Not much went well for the Packers following the departure of Vince Lombardi.
After five titles in nine seasons, the team from Titletown tumbled into the lower tier of the NFL. The Lombardi Era team had grown old, and could not recapture the glory of earlier years.
A 6-7-1 season in 1968 followed by an average 8-6 campaign in 1969 did little to inspire much confidence in a return to power. Following another disappointing 6-8 record in 1970, Lombardi’s handpicked successor Phil Bengston was fired, and the hopes of the franchise were turned over to former Missouri coach Dan Devine.
Things did not start well for Devine during his tenure, as he suffered a broken leg on the sidelines during his first game as Head Coach in 1971. It did not improve much from there, as the Packers went through another painful season, ending up a less than stellar 4-8-2, and leaving the fans wanting a return to glory.
And for one season, they did. Kind of.
The 10-4 record of the 1972 Packers came out of nowhere. Finishing in first place for the first time since the Lombardi Packers, the green and gold faithful were able to enjoy the postseason for the first time since Super Bowl II. Although their exit was a quick 16-3 loss to the Redskins, the success of the regular season brought renewed hope that another dynasty was in the making.
Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth.
The team plummeted to their losing ways with a 5-7-2 record in 1973. A far cry from the optimism of the 1972 season.
Devine was relieved of his Head Coaching duties following this season, later becoming Head Coach of Notre Dame.
While his career in Green Bay is most remembered for the horrible trade which marred the Packers for years to come, Devine did bring them back to the playoffs, something that would elude the team until 1982. During a decade which saw more disappointments than successes, the 1972 season is the high point of this 10 years, and for that, Devine deserves at least a little credit.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s flashback Sunday-a look back at the apex of the 70’s: the 1972 season.
Don’t forget to head over to All.GBP.com when you’re done, and check out this week’s edition of Surviving Sunday. It’s a must read during the off season.
And on this Sunday, I would be remiss if I did not wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Hope you enjoy your special day today.
GO PACK GO!
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com and co-host of Cheesehead Radio. To contact John follow him on Twitter @jrehor or email [email protected]