What the Packers in Green Bay Pack


You may know a ton of Super Bowl trivia, as well as all of the rules of football, but how about the word history of the “Packers?” On it’s own, “Packers” doesn’t necessarily inspire the same associations of stability or speed as Steelers. The origin of the Green Bay team’s name reveals quite a bit about the history of the sport.

“Steelers” not only evokes the strength of steel and inadvertently summons up associations of stealing the ball, but describes Pittsburgh’s former industrial core and identity as a steel-producing behemoth. “Packers” actually serves the same function for the livelihood of Green Bay, Wisconsin that “Steelers” does for Pittsburgh. Instead of steel, we’re talking cattle and meat packing.

In 1919, the founders of the Green Bay team secured funding for their uniforms from the Indian Packing Company, a business specializing in canned meat. Even after the company was bought by another meat processor, the team title remained. It is the oldest team name still used in the NFL.

(Here’s a football question: What’s the mystery around the phrase “Hut, hut, hike?” Get some background, here.)

Pack” probably derives from pac, ”bundle,” a word used by Flemish wool traders in the 11th century. Some early instances of the term suggest a connection to “pact,” as in a secret arrangement. Considering that a football team could be considered a “bundle” (of players) engaging in a secret arrangement (of strategy on the field), perhaps the implicit associations of “packers” aren’t so strange after all.

One story of a word and its origin that is definitely strange is the source of the term “soccer.” Why is that sport called football in much of the world and soccer in the rest? Find out here.


  1. Doug -  September 15, 2016 - 6:44 pm

    A ‘packer’ in the 1800s was a person who handled meats and was the person responsible for the rendering of yellow grease, which was quite valuable back then (and still is today) for the use in; soap, make up, rubber, etc…

    The Indian Packaging Company made quite a lot of money from the sale of yellow grease; hence their team wore yellow.

  2. Justin d -  October 18, 2015 - 2:01 pm

    They are called the Green Bay Packers….. Because they are always packing fudge

  3. neight -  June 29, 2014 - 2:11 pm

    That’s great info for the packers. At least now know there not called the pakers for pounding it up the a gap. lol . sry

    • rickybobby -  January 11, 2015 - 12:31 pm

      Haha hilarious

  4. bears fan -  January 12, 2013 - 11:47 am

    named after the Indian Packing company because they paid for the uniforms. Indian Packing then got bought out by ACME Packing Co.

  5. Elyn4ftball -  December 7, 2012 - 11:37 am

    Bret probably had a mid-life crises, but then , so did his fans-have a crises, I mean.

  6. Packfan360 -  September 30, 2012 - 2:05 am

    The canned meat company name was, Acme Meat Packing Co. And the full team names is The Green Bay Acme meat Packers! And a lot of football teams started with factory workers and such.

  7. Sweetchill -  May 28, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    also, if Farve stayed a Packer, Green Bay wouldnt have made it to Suber bowl XLV in the first place (let alone win it)

  8. Sweetchill -  May 28, 2012 - 6:36 pm

    A little bit of football trivia.

    If the USFL (another football league in the US) didnt fold in 1987, the Raiders would never had moved to Oakland in the first place? Theyd still be the L.A. Raiders to this day!

  9. Car Insurance Ratings -  April 8, 2011 - 4:19 pm

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  10. Big Ben is not a Raper! | Sweater Punch -  March 27, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    [...] all this being said, I am still picking the Green Bay “Canned Meat Packers” to win Super Bowl 45. These two teams seem to be as evenly matched as they come. The Packers are on [...]

  11. WillSmith -  February 15, 2011 - 2:15 pm

    UK7ZKH Hi! I’m just wondering if i can get in touch with you, since you have amazing content, and i’m thinking of running a couple co- projects! email me pls

  12. Kate -  February 10, 2011 - 10:02 am

    The Steelers are winning the Super Bowl next year! Just sayin… :)

