. Published with permission of Aaron Kramer
A smart, athletic lineman with a mean streak on the football field; and a gregarious, fun-loving player off it.
“Get that bucket down” – Coach Edgar Leavenworth
Goldenberg got his nickname from his brother. In a 1965 Milwaukee Journal article, he explained, “They called him ‘Buckets’ at North Division. The coach, Edgar Leavenworth, said, ‘Get that bucket down,’ and the guys started calling him ‘Buckets.’ When I came along, I was ‘Buckets Jr.”
Back in 1933 there wasn’t a draft. Goldenberg received more lucrative offers to play for two larger market teams but he fulfilled a dream by becoming a Green Bay Packer and earning $100 per game.
"“But I had always dreamed of playing for the Packers, and I didn’t want to get lost on a pro team in a big city. Everybody likes recognition and I think that playing in Green Bay where most of the town got to know you was responsible for my success.”"
Buckets played quarterback in his Packers rookie season, leading the NFL with seven touchdowns and the Packers in scoring with 42 points.
Michalske and tackle Cal Hubbard had lobbied for a position change since Goldenberg first arrived at Green Bay’s training camp.
“What are you out for, kid?” they asked Goldenberg when he reported.
When Goldenberg replied he was a blocking back, the two Packer veterans shook their heads as they surveyed his squat, 5-10, 220-pound frame. “You’re a natural guard,” one of them said.
Eventually, Buckets was switched to guard by head coach Curly Lambeau and it turned out to be a good move, as Goldenberg developed into one of the best linemen on the Packer championship teams in the mid-1930s.
"Goldenberg said: “The reason I played guard starting in ’36 was the team was short on guards … I have always said a guard is just a fullback getting his brains knocked out.”"
An interesting story from his profile on Jewsinsports.org credits Goldenberg with creating the “draw play.”
"Buckets, who also played linebacker, is apparently responsible for one of football’s most effective offensive plays — the draw play — although he and Hall of Famer Bulldog Turner of the Chicago Bears told different stories. According to Turner, Buckets would drop back to cover passes from his linebacker position, leaving a hole in the center of the defensive line. Buckets told a different story and said, “I could always tell when (Bears quarterback Sid) Luckman was going to pass as he would drop his left foot back … When I saw this, I would yell to the other guard to cover my hole and I would take off after Sid and usually nail him. Eventually Bulldog realized what I was doing and suggested Sid hand off to (fullback Bill) Osmansky rather than pass. Sure enough, he did and Bill goes roaring through the hole I left for a big gain. Thus the draw play was born.”"
Considered one of the greatest linemen of his era. Buckets played 120 games over 13 years for the Green Bay Packers. In fact, Goldenberg’s 13 seasons with the Packers are the fourth most in team history.
He was a three-time All-Pro at guard, helped lead the Packers to three NFL championships, and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-1930s Team. Buckets Goldenberg was inducted to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. In 1946, he was named to the Packers’ All-Time Team as a guard.