Looking Back on the Super Bowl I Victory by the Green Bay Packers Over the Kansas City Chiefs

Bart in Super Bowl I

The Green Bay Packers have won 13 NFL titles, which is the most by any team in league history.  The next closest team, the Chicago Bears, have won nine.

Included in their 13 NFL championships, the Packers have also won four Super Bowls.

Let’s take a look back on the first Super Bowl win by the Pack, which was Super Bowl I.

Going into Super Bowl I, which at the time was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, the Packers were 12-2 in the Western Conference in the NFL during the1966 season and had defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34-27 in the NFL title game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

The Chiefs were 11-2-1 that season in the AFL and defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-7 in the AFL title game at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo.

When the two teams met in Super Bowl I, which was played on January 15, 1967, the Packers ended up winning the first championship game between the NFL and AFL 35-10, as quarterback Bart Starr was named the MVP of the game.

No. 15 completed 16-of-23 passes for 250 yards and also threw two touchdown passes. Starr was especially deadly on third down, as the Packers were able to convert 11-of-15 chances on that crucial down.

Fullback Jim Taylor led the Packers in rushing with 56 yards in Super Bowl I and also scored a touchdown on the vaunted play of the Packers, the power sweep.

Jim Taylor scores on power sweep in Super Bowl I

How the championship game got it’s Super Bowl name actually came from Lamar Hunt’s daughter. Hunt was the then-owner of the Chiefs, and like most kids of that era, Hunt’s daughter had a super ball.

The super ball was a rubber ball (with something super inside it) that could bounce way up into the air from the sidewalk and over houses. I had one myself. Anyway, that is how the title game between the NFL and the AFL got its name.

The game occurred after the merger of the two leagues in June of 1966, after the AFL had been trying to sign big-name stars out of the NFL as well as bidding against them to sign talent out of the college ranks after their respective drafts.

To illustrate the magnitude of the game, it was televised by not one, but by two networks, CBS and NBC. CBS was the NFL’s network, while NBC was the AFL‘s network. Between the two, there were over 51 million viewers that day.

The event was also the only game in Super Bowl history that was not a sellout. It was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the attendance was only 61,946 in a stadium that could seat close to 93,000 people in it. Why?

For one thing, Los Angeles wasn’t awarded the game until six weeks before the event, nor was a date set until then. Not exactly a well-planned event, to be sure.

Jerry Kramer first talked about the mindset of the Packers going into that first Super Bowl.

“It’s interesting, because we didn’t really the think the Kansas City Chiefs were a very good football team,” Kramer said. “We didn’t know, because we didn’t know anyone who had played them. We didn’t have any team to measure them against.

“I remember watching the Chiefs defense while we were watching film, and their two safeties ran into one and another. All of a sudden Max [McGee] starts doing the merrie melodies and looney tunes theme song and we all cracked up.

“So we were not really prepared for that first quarter and the quality of talent that showed up for the Chiefs. You were playing against guys like Buck Buchanan, E.J. Holub, Johnny Robinson and Bobby Bell. They had some damn fine football players!”

The Packers only led 14-10 at halftime. But things were completely different in the second half.

Safety Willie Wood picked off a Len Dawson pass early in the third quarter and returned it 50 yards to set up a five-yard touchdown run by Elijah Pitts.

Kramer explained what happened after that.

“We lined up for the extra point against the Chiefs,” Kramer said. “And that’s place where a defender can take a whack at a guy’s head while he’s blocking because it’s exposed. But the kid who was against me just leaned on me with the force of a good feather duster and groaned loudly.

“He used minimum pressure with his effort. He wasn’t trying to block the kick or do anything. After that, I knew the game was over.”

The Packers sacked quarterback Len Dawson of the Chiefs six times, led by the two sacks of Willie Davis and the 1.5 sacks by Henry Jordan.

While the Packers were surprised early in the game by the Chiefs, their head coach wasn’t.

Coach Lombardi knew how good the Chiefs were,” Kramer said. “He tried to impress us about the quality of the team as he raised the fine for breaking curfew from $500 to $5,000.”

That didn’t stop McGee from sneaking out the night before the game, however.