  13. Pakrbakr12 -  February 4, 2011 - 12:37 am

    RICH, If you REALLY knew what what you were talking about, The Packers didn’t do Brett wrong. We were rabid Favre backers for many years. Brett has no one but himself to blame for what has happened to him. The last two years that he was on our Team he was anything but a “team” player. He didn’t want to come to training camp, he didn’t want to sleep in a dorm like everyone else on the team and he didn’t want to shower with the rest of the guys. A-Rod sat on the bench for three seasons waiting for his turn to play, always in Brett’s shadow. Finally,after all his waffling about whether or not he was going to play another season and saying his heart just wasn’t in it was BS so he was going to retire, was a sad day for Packer Nation. OH WAIT…he retired, then un-retired. Wanted to come back to GB but Thompson said No. He wanted to get revenge by going to the VIKES, but couldn’t so he went to the Jets (again he wasn’t a team player). He retired again, OH WAIT, he went to the enemy Vikings to get his revenge against Thompson. I guess he didn’t THINK of how THAT would hurt us Fans, but I don’t think he cared. Now he claims he’s retiring for good, but I heard he’s now going to the BEARS!! OH MY!! Brett could have left GB with a beautiful legacy, instead that legacy is tarnished. Rothlisberger did his bench time for inappropriate behavior but #4 sat on the bench with an “INJURY????”. SURELY he didn’t want to admit he did anything wrong!! He was GREAT but he let that go to his head and now he is retiring after a losing season. Poor Brett

  14. ralph -  January 31, 2011 - 11:47 am

    Okay, sounds good to me.

    The Washington Redskins are named for a terrorist group. They were originally the Boston Redskins, and the redskins were the colonialists dressed as Indians at the Boston Tea party. They conducted politically motivated violence and blamed it on others. Now the football team located in the Nation’s Capital is named for them.

    When I learned that the new Baltimore franchise would be called The Ravens, I was concerned. Poe is buried in Baltimore where he died but he was originally from Richmond, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia. Richmond is a very conservative city, and when they learned Baltimore wanted to claim Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote grisly short stories and drank far too much, they were elated. Richmond is so conservative that they eshewed racial violence during Civil Rights because it is disorderly.

  15. Mari -  January 29, 2011 - 8:47 am

    Interesting associated trivial fact:
    in Rugby Football, the game from which American Football was derived (and which is still played all over the world), the word ‘Pack’ refers to the 8 Forwards in a team. The ‘Pack’ , among other roles, participates in set-piece scrums to win possession of the ball.

  16. gotquestions -  January 28, 2011 - 8:16 am

    Thank you. I did not know this. Interesting article.

  17. marcell -  January 27, 2011 - 11:57 am


  18. matt -  January 27, 2011 - 8:08 am

    packers all the way

  19. Grumblefish -  January 27, 2011 - 7:37 am

    @Di: hahaha, and Jimmy Buffett fans shoudln’t be “Parrotheads” they should be “Buffetheads” too. And Kiss fans should be “Kissheads” not the “Kiss Army”. ha ha.

    Take your Dexedrine, PINHEAD, and STFU.

  20. Rich -  January 27, 2011 - 6:13 am

    Stairway to 7

    The Fired Up Steeler Defense = Aaron Rodgers MELTDOWN !
    (the Packers did Bret dirty!)

    I’ll be wearing #92


  21. vigilante -  January 27, 2011 - 5:02 am

    フラ~フラ~ 意味なし!元気?

    what I dont like about the football is the players’ bodies. so ugly. a chunk of meat. if a new born baby, it has got a excuse to be a chunk of meat, but grown up men building up such muscles are such a waste. what have they been eating? excessive amount of dead meat. Amen.

    I dont like baseball either. the soccor is fine. the tennis is fine.
    how come the younger Williams does not seem repulsive to me is that she is just like a GI joe cartoon character.

    leap month this year?

  22. JfromI -  January 27, 2011 - 3:43 am

    Oh, and stop making yourselves look stupid by commenting without reading the whole article.

  23. Di -  January 26, 2011 - 2:08 pm

    So…..then one might ask why the fans are not called “Meatheads” vice the “Cheeseheads”. Then they could go around with a pile of ground beef on their heads instead of a cheese wedge. Oh gee, maybe one would look more stupid than the other??? LOL

  24. grammarguru -  January 26, 2011 - 12:41 pm

    Eyewitness, learn to use spell check~~~”absurd” has no “e”
    AVA, learn grammar~~”none” is singular, not plural

  25. Steelar's Fan 1000 -  January 26, 2011 - 12:37 pm

    STEELER”S ARE GOING TO WIN THEIR 7TH SUPER BOWL THIS YEAR! GO STEELAR’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  26. AVA -  January 26, 2011 - 11:37 am

    I wish people would read the article before complaining:

    @Robert DeGabriele who said, “WRONG! Fact Check Please! The Green Bay team in 1919 was originally funded by a Meat Packing business.” The article states, “In 1919, the founders of the Green Bay team secured funding for their uniforms from the Indian Packing Company, a business specializing in canned meat.” RIGHT! Please read first.

