Nearly six decades ago, the Green Bay Packers had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. Here’s why the 1962 team deserves that accolade.
In 1962, the Packers beat the NY Giants at Yankee Stadium to win their second consecutive NFL Championship. They had beaten the same Giants to win it all in 1961 by a score of 37–0. With winds reaching 27 mph at kickoff, and a wind chill measured at 8 degrees F, Green Bay forced three turnovers and won, 16–7. The Giants only score came as the result of a blocked punt.
Just how good were the ’62 Packers? Consider this: eight of fifteen opponents scored one TD or less, including three teams that didn’t score a point. On the flip side, Green Bay scored 40+ points four times and outscored the opposition 431–155. By season’s end, the Packers sat atop the NFL and AFL in both points scored and points allowed.
Perhaps most impressively, the Packers’ dominance didn’t come by way of playing weak teams. Green Bay faced the 11–3 Lions twice, the 9–5 Bears twice, and the 12–2 Giants in the championship game. Outside of playing the Packers, those teams went 31–7 on the season.
The scores of some of their games read more like high school or college games than NFL games. They beat the Bears and Eagles 49–0, the Rams 41–10, and the Bears again 38–7.
Green Bay’s only loss on the year came on Thanksgiving Day when the team lost at Detroit, 26–14. The offensive line performed uncharacteristically poorly as quarterback Bart Starr was sacked 11 times.
But one blemish doesn’t detract from this team’s greatness. Bart Starr led the league in passing yards, and Jim Taylor led the league in rushing yards and also won the NFL MVP award. Willie Wood led the league in interceptions, and Ray Nitschke received the MVP for his outstanding performance in the championship game.
Ten players from the team were selected to participate in the Pro Bowl: Tom Moore, RB; Jim Taylor, FB; Bart Starr, QB; Ron Kramer, TE; Forrest Gregg, T; Jerry Kramer, G; Jim Ringo, C; Dan Currie, LB; Bill Forester, LB, and Willie Wood, S.
And here’s the clincher: thirteen members of the ’62 squad (two coaches and eleven players) are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are (by year and name):
1970 Tom Fears, receivers coach
1971 Vince Lombardi, head coach
1976 Jim Taylor, fullback
1977 Forrest Gregg, offensive tackle
1977 Bart Starr, quarterback
1978 Ray Nitschke, middle linebacker
1980 Herb Adderley, cornerback
1981 Willie Davis, defensive end
1981 Jim Ringo, center
1986 Paul Hornung, running back
1989 Willie Wood, safety
1995 Henry Jordan, defensive tackle
2018 Jerry Kramer, offensive guard.
Also, WR Boyd Dowler was selected as a member of the NFL’s 1960s All-Decade Team as were Starr, Hornung, Taylor, Gregg, Kramer, Ringo, Davis, Nitschke, Adderly, and Wood.
The Packers’ greatness didn’t end in 1962. The team went on win championships in 1965, 1966, and 1967. For me, though, the 1962 team stands out–the incomparable 1962 Green Bay Packers.