McGee was a star receiver for the Packers in Lombardi’s early years in Green Bay, but in 1965 and 1966, McGee didn’t get a lot of playing time. When he did, he was very clutch.

Before Super Bowl I, McGee caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Starr that was the difference in the 34-27 1966 NFL championship game win at the Cotton Bowl against the Cowboys. But Super Bowl I was where he really made his legend.

Max McGee in Super Bowl I

McGee didn’t expect to play, so he snuck out after curfew the night before the game. McGee couldn’t convince roommate Paul Hornung to go with him that night. No matter, McGee stayed out late that evening and didn’t return until the team breakfast the next morning.

Little did he know what was going to happen that day as he got a one-hour cat nap after breakfast. Starting wide receiver Boyd Dowler injured his shoulder early in the game and McGee had to go in to replace him. McGee was startled as he heard Lombardi yell, “McGee! McGee! Get your ass in there.”

Max got his behind in there all right. Besides catching the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history, No. 85 put up amazing stats, as he ended up with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Kramer talked about how nervous Lombardi was before the big game.

“Frank Gifford and I were talking about the game,” Kramer said. “Gifford was part of the broadcast team for CBS and he interviewed Lombardi before the game.

“Giff told me, ‘I put my hand on Lombardi’s shoulder as I’m interviewing him and I could feel that he was shaking. He was so nervous that he was trembling.’

“Coach Lombardi did take this game very seriously. He was getting notes from the NFL hierarchy, which included George Halas, the Mara family and the Rooney family. They were telling Lombardi that he was our standard-bearer in the NFL and that he represents us. They were saying things like don’t let the NFL down.

“They didn’t want the Packers to just beat the Chiefs. They wanted the Packers to embarrass the Chiefs. So, Coach Lombardi had a lot of pressure on him.”

When it was all said and done, Lombardi and his Packers were victorious by almost a four-touchdown margin in the very first Super Bowl.

The NFL had to be pleased.

When talking about that historical game, Kramer talked about the event which is excited him the most.

“The highlight of the game for me was the astronauts flying around the stadium in a jet pack in the halftime show,” Kramer said. “I thought that was pretty sensational.”

Indeed, it was. I know I loved it being a big Lost In Space fan at the time, as that type of activity was part of the show.

In terms of being sensational, that word describes the Lombardi Packers of the 1960s. Those teams won five NFL championships in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls.

Plus, there were the three consecutive NFL titles in 1965, 1966 and 1967. No NFL team has ever duplicated the feat in the playoff era of the NFL, which dates back to 1933.

Coach Lombardi After Super Bowl Victory

Yes, there have been some dynasties in the NFL since then. Teams like the Dolphins, the Steelers, the Cowboys, the Raiders, the 49ers and the Patriots have been dominant at times.

But no team has ever achieved the consistent success of the Lombardi Packers in terms of winning it all in a short period of time.

After all, there is a reason why the ultimate prize in the NFL is called the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Jerry Kramer Talks About Max McGee

Max McGee in Super Bowl I

Max McGee was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 1954 NFL draft out of Tulane. McGee was like many great players on the Packers of the ’60s who arrived before Vince Lombardi came to Green Bay in 1959.

That was all due to the excellent scouting work done by Jack Vainisi. Besides McGee, Vainisi also drafted players like Dave Hanner, Bill Forester, Jim Ringo, Forrest Gregg, Bob Skoronski, Hank Gremminger, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Ron Kramer, John Symank, Dan Currie, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke and Jerry Kramer.

Everyone of those players had roles on some or all of the teams that won five NFL championships (including the first two Super Bowls) in seven years under Lombardi.

As you can tell, Vainisi was the talent scout for the Packers from 1950-1960. Sadly, Vainisi died of a heart attack in 1960 at the young age of 33, just prior the championship run of the Vince Lombardi-era Packers.

But McGee and many others were around for all five of the NFL championships. No. 85 had a nice career with the Packers, as he had 345 receptions for 6,346 yards and 51 touchdowns. Four times McGee led the Packers in receptions and once he led them in scoring.

