No, this article is not on par with Richard Nixon and the Water Gate scandal. Actually, it not a scandal at all, but the article does deal with a cover up. This cover up comes in the form of the jackets worn by the Green Bay Packer players on the sidelines during a portion of Lombardi’s reign as head coach. Study of film footage verifies use of the jacket by both Hall of Fame and star players. Even coach Lombardi can be seen wearing the identical styled jacket under his famous sideline jacket. Outfitted in Sand Knit supplied Durene jerseys, the 1960s Packers still were victims to the cold weather of Lambeau and the league’s other venues. Municipal Stadium (Cleveland), Wrigley Field (Bears), Tigers Stadium (Lions) and the Metropolitan Stadium (Vikings) offered no shelter from the bitter cold of NFL football. But, Coach Lombardi and his equipment manager hoped this Sand Knit supplied jacket would offer his star running back and his teammates some relief from the cold winter elements.
Issued to be worn at home or on the road, this Sand Knit supplied zipper down jacket was manufactured from a cotton knit blend. It was trimmed with yellow/green/white team colors on the collar, wrist, and waistline, which consisted of elastic ribbing. On the reverse, “PACKERS” (measures 3 ¾”) is found with non-serifed yellow tackle twill lettering which was sewn with a professional zig zag stitch. The player identifier, 31 (1 7/8”) is manufactured and attached in the same manner as the team lettering. #31 was worn by Hall of Famer Jim Taylor during his career in Green Bay, 1958-66.
Examination of the tag reveals its design to be consistent with apparel produced by Sand Knit during 1962.This is verified by the MEARS tagging database. It is possible that this tag could have been used in the production of items manufactured for later use. This point is mentioned as video references date this jersey to the 1966 season. MEARS had access to 1966 footage, and the jacket may have been worn before or after the 1966 season. A 1 ½” x 3” area which appears to be adhesive reside is found underneath the Sand Knit tag. This may have been a player identification tag that has since been removed. With Taylor being traded to the Saints in 1967, his name may have been removed so that additional players could wear the jacket during later seasons. This was a common practice of the day. Equipment of traded or retired players continued to be used. Especially in the case of jackets which did not see the use and abuse associated with game worn jerseys.
With the aid of the video, America’s Game, The Super Bowl Champions, Warner Brothers 2007, MEARS was able to view 30 minutes of game action footage. The use of basic video editing allowed us to capture 19 images to be used for imagery analysis. With great detail, MEARS was able to establish the following visual points of reference:
Image 12: Paul Hornung with different style sideline cape, #17, and also had a similar style jacket on the bench next to him. This verifies both jackets and capes were worn at the same time. It also illustrates that on the sidelines, the players did not necessarily wear the cape originally issued to them with matching jersey number.
Image 7, 8, 9, 12: Verifies several teammates wearing same style jackets.
Image 5: Coach Lombardi wore the same style jacket as his players.
Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, verify the color arrangement and presence of the neck ribbing.
Image 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, verify color scheme and the PACKERS lettering style on reverse.
The evaluation of this circa 1966 Jim Taylor Packers jacket allowed MEARS to leverage the tagging dating database and the use of our video archives which have been painstakingly built over the past 2 years by interns Karl Iglesias and Maurice Turner Jr.. Those two databases in conjunction with the information gathered from the MEARS Jersey Grading and Authentication Official Worksheet, copyright 2006-2008, and the use of imagery analysis allowed us to positively identify this game worn jacket issued and worn during the Green Bay Packers glory days.
Troy R. Kinunen