The Super BowL trophy was even named in his honor after his earLy death to cancer. After Jim Lee HoweLL retired in 1960, native New Yorker Lombardi investigated getting out of his contract to succeed HoweLL, but the Packers and Commissioner Pete RozeLLe wouLd not aLLow that. History had a different course for both teams.
Big Plays Key Big Win over Packers By a quirk of scheduling, when the 8-2 Green Bay Packers rolled into the Polo Grounds in 1938 for their season finale against the 6-2 Giants, New York still had three games to play. The two teams topped their respective conferences, though, and would meet again in the same ballpark three weeks later to decide the NFL championship. While the Packers would gain 20 first downs that day to the Giants’ six, this defensive battle between evenly-matched rivals would be decided by big plays. Without receiver Don Hutson, Green Bay found itself at a disadvantage, even though the Giants would throw just four passes on the afternoon.
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The hard-fought scoreless first half was highlighted by the Giants’ defense continu- ally rising to the occasion. Four times in the first two periods, Green Bay penetrated inside the New York 30-yard line and came away with no points. For the game, Green Bay had seven drives reach deep into Giants territory: two ended in interceptions, two ended in missed field goals, two ended by turning the ball over on downs, and one resulted in a field goal.
The Giants got on the scoreboard on the opening play of the second half. Packers fullback Clarke Hinkle fumbled the kickoff at the 4, recovered his bobble, but then was corralled in his own end zone by a wave of Giants tacklers, led by Johnny Dell Isola, for a safety. Green Bay answered with a field goal to make the score 3-2 in the third quarter, setting up the first of the two big plays by the Giants.
The Giant captain took the ball on the dead run and sped over the turf like a Jesse Owens. Fear of pursuit put wings on his feet. Mel never had run so swiftly in his life as he flashed for the touchdown.
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