Good Question: How Did The Packers Get Their Name?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many Minnesota Vikings fans have a lot of nicknames for the football team in Green Bay, but the team’s real nickname is the Packers. So what’s the story? What is a “packer?”

It started in 1919, when Curly Lambeau formed a sandlot football team in his hometown of Green Bay. At the time, he was working at the local meatpacking plant, Indian Packing Company.  He made $250 a month.

When Lambeau formed his team, he asked his employer for a donation, to get uniforms and use the company football field. Indian Packing said sure, and so Lambeau put the company’s name on the jersey.

Indian Packing was bought out by Acme Packing in 1921 and so that’s the name that went on the jerseys the first year Lambeau’s team played in the American Professional Football Association, the precursor to the National Football League.

The Acme Packers became the Packers.

Incidentally, the Packers opponent in the Super Bowl, Pittsburgh, wasn’t originally called the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 1933, the team was founded as the Pittsburgh Pirates, named by Art Rooney after the Pittsburgh baseball team, the Pirates.

Before the 1940 season, the Rooney family changed the name to the Steelers, as a nod to Pittsburgh steel industry.

Not just in Pittsburgh, it used to be quite common to have football teams named after baseball squads. At one point there were football Yankees, Dodgers, Indians, Reds, Cardinals and Tigers.

More from Jason DeRusha

One Comment

  1. WT? says:

    Oh the directions this could go….

  2. Kent says:

    Everybody be nice here!

    1. Billy says:

      I take it Kent is the moderator.

      1. Jason DeRusha says:

        That’s why I didn’t go interview a bunch of Vikings fans to ask what they thought a Packer was.

  3. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    Ahhhhh….. Lambeau Field. Named after Curly Lambeau. Makes me think about how much we lost when we started selling stadium naming rights to the highest corporate bidder.

    1. Joe says:

      I agree with you Richard. If I had the money to do naming rights I’d pick a name that would go with what ever the team’s nickname is. I.e. Timberwolves – I know bad pick- Wolves Den or the Den.

      1. Norge says:

        How’s about Vahalla for a Viking stadium, like to have opposing teams consider the ‘after-life’ while preparing for a MN game!! Hey??

  4. Norge says:

    The “ACME Packers”…..I’m sure Wiley Coyote did a ‘booming’ business with this outfit for years….it’s even on film!!!

  5. truth says:

    packer=a large toothless male who is positioned directly behind anothe male, also see wisconsin resident

  6. OhYesIDid says:

    See “Village People” or visit the 90s downtown to find out.

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