved a pitchfork, not a shotgun -- classicwisconsin decided it was time to revisit the dark days of the 1970s in hopes of resurrecting the truth behind the untimely demise of Dan Devine's dog. Only a few years had passed since the Packer's victory in Super Bowl II, but it might as well have been a century. Head coach and general manager Vince Lombardi was gone. His successor posted just one winning season in three. By the end of the 1970 campaign, the Packers dwelled in the cellar of the NFL Central Division in both total offense and total defense. The team board of directors, led by its executive committee under president Dominic Olejniczak, began looking for a new coach, focusing its search on the college ranks. Among the prospects were Missouri's Dan Devine, Penn State's Joe Paterno, and Arizona State's Frank Kush. Devine had amassed an impressive 93-37-7 record in 13 seasons with Missouri, with two Big Eight championships and six bowl appearances, including a victory against Paul "Bear" Bryant's Alabama team in the 1968 Gator Bowl. The Packer executive committee selected Devine, but not unanimously. Five members, led by Olejniczak, supported the hiring; two others, including pro hall of fame halfback Tony Canadeo, wanted Paterno. The split-vote foreshadowed the dissent that would eventually wrack the organization from top to bottom. It did not help when Devine, in his first meeting with the squad, showed University of Missouri highlight films. Some of the veterans were offended from the start. "He tell us that the Green Bay sweep was really his play and Vince Lombardi got it from him," Hall of Fame safety Willie Wood told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a 2000 interview. "That's the kind of things he'd say." The 1971 season was a struggle. The Packers finished 4-8-2 under rookie quarterback Scott Hunter. Things were looking decidedly better -- at least on the surface -- in 1972, as Devine led his modestly talented team to a 10-4 record and the Central Division title. Devine was named NFC Coach of the Year. The team was hot going into the playoffs. "I think the Packer team in the last four, five, six weeks of that '72 season played as well as any Packer team I've ever seen," said Lee Remmel, the Packers public relations director and former beat reporter with the Green Bay Press Gazette. HAYWIRE : But something went haywire during the playoff game against the Washington Redskins, and the Packers promising season ended with a 16-3 loss. "We just got beat by a better team," Devine explained years later. His players recalled a different scenario. "We just got out coached," cornerback Ken Ellis told reporter Jerry Polling for the book "Downfield! The Untold Stories of the Green Bay Packers." By several accounts, Devine refused to make adjustments during the game and began overruling (then assistant coach) Bart Starr's play calling. It wasn't the first time that confusion reigned on the sidelines. The year before, Devine and another assistant publicly engaged in a tug of war that resulted in different plays being sent to the huddle simultaneously. The '73 campaign began where '72 crash-landed, and the Packers limped to a 5-7-2 record. "I could have coached better" that year, Devine admitted in his autobiography. The board of directors, coaches, and players began taking sides. One player circulated a locker room petition in support of Devine. Others would ignore coaching calls made during games. A players strike prior to the '74 season exacerbated the problems. The entire organization was mired in chaos. Devine decided that the '74 season would be his last in Green Bay. He had a standing offer from the University of Washington, and he would privately weigh other opportunities as the season wore on. TIME OUT : The season started with predicable results despite settlement of the players strike. The Packers were mediocre at best going into the second month of the season. As if to publicly confirm his desire to leave Green Bay, Devine gave an interview to TIME magazine that shook the earth under the modest ranch houses populating pro football's smallest market. In an Oct. 9 article titled "Haunted in Green Bay," Devine characterized the treatment of he and his family as "vulgar, malicious and ugly." "It makes me sick," he added. "In the four year since he abandoned a distinguished career at the University of Missouri to join the Packers," the article read, "Devine has been the target of physical threats, personal insults and professional criticism. He had been sabotaged by his assistants, undermined by owners, and harassed by hostile fans, who have literally pursued him to his front door. Early one morning two years ago, the Devines were awakened by a sharp bang: one of their dogs had been shot outside the house." Thus began one of the all-time infamous stories in professional sports, provided by Devine himself and fueled by no less a distinguished publication than TIME. Less than a month later, another bombshell landed when Devine mortgaged the future of the team by trading a slew of top draft picks for aging quarterback John Hadl. The ugly season came to an end, the Packers finished 6-8, and Devine had secretly accepted a college coaching position. He informed the Packers of his resignation and negotiated a buyout on the final year of his contract. Devine then relished telling the Packers that they had been duped. "By the way," he said, moments after consummating the buyout, "I'm going to be the next head coach at Notre Dame." On that note, Dan Devine's career with the Green Bay Packer came to an end. TEACHING A DEAD DOG NEW TRICKS : The dog story survived long after Devine's departure, and why not? Fans becoming so obsessed with winning that they would kill the coach's