Did you know that the Green Bay Packers played a game in Chippewa Falls? It’s true. September 2, 1935 at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds to be exact.
You see, back before everyone started to hate preseason games in the NFL, teams like the Packers, would travel around the state and play town teams for their “warm-up” or “practice” games, One of those games was against the Chippewa Marines.
But it wasn’t just the fact that the Packers played a town team from Chippewa in Chippewa Falls that made this memorable. It was a couple of backstories involved in the game and the legendary players that stepped foot on that field.
The first backstory involves a Chippewa Marine player who ended up being a Pro Football Hall of Famer. That player was Johnny Bloody McNally.
Before you say, wait a minute, wasn’t he a Packer?, you would be correct. He spent time with the Packers before his one game with the Marines on that September day. So why did he play for the Marines? He did so because he wanted back on the Packers and he used this game as sort of tryout to impress then coach Curly Lambeau.
McNally would later rejoin the Packers for the season.
The other backstory here involves one of the greatest pro football players of all-time, Don Hutson.
This was technically the first time he suited up for the Packers. It wasn’t his first regular season game, but it was the first time he played for his new team as a rookie. People in the stands that day could say they saw one of the greatest players in history participate in his first game.
Other hall of famers included: Clark Hinkle, Cal Hubbard, Arnie Herber, and Mike Michalske a long with Blood, Hutson, and Lambeau. Just an amazing amount of talent and history on that fairground field.
The Packers would go on to blank the Chippewa Marines 22-0, but the next time you visit the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, just imagine all of those iconic players hitting the field there and playing a football game. Awesome.