Green Bay Packers: Champions of the Frozen Tundra
The Pack is back. As if you needed proof that the Green Bay Packers – and their brand of hard-nosed, Midwestern football – are one of the best teams in the NFL, they went 11-5 last season to nab a 6th seed in the playoffs and went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl. One of the oldest teams in football, Green Bay has won 13 league championships – four since the invention of the Super Bowl. Playing at frigid Lambeau Field (known colloquially as the Frozen Tundra), the Packers are also unique for their owner: the city of Green Bay. It’s the smallest city to host an NFL football team, and its citizens are shareholders of the public company. And who wouldn’t want to own a piece of this squad and their history? During the late 1950s and throughout the sixties, they were led by one of the all-time great coaches not just in football, but sports history – Vince Lombardi. During that era, they were represented on the gridiron by legendary quarterback Bart Starr and the nightmare-inducing, bone-crunching linebacker Ray Nitschke. This was the squad with which they played one of the most famous games in NFL history – 1967’s Ice Bowl, played at – you guessed it – Lambeau Field. A cold December day, a game that would give its victor a spot in the Super Bowl, and one immortal drive. Down three to the Dallas Cowboys with less than five minutes to play, Starr led the team down the field through what is said to be temperatures around 70-below with wind chill and executed the most famous QB-sneak in history to win the frostbitten game. When Lombardi retired, the Packers went through a quiet phase, bereft of starpower and major talent. That changed when another legend – the recently retired, presumably for good this time, Brett Favre – took the reins. He quickly became one of the league’s most recognizable faces and brought a 1996 Superbowl victory and a number of playoff runs with him. When he “retired” in 2007, Aaron Rogers took over and quickly established himself as one of the most dominant players in the league. It would be with Rogers that the team would earn the 2010 trophy, with him being named MVP for his contributions.