Above all, they bonded there and worked on creating the chemistry that helped the Lombardi Packers become one of the foremost dynasties in pro football history. The players also found time to have some fun there. Or at least some of their schemes to find fun were hatched there. The only exception was in when they spent a week at Pinewood Lodge, near Rhinelander, before embarking upon a series of exhibition games across northern Wisconsin. After the Packers purchased Rockwood Lodge, located just south of Dyckesville, in , they held their first extended training camp beyond the city limits of Green Bay.
The lodge had been built by the Norbertine Fathers in as a community social retreat. With its bucolic setting, shoreline views and stately look, it fulfilled its purpose at first. Then use of it fell off dramatically during World War II and it was put up for sale. His big plans for Rockwood were soon dashed when it was discovered that the bedrock just beneath the thin layer of topsoil caused shin splints and other injuries.
As a result, Lambeau often had to take his team into Green Bay to practice. Nevertheless, the Packers continued to live and train at Rockwood until it was destroyed by fire in January The Experimental Station was an agricultural school and part of the University of Minnesota system. Considering Grand Rapids was more than 80 miles northwest of Duluth and that a prized herd of Guernseys, as well as hogs and sheep, roamed not far from the practice fields, while swarms of mosquitoes nearly ate the players alive, it was not a popular choice.
But, again, the Packers went back for two more summers.
One of the other places on his list was St. Norbert in was worked out by Burke and Verne Lewellen, a former star player who was then the general manager of the team. The agreement called for the Packers to use Sensenbrenner Hall as their living quarters, to eat in Berne Hall—later renamed Burke Hall— and to have access to Boyle Hall for meetings.
And while Lombardi came highly recommended by NFL commissioner Bert Bell and others, he was somewhat of an unknown and a surprise choice. Lombardi moved quickly to hire assistant coaches and to change the climate around the office, but it took him almost two months to decide on a training camp site. But despite invitations to hold camp in Stevens Point, Ripon and other places, Lombardi chose to return to St. There was a much different feel to the campus then as compared to now, but there were still plenty of things for Lombardi to like.
Norbert was a Catholic liberal arts college that had been founded in by the Norbertine order to prepare men for the priesthood. In turn, Lombardi was a devout Catholic who made a habit of attending Mass every day. And for Lombardi there were some hidden benefits. There was a chapel in the basement of Sensenbrenner Hall, where the Packers stayed, and the home on Sunset Circle in Allouez that he would move into by the start of the season was less than three miles away.
Norbert campus was much smaller back then—but, there again, small was good if you were a coach who wanted to keep close tabs on your players. There were only 11 buildings in and they were all located between Third Street and the banks of the Fox River, and between Grant and Marsh streets. There was Main Hall, St. Joseph Church and the buildings adjacent and kitty-corner, Boyle Hall, Van Dyke Gym, the maintenance building, Berne Hall, a smaller Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts, a nameless science building that resembled a Quonset hut, and Sensenbrenner, which was just three years old.
Minahan Science Building. In Lombardis time, the Packers used only two of the buildings on a regular basis: Sensenbrenner Hall and the Union, which was completed in There are people who were on campus at the time who also remember Lombardi having a room in Victor McCormick sometime after it was completed in ; and one or two others mentioned that he may have had one in Main Hall or Berne prior to that. Then there was the street grid that gave the campus more of an urban than park-like look, and made it more pedestrian-friendly for players looking to walk down to Main Avenue in West De Pere for a haircut or a beer or a frozen treat—or just to hang out.
Sprinkled about were several older homes that were either located within or adjacent to the campus.http://www.balterrainternacional.com/wp-content/2019-11-01/2091.php
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Old Ed would sit in a padded chair in his driveway almost every' day of camp, greeting the players and coaches, and engaging them in small talk. And they all seemed to enjoy the banter. The year Lombardi stepped down from coaching, Old Ed turned His sister Elsie was five years younger and lived with him. She, too, kept a watchful eye on the Packers.
And priests composed more than 40 percent of the faculty. But different as it was, the campus was beautifully landscaped and meticulously cared for just as it is today. Burke may have been as revered on the St. Norbert campus as Lombardi was in football circles. Burke lived to the age of 93 and Two August Men, One Glorious lira for almost 80 of those years he was connected in some way with St.
It was his greatest love, although the Packers might have come in a close second. Just as Burke had negotiated with Lewellen to bring the Packers to St. Norbert in , he dealt with Lombardi to bring them back a year later. And an outgrowth of those talks between Burke and Lombardi was a lasting spiritual and social kinship.
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A native of Casco, Wis. Norbert High School. He graduated from there in , graduated from St. Norbert College in and was ordained as a Norbertine priest in Burke was a storyteller and a charmer. Burke, No. He was enticing and knew how to engage people.
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He was good at stroking them, too, making them feel good. I just think they hit it off. And Lombardi was never so respectful and subservient as he was around priests and nuns. Nicholas Nirschl, a mathematics teacher at St. Norbert in the s. The rest of the veterans reported two days 23 A Championship Team later, increasing the number of players on hand to more than By all accounts, it was a brutal camp. Practices were filmed for the first time in franchise history and players were closely critiqued during evening meetings at St.
Early on, veteran defensive tackle Dave Hanner was hospitalized more than once for heat stroke or some similar complication. Players who jumped the gun on their wind sprints were forced to run extra laps one day, players who dropped passes another day. There were killer grass drills where players had to run in place, plop to the ground and jump back up—over and over and over—at Lombardis barking commands. Also within the first week, he swapped popular veteran fullback Howie Ferguson for a draft pick, although the deal was nullified for medical reasons and Ferguson was ultimately forced to retire.
Parilli was the victim in the biggest and most important battle of camp.
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Although moody and paranoid, McHan won the job over Bart Starr, who was deemed by Lombardi, at that point, to be too self-effacing to be an effective leader. In all, Lombardi turned over one-third of the roster that first year; 12 of the 36 players who survived the final cut were new. After departing St. Norbert and spending two more weeks at Oakton Manor on Pewaukee Lake, west of Milwaukee, the Packers entered the season buoyed by their record in exhibition games and brimming with confidence that no other team in the league would be better conditioned.
And they had a right to be. They went on to finish , their best record in 14 years. It was a harbinger of things to come. More than a week before they were scheduled to report, veterans started arriving in Green Bay, champing at fire bit to check into the dorms and to start practicing on their own.
Vainisi was in position to know.
He had joined the Packers in and had lived through the hard times. But when practice started for the full squad on July 25, Lombardi was no more forgiving than he had been the year before. On the first day of double workouts, the players dropped a total of pounds or about 10 per man. And, once again, Hanner wound up in the hospital. Lombardi was no less tolerant of players who broke the rules, either.
Free agent halfback Dick Posewitz of Sheboygan was proof of that. Posewitz shone in the annual intra-squad game in early August, 25 A Championship Team rushing for 60 yards in seven carries and scoring a touchdown. Hence, rather than go back to the dorm to meet curfew, he chose lo celebrate. Posewitz had a teammate stuff pillows under his sheet in his dorm room, while he took off for Sheboygan to drink beer with his buddies at Bratwurst Day. They came in on a Sunday evening, took physicals—for most of Lombardis reign those were conducted on the campus—and an 18th- round draft pick, chosen as a future the year before, named Royce Whittington topped the scales at pounds.
That was 54 more than Inis weight at Southwestern Louisiana. Whittington, a 6-foot-2 defensive lineman with a greased-back James Dean haircut, was wearing street clothes when he was weighed in by trainer Domenic Gentile.