The Green Bay Packers are the third oldest franchise in the NFL. They were founded in 1919 by Earl "Curly" Lambeau. The Green Bay Packers have won twelve league championships which is more than any other team in the NFL. Including nine NFL Championships prior to the Super Bowl era and three Super Bowl victories. They are the only team to win three straight NFL titles, which they did twice, 1929-1931 and 1965-1967.
The Packers of the 1960s under Coach Vince Lombardi won five league championships over a seven-year span that culminated with victories in the first two Super Bowls. During the Lombardi era, the stars of the Packers' offense included quarterback Bart Starr, running-backs Jim Taylor, Carroll Dale and Paul Hornug, and #64 right guard Jerry Kramer. The defense included Henry Jordan, Willie Wood, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, and Herb Adderley.
On December 21, 1962 the Packers were featured as the face of the NFL on the cover of Time. The magazine's cover story was "The Sport of the ‘60s" The Packers returned to the championship game in 1965 following a two-year absence, when they defeated the Colts in a playoff for the Western Conference title. That game would be remembered for Don Chandler's controversial field goal in which the ball allegedly went wide right, but the official raised his arms to grant the three points. That game lead to their third NFL Championship under Lombardi. The 1966 season saw the Packers being led by NFL MVP Bart Starr. The Packers went on to win Super Bowl I. The 1967 season was the last one for Vince Lombardi as the Packers' head coach. That year's NFL Championship game, known universally as the Ice Bowl, is one of the most famous football games in the history of the sport. It led the Packers to the Super Bowl II where they won over the Oakland Raiders. After the death of Vince Lombardi in September 1970, the Super Bowl trophy was renamed the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
In the 24 seasons from 1968 to 1991, the Packers had only five seasons with a winning record. They appeared in the playoffs twice during that period. The period saw five different head coaches; Phil Bengtson, Dan Devine, Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, and Lindy Infante. A lot of the blame during this period was placed on poor draft choices. In 1974 Coach Dan Devine sent five draft picks to the Los Angeles Rams for aging quarterback John Hadl who only spent 1 ½ seasons in Green Bay. In 1989, when players such as Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas were available, the Packers chose offensive lineman Tony Mandarich. ESPN has rated Mandarich as the third "biggest sports flop" in the last 25 years.
General Manager Ron Wolf was hired to take over full control of the team's football operations during the 1991 season. In 1992, Wolf hired San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren to be the Packers' new head coach. Soon after hiring Holmgren, Wolf acquired quarterback Brett Farve from the Atlanta Falcons for a first-round pick. Favre got the Packers' their first win of the 1992 season. Favre started the following week with a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and never missed a start until leaving the team after the 2007 season. He has started 271 consecutive games, which is an NFL record for a quarterback. Also in 1992 the Packers signed perhaps the most prized free agent in NFL history, Reggie White. In 1995, the Packers won the NFC Central Division Championship for the first time since 1972. In 1996, the Packers advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time in 29 years. In Super Bowl XXXI Green Bay defeated the New England Patriots to win their 12th world championship. A 2007 panel of football experts at ESPN ranked the 1996 Packers the 6th greatest team to ever play in the Super Bowl. In 1998 Mike Holmgren would leave the team and much of his coaching staff went with him. Reggie White also retired after this season and in 2001 Ron Wolf retired. Packers' President Bob Harlan credited Wolf, Homgren, Favre, and White for ultimately changing the fortunes of the organization and turning the Green Bay Packers into a model NFL Franchise. The Packers released Mike Sherman after the 2005 season, due to the Packers finishing 4-12 they replaced him with Mike McCarthy. In 2007 the Packers won 10 of their first 11 games and finished 13-3. Running back Ryan Grant became the featured back in Green Bay and rushed for 956 yards and 8 touchdowns in the final 10 games of the regular season. On January 20, 2008, Green Bay appeared in their first NFC Championship Game in 10 years facing the New York Giants. They lost 23-20 on an overtime field goal. Mike McCarthy coached NFC team during the 2008 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Al Harris and Aaron Kampman were Pro Bowl team starters. Brett Favre was named the first string quarterback for the NFC but he declined to play. On March 4, 2008, Brett Favre announced his retirement, but filed for reinstatement with the NFL and it was granted on August 4. He now plays for the New York Jets.
The Packers are now the only publicly owned company with a board of directors in American professional sports. The Packers are also known for the dedicated fan base. Every Packers game at Lambeau Field has been sold out since 1960. Each year they consistently rank as one of the top teams in terms of popularity. The Packers have one of the longest waiting lists for season tickets in professional sports with about 74,000 people as of May 3, 2007. The current wait time for season tickets is approximately 35 years. The Packers have the third most members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with 26. And, have retired five numbers which include; Don Huson, Tony Canadeo, Bart Starr, and Ray Nitschke, and Reggie White.