A continuation of the Legacy of Champions series. Articles that chronicle the 13 Packer championships. If you’re just joining us, read about all the great Packer championships by clicking here.
Following a 1960 appearance in the championship game and a 1961 win in the championship game, the Packers returned to the big game in dominant fashion in 1962. The power sweep continued its unstoppable rumble down the football field and and the exquisite field general, Bart Starr, continued to find holes in opposing defenses.
Packers’ Season 1962
The Packers took a pleasant stroll through the 1962 season, and that little stroll left piles of defenders in its wake. Following six preseason games (yes, you read that right, six preseason games) the Packers started picking off opponents one at a time. On Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1962, the Packers walked onto the field to play the Lions sitting atop the division with an unbeated record of 10-0.
Little had even threatened the Packers to that point. Taylor was averaging over 100 yards a game on the ground, Starr’s passer rating was outstanding, and the Packers and their power sweep were averaging 30.9 points per game. The Packers had beaten their arch rivals, the Bears, twice, and they had shut out three teams.
In fact, one of those shutouts was in the first contest against the Bears where the Packers threw the big town rivals a serious beat-down of 49-0. The game was scoreless in the first quarter when the Green Bay offense put the pedal down and generated 49 points in just three quarters of football. The Bears’ quarterback Billy Wade was sacked 5 times and threw 3 interceptions. The Packer running game rumbled for 244 yards, 126 of which were generated by Jim Taylor.
Coming into the game against the Lions, everyone expected the Packers to continue their march to a perfect season. Unfortunately, on that Thanksgiving Day the Mack truck that was the Packer offense broke a timing belt.
The Lions’ offense jumped out to a 14 point lead with some nifty passing by their quarterback Milt Plum. Then things started to really go downhill as the Lions picked up a fumble and six yards later were standing in the endzone. Safety Roger Brown sacked Bart Starr in the endzone for a safety and the Lions led 23-0 at halftime.
In the game, Bart Starr was sacked 10 times and threw 2 interceptions as the Lions defensive frontline owned the Packer offensive line.
Green Bay scored twice in the 4th quarter but it was too little too late. When the final second ticked off the clock, the Lions had done was most people were doubting could even happen. They held the Packer passing game to just 49 yards and the entire Packer offense to a meager 122 total yards.
1962 Packer Stats
The Packers bread and butter, the power sweep, continued its dominance in 1962. In that year, Jim Taylor averaged 105.3 yards a game. Let’s put that number into perspective because it’s huge. Despite being the featured back in another offense that lives or dies by the run game, Adrian Peterson has only had two seasons where he was able to average 100+ yards a game. And, Peterson plays in a league where defenses are built lean and quick to stop high-flying passing attacks of the 21st century.
Taylor chewed up 1580 yards that season, and averaged 5.4 yards a carry.
Starr continued his reign as an elite quarterback with a passer rating of 90.7. His three main targets were Max McGee, Boyd Dowler, and Ron Kramer. McGee and Dowler shared the bulk of the receiving load, each catching 49 passes in 1962. However, Kramer was the go to guy in the clutch. Despite catching fewer passes, his 7 touchdowns were more than twice what either of the two primary targets had.
1962 Championship Game: Packers vs Giants
Temperatures in New York were typical for the 1962 championship. The thermometer sat at 13 degrees. What was unusual was the wind. 40 mile an hour gusts blew papers all over the field and batted passes around like a prize fighter, giving the Packers a decided advantage over Y.A. Tittle and the Giants’ pass-intensive approach.
Kicking in place of Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer became the star of the 1962 championship. Kramer started the Packers off with a 3 point lead in the first quarter of play as his first kick fought its way through the winds to split the uprights.
In the second quarter, the Packers ground game methodically marched down field against the Giants’ defense and their future Hall of Fame middle linebacker Sam Huff. Taylor punched it in the endzone and the Packers led 10-0 at the half.
Despite the elements the Packers ground game consistently got Kramer close enough to put points on the board. Jerry speared three field goals, which, when added to Taylor’s lone touchdown were enough to beat the Giants yet again and bring home championship number eight.
After the game, the Giants’ Huff claimed Taylor must not be human. The Giants gave him the beating of a lifetime and he still kept coming back time after time. In the end, he might have been right. Taylor rushed 31 times for a franchise playoff record and covered 85 yards of football field only to find out afterward he’d played the entire game with hepatitis. His production on the field allowed the Packers to post their second championship in a row and allowed Vince Lombardi to rub it in the face of his former team once again.