McGee also had an 18.4-yard reception average, which is the second highest per-catch average in team history.

In 1961, McGee was named to play in the Pro Bowl.

McGee also punted for the Packers for a number of years. In his career, McGee punted 256 times for 10,647 yards and had a 41.6 average.

Max was certainly a star receiver for the Packers in the Lombardi era, but through 1965-67, McGee didn’t get a lot of playing time, as the team had acquired Carroll Dale, who was opposite Boyd Dowler at receiver.

When McGee did get playing time, he was clutch.  Case in point, the 1966 postseason. Before Super Bowl I, McGee caught a 28-yard TD pass from Starr that was the difference in the 34-27 1966 NFL Championship Game win in Dallas against the Cowboys.

But Super Bowl I was where he really made his legend.

McGee didn’t expect to play, so he snuck out after curfew the night before the game. McGee couldn’t convince his roommate Hornung to go with him that night, so McGee went out on his own. Max stayed out late that evening and didn’t return until shortly before the team breakfast the next morning.

Little did he know what was going to happen that day, as he got a one-hour cat nap after breakfast. Dowler injured his shoulder early in that epic contest and McGee had to go into the game. McGee was startled as he heard Lombardi yell, “McGee! McGee! Get your ass in there.”

Max got his behind in there all right. Besides catching the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history, McGee put up amazing stats as he ended up with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, as the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. That adds up to a 19.7 reception average for the game.

Max McGee in Super Bowl I (II)

Then in Super Bowl II, McGee only caught one pass, but it was for 35 yards, as the Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

In his postseason career, McGee only caught 12 passes, but four of those receptions were for touchdowns and he ended up with a 19.4 yards-per-catch average.

I had an opportunity again recently to talk with Jerry Kramer and he shared some memorable stories about McGee.

“Max was really a good athlete,” Kramer said. “He could play tennis. He could play golf. He could play whatever the hell you wanted to play. And he wanted to bet you on it too!”

In 1967, Kramer’s roommate on the Packers was kicker Don Chandler, while McGee’s roommate was backup quarterback Zeke Bratkowski.

The four of them would get together to play golf quite often, with Kramer and Chandler going up against McGee and Bratkowski.

Kramer recalls one of those occasions.

“Max loved to mess with people’s minds,” Kramer said. “He would love to see if you would tighten up in clutch situations. If he could make you choke, he got a real kick out of that.

“Anyway, one day he and Zeke are taking on Don and I. On the surface, it was an uneven match, because Max was a good player and Zeke was a very good player. So, we come down to the 18th hole and we were ahead by three shots.

“Max tries to get in our heads as he was teeing off, by saying, ‘Press, press, press, press, press.’ He proceeded to knock the ball out of bounds. I probably got the biggest kick of my life after Max did that after trying to put the pressure on us. But it backfired that day for Max, so Donny and I won $75 from he and Zeke.

“I enjoyed the hell out of that. We didn’t win very often and Max and Zeke won most of the time, but that victory was special.”

Kramer also remembers that McGee was always quick with the quip to relax people, whether in the locker room or out in society.

“One time we were playing the Cleveland Browns in the preseason,” Kramer said. “Coach Lombardi would sometimes get himself in a bit of a bind when he spoke to the team, as he didn’t quite know how to end the speech or close it off.

“So Coach is talking to us before the Cleveland game and says, ‘Lot of people here tonight. Big crowd. You might get a little nervous and might even get a little afraid. Are you afraid? Anybody here afraid?’ And without missing a beat, Max goes, ‘Hell yeah, Coach. I’m afraid. I’m afraid Cleveland won’t show up.’

“That loosened the world up for us and it got Coach off the hook.”

McGee also had the penchant for loosening up people in somber circumstances. That was the case when Kramer, McGee, Fuzzy Thurston and several other Packers went to the funeral of former teammate of Ron Kostelnik in 1993. Kostelnik was just 53 years-old.

“So I’m with Max at Ron’s funeral service,” Kramer said. “There were probably 12 or 15 of us there. It was obviously very melancholy, seeing that Ron had died so young. So we go over to Fuzzy’s to have a beer afterwards.

