Green bay may be little, but football is a giant preoccupation in the crinkle of the Wisconsin shoreline where the Packers make their home. It has been that way ever since 1919, when the hat was passed to pay the players ($16.75 for the season) and a meatcutter bought a little immortality for just $500 by supplying the team with stockings and jerseys. The Packers are the last of pro football's old home-town teams—and the only club in the National Football League that has not gotten high and mighty and moved off to the bright lights of the big city. The reason, of course, is that the Green Bay home folks own the Packers, and are so devoted to the team they once raised their own taxes to build a stadium to contain it. Moreover, despite Lake Michigan's numbing cold, they are delighted to fill it anytime. In a place overrun with "Packer backers" it was a snap for Artist Robert Weaver to find kids scrimmaging in puddles (right) and further evidence (on the following pages) that in Green Bay football is what counts.
Oh, they talk a little politics in the barbershops downtown, but mostly they talk of the Packers' good chances to win the NFL title this year. A photograph of 1929 NFL champions (below) hangs in home of the late George Calhoun, a team founder.
One of the pleasures of living in a small city like Green Bay (the population is only about 65,000) is that you get to see the Packers at such close range—strolling on the sidewalk, for example. In fact, you can go right up to them and pass the time of day. Later, when you are chinning down at the Blue Room bar or someplace, it is a mighty fine thing to be able to gaze up at those huge cardboard cutouts and say: "That reminds me. I was talking to Bart Starr just the other day and he was telling me that ...."
The weather of northeastern Wisconsin is not the greatest you ever heard of, but the natives are used to it. So what if it's raining—and that's turning to snow? The Packers are working out (left) and one might as well go over and watch the show.
There are precious few stores in downtown Green Bay that are not avowed Packer backers—who would trade with them, after all? Later on, the trimmings in this window probably will change. The mink coat will give way to, say, a beaver jacket.