Don Chandler has passed. Kicker on the 1965, '66, '67 NFL championship Packer teams, Don was money when it counted. Brought over from the Giants, an Eastern Conference pipeline that Vince used well as Packer GM, he is best remembered for his two clutch kicks against the Colts in a 1965 playoff game when the two Western Conference arch rivals met in Green Bay after finishing the season tied. A punter-placekicker, common at the time, Chandler holds the record for his 90 yard punt. Surpisingly, that was not his longest. I was at a Bishop's Charities preseason game and saw him punt from the end zone, the ball bounced at the 5 and then dribbled into the end zone for a touchback. That was the second most impressive punt I've ever seen at Lambeau, the greatest being Ray Guy kicking it above the lights, and my nosebleed seated head.
Chandler retired after the second NFL-AFL Championship, as did Lombardi. Phil Bengston replaced Lombardi, but the Packers failed to replace Chandler, and that cost Green Bay a shot at a fourth consecutive NFL championship. In 1968 the Packers lost several games, and a shot at the post season, when they could not convert easy, makeable field goals. Word was that Bengston was told Chandler would rejoin the team during the season, and in the meantime he counted on Jerry Kramer to kick a few. Big mistake. Chandler was intent on staying in Texas and enjoying his retirement, and Bengston's team, with a retooled backfield of Grabowski and Anderson, and a strong O line and potent defense, could not score enough points with Bart's busted wing, and no kicker.
I will never forget the sheer frustration of that season, losing on missed short fieldgoals. After the the '96 Super Bowl, when Cris Jacke got in a shouting match with Ron Wolf and was shown the door (rumor has it the fight started because he was seeing one of Mike Holmgren's daughters), I shuddered as the chill from 1968 returned. No one was happier when Mason Crosby resigned. I take that as an omen.