“It’s still a bit awkward to chat under the circumstances. Finally, Max looks at me and says, ‘Kramer, the way I got it figured, you’re next!’

“That quip really loosened things up and we all relaxed a little bit.”

Kramer also remembers what happened when McGee first went into Super Bowl I when Dowler had to leave the game with a shoulder injury.

“I remember that first series very well,” Kramer said. “Max couldn’t find his helmet when Boyd was injured. So Max is looking around for it and couldn’t find it. Finally someone hands him a hat, but it was much too big for him.

“After Max come in, Bart calls a square-out play that Max runs and the pass by Bart hits Max in the helmet, as it went right through his hands. Not a great way to start for Max.

“But Max soon found his helmet, had a big game and the rest they say is history.”

One of the reasons that McGee was such a big play receiver, was his ability to make double or even triple moves on a defender.

Max McGee in Super Bowl II

Kramer talked about that dynamic.

“Max loved to think on his feet,” Kramer said. “He would see the corner or safety do this or that and he would tell Bart or Zeke. For instance, Max would go inside and make a precise move three or four times to set the guy up and then later fake that same move and go outside.

“Max just loved doing that. He thrived on mental gymnastics.”

While he was still playing with the Packers, McGee and Thurston operated a chain of restaurants for a number of years. And then after his career with the Packers was over, McGee really thrived, as he was one of the co-founders of Mexican restaurant chain Chi-Chi’s.

In addition to that, McGee was also an announcer on the Packer radio network from 1979-1998. His words helped another generation of Packer fans learn about football.

Unfortunately, McGee passed away in 2007, as he accidentally fell off his roof while blowing off leaves and tragically died at age 75.

A number of McGee’s teammates have also passed on. Besides Ron Kostelnik, others who have passed on include Henry Jordan, Lionel Aldridge, Lee Roy Caffey, Elijah Pitts, Travis Williams, Ray Nitschke, Tommy Joe Crutcher, Bob Jeter, Gale Gillingham, Don Chandler and Fuzzy Thurston.

I envision a reunion between these men right now in the spiritual world. I’m sure it’s a festive atmosphere as well, talking about the championships and all the good times. On and off the field. But like he did in real life, I am sure that Max is cracking jokes and keeping everyone loose at that particular party.

Jerry Kramer Talks About Boyd Dowler

jerry-and-boyd

Once again, the Green Bay Packers will be hosting the New York Giants at Lambeau Field in the postseason. Sunday’s late-afternoon game will be the fourth time the G-Men have played in the historic stadium on Lombardi Avenue in win or go-home scenario.

The Packers have lost the last two times (2007 and 2011 postseason) quarterback Eli Manning and his Giants have come to Lambeau, but it was a different story when the Packers hosted the Giants for the 1961 NFL title game at the stadium which was then called City Stadium.

That game was the first time the city of Green Bay had ever hosted a championship game. In that contest, the Packers dominated the Giants and won going away 37-0. It would be the first of five NFL titles that the Packers would win under head coach Vince Lombardi.

Halfback/kicker Paul Hornung was the big star in the game, as he scored 19 points just by himself in this championship setting. Another player who played a key role in the game was wide receiver Boyd Dowler.

boyd-dowler-scores-td-in-1961-nfl-title-game

Dowler caught three passes for 37 yards and a touchdown in the game. The Packers were fortunate to have Hornung and Dowler play in that championship game, as well as middle linebacker Ray Nitschke, as all three were activated as military reservists by the Department of Defense because of the escalation of the Cold War in 1961.

I wrote about that scenario in a story which talks about how the friendship between Lombardi and President John F. Kennedy helped to make sure that all three of those players were eligible to play in the NFL championship game.

The Packers won that title game and Titletown was born.

But it was just the first of five titles for the Packers under Lombardi, which included the first two Super Bowls. Dowler played a big role in a number of those games.

Besides the touchdown pass he caught in the 1961 NFL title game, Dowler also had four more pass-reception scores in the postseason, which includes two in the legendary “Ice Bowl” game versus the Dallas Cowboys on New Year’s Eve in 1967.

