Green Bay Packers: Opening Day Was Not Always Kind to Vince Lombardi Either

Bob FoxContributor ISeptember 11, 2012

The Vince Lombardi-era Green Bay Packers won five NFL titles in seven years, plus won the first two Super Bowls. In addition to that, the 1965 to 1967 teams won three consecutive NFL championships, the last time (and second time) that has ever happened.

Ironically, the Curly Lambeau-led Packers were the first NFL team to win three consecutive titles when the Packers won three straight from 1929 to 1931. That was also before the playoff system was put in place, however.

Anyway, Lombardi coached for nine years in Green Bay. Over that nine-year period, the Packers were just 5-3-1 on opening day, even with all the success those teams had.

Lombardi's 1960, 1961 and 1963 teams all lost on opening day, while the 1967 team tied the opener.

So what happened in those years?

The 1960 team, which lost to Da Bears on opening day, made it to the NFL Championship Game and narrowly lost, 17-13, to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 1961 team, which lost to the Lions in the opener, won the NFL Championship by defeating the New York Giants, 37-0, in the first-ever championship game in Green Bay.

The 1963 team, which lost to Chicago again, won 11 games but finished a half game behind the eventual NFL champion Bears.

The 1967 team, which tied the Lions, was the last Green Bay team that Lombardi coached. That was the year of the legendary Ice Bowl. The Packers went on from that victory at the frozen tundra to win Super Bowl II.

Fret not, Packer Nation. In the four years that Lombardi and his Packers didn't win on opening day, the Packers ended up in the NFL championship game three times, winning two titles, including a victory in the second Super Bowl.

Bottom line, there is still plenty of time to right the ship this year and play up to the team's potential. The game against the San Francisco 49ers was just game.