Curly Lambeau is a name that resonates with the history of American football. He is remembered as the founder of the Green Bay Packers, one of the most successful teams in the National Football League (NFL). Lambeau’s contribution to the sport cannot be overstated, as he not only created a winning team but also revolutionized the way football was played in the early 20th century. He goes down as a Packers great.
Looking at the Life of Packers Legend Curly Lambeau
Lambeau was born on April 9, 1898, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He was the son of Marcelin Lambeau, a Belgian immigrant who worked as a foreman at a local paper mill, and Mary Lambeau, who was of French-Canadian descent. Curly attended East High School in Green Bay, where he excelled in athletics, particularly in football.
In 1918, Lambeau was drafted into the United States Army during World War I. He served in France with the 32nd Infantry Division, and upon his return to the United States in 1919, he resumed his football career. Lambeau played for several local football teams before joining the Notre Dame football program in 1919. However, he left the program after a dispute with legendary coach Knute Rockne.
Association With the Packers Begins
Lambeau returned to Green Bay and began playing for a local team called the Packers. The team was struggling at the time, and Lambeau saw an opportunity to turn things around. In 1921, he organized a group of local businessmen to help finance the team and become its owners. The group included George Whitney Calhoun, a former newspaper editor, who later became the team’s publicity director.
Under Lambeau’s leadership, the Packers became a dominant force in professional football. He was not only the team’s coach but also its star player. Lambeau’s vision for the team was to play an aggressive, attacking style of football, and he emphasized speed, quickness, and agility in his players.
In 1929, the Packers won their first NFL championship, led by Lambeau, who was both the team’s coach and quarterback. The team repeated as champions in 1930 and 1931, and again in 1936, 1939, and 1944. Lambeau’s success with the Packers earned him a reputation as one of the best coaches in the NFL.
Curly Lambeau and the Development of the NFL
Lambeau’s contributions to the sport of football were not limited to coaching. He also played a significant role in the development of the NFL. In the 1920s, Lambeau was one of the founders of the league and served as its vice president for several years. He was instrumental in establishing many of the league’s rules and regulations and helped to make the game safer for players.
Lambeau’s impact on the NFL can still be seen today. The championship trophy awarded to the winner of the NFL’s Super Bowl is named after him. Lambeau Field, the home stadium of the Green Bay Packers, is also named in his honor.
Lambeau’s Packers Days End Bitterly
Despite his success as a coach and innovator, Lambeau’s tenure with the Packers came to an acrimonious end. In 1949, he resigned from the team after a dispute with the team’s executive committee over the direction of the franchise. He went on to coach for several other teams, including the Chicago Cardinals and the Washington Redskins, but never achieved the same level of success he had with the Packers.
Lambeau’s legacy as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history is secure. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, and his contributions to the game continue to be recognized and celebrated.
In conclusion, Curly Lambeau was a football visionary whose impact on the sport cannot be overstated.