Two weeks after that classic game, Dowler also caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Bart Starr in Super Bowl II, when the Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

It was a different story for Dowler however in Super Bowl I. Just two weeks before that game in the 1966 NFL title game in Dallas, No. 86 had caught 16-yard touchdown pass from Starr in the third quarter, when he was upended by safety Mike Gaechter of the Cowboys a number of yards into the end zone.

boyd-dowler-gets-upended-in-1966-nfl-title-game

It’s been assumed that the cheap-shot by Gaechter injured the shoulder of Dowler as he crashed to the surface of the end zone. Actually, that is not the case. After talking to Dowler, I have learned that he had a calcium deposit on his right shoulder and was playing through that injury the entire 1966 season. Dowler first injured the shoulder in the 1965 season.

The flip that Dowler took after Gaechter low-cut him did not injure his shoulder. But No. 86 did further injure his shoulder blocking Johnny Robinson of the Chiefs early in Super Bowl I, which caused Dowler to miss the rest of the game and later have the shoulder operated on that offseason.

That opened the door for the entrance of Max McGee as his replacement, as No. 85 had a banner game with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Dowler was an imposing receiver at 6’5″ and 224 pounds. When No. 86 available to play, he was a clutch performer, both in the regular season and the postseason.

In his 11-year career with the Packers, Dowler had 448 receptions for 6,918 yards and 40 touchdowns. In the postseason, Dowler also had 30 receptions for 440 yards and five scores.

In his rookie year in 1959, Dowler was named Rookie of the Year by UPI (United Press International). The former Colorado star was also named to two Pro Bowls in his career.

In addition to that, Dowler was named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade team, plus was named to the second team on the NFL’s 50 Anniversary team.

In 1978, Dowler was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.

I had a chance to talk about Dowler with Jerry Kramer recently and he told me why he fit in so well and so quickly with the Packers.

“Boyd was a mature kid,” Kramer said. “He understood the game and what we were doing and he was just a bit ahead of most rookies. I think his father coaching him played a part in that.”

Dowler played under his dad at Cheyenne High School in Wyoming.

After high school, Dowler went to play college ball at  Colorado, where he did everything for the Buffaloes except sell programs in the stands.

Kramer talked about that scenario.

“Boyd was a very talented athlete,” Kramer said. “He led Colorado in passing, running, receiving and punting. But when you think about that, how the hell could you lead the team in both passing and receiving? You can’t throw to yourself! But Boyd told me that he played in a single-wing offense at Colorado and sometimes he threw the ball and sometimes he caught the ball.”

Dowler was strictly a receiver in Green Bay, as he never threw a pass and had just two rushes for 28 yards in his career as a Packer. But Dowler did share punting duties with McGee from 1960 through 1962, when his punting average was 43 yards a punt.

Dowler also punted once in 1969, which was his final season in Green Bay. After becoming an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Rams in 1970, Dowler became a player-coach for the Washington Redskins in 1971, when he had 26 catches for 352 yards.

Dowler stayed on as a coach for the Redskins through 1972 and then later became an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles (1973-1975), Cincinnati Bengals (1976-1979) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1980-1984).

Kramer also talked about another important attribute that Dowler had.

“I think Boyd’s confidence was one of the big reasons why he was accepted so quickly and completely,” Kramer said. “There were no excuses from Boyd. If he screwed something up, he would be the guy to tell you. But he very seldom screwed things up and made very few mistakes.”

boyd-dowler-scores-td-in-ice-bowl

That confidence led to a memorable scene in Cheyenne one night that Kramer heard about from Dowler.

“There is this wonderful story about Boyd racing a quarter horse down the street in Cheyenne,” Kramer said. “Boyd was at this bar and this guy was talking about how his quarter horse could start so quick. Boyd told the guy that he could beat the horse in a short race like 50 feet.

“The guy didn’t believe Boyd, so they ended betting several hundred dollars to have a race between Boyd and the horse. So Boyd went home and got his running shoes and sure enough beat the horse in that short race in Cheyenne!”

