January 9, 2008

NFL Thumbnail Histories: the Chicago Bears; the Chicago/ St. Louis/ Arizona Cardinals; the Green Bay Packers.

Filed under: NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 10:04 am

Click on the image below, to see full chart, with map.

The Chicago Bears began in Decatur, Illinois.  The Arizona Cardinals began in Chicago, Illinois, and are the oldest team in the National Football League.  They date back to the late 19-century, as the Morgan Athletic Club, which soon became the Racine Cardinals football team (Racine is a street in Chicago).   The Green Bay Packers have always been in the small northern Wisconson city of Green Bay (100,000 population), although they played half of their games in Milwaukee, Wisconson, for 41 seasons.  In 1995, the club decided they had a strong (and hardy: it really gets cold up there) enough fan base to play all of their home games in Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers wore dark blue and yellow uniforms for most of their first 30 years (1919-’49).  In the 1950′s, the Packers wore bright green and mustard-yellow uniforms for a few years, then went back to navy and mustard-yellow.  In 1959, legendary head coach Vince Lombardi revamped their uniforms, changing their jerseys to dark hunter green, and their pants and helmets to a bright yellow-orange.  [They call it gold, but gold means metallic, and more ocher-colored.  Like Notre Dame's helmet, which actually uses real gold in the paint.  [I know, I sound like a real geek, here, but there are vast amounts of people who are willing to argue these fine points ...just go to, and you'll see.]  

The team uses this same basic design for their uniforms to this day.  The ‘G in a football-shaped oval crest’ that graces their helmet was introduced in 1961.    **{See the Packer’s helmets, from 1957 to present, from The Helmets, Helmets, Helmets website.}  This site does not cover NFL helmets from the first three decades (1920-50), so I decided to do it myself.  Hence, the thumbnail profiles you see here, and can see in the posts I will make in the next 3 days.  It is really hard to find information, especially images, of NFL uniforms from the early days.  So I was forced to go to sources like trading cards.  But what really made the project viable was the Helmet Hut website, which is one of my favorite sites. (

Green Bay is the smallest city by far to have a team in one of the 4 biggest major leagues in North America.  Those leagues, of course, are the National Football League;  Major League Baseball;  the National Basketball Association;  and the National Hockey League.  According to the US Census Bureau, Green Bay is the 153rd largest metropolitan area in America.  The next smallest city to have a team in these 4 leagues is Raleigh, North Carolina, which is the 51st largest metro area.  The Carolina Hurricanes, of the NHL, play there.  So that means there are over 100 cities not as fortunate as Green Bay, in having a big league team.  Back “The Pack” !

{See 2005 US Census Bureau figures, here.}

Thanks to Helmet Hut site  (helmethut[dot]com);   Nearmint’s Vintage Football Cards (nearmintcard[dot]com);   Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page (sportslogos[dot]net).  Also special thanks to the Sports E-cyclopedia website for team’s stadiums history (sportsecyclopedia[dot]com).

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