dog is sick and potentially criminal. And this wasn't barstool hearsay printed in a third-rate publication. This came from the coach himself as told to TIME. But one thing didn't make sense. Devine said the shooting occurred two years prior to the TIME interview, in 1972, when the Packers were enjoying their first successful season since the 1967 Super Bowl run. Word of mouth in Green Bay maintained that a farmer took matters into his own hands after the dog repeatedly attacked the farmer's chickens. No matter. When Devine died May 9, 2002, thirty years after the incident, the dog returned with a vengeance. The Associated Press (AP) and CBS Sports explicitly reported that disgruntled Packer fans had killed Devine's dog. This, from CBS Sportline.com reporter Dennis Dodd: "Despite becoming the NFL coach of the year in 1972, Devine only lasted four seasons. During that time, some weirdo(s) shot his dog when the Packers were struggling." The AP story, written by Bob Baum, appeared virtually everywhere across the country since Devine was a College Football Hall of Fame coach. Packer fans, Baum wrote, "had grown disenchanted and ran Devine out of town. So angry were some, that Devine's dog was shot to death." The AP and CBS stories may have been based on the 1974 TIME article, or the reporters may have recycled the legend without checking the facts. Baum and Dodd did not respond to recent requests to discuss their stories. The dog story was given a new lease on life as recently as last year because of those national media stories, despite an earlier development that could have settled the matter once and for all from a pretty good source -- Dan Devine himself. HIMSELF: Devine offered a detailed explanation in his autobiography, published in 2000. He acknowledged that his dogs wandered freely and created mischief; one turned up wounded during hunting season and was nursed back to health. "Rumors circulated that some disgruntled fans or anti-Devine people had shot my dog," he said in the book. "I honestly don't believe that was what happened." "We weren't so lucky with another one of our dogs," Devine continued. "It was only a couple days later, ironically, when the dog wandered over to a nearby farm and began chasing the farmer's ducks. The farmer, a neighbor who we knew very well, fired a gun at the dog, intending to scare him and get him away from his ducks. Well, the bullet happened to hit the dog and killed him. He had every right to shoot at the dog, and he knew it and I knew it. "Still, he felt terrible about what happened. I saw him walking toward our house, carrying the dead dog in his arms, crying uncontrollably. He kept saying, 'I didn't mean to kill him,' and I knew that was true. Still more rumors spread, even though it was a total accident, and that night I was down at his house, playing basketball with his kids." "All those rumors reflected badly on the good people of Green Bay. Most of the people we met were genuine and nice to us" THERE IT IS : Devine was capable of being disingenuous, no doubt. He offered the dog story to TIME Magazine as evidence of poor treatment in Green Bay, and he let the legend metastasize for years, permanently besmirching the city's reputation. For what it's worth (not much if the national media reports are any indication), the former coach came clean in the end, leaving just one unresolved question: Did the farmer really use a pitchfork?
Rich Moore, DT, Villanova - He was a 6-foot-6, 280-pound traffic cop; a gentle giant who lacked instinct and aggressiveness. Coach Phil Bengtson pictured him as another Merlin Olsen and took him with the 12th pick in the '69 draft over the objections of his scouting staff. Lasted two uneventful seasons. "Rich Moore was a disaster," said Pat Peppler, the team's director of player personnel at the time. "Phil Bengtson fell in love with his size."
Jerry Tagge, QB, Nebraska (Pictured Right) -He was the ideal Big Eight quarterback, leading Nebraska to consecutive national championships, so Dan Devine took him with the 11th pick in the '72 draft. Devine had coached against him when he was at Missouri. But Tagge was out of his element in the NFL. In three seasons, he played 18 games and threw just three touchdown passes compared to 17 interceptions. "He was a robotic, man-made guy," said Dick Corrick, an area scout at the time.
Barry Smith, WR, Florida State - Dubbed the next Fred Biletnikoff when he was drafted with the 21st pick in '73, he was no Hall of Famer. MacArthur Lane called him " Grasshopper," because he jumped for every ball thrown his way. It was his way of protecting himself from contact. Timid as they come running
across the middle, he lasted three years and caught a total of 41 passes.
Brent Fullwood, RB, Auburn - Credit him with making the Pro Bowl one year, but so much more was expected of someone taken with the fourth pick in the '87 draft. He was moody, unwilling to play with minor nicks and a straight-line runner. He was cut midway into his fourth season when he took himself out of a
game against the Bears and then went out partying that night. Former defensive coordinator Dick Modzelewski, upon his departure from Green Bay, dismissed him as "a dud - a complete dud."
Terrell Buckley, CB, Florida State - Taken with the fifth pick in the '92 draft, he compared himself to Jim Thorpe and fantasized about intercepting 20 to 25 passes in a season. Although he has survived as a marginal player in Miami, he wore out his welcome in Green Bay after three seasons. Someone close to former secondary coach Dick Jauron said Buckley "drove him nuts for three years."
Scott Hunter drops back versus Minnesota (1971)
Jack Concannon looks over the Redskins defense (1974)
Jim Hill and Alden Roche tackle Kansas City (1973)