September 28, 1924: Green Bay Packers play NFL game in Duluth for first—and last—time

On this day in Duluth in 1924, the NFL’s Kelley-Duluth football team took on Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers in what would be the Pack’s only game in Duluth. An estimated three thousand fans poured into Athletic Park in West Duluth on a bright, crisp afternoon to watch the NFL preseason favorites take on the home team. The Packer’s lineup was loaded with “gridiron stars selected from several points in the east and the west,” as the Duluth News Tribune reported. The Duluth eleven was given only a small chance to hold its own in the game. The game remained scoreless into the second half when the Packers drew first blood on a 3-point drop kick field goal by Cub Buck. Green Bay got the ball back after a punt, then Duluth’s Doc Williams broke through the line, pounding Lambeau two yards into his own backfield. He hit the Green Bay legend so hard, the ball squirted free. The Kelleys recovered, and three plays later Cobb Rooney threw a short pass to Jack Underwood, who took the ball in for a touchdown. The Kelleys missed an extra point and survived two missed drop kicks, a 50-yard “slugging” penalty, a five yard “stalling” penalty, and thwarted a late surge by the Pack to hold on for the 6–3 win. The Kellies later became the legendary Duluth Eskimos, which you can read about here.

This muddy photo, scanned from a yellowed and faded newspaper, once belonged to Eskimos’ owner Ole Haugsrud. It shows the 1924 Kelley-Duluth Hardware football team, which became the Duluth Eskimos in 1926. Top row, from left: Sam Kearnes (trainer), Wally Gilbert, Dewey Scanlon (manager), and M.C. Gebert (president); middle, from left: Art Johnson, Joe Sternaman (coach and quarterback), Allen McDonald, Russell Method, Bunk Harris, Bill Rooney, and Roddy Dunn; bottom from left: Joe Rooney, Howard Kiley, Max Morris, “Doc” Williams, Joe Madigan, Bill Stein, Ted (Ira) Haaven, Dick O’Donnell; at bottom center is Bill Bloedel, the team mascot.
(Image courtesy Dick Palmer and the Duluth Budgeteer)kell