    @Zac who said, “Omfg the steelers name did not come from stealing the ball or the strength of steel. WTF are u on. It came from in pittsburgh they had a very large steel industry in fact they produced 85% of all steel in America.” The article states, “describes Pittsburgh’s former industrial core and identity as a steel-producing behemoth.” omfg, please read first.

    @SQEEF, Bloore77, ag, Waldo Pepper: none of you were first to comment.

  27. Fraaank -  January 26, 2011 - 9:51 am

    I wonder why people not interested in football click on an article about football, maybe read the article, and then tell everyone they don’t like football.

    I also wonder why people read these comments. Do these folks believe they are important or insightful enough to think anyone really cares what they think?

    On the other hand, I thought the article was interesting.

  28. coldbear -  January 26, 2011 - 9:30 am

    Don’t care much about either the Steelers or the Packers – but as a football fanatic (I’m a Dol-fan) – I will be watching the game. Even though I knew the background of both team names (as well as most of the other thirty), I do appreciate the article, and it’s recognition of American football.

    By the way, apparently other countries DO like football, as a number of preseason & regualr season games have been played overseas during the last ten years – particulary London. I have heard of a number of fans there, in Germany, and several other places. Maybe it’s not soccer (excuse me, Rugby Football, or whatever), it still is nothing to be denigrated.

    I hope to see an excellent game that is close all the way up to the closing moments of the game.

  29. Donny -  January 26, 2011 - 9:14 am

    And are you sure they were meat Packers? I thought they packed Fudge?

  30. michael -  January 26, 2011 - 9:08 am

    green bay is going too be superbowl champs cause steelers dont have nothing on us!!!!:))))))

  31. michael -  January 26, 2011 - 9:06 am

    well packers are the best team around nd no one is going too be better then them go pack go!!!

  32. AIMES -  January 26, 2011 - 7:59 am

    Okay i reallly could care less about football!!!!!!!!!! It is kinda stupid when u are just watching it. I am the kind of girl who would much rather be playing it!!!!!!!! Oh and it sucks when ur boyfriend blows u off to play football after a month of planing something!!!!!!!!!! ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  33. Rosa -  January 26, 2011 - 7:46 am

    Zac, the article didn’t say that the name “Steelers” was meant to allude to “stealing” the ball, or that it was meant to reflect the strenght of steel.
    The article mentions that the name evokes these two thoughts inadvertently, even though the actual name was not meant to do so; the article does, in fact, agree with your comment that the name “Steelers” cones from the city’s steel industry.

  34. Les -  January 26, 2011 - 7:20 am

    Just think, if the team waited a few years before starting, they could have been sponsored by the Hormel meat packing co., and they’d be the Green Bay SPAMers.

  35. bozo -  January 26, 2011 - 7:00 am

    idc what anyone on ere say’s COWBOYS ROCK!!!!!

  36. zac is stupid -  January 26, 2011 - 6:25 am

    zac is stupid…..read the article again moron

  37. Thurbz -  January 26, 2011 - 6:03 am

    Not a very well written article, and even less intelligent comments. GO PACK GO!

  38. David -  January 26, 2011 - 5:08 am

    Not the first…

  39. EW -  January 26, 2011 - 5:04 am

    “In a few weeks…”? It’s 11 days from the date of the article to the Super Bowl. That’s only about a week and a half, which I don’t think anyone would consider as “a few weeks”.

  40. vigilante -  January 26, 2011 - 5:01 am

    nyahahaha is what languages?

  41. Ezekiel Rage -  January 26, 2011 - 2:43 am


    Hmm, well right now, the Hotword blog indicates that 18 people “Like” this article and no comments have yet been made. Now while I might be tempted to shout, “Hooray! First to comment!” I have learnt from sour experience that Hotword’s Comment Updating functionality leaves quite a lot to be desired; in fact I daresay that there are probably 2 or 3 poor souls just above this comment (inspite of Hotword’s vehement insistance that no one has yet made any comments) who thought they were first to comment. So Hotword, please work on your update function.

    Now, getting back to the topic at hand, I think that this was quite an interesting piece of trivia. I never fail to learn something new and interesting on Hotword. You guys certainly put in a lot of work into your articles. You are to be commended. I salute you!