When it came to playing big in big games, Kramer certainly could relate to that. All one has to do is look at the performances by Kramer in the 1962, 1965 and 1967 NFL title games.

No. 64 had a huge role in all of those championship victories by the Packers.

But as I mentioned earlier, Dowler quietly did the same thing in championship games as Kramer explained.

“Boyd was always there and always capable in big games,” Kramer said. “He was almost invisible. Like the two touchdowns that he had in the “Ice Bowl” game. He just did that very quietly and very professionally.

“He just scored his touchdown and handed the ball to the official. Sans a dance, he just went to the sidelines. He was just Boyd doing his job. He was always in his position and where he supposed to be.  He was also available too. He also rarely dropped a pass. If the ball was near him, he almost always caught it.”

As I related in a recent story about Fuzzy Thurston, Kramer related to me that he, Thurston and Dowler used to go out together quite often after practice. They called themselves, the Three Muskepissers.

Kramer talked about how that scenario used to go down.

“Fuzzy and Boyd would start the festivities early,” Kramer said. “I would go golfing or something and then catch up with them later. I wouldn’t start with them. I couldn’t keep up with them. So I would wait to around 6:00 and then I would track them down  and hang out with them for the rest of the evening.”

Kramer then had some final thoughts about his friend Dowler.

“Boyd not only had a great grasp of the game, but his execution was also phenomenal,” Kramer said. “I don’t believe Boyd made a mistake a year. He was always aware of the situation and he was about as steady as they come when he played with us.”

Jerry Kramer Talks About the Super Bowl I Green Bay Packers

When the 2-0 Green Bay Packers will host the 1-1 Kansas City Chiefs this upcoming Monday night at Lambeau Field, they will be attempting to do what no other Packers team has ever done to the Chiefs in the regular season.

That is, beat them at home. The Chiefs have never lost at Lambeau Field (3-0) and when Kansas City played at County Stadium in Milwaukee versus the Pack in 1973, the two teams tied.

In the overall series between the two teams in the regular season, the Chiefs hold a 7-2-1 edge.

The first time the two teams met was in the very first Super Bowl.

The Packers were 12-2 in the Western Conference during the1966 season and defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34-27 in the NFL title game.

The Chiefs were 11-2-1 that season and defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-7 in the AFL title game.

When the two teams met in Super Bowl I, the Packers ended up winning the game 35-10, as quarterback Bart Starr was named the MVP of the game.

No. 15 completed 16-of-23 passes for 250 yards and also threw two touchdown passes. Starr was especially deadly on third down, as the Packers were able to convert 11-of-15 chances on that crucial down.

The game was played on January 15, 1967 and most people called it the AFL-NFL World Championship Game then, as opposed to the Super Bowl.

How the championship game got it’s Super Bowl name actually came from Lamar Hunt’s daughter. Hunt was the then-owner of the Chiefs, and like most kids of that era, Hunt’s daughter had a super ball.

The super ball was a rubber ball (with something super inside it) that could bounce way up into the air from the sidewalk and over houses. I had one myself. Anyway, that is how the title game between the NFL and the AFL got its name.

The game occurred after the merger of the two leagues in June of 1966, after the AFL had been trying to sign big-name stars out of the NFL as well as bidding against them to sign talent out of the college ranks after their respective drafts.

To illustrate the magnitude of the game, it was televised by not one, but by two networks, CBS and NBC. CBS was the NFL’s network, while NBC was the AFL‘s network. Between the two, there were over 51 million viewers that day.

The event was also the only game in Super Bowl history that was not a sellout. It was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the attendance was only 61,946 in a stadium that could seat close to 93,000 people in it. Why?

For one thing, Los Angeles wasn’t awarded the game until six weeks before the event, nor was a date set until then. Not exactly a well-planned event, to be sure.

Back to the Monday night contest between the Packers and the Chiefs. The Packers are honoring their Super Bowl I team at the game.

This will include players such as Donny Anderson, Zeke Bratkowski, Allen Brown, Tom Brown, Bill Curry, Carroll Dale, Willie Davis, Boyd Dowler, Marv Fleming, Jim Grabowski, Forrest Gregg, Doug Hart, Dave Hathcock, Jerry Kramer, Red Mack, Dave Robinson, Jim Taylor and Steve Wright.

