1933 Green Bay Packers squad

Whether the effects were financial struggles directly from the Great Depression or pressure to stay in the running in the National Football League (NFL), the Packers rolled with the punches and always persevered. Joseph F. Carr, the NFL president, has been tracking the succession and changing rules to create an unified league. One of Carr’s first force of action was to limit the number of football players to a franchise to only allow 22 players. This decision affected the Packers, along with Brooklyn, Portsmouth, and Philadelphia, in fear of paying “a $500 fine and outlawry of all games played by the [team].” The Packers’ captain, E. L. (Curly) Lambeau, complied with this ruling and either loaned or removed players off the squad.1 To create a “national rivalry between teams of [Wisconsin] would help pack the park and would result in real games,” Curly quoted in response of Carr’s three-year plan of starting a professional football team in Milwaukee, WI. Though Carr specified, “Unless I get the man I want, I would not care to have a National league team in Milwaukee.”2 However, these changes in rules within the league does not affect the Packers’ playing ability. The Packers have proven themselves of being victorious in winning the National Football League Championship for three consecutive years, 1929-1931.3 Leading the League on the field has proven to gain popularity with the American people, but they first have to be surviving in the League financially to play on the gridiron.

The Packers successful winning streak has pulled support from the local community. Thousands of Green Bay fans flock to City Stadium to see the games and show off their team spirit.4 One of those fans, William J. Bent, became subjected to bodily harm when he fell off the wooden bleachers on September 1931. This incident was not taken into court until February 1933 when the Bent sued the Green Bay Football Corporation (GBFC) for his medical costs and loss of wages. The GBFC was later found guilty and Bent was awarded a total of $5,203.92.5 Shortly afterwards, the court issued Frank J. Jonet, a Green Bay public accountant, to be the appointed receiver of the GBFC in the sum of $10,000.6 To keep the Packers in the League, Leland H. Joannes, president of the GBFC and co-owner of the Joannes Bros. Co., took out a personal loan of $6,000.7 To help raise more revenue, the Packers decided to play at least one in Milwaukee each season.8 This decision was approved by Carr and he stated, “for the past three years we have been beseeched by Milwaukeeans to stage a regular league game in that city.” The Packers played the New York Giants for a game in 1933 at Borchert Field and can seat 13,000 fans, which is 3,000 more than City Stadium could seat.9 The Packers were still playing well on the field and were able to generate sales from season ticket drives.10

Season Ticket request for the Green Bay Packers that was published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The community presence was desperately needed to keep the Green Bay Packers from folding in the NFL. Members of the GBFC devised a plan to raise up the funds of $10,000 or more to take back receivership and reorganize as the Green Bay Packers, Inc. These members became famously known as the “Hungry Five” which consisted of Curly Lambeau, Andrew B. Turnbull, Gerald F. Clifford, Dr. W. Webber Kelly, and Leland H. Joannes.11 The community businesses and local fans stepped up and raised $12,322 during the January 1935 stock sale. The funds will ‘pay off the old claims and current bills and start the 1935 season with about $3,500 on hand.’12 With the reorganization of the franchise, the Green Bay Packers became the only team to be a community-owned organization. Since then, the Packers – along with Pro Football in general – has been financially prosperous and rapidly popular among fans. The Green Bay Packers have proven that they have overcame some tough times, whether if it was brought upon by the Great Depression or Carr. Nonetheless, it was the support of the Green Bay community and planning of the Green Bay Football Corporation to become the only small-town franchise to be survive in the National Football League.


#1. How much was the least expensive ticket for a Packers game in City Stadium in 1931?

All a spectator needed was a dollar to see the Green Bay Packers at City Stadium! Though, that wasn’t just pocket change in the 1930’s.