The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference (NFC) North division. It is the third-oldest franchise in the NFL, dating back to 1919, and is the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States. Home games have been played at Lambeau Field since 1957.
The Packers are the last of the “small town teams” which were common in the NFL during the league’s early days of the 1920s and ’30s. Founded in 1919 by Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, the franchise traces its lineage to other semi-professional teams in Green Bay dating back to 1896. Between 1919 and 1920, the Packers competed against other semi-pro clubs from around Wisconsin and the Midwest, before joining the American Professional Football Association (APFA), the forerunner of today’s NFL, in 1921. Although Green Bay is by far the smallest major league professional sports market in North America, Forbes ranked the Packers as the world’s 26th most valuable sports franchise in 2016, with a value of $2.35 billion.
The Packers have won 13 league championships, the most in NFL history, with nine NFL titles before the Super Bowl era and four Super Bowl victories. The Packers won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968 and were the only team to defeat the American Football League (AFL) prior to the AFL–NFL merger. The Vince Lombardi Trophy is named after the Packers’ head coach of the same name, who guided them to their first two Super Bowls. Their two subsequent Super Bowl wins came in 1997 and 2011.
The Packers are long-standing adversaries of the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions, who today comprise the NFL’s NFC North division, and were formerly members of the NFC Central Division. They have played over 100 games against each of these teams through history, and have a winning overall record against all of them, a distinction only shared with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys. The Bears–Packers rivalry is one of the oldest in NFL history, dating back to 1921.
The Green Bay Packers were founded on August 11, 1919 by former high-school football rivals Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. Lambeau solicited funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company. He was given $500 for uniforms and equipment, on the condition that the team be named for its sponsor. The team’s first practice was held on September 29, 1919, at East High School in Green Bay. A group of around a dozen investors raised $500 to purchase uniforms and equipment.
The Packers began play as a semi-professional football team in 1919. In their first season, the Packers competed against other semi-pro clubs from around Wisconsin and the Midwest. They joined the American Professional Football Association (APFA), the forerunner of today’s NFL, in 1921. The Packers played in the APFA from 1921 to 1949.
In their first season in the APFA, the Packers had a 10–1–1 record, finishing second behind the Chicago Staleys. Lambeau was the team’s head coach for the first 10 years. The Packers won the APFA championship in 1929, 1931, and 1936. They also won the NFL championship in 1936, 1939, and 1944. The Packers won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968, and were the only team to defeat the American Football League.