The Green Bay Packers are celebrating their 97th birthday on Thursday, after they were founded on August 11th, 1919.
The founding of the Green Bay Packers has often been called one of the greatest stories in sports.
Two men are essentially responsible for the formation of the team, Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun.
Curly Lambeau was a star athlete at Green Bay East High School for several years.
After high school, he would go to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
There, he joined the starting line up for the University’s football team as a freshman.
The team also happened to be coached that year by brand new rookie head coach Knute Rockne.
However, after only one semester, he returned home to Green Bay sick with a case of tonsillitis.
After months of recovery, it was too late to return to school at Notre Dame so he started working at the Indian Packing Company in Green Bay as a shipping clerk.
One chance meeting between Lambeau and Calhoun would set in motion the formation of the Packers.
Calhoun followed Lambeau’s football career in high school, since Calhoun was a sports writer for the Green Bay Press Gazette Newspaper.
In a casual conversation, Calhoun asked Lambeau if he missed playing the game of football.
Lambeau said yes but he couldn’t go back to Notre Dame, so he thought football was out of his life for a while.
Calhoun then suggested to Lambeau, “Why don’t you start your own team?”
After getting the word out around Green Bay by both Calhoun and Lambeau, they decided to set up a meeting for the formation of a football team.
On August 11th, 1919 at 7:00 p.m., 24 men came into the Green Bay Press Gazette offices and met with Lambeau and Calhoun.
No men were cut from that first team.
At the end of the meeting, the Packers were officially formed.
The team would go through several different name changes (Green Bay Indians, Acme Packers) before joining a league that would become the NFL as the Green Bay Packers in 1921.