I had a chance to talk to talk with Kramer recently, and he gave me his thoughts about that Super Bowl I team.

Kramer first talked about the mindset of the Packers going into that first Super Bowl.

“It’s interesting, because we didn’t really the think the Kansas City Chiefs were a very good football team,” Kramer said. “We didn’t know, because we didn’t know anyone who had played them. We didn’t have any team to measure them against.

“I remember watching the Chiefs defense while we were watching film, and their two safeties ran into one and another. All of a sudden Max [McGee] starts doing the merrie melodies and looney tunes theme song and we all cracked up.

“So we were not really prepared for that first quarter and the quality of talent that showed up for the Chiefs. You were playing against guys like Buck Buchanan, E.J. Holub, Johnny Robinson and Bobby Bell. They had some damn fine football players!”

The Packers only led 14-10 at halftime. But things were completely different in the second half.

Safety Willie Wood picked off a Len Dawson pass early in the third quarter and returned it 50 yards to set up a five-yard touchdown run by Elijah Pitts.

Kramer explained what happened after that.

“We lined up for the extra point against the Chiefs,” Kramer said. “And that’s place where a defender can take a whack at a guy’s head while he’s blocking because it’s exposed. But the kid who was against me just leaned on me with the force of a good feather duster and groaned loudly.

“He used minimum pressure with his effort. He wasn’t trying to block the kick or do anything. After that, I knew the game was over.”

While the Packers were surprised early in the game by the Chiefs, their head coach wasn’t.

“Coach Lombardi knew how good the Chiefs were,” Kramer said. “He tried to impress us about the quality of the team as he raised the fine for breaking curfew from $500 to $5,000.”

That didn’t stop McGee from sneaking out the night before the game, however.

McGee was a star receiver for the Packers in Lombardi’s early years in Green Bay, but in 1965 and 1966, McGee didn’t get a lot of playing time. When he did, he was very clutch.

Before Super Bowl I, McGee caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Starr that was the difference in the 34-27 1966 NFL championship game win at the Cotton Bowl against the Cowboys. But Super Bowl I was where he really made his legend.

McGee didn’t expect to play, so he snuck out after curfew the night before the game. McGee couldn’t convince roommate Paul Hornung to go with him that night. No matter, McGee stayed out late that evening and didn’t return until the team breakfast the next morning.

Little did he know what was going to happen that day as he got a one-hour cat nap after breakfast. Starting wide receiver Boyd Dowler injured his shoulder early in the game and McGee had to go in to replace him. McGee was startled as he heard Lombardi yell, “McGee! McGee! Get your ass in there.”

Max got his behind in there all right. Besides catching the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history, No. 85 put up amazing stats, as he ended up with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Kramer talked about how nervous Lombardi was before the big game.

“Frank Gifford and I were talking about the game,” Kramer said. “Gifford was part of the broadcast team for CBS and he interviewed Lombardi before the game.

“Giff told me, ‘I put my hand on Lombardi’s shoulder as I’m interviewing him and I could feel that he was shaking. He was so nervous that he was trembling.’

“Coach Lombardi did take this game very seriously. He was getting notes from the NFL hierarchy, which included George Halas, the Mara family and the Rooney family. They were telling Lombardi that he was our standard-bearer in the NFL and that he represents us. They were saying things like don’t let the NFL down.

“They didn’t want the Packers to just beat the Chiefs. They wanted the Packers to embarrass the Chiefs. So, Coach Lombardi had a lot of pressure on him.”

When it was all said and done, Lombardi and his Packers were victorious by almost a four-touchdown margin in the very first Super Bowl.

The NFL had to be pleased.

When talking about that historical game, Kramer talked about the event which is excited him the most.

“The highlight of the game for me was the astronauts flying around the stadium in a jet pack in the halftime show,” Kramer said. “I thought that was pretty sensational.”

Indeed, it was. I know I loved it being a big Lost In Space fan at the time, as that type of activity was part of the show.

