1959 Green Bay Packers season

1959 Green Bay Packers season
Head coach Vince Lombardi
General manager Vince Lombardi
Home field City Stadium
Milwaukee County Stadium
Record 7–5
Division place 3rd NFL Western
Playoff finish did not qualify

The 1959 Green Bay Packers season was their 40th season in the National Football League and 41st overall. The club posted a 7–5 record in the 1959 season under first-year coach Vince Lombardi to earn a third-place finish in the Western Conference.

It was the Packers' first winning season in a dozen years, the last was a 6–5–1 mark in 1947. Green Bay had just one victory during the previous season in 1958 with the worst record in the 12-team league, and were 3–9 in 1957, tied for worst.


NFL Draft

Main article: 1959 NFL Draft
Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team
11Randy DuncanQuarterbackIowa
213Alex BackSouth Carolina
325Boyd DowlerWide ReceiverColorado
555Andy CverckoGuardNorthwestern
661Willie TaylorCenterFlorida A&M
773Bobby JacksonBackAlabama
783Gary RaidTackleWillamette
885Buddy MayfieldEndSouth Carolina
895Bob LarabaBackTexas Western
997George DixonBackBridgeport
10109Sam TuccioTackleSouthern Miss
11121Bob WebbBackSt. Ambrose
12133Larry HallGuardMissouri Valley
13145Jim HurdBackAlbion
14157Ken KerrGuardArizona State
15169Dick TeteakGuardWisconsin
16181Dan EdgingtonEndFlorida
17193Tom SeculesBackWilliam & Mary
18205Dick NearentsTackleEastern Washington
19217Bill ButlerSafetyChattanooga
20229Charley SampleBackArkansas
21241Dave SmithBackRipon (WI)
22253Charlie AndersonEndDrake
23265Ben LawverTackleLewis & Clark
24277Joe HergertCenterFlorida
25289Leroy HardeeBackFlorida A&M
26301Ken HigginbothamEndTrinity (TX)
27313Timothy BrownRunning BackBall State
28325Jerry EppsGuardWest Texas State
29337Jack FlaraBackPittsburgh
30349Dick EmerichTackleWest Chester

The Lombardi Era begins

On February 4, 1959, Vince Lombardi seized his opportunity and began building his football dynasty in Green Bay. He arrived after both phases of the draft (December 1 and January 21),[1][2][3] and started by trading away the Packers' best receiver of the decade, Billy Howton, to the Cleveland Browns. To bring some much-needed leadership to the defensive backfield, Lombardi obtained future Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell from the New York Giants. He also acquired Fuzzy Thurston from the Baltimore Colts and defensive tackle Henry Jordan from Cleveland by the start of training camp. In all, 16 veterans from the previous season were sent packing as Lombardi installed a new attitude in the Packers' locker room.

Training camp

Lombardi borrowed from the Giants model — the players had to feel like champions. The team traveled first class under the philosophy that "you can't be a winner unless you feel like one." The change in culture was pronounced. Lombardi had to find a quarterback, and he was resistant to making Bart Starr the quarterback. Starr was in his fourth year in the league and hadn't won a game in which he'd played four quarters. "Did Bart tell you how bad he was?" a player was to later quip to biographer John Eisenberg. Former Razorback Lamar McHan beat out Starr.

Master plan

Through his now legendary coaching style, Lombardi whipped the underachieving Packers into instant winners. He set his plan immediately into action at his very first team meeting. "I have never been on a losing team, gentlemen, and I do not intend to start now!"

Dramatic improvement

The results of Lombardi's approach were dramatic. In the season opener against the Chicago Bears, the Packers held on to win 9–6 and celebrated the victory by carrying their new head coach off the field. In his first year on the sidelines, the Packers posted their first winning record since 1947. The team's quick turnaround netted Lombardi unanimous honors as NFL coach of the year.



Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
1 August 15, 1959 Chicago Bears L 16–19 Milwaukee County Stadium
2 August 23, 1959 at San Francisco 49ers W 24–17 Kezar Stadium
3 August 29, 1959 Philadelphia Eagles W 45–28 Portland, OR
4 September 5, 1959 New York Giants L 0-14 Bangor, ME
5 September 12, 1959 at Washington Redskins W 20–13 Winston-Salem, NC
6 September 20, 1959 at Pittsburgh Steelers W 13–10 Minneapolis, MN

Regular Season

Lombardi's first regular season game as Packers coach was on September 27.[4] In front of 32,150 fans, the Packers won the game. In the final seven minutes, the Packers put up nine points to win the game by a score of 9–6. Jim Taylor scored a touchdown to put the Packers on the scoreboard. Max McGee would have a sixty-one-yard punt which would land on the Bears 2-yard line. The punt set up the final score of the game. Hawg Hanner scored a safety on Bears quarterback Ed Brown.[5] After the game, Jim Ringo grabbed the game ball and gave it to Lombardi.

Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
1 September 27, 1959 Chicago Bears W 9–6 City Stadium
2 October 4, 1959 Detroit Lions W 28–10 City Stadium
3 October 11, 1959 San Francisco 49ers W 21–20 City Stadium
4 October 18, 1959 Los Angeles Rams L 45–6 Milwaukee County Stadium
5 October 25, 1959 at Baltimore Colts L 38–21 Memorial Stadium
6 November 1, 1959 at New York Giants L 20–3 Yankee Stadium
7 November 8, 1959 at Chicago Bears L 28–17 Wrigley Field
8 November 15, 1959 Baltimore Colts L 28–24 Milwaukee County Stadium
9 November 22, 1959 Washington Redskins W 21–0 City Stadium
10 November 26, 1959 at Detroit Lions W 24–17 Briggs Stadium
11 December 6, 1959 at Los Angeles Rams W 38–20 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
12 December 13, 1959 at San Francisco 49ers W 36–14 Kezar Stadium

Game summaries

Regular Season

Week 1: vs. Chicago Bears

1 2 34Total
Bears 0 3 036
Packers 0 0 099

at City Stadium, Green Bay, Wisconsin


NFL Western Conference
Baltimore Colts 9 3 0 .750 9–1 374 251 W5
Chicago Bears 8 4 0 .667 6–4 252 196 W7
San Francisco 49ers 7 5 0 .583 5–5 255 237 L2
Green Bay Packers 7 5 0 .583 6–4 248 246 W4
Detroit Lions 3 8 1 .273 2–8 203 275 L1
Los Angeles Rams 2 10 0 .167 2–8 242 315 L8

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.


Green Bay Packers roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Rookies and first-year players in italics

Awards, records, and honors


  1. Johnson, Chuck (January 29, 1959). "Packers name Vince Lombardi head coach, general manager". Milwaukee Journal. p. 11, part 2.
  2. Johnson, Chuck (February 3, 1959). "Lombardi reception warm, despite cold". Milwaukee Journal. p. 14, part 2.
  3. "National football League draft". Milwaukee Journal. January 22, 1959. p. 14, part 2.
  4. When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 225, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
  5. When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 226, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
  6. When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss,p. 228, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-84418-3
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