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Troubled Times in TITLE TOWN
Frank Deford
May 25, 1987
Court cases and losing seasons have strained the bond between the fans in Green Bay and their once-beloved football team
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May 25, 1987

Troubled Times In Title Town

Court cases and losing seasons have strained the bond between the fans in Green Bay and their once-beloved football team

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The fact that Beverly Lofton has stood by her man will work to his advantage. So, probably, will the fact that he agreed to enter the Milwaukee Psychiatric Hospital in Wauwatosa for two weeks in late December. There may indeed be demons attacking the young man who says he found Christ in the Fox River Valley. Lofton, whose father was in the military, grew up in California, but his parents divorced when James was in third grade. His mother died last June and his older brother, Emanuel Michael Jr., a fine athlete with a mind as sharp as James's, could not deal with the world. Emanuel eventually fell out of society, sleeping in the streets, and one night last fall, at the age of 37, he was bludgeoned to death in a park in Los Angeles.

But, finally, it will not help Lofton—or Cade—that the Packers are losers. The Packers have even begun to have no-shows at their games now, just like in the cynical big cities. Coach Gregg frets impatiently, waiting for the trials to be over, so that the Packers can again look ahead.

It has been almost two decades since Lombardi left the sidelines in Green Bay, and the Packers have only qualified for the playoffs twice during that time. They remain the team with the most championships in NFL history—11 titles for Titletown. But since Curly Lambeau, the team's founder, stepped down as Packer coach in 1949, only Lombardi has been able to forge a winning record for a career. Maybe the demographic deck is just too stacked against Green Bay. The scandals and defeats that have brought a sense of gloom and doom to the grand old franchise may seem even worse simply because, deep inside, the good people of Green Bay fear that this may be the way it's going to be from now on.

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