In terms of being sensational, that word describes the Lombardi Packers of the 1960s. Those teams won five NFL championships in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls.

Plus, there were the three consecutive NFL titles in 1965, 1966 and 1967.

Yes, there have been some dynasties in the NFL since then. Teams like the Dolphins, the Steelers, the Cowboys, the Raiders, the 49ers and the Patriots have been dominant at times.

But no team has ever achieved the consistent success of the Lombardi Packers in terms of winning it all.

After all, there is a reason why the ultimate prize in the NFL is called the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Jerry Kramer Talks About Willie Davis

Jerry Kramer had three roommates in his 11 years in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.

In the first nine years (1958-1966) that No. 64 played under head coach Vince Lombardi, fullback Jimmy Taylor was his roomy.

In 1967, kicker Don Chandler was his roommate.

In 1968, which turned out to be the last season for Kramer in the NFL, his roommate was Willie Davis.

That season was also the year that Lombardi assumed the role of general manager only, as the head coaching duties had been turned over to very capable defensive assistant, Phil Bengtson.

In 1968, the Packers were attempting to win the NFL championship for a fourth consecutive time, which didn’t happen for a myriad of reasons.

In the late 1960s, having a white player and a black player room together was a very rare experience in the NFL. The most widely known example of this was when Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo were roommates for the Chicago Bears.

But under Lombardi, whether as a head coach or as general manager, or as both, race was never an issue on his team.

Kramer wrote about this issue in Instant Replay, as Lombardi treated everyone on the team as equal. Here is an excerpt from that classic book:

‘Vince doesn’t care what color a man is as long as he can play football, as long as he can help us win, and all the players feel the same way. That is what being a Green Bay Packer is all about—winning—and we don’t let anything get in the way of it.’

Davis was the captain of the defense and he certainly showed why with his actions on the field. Davis was a five-time first-team All-Pro, plus was named to five Pro Bowls.

Davis played much larger than his size, which was 6’3″, 243-pounds during his career. Sacks were not considered a statistic while Davis played. That being said, John Turney, who is a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association, reported that Davis had over 100 sacks in his 10-year career with the Packers.

Everyone remembers that Reggie White had three sacks in Super Bowl XXXI, but only a few know that Davis had two sacks in Super Bowl I and three more in Super Bowl II.

Davis also recovered 21 fumbles over his Packers career and that still remains a team record.

This fantastic production on the field led to Davis being named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, the Packers Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

No. 87 was part of five NFL championship teams in Green Bay, which included the first two Super Bowls.

Kramer recently talked about his former roommate with me.

“Dr. Feelgood,” Kramer said chuckling. “Willie and I sort of drifted together. I don’t know who made the decision for us to room together. We had been downtown looking a possible restaurant franchise with a western theme, and we were both nearing the retirement age.

“Willie was bright, fun and educated extremely well with his MBA from the University of Chicago. I respected Willie’s opinion and his thought process. That sort of brought us together. We ended up having all types of discussions as roommates.”

Kramer talked about a recent get together with Davis.

“I went to his 80th birthday party in Las Vegas,” Kramer said. “We had 400 to 500 of his closest friends there. That included a number of Packers, the Chairman of Dow Chemical, the Chairman of Johnson Controls, the Chairman of MGM Grand and several other business people of that ilk. Willie sat on 17 boards at one time while he was in the business community.”

Speaking of that distinction, Davis is part of the Directors Emeritus of the Packers as well.

Kramer continued his reflection about the former Grambling star.

“Willie is intelligent and funny,” Kramer said. “Willie is principled. You can count on Willie. Willie is the same person today that he was when he and I roomed together. And even though Willie has had significant financial success over the years, he is the same guy. He is a thoughtful, caring, polite and decent human being.”

Kramer than talked about the presence of Davis in the locker room.

“Willie had the respect of the players,” Kramer said. “Not just the players of color, but all the players.

“When there was a problem when black players were having trouble getting decent housing accommodations at one time, Willie would talk to coach Lombardi about it, and then coach would chew some ass and straighten it out.”

It’s pretty obvious that Kramer and Davis are still pretty close, 47 years after they