Message Board
NFL en español
NFL Draft
Super Bowl XXXVII
Photo gallery
Power Rankings
NFL Insider

ESPN Auctions
Wednesday, May 2
Updated: May 11, 1:24 PM ET
'62 Packers packed the most punch

By Eddie Epstein
Special to

Editor's note: Our series on the greatest NFL teams of all time continues with its third installment and a look at the 1962 Packers. The greatest team ever will be revealed on Tuesday, May 15.

Paul Hornung
Halfback Paul Hornung helped the Packers to a 16-7 NFL title game win over the Giants.
Of all of Vince Lombardi's championship teams, the 1962 Packers were clearly the best. They also may still be the most famous, Ice Bowl or no Ice Bowl, because of the book "Run to Daylight" by Lombardi and W.C. "Bill" Heinz. The book chronicles the preparation before the first game against the Lions (although neither they nor any of their players are mentioned by name) as well as the game itself. The book has had 23 printings, which is 22 more than most books.

The Packers began the season with 10 straight wins, including a 49-0 demolition of the Eagles on November 11 in which they outgained Philadelphia 628 to 54. The NFL Record and Fact Book doesn't have an entry for largest yardage differential in a single game, but I would think that plus-574 yards has got to be right up there. The other 11 great teams discussed here played a total of 164 regular-season games. In only four of those was the yardage differential even as high as plus-300.

As David Maraniss points out in his excellent biography of Lombardi, "When Pride Still Mattered," the 1962 Packers had the best per-game point differential of the post-war era (+19.1). Only five teams since 1950, including the '62 Packers, had a per-game point differential of +17 or higher.

1962 Packers
  • Record: 13-1
  • Points scored/allowed: 415/148
  • Adjusted power index: +6.68
  • Opponents' record: 78-98-6 (.445)*
  • Record against teams with winning records: 3-1
  • Points scored/allowed against teams with winning records: 110/40
    *For all of these opponents' records, games against this team are excluded.
  • Maraniss also gives us some insight into Lombardi, ironically enough, by recounting his post-game reaction to the Packers' only loss, a 26-14 defeat to the Lions on Thanksgiving. Bill Heinz was hoping for an undefeated season so that the book would sell better, among other reasons. He was morose after watching the game on TV. Lombardi, however, was actually seen laughing in the dressing room as he told the press after the game, "You didn't think we were going to win them all, did you?" He let the team know that the loss was a great reminder of the importance of teamwork and of not ever being overconfident.

    In Lombardi's nine seasons as head coach of the Packers, their regular-season record was 89-29-4. Their playoff record was 9-1. In the nine seasons before Lombardi was named head coach, the Packers' record was 32-74-2 with no winning seasons. As my friend Brad Adler likes to say, coaching matters.

    Eddie Epstein works as a consultant to major league baseball teams. He is the co-author, along with's Rob Neyer, of "Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time." He has been a regular contributor to's baseball coverage and is a huge football fan.

     More from ESPN...
    The greatest NFL teams of all time
    Through a statistical ...

    Greatest teams: 1955 Cleveland Browns
    The 1955 Cleveland Browns are ...

    Greatest teams: 1958 Baltimore Colts
    The 1958 Baltimore Colts are ...

     ESPN Tools
    Email story
    Most sent
    Print story
    Daily email