With 49 days left until the start of the NFL season, our countdown to the big day continues. Thursday, Sept. 4, is the day when the Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to take on the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.
Over the course of the next 49 days we focus on the number that represents the days remaining … and for today that number is 49.
Most recently, we took a look at the players who have worn #50 and 51, including Jim Ringo, A.J. Hawk and Jim Carter. These are players who left marks on their eras. And while Hawk’s career is still being played out, he’s the type who will join Ringo and Carter as solid, not spectacular, players.
Today we take a look at the players who wore numbers 49 …
Well, if you’re like me, it’s difficult to think of a single player who has worn the number. Rob Francois is the latest to have worn the number. Ok, that kind of says it all right there.
We don’t have much to say about any of those guys, so we defer to John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore them,” for a look at Walt Kiesling, a player who was with the Packers during their 1936 championship season and is a player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame who Maxymuk calls “The undeserving.”
This is why:
While there are 22 Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 25 of the 200-plus inductees from all teams had some connection to Green Bay sometime in their careers. Walt Kiesling is one of the five and the only one who doesn’t belong in either the Packers or Pro Football halls.
Kiesling was a large and well-traveled guard and later coach for a series of teams. He is listed as a Steeler in Canton, since he both played and coached there. He played longest for the Cardinals, five years, and made All-Pro there for the only time in his career. He also played two years for the Duluth Eskimos who then ceased operations, one for the Pottsville Maroons who then went out of business, one for the Chicago Bears, two for the Packers, and three for Pittsburgh. Desptite playing for the 13-0 Bear team that lost the “Sneaker Game” for the 1934 title and the 1936 10-1-1 champion Packers, the record of the teams for whom Kiesling played was 66-82-11.
After retiring from playing, Walt coached Pittsburgh from 1940-42 and from 1954-56. For most of the intervening years, he spent as a line coach either with the Steelers or the Packers. The high point of his coaching career was the 1942 season when he led Pittsburgh to its first-ever winning year with a second-place 7-4 record. It would be the only winning year he would ever have as a coach; his lifetime coaching record is 30-55-6.
Kiesling ws elected to the Hall posthumously in 1966; he was represented by his friend Johnny Blood and presented for induction by Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White. His bust will remain one of the most quizzical in Canton, lit only by the reflected glory of such teammates and coaches as Fats Henry, Ernie Nevers, George Halas, Link Lyman, George Musso, Bill Hewitt, Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski, Curly Lambeau, Arnie Herber, Clarke Hinkle, Cal Hubbard, Mike Michalske, Don Hutson, Art Rooney, and Johnny Blood.
Here is a list of all Packers players who have worn #49: