Ted Moore Belongs in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

Ted Moore doing a Packers game at MCS

Anyone who is familiar with my writing over the past 16 years covering the Green Bay Packers knows that I was a huge proponent for the rightful induction of Jerry Kramer into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That goes back to my days at Packer Report.

I feel the same way about other former Packers. Players like Bobby Dillon, Boyd Dowler, Ron Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston, Gale Gillingham,  LeRoy Butler and Sterling Sharpe. At the very least, the careers of these players need to be brought into the discussion about being enshrined in Canton.

But that’s another story. This story is about a man who definitely needs to be inducted into another Hall of Fame…the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. Just like [Jerry] Kramer (1975), Dowler (1978), [Ron] Kramer (1975), Thurston (1975), Gillingham (1982), Dillon (1974), Butler (2007) and Sharpe (2002) were.

I’m talking about the former radio announcer of the Packers in the Vince Lombardi era, Ted Moore.

I grew up in that era. It was the golden age for Packer Nation, as Lombardi’s Packers won five NFL titles in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls. The team also won an unprecedented three NFL championships in a row, a feat that has never been duplicated in the playoff era of the NFL going back to 1933.

Back in those days, if you watched the Packers on television, you heard and saw Ray Scott do the games on CBS. But if you listened to the games on the radio, you listened to Moore on the Packers radio network. The flagship station for the Packers then and now was WTMJ in Milwaukee.

Back then, all local games were blacked out on television (even if they were sold out). So unless I was able to attend a game in person at Milwaukee County Stadium (which I did on a few occasions), I listened to the rest the Packer games in Milwaukee on the radio. The same held true for anyone who lived in Green Bay for Packer games at City Stadium/Lambeau Field.

Scott was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2001. So were a couple of other legendary Green Bay newspaper reporters who covered the Packers back then, as both Art Daley (1993) and Lee Remmel (1996) have been enshrined as well. So was the team photographer during that time, Vernon Biever (2002).

Basically everyone who covered the Packers during the Lombardi era is in the Packers Hall of Fame. All except Moore.

Ted Moore and Vince Lombardi

Now there have been two Packer radio announcers who have been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame. They are Russ Winnie (2016) and Jim Irwin (2003).

I expect them to be joined at some point by Moore and current radio play-by-play man, Wayne Larrivee.

I got to know Irwin pretty well at WTMJ in 1980 and 1981 when I worked there, first as an intern and then as a freelance reporter. In fact, I got to know Irwin so well, that he was the No. 1 reference listed on my résumé while I was looking for broadcasting and journalism work out of college.

Now longevity in covering the Packers does play a part in getting into the Hall of Fame for the team. Daley (68 years), Remmel (62 years) and Biever (61 years) each covered the Packers for over six decades.

Scott (10 years), Winnie (17 years) and Irwin (29 years) all covered the team for at least a decade and in Irwin’s case, almost three decades.

Moore spent 12 years broadcasting games for the Packers. And it was he who first hired Irwin.

Like I mentioned in my most recent story, the quarterback sneak by Bart Starr in the 1967 NFL title game between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, was one of the most iconic plays in NFL history.

And it has to be the greatest play in the history of the Packers. It was Moore who provided the play-by-play on that legendary moment in Green Bay lore.

“Third down and inches to go to pay dirt. 17-14, Cowboys out in front. Starr begins the count and he takes the quarterback sneak and he’s in for the touchdown and the Packers are out in front. The Green Bay Packers are going to be world champions,” Moore yelled out, as the 50,000-plus frozen faithful in the Lambeau Field stands went delirious.

Moore did the radio broadcasts for all six of the NFL championship games that the Packers under Lombardi played in.

There are currently 159 members of the Packers Hall of Fame. That number will go up by two, as Mark Tauscher and Ryan Longwell will get inducted later this summer. Of those 159 members, 26 have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After Moore left the Packers, he broadcast the games in 1970 for the Baltimore Colts. He brought some championship luck to the Colts as well, as the team went on to win Super Bowl V.

Bob's latest 130

Moore later returned to Milwaukee and spent some time at WEMP and WOKY.

My dad was one of Moore’s loyal listeners during in his time in Wisconsin, as he announced football and basketball games (22 years) for the University of Wisconsin, and also called basketball games for Marquette University one year.

Speaking of fathers and sons, Moore’s son Richard has page on Facebook called Put Ted Moore in The Packer Hall of Fame.

Moore is already in the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but he also certainly deserves to be in the Packers Hall of Fame.

Moore passed away in 2014 at the age of 87, so he never was able to see himself enshrined with the best of the best in the the history of the Packers.

Being inducted in 2019 would be very apropos, as it would be the 50th anniversary of Moore’s final season with the Packers.

Each summer when I come back to Wisconsin, I always try to make a number of trips to Green Bay from our summer home in Cedar Grove, right off of Lake Michigan. I almost always stop in and go through the Packers Hall of Fame in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

The Packers Hall of Fame has been around since 1967, but with the new and improved look of the historical landscape now, it has truly become a must-see stop for not only all Packers fans, but all NFL fans in general.

I look forward to the day when I will see Moore’s name listed among the greats in the Packers Hall of Fame.

One Forgotten Aspect on Bart Starr’s QB Sneak in the ‘Ice Bowl’

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It’s one of the most iconic plays in NFL history. I’m talking about Bart Starr’s legendary quarterback sneak in the 1967 NFL title game, better known as the “Ice Bowl”, as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in the final seconds of the game.

That touchdown gave the Packers their third straight NFL championship, a feat that has never been duplicated in the playoff era of the NFL dating back to 1933.

Two weeks later, the Packers won their second straight Super Bowl as well, as they defeated the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

But it was Starr’s QB sneak that made all of that possible.

It was most definitely the signature moment in the legacy of Vince Lombardi during his time in Green Bay as head coach and general manager.

That play was set up by one of the most fabulous drives in the history of the Packers.

Here was the situation:

The Packers trailed 17-14 and had not done a thing in the second half offensively. “We had minus-nine yards in 31 plays in the second half at one point,” right guard Jerry Kramer told me.

The Packers got the ball back at their own 32-yard line with just 4:50 remaining in the game. Somehow the Packers were going to have to trudge 68 yards across a truly frozen tundra to win the game.

“I asked Bart about that years later, about what made him think we could go 68 yards and score a touchdown after we had made minus-nine yards on 31 plays prior to that,” Kramer said. “Bart said, ‘Jerry, I came into the huddle and started to say something. Then I looked in your eyes, I looked at Forrest’s eyes and everyone else in the huddle, and I knew I didn’t have to say anything. So all I said was, ‘Let’s go.’

I wrote about that mythical drive in December, just two days before the 50th anniversary of that historical NFL game. Kramer, halfback Donny Anderson and fullback Chuck Mercein shared their thoughts about that improbable trek across the ice.

The play which won the Packers their fifth NFL title in seven years was called earlier in the week when the team was studying the defensive tendencies of the Cowboys. Kramer actually suggested the play to Lombardi.

Bart's QB sneak behind Jerry

Photo by John Biever

“Jethro [Pugh] was high, and I actually suggested that play on Thursday when we were studying short-yardage films. I said we could wedge Pugh if we had to. And Coach Lombardi said, ‘What?’ And I said that we can wedge Pugh if we have to. So we ran the film back three or four times, and coach says, ‘That’s right. Put in a wedge on Pugh.’

The do-or-die situation in the game came down to the Packers having just 16 seconds to go with no timeouts at the Dallas 1-yard line.

Starr called a 31 Wedge play in the huddle (the same play discussed on Thursday), which calls for the fullback to get the ball. However, after conferring with Lombardi, Starr decided to keep the ball due to the slippery conditions near the goal line.

Starr followed Kramer’s classic block on Pugh (with help from center Ken Bowman) and No. 15 tumbled happily into the end zone for the winning score and NFL immortality.

But history might have been different had Starr tried to cross the goal line with the football in his right arm and not his left.

I mentioned that scenario to Boyd Dowler when we talked recently and he said, “I didn’t realize that.”

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The reason why that was so important is because Chuck Howley, who was the left outside linebacker of the Cowboys, quickly dove into Starr just as he was about to get into the end zone. Howley tried to rip the football from Starr’s empty right arm. Had Starr carried the football in that arm, who knows what may have occurred?

Starr had fumbled earlier in the game during the second quarter, which led to a George Andrie touchdown after he recovered the fumble by No. 15.

The bottom line is that Starr not only called the right play (31 Wedge) and the right way to score on that play (via his sneak), but also the correct way to handle the ball as he made his way triumphantly into the end zone.

Green Bay Packers: GM Brian Gutekunst is Having a Nice Rookie Year

Brian Gutekunst at OTA

Brian Gutekunst via packers.com.

In his first term as general manager of the Green Bay Packers, Brian Gutekunst is having a pretty good rookie season. Or offseason, depending how you look at it.

The additions that Gutekunst has made to the roster up until now has been quite unlike what we have seen from Ted Thompson over the past 13 years, when he held the same job title.

Let’s take a look at the roster moves that Gutekunst has made since he became GM.

The first acquisition that Gutekunst made was when he traded defensive back Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns for quarterback DeShone Kizer. Plus the Packers and Browns swapped picks in the fourth and fifth rounds in the 2018 NFL draft.