  42. ag -  January 25, 2011 - 11:36 pm


  43. um thats ok -  January 25, 2011 - 11:35 pm

    1st 2nd 3rd what is dis stuff

  44. Zac -  January 25, 2011 - 8:13 pm

    Omfg the steelers name did not come from stealing the ball or the strength of steel. WTF are u on. It came from in pittsburgh they had a very large steel industry in fact they produced 85% of all steel in America so it comes from the Pittsburgh steelers hense no A in steelers Name

  45. ALEX -  January 25, 2011 - 6:17 pm


  46. Waldo Pepper -  January 25, 2011 - 5:05 pm


  47. Cyberquill -  January 25, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    I thought it was the Stackers against the Peelers. Are you sure there’s a team called “Packers”?

  48. wordjunkie -  January 25, 2011 - 3:54 pm

    So, where did the Raiders get their name? If the same theory applies, it does not allude to a very flattering history.

  49. Bloore77 -  January 25, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    First. :D

  50. Matt -  January 25, 2011 - 3:33 pm

    Please, “kicking” around an egg-shaped ball?
    You made American football sounds like the world’s football.
    Kicking only occurs in: kickoffs, punts, PATs, and FGs. How much percent of an American football game involves kicking? 5%? 10%?
    The world’s football involves 95% kicking, the rest is for throwing-in bounds or a goalie’s hand pass.

  51. Pi -  January 25, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    You wrote: “In a few weeks much of the world …” Unless you identify the US with the World, you are wrong. Super Bowl is of no interest to “much of the world”; in fact to almost anyone outside the States and perhaps Canada or Mexico. Now if you were talking about the game of “Football” as in what Americans call “Soccer” you would be correct that “much of the world” follows this sport.

  52. Gwyneth -  January 25, 2011 - 3:20 pm

    That’s interesting, that never occured to me before. When I was watching the the Championship last Sunday, I was rooting for the Bears, (GO BEARS!!!)but I didn’t mind that the Bears lost,I’m happy for the Packers. Good luck in the Super Bowl!!!

  53. Carly -  January 25, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    Obviously nobody that frequents this website cares about football, I know I don’t.

  54. Joe -  January 25, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    Nice article.

  55. ag -  January 25, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    i meant SVC PACKERS hehehehe by rex navarete!! cool man!!!

  56. ag -  January 25, 2011 - 2:47 pm

    <==3 woot first to comment!!!! packers means hbc packers!!! nyahahaha

  57. Bobby -  January 25, 2011 - 2:47 pm

    This is an interesting article: I never knew that about the Packers.

  58. Eyewitness -  January 25, 2011 - 2:15 pm

    As an item of trivia, The New York Jets derived their name from an attempted public relations ploy.

    The New York Mets (baseball, of course) were named as a shortened form of ‘Metropolitan,’ in keeping with other ‘Met’ designations, such as the Metropolitan Opera (“The Met”) and The Metropolitan Museum (also known as “The Met” among New Yorkers). The “Mets” were the plural of this formation, to designate a team of many.

    It was then attempted to make all New York professional teams rhyme with “Met[s],” for the publicity value of association. “Jets” rhymed with “Mets” and, for a time, when New York City tried to establish a resident, professional tennis team, it was called “The Sets” (for obvious reasons).

    Absured, but true.

    Mets, Jets, Sets: in the Age of High Anxiety, New Yorkers themselves might now just was well be called “The Frets.” At least it rhymes.

  59. orange -  January 25, 2011 - 1:46 pm

    “In a few weeks much of the world will be glued to images of men in helmets and tight pants kicking around an egg-shaped ball.”

    by much of the world, you mean u.s.a., being that no one actually cares about football except america

  60. SQEEF -  January 25, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    You picked me up, breeding life in me, I owe my life to you
    But fot the life of me, I don’t see why you don’t see like I do
    Then it just dawned in me that you lost your son, see this light in you?
    It’s dark, let me turn on the lights and brighten me and enlighten you
    I don’t think you realize what you mean to me, not the slightest clue
    ‘Cause me and you were like a crew, I was like your sidekick, you
    You gon either wanna fight me when I get off this f–ing mic; Or you gon hug me
    But I’m not an option, there’s nothing else I can do

  61. Robert DeGabriele -  January 25, 2011 - 12:56 pm

    WRONG! Fact Check Please! The Green Bay team in 1919 was originally funded by a Meat Packing business. Hence the Green Bay PACKERS!

  62. SQEEF -  January 25, 2011 - 12:41 pm


  63. moon -  January 25, 2011 - 12:40 pm

    The Team Was made up of workers from the Acme Packing company in the 20′s…The original name was the Acme Packers….

    • Rchow -  November 22, 2015 - 3:56 pm

      Were the Indians of the packing company ‘East Indians’? Just wondering?


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