What Do The Packers in Green Bay Pack?

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You may know a ton of Super Bowl trivia, all of the rules of football, and enough words to get by on the gridiron.

But the names of some of the most popular teams in the NFL can leave even the biggest football fans scratching their heads. Take the Green Bay Packers.

On its own, “Packers” doesn’t necessarily inspire the same associations of stability or speed as, say the Steelers or the Indianapolis Colts. But the origin of the Green Bay team’s name reveals quite a bit about the history of the sport.

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?”)

Still, why Packers?

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.

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