Arnie Herber

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Arnie Herber
Arnie Herber.jpg
Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 1966
No. 12, 26, 41, 16, 45, 38, 19, 20
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Born:(1910-04-02)April 2, 1910
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Died:October 14, 1969(1969-10-14) (aged 59)
Green Bay, WI
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:203 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school: Green Bay West
(Green Bay, WI)
College: Wisconsin (1928)
Regis (1929)
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:8,041
Completion percentage:40.9
Passer rating:50.1
Player stats at  ·  PFR

Arnold Charles Herber (April 2, 1910 – October 14, 1969) was an American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons, primarily with the Green Bay Packers. During his Packers tenure from 1930 to 1940, he led the league in passing yards and touchdowns three times and won four NFL Championship Games. Herber retired after 11 seasons in Green Bay, but returned in 1944 with New York Giants, where he played his final two seasons. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.


Early years

Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Herber was a Packers fan from a young age, all while starring at local Green Bay West High School in football and basketball. [1] [2] He played two years of college football, on the freshman team at University of Wisconsin–Madison and spent his sophomore season at Regis College in Denver, [1] which dropped football after the 1929 season. [2] Herber went back to Green Bay and worked in the club house as a handyman. Coach Curly Lambeau gave Herber a try-out and Herber at age 20 joined a team that was currently dominating the NFL. [3]

Green Bay Packers career

Green Bay had posted an undefeated 12–0–1 record and won the NFL title in 1929, the year before Herber was on the roster. In his first year, 1930, the Packers continued their success and won another title with Herber playing tailback in the famous Notre Dame Box formation. In 1931, with Herber throwing more than usual for that era to early greats like John "Blood" McNally, the Packers reeled off nine straight wins to start the season and held on to win a third straight title. No other team in NFL history, besides the Packers themselves in the 1960s, has won three consecutive titles.

The NFL did not start keeping statistics until 1932—when they did that year, Herber finished as the top passer in the league with 639 yards and nine touchdowns. He won the passing title again in 1934 with 799 yards and eight touchdowns. [4] But Herber reached his peak as a pro starting in 1935 with the arrival of Don Hutson, the league's first true wide receiver, who changed the game with his graceful moves, precise patterns, and superb hands. Herber loved to throw the ball long and was a perfect fit for Hutson's talent. Hutson's first NFL reception was an 83-yard touchdown pass from Herber on the first play of the game when the Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 7–0. In 1936, Herber and Hutson rewrote (temporarily) the NFL passing-receiving record book. Herber tossed a record 177 passes for a record 1,239 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Hutson set new records with 34 catches, 526 yards receiving, and eight touchdowns, all marks he would soon improve. Green Bay finished 10-1-1 and went to the NFL title game, which they won 21-6 over the Boston Redskins at the Polo Grounds in New York. In that game, Green Bay passed for 153 yards and Herber threw two touchdowns, one to Hutson.

Sharing time with another great passer, Cecil Isbell, Herber led the Packers to the title game again in 1938 and 1939. In the 1938 championship game, Green Bay lost to the New York Giants 23–17 at the Polo Grounds despite another touchdown pass from Herber. In 1939, Green Bay avenged that loss with a 27–0 drubbing of the Giants in Milwaukee. [5] [6] Herber threw for another touchdown in the 1939 title game. [7] In 1940, Isbell began to get more playing time and Herber was waived at the end of training camp in 1941, [8] and retired after 11 seasons with Green Bay.

New York Giants career

At age 34, Herber came back to the draft-depleted NFL in 1944, answering a call to play for the New York Giants. [9] Herber threw sparingly but efficiently, for 651 yards and six touchdowns. As usual for Herber-led teams, the Giants won their conference and went to the NFL title game. Herber's old squad, the Packers, still featuring Don Hutson, beat the Giants 14-7. Herber played one more forgettable season with the Giants in 1945 and then retired for good.

Professional statistics

Led the league
BoldCareer high
1930 GB 104311
1931 GB 30121
1932 GB 1483710136.66396.39951.5641492.3132
1933 GB 1165012440.36565.331226.262771.2000
1934 GB 1174211536.57996.981245.137330.9000
1935 GB 1184810936.77296.781445.41900.0000
1936 GB 1257717344.51,2397.2111358.920-32-1.6000
1937 GB 904710445.26846.671050.0591.8000
1938 GB 84225540.03366.13448.86-1-0.2022
1939 GB 1075713941.01,1077.98961.618-11-0.6011
1940 GB 104388942.75606.36753.66-23-3.8000
1944 NYG 103368641.96517.66853.07-58-8.3000
1945 NYG 100358043.86418.09869.86-27-4.5031


Overall, Herber passed for 8,041 yards, 81 touchdowns, and 106 interceptions. He led his teams to four NFL championships. At the time Herber retired for the first time in 1940, he had equaled Benny Friedman for the all-time lead in touchdown passes with 66. He added to his total later when he came out of retirement for a two-year stint with the New York Giants.

Herber was the first great long thrower in the NFL and his success paved the way for truly "modern" quarterbacks Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman. Herber was said to throw the ball with all five fingers on the laces, a peculiarity shared by no one else. It was his performance with Don Hutson, however, that made him a legend and assured his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966. [10] He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1968. [11]

During the NFL's 50th season celebration in 1969, Herber was selected to the All-1930s team in August. [12] Two months later, he died of cancer at age 59 in Green Bay, [13] and is buried at its Fort Howard Memorial Park.

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  1. 1 2 "Arnie Herber a home town boy who made good with Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. November 20, 1932. p. 12A.
  2. 1 2 Walfoort, Cleon (November 5, 1965). "Herber couldn't thread needle with ball, but..." Milwaukee Journal. p. 24, part 2.
  3. "1929 Green Bay Packers Statistics & Players".
  4. "Arnie Herber captures pro passing title". Milwaukee Journal. December 14, 1934. p. 8, part 2.
  5. Burton, Lewis (December 12, 1938). "Giants defeat Packers, 23-17 for pro title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 13.
  6. Gannon, Pat (December 12, 1938). "Giants' early attack defeats Green Bay for title, 23 to 17". Milwaukee Journal. p. 4, part 2.
  7. Strickler, George (December 11, 1939). "Packers win pro title; whip Giants, 27-0". Chicago Tribune. p. 21.
  8. Kuechle, Oliver E. (September 10, 1941). "Packers ask waivers on Herber, five others". Milwaukee Journal. p. 3, part 2.
  9. "Arnie Herber attempts comeback with Giants". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. September 1, 1944. p. 8.
  10. "Herber, Kiesling in grid hall". Milwaukee Journal. wire services. March 23, 1966. p. 19, part 2.
  11. "3 ex-Packers to receive fame honors". Milwaukee Journal. October 29, 1968. p. 1, part 2.
  12. Rathet, Mike (August 26, 1969). "Hutson, Herber selected to All-1930s football team". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. p. 23.
  13. "Arnie Herber, Ex-Packer Ace, Dies of Cancer". The La Crosse Tribune. October 15, 1969. p. 31. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg