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Political Trivia About The Green Bay Packers

August 30, 2009

Surrounded by food and tea on Saturday, James and I watched a day-long tribute and funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy.  One of the things I discovered was this bit of political trivia.

Along with sailing, Sen. Kennedy had a zeal for a number of activities from painting to skiing to rodeo riding, the brothers said. He was recruited to join the Green Bay Packers football team as a young man but decided to go to law school instead.

Since this was news to me I did some research on the internet and found more about this new piece of information from Senator Kennedy’s homepage.

On November 20, 1955, in a 21-7 defeat to Yale, Harvard’s lone score came on a low five-yard pass that was snared by #88, the Senior Right End Ted Kennedy.

Just one month earlier, Kennedy’s promise on the football field had caught the notice of Green Bay Packer Head Coach Lisle Blackbourn. “You have been very highly recommended to us by a number of coaches in your area and also by our talent scouts as a possible Pro Prospect,” Blackbourn wrote to the young Right End.

Kennedy declined the offer, saying he was flattered, but that he had plans to attend law school and to ‘go into another contact sport, politics’.

America is glad he made the right decision.  Packer fans might want to consider what Ted Kennedy on the team might have meant.

If Kennedy had changed course and made the Packers’ roster in 1956, he would have joined future pro football Hall of Famers Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg as rookies that year.

In 1960, Packers head coach Vince Lombardi gave Kennedy’s brother John his endorsement for the Presidency.  John Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in that election.

A year later, JFK personally made sure running back Paul Hornung, linebacker Ray Nitschke and wide receiver Boyd Dowler passes from the U.S. Army so they would be available to play in the NFL Championship game on December 31st, 1961 against  the New York Giants.

The Packers won that game, 37-0, to take their first of five NFL titles from 1961-67.

To take this sports story one step further, Ted Kennedy’s father, Joe Kennedy, tried to get his son to be recruited by the Chicago Bears.

From the book The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy:

… Joe Sr. was ecstatic at his son’s prowess and prevailed upon a connection at the Chicago Bears to give his son a tryout. The six-foot-two, 200 pound Ted put on the pads, “took two or three hits, and said he’d never been so frightened in his life,” recalls former Harvard roommate Ted Carey.

  1. rakeback permalink
    September 29, 2009 5:46 PM

    I really wish Brett hadnt gone to the Packers. This could come down to the last few games of the season with Packers and Vikings fighting it out for the division title.

  2. Gary permalink
    September 26, 2009 12:07 AM

    Wow, would be nice to have some video of Ted in a packer uniform

  3. arthur permalink
    September 23, 2009 12:08 AM

    This was some really good reading to know about Ted. It was a good decision for USA to have Ted on the field. That helped us a lot.

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