The move was made for two reasons. Randall had basically worn out his welcome in Green Bay, both with his inconsistent performances and his attitude. The addition of Kizer says a lot about how the team feels about the overall performance of Brett Hundley in 2017, as he took over for Aaron Rodgers after No. 12 fractured his collarbone in Week 6.

Hundley was 3-6 as a starter and he threw nine touchdown passes compared to 12 interceptions for 1,853 yards. No. 7’s passer rating was just 70.9.

Hundley was also sacked 29 times, as he had difficulty moving around the pocket and going through his reads.

Hundley did run for 270 yards and two scores, but he just couldn’t lead the Packers down the field consistently enough due to his passing deficiencies.

The 6’4″, 235-pound Kizer will push Hundley in 2018 for the backup job behind Rodgers. My money is on Kizer winning that battle.

Just a few days after the trade to pick up Kizer, Gutekunst really got busy. He first released wide receiver Jody Nelson, who was definitely a fan favorite in Green Bay. NFL scout Chris Landry told me that Nelson looked visibly slower in 2017, which was two years removed from a torn ACL in the 2015 preseason.

The release of Nelson cleared $10.2 million in cap space.

After the release of Nelson, the Packers signed tight end Jimmy Graham of the Seattle Seahawks to a three-year contract worth $30 million, with $22 million paid out during the first two years of the deal.

Graham will be a big red zone weapon for Rodgers to utilize, as well as someone who can stretch the seam down the middle of the field. Rodgers has taken advantage of that situation before in the past in Green Bay with other tight ends like Jermichael Finley and Jared Cook.

In his eight-year career in the NFL, Graham has 556 receptions for 6,800 yards and 69 touchdowns.

The 6’7″, 265-pound Graham has also been named to five Pro Bowl squads and was also named first-team All-Pro in 2013 by AP.

Jimmy Graham as a Packer

Jimmy Graham

Shortly after inking Graham to a deal, Gutekunst signed defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, formerly of the New York Jets.

Wilkerson had played the first two years of his career with the Jets under the new defensive coordinator of the Packers, Mike Pettine.

The 6’4″, 315-pound Wilkerson signed a one-year deal worth $5 million, plus $3 million in incentives, according to Tom Pellissero of NFL Network.

In his entire seven-year career with the Jets, Wilkerson had 405 tackles, 44.5 sacks, 28 passes defensed, two interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery (for a touchdown).

Wilkerson will make the defensive line of the Packers a very formidable force, along with Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark.

Not long after signing Graham and Wilkerson, Gutekunst brought back a former Packer, as he signed cornerback Tramon Williams, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals. Williams also played under Pettine in 2015 with the Cleveland Browns when Pettine was the head coach there.

Williams, along with the re-signing of Davon House, will definitely help in tutoring the young cornerbacks on the Green Bay roster. The youth and depth at the CB position grew even larger because of the 2018 NFL draft of the Packers.

Before the Packers made their first selection in Round 1, the team traded back from pick No. 15 to pick No. 27 with the New Orleans Saints. The trade netted the Packers a first-round pick in 2019 from the Saints.

When the draft was over, the Packers had used their first two selections on cornerbacks (Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson), drafted a cover linebacker (Oren Burks), added three big and fast wide receivers (J’Mon Moore, Marquez Vlaldes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown), selected an offensive tackle who will most likely play guard (Cole Madison), added some talent to special teams (punter JK Scott and long snapper Hunter Bradley) and added some late help to the pass rush (defensive end James Looney and outside linebacker Kendall Donnerson).

Gutekunst also added a number of undrafted rookie free agents to the roster, some of whom have a real opportunity to make the team. Center Austin Davis of Duke is one such player.

While the Packers certainly addressed a number of needs in the 2018 NFL draft, I thought there were three areas of concern which weren’t focused on.

Those areas were adding depth at the offensive tackle position, adding a run-blocking tight end and adding more help to the pass rush much sooner in the draft.

As it turns out, Gutekunst addressed two of those areas in free agency after the draft, as he added offensive lineman Byron Bell and tight end Marcedes Lewis.

The 6’5″, 320-pound Bell has made 74 starts in his NFL career, as he has played with the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys. Bell, who is 29, has started at both offensive tackle positions, as well as at left guard.

The addition helps specifically at right tackle, as Bryan Bulaga is coming back from his second ACL tear and has been injury prone most of his NFL career. No. 75 has missed 43 games due to injury in his eight years with the Packers.

In addition to that, his backups (Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy) have also had injury issues.

The 6’6″, 267-pound Lewis is one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. The Packers had two seam-stretching tight ends in Graham and Lance Kendricks, but neither is known for their blocking abilities. Lewis can block with the best of them and is also a threat in the passing game as well.

Lewis, was the first round selection of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006 and has caught 375 passes for 4,502 yards and 33 touchdowns. Lewis was also a Pro Bowl selection in 2010.

