1944 Packers Letter and NFL Contract

I have an affinity for one-page contracts. Handshake agreements, however well intended, just don't work in business. The same way they don't work when your out-of-work buddy moves onto your couch for a couple weeks. People need boundaries.

Thick, bulletproof contracts on the other hand, are just plain hard to sign. Contracts mean big stuff is happening. Signing one should be an exercise of confidence – the exhilarating kickoff of a grand new adventure – not a frightening leap into an abyss of legalese.

One page. Simple guidelines. Two men agreeing to make each other's lives better. That, my friends is the meat (hey, it's the Packers) of this 1944 contract and letter sent from Earl "Curly" Lambeau to Mr. Ed McGroarty asking him to play smash mouth for Green Bay.

From the desk of E.L. "Curley" Lambeau, Coach & Manager, Northern Building:

“We will gladly increase the amount of this contract as soon as you are playing the kind of ball deserving more money.” Mr. Ed. J. McGroaraty
2800 S. 85th St.
West Allis 14, Wisconsin

Dear Ed:

Inclosed you will find regular League contracts for your signature. We will start you at $150.00 per game, pay your transportation to Green Bay and $35.00 per week living expenses until the first game. We will gladly increase the amount of this contract as soon as you are playing the kind of ball deserving more money. I take it for granted that you will have no trouble getting a leave of absence, therefore, am sending contracts to you.

Our first practice is August 20th in Green Bay. Of course, you know we furnish all football equipment.

I am sure Moose would be happy about the fact that you will be with us, and I feel sure that you will enjoy a connection with us this year.

Please sign two copies of the contract and return immediately.

Best personal regards, E.L. Lambeau

Single Page NFL Player's Contract

Click either page to enlarge:

1944 Lambeau letter and NFL contract1944 Lambeau letter and NFL contract

I've never seen Curly spelled any other way than C-U-R-L-Y, and in fact that's the way he signs it, but for some reason it's printed C-U-R-L-E-Y on his letterhead. If I had to guess, I bet the graphic designer diligently proofed it and the client signed off only to notice the error moments after the plates hit the press. I dunno, I hear some designers go through stuff like that. Not me, no, but some designers.

The footer is difficult to make out, but appears to read Five Times World's Champions. The Packers would go 8-2 overall in 1944 and add their 6th NFL championship by defeating the New York Giants 14 to 7. I didn't get this letter firsthand, but "Moose" presumably refers to Packers Hall of Famer Carl "Moose" Mulleneaux who I'm guessing was off to war, returning for a final season in 1945.

Edward "Mac" McGroarty

Ed McGroarty wearing a #7 college football uniformAccording to his biography in the Northland College Hall of Fame of Ashland, Wisconsin, Edward "Mac" McGroarty was both a football and basketball star for the college. He graduated in 1939 and went on to play with Green Bay and Cincinnati before a career-ending knee injury. However, in looking at the 1944 and 1945 Green Bay rosters his name does not appear, nor can I find a single Cincinnati pro football or pro basketball team from the 1940s and 1950s. It's a minor mystery, but a mystery nonetheless.

If you know more, I'd love to hear from you.

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