Marcedes Lewis

Marcedes Lewis

In terms of how the pass rush for the Packers will improve in 2018, I still have concerns, but a recent article by Pete Dougherty of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin eased that matter somewhat.

I was concerned about Green Bay’s lack of a pass rush going into the draft. In 2017, the Packers were ranked 22nd in total defense, plus were only tied for 17th in sacks with 37. That lack of pass-pressure led to Green Bay being ranked 23rd in pass defense in the NFL and 31st in the opposing QB’s passer rating.

The Packers allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw 30 touchdown passes versus just 11 picks for 3,789 yards. That adds up to allowing a ridiculous passer rating of 102.0 for the opposing quarterbacks. Ouch.

Now Green Bay did add some nice talent to the cornerback position in the draft, plus also added a cover linebacker, but if an opposing quarterback has too much time to find an open receiver, he will eventually find one.

That happened far too often to the Packers in 2017.

Which was the primary reason Dom Capers was fired as defensive coordinator and replaced by Mike Pettine.

The track record of Pettine as a defensive coordinator is very good. In five years as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, four with the New York Jets under head coach Rex Ryan and one with the Buffalo Bills, Pettine always coordinated a top 10 defense.

From 2009 though 2012 with the Jets, his defenses were ranked first, third, fifth and eighth in the NFL in total defense, while in 2013 with the Bills, his defense was ranked 10th in that category.

And when the Packers added Wilkerson in free agency to reunite with Pettine, that may have shed some light on where the Packers expect to field an effective pass rush.

Dougherty noted in his story about where the pass rush for the Packers might be coming from, via a quote from Pettine himself.

“People talk about the exterior pass rush,” Pettine said after a recent Packers OTA practice, “but I think the interior pass rush is as important or maybe potentially more important.”

That is what Wilkerson can add with his 44.5 career sacks on the defensive line. Combine that with Mike Daniels (27 career sacks) and Kenny Clark (4.5 sacks in 2017), you might just have a very good inside avenue to disrupt the passing prowess of an opposing quarterback.

The Packers also have enough depth in the defensive line to keep everyone fresh with players like Montravius Adams and Dean Lowry. Plus, the Packers added Looney in the draft and signed two intriguing undrafted rookie defensive line prospects in Tyler Lancaster of Northwestern and Conor Sheehy of Wisconsin.

As Dougherty writes in his story, the defensive scheme that has been put together by Pettine has always relied on inside pass pressure. And that is a big strength of the Packers with Wilkerson, Daniels and Clark.

“If I’m an offense, it’s a lot easier to handle guys off the edges via formation or chipping or doubles,” Pettine said. “Inside, usually somebody’s getting— one guy, maybe two — are getting one-on-ones. Those guys have to win. If you can be dominant inside, I think that just has a ripple effect throughout your defense when you’re speeding up that quarterback’s clock because you have guys winning inside or at least pushing the pocket.”

In Pettine’s four seasons with the Jets (2009-12), he never had an outside rusher with more than eight sacks, but he did got of lot of pressure and sacks from his inside linebackers and defensive linemen.

Based on what Pettine’s defenses has done in the past, it appears that the key is to get as many one-on-ones up the middle as he can.

“It’s paramount that you have guys that can win inside,” Pettine said.

Mike Pettine as a Packer DC

Mike Pettine via packers.com.

But the guys on the outside have to help out as well. Clay Matthews (80 career sacks and 7.5 sacks in 2017) and Nick Perry (30.5 career sacks and 18 sacks the past two seasons) have shown in the past that they can be very good pass rushers. The problem with Matthews and Perry is keeping them on the field, as both have had injury issues throughout their respective careers.

That’s why young outside linebackers like Kyler Fackrell, Vince Biegel and Reggie Gilbert have to step up their game in 2018.

But the bottom line is that Gutekunst has upgraded the team in a number of areas,  both in the draft and also in the liberal use of free agency, bringing in the likes of Graham, Wilkerson, Williams, Bell and Lewis.

The trade to acquire Kizer at quarterback also appears to be an upgrade.

The use of free agency was rare back in the days of Thompson, but when he dipped his pan in the free agency waters, he sometimes found gold, which was the case with both Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers.

Gutekunst was on Thompson’s scouting staff when both of those signings took place and they were obviously a lesson learned. That is not to say all of the free agency signings Gutekunst has made so far in 2018 will yield similar results, but all of the players he has signed have shown talent at times in the past, as four of the free agents he has signed have played in the Pro Bowl.

Add to the fact that the Packers have also made a number of coaching changes under head coach Mike McCarthy, with the biggest one being Pettine as the new defensive coordinator, the Packers appear to be a much better team in 2018, compared to last season.

Gutekunst has definitely aided that effort with the approach he has taken to add more talent to the Green Bay roster.

So far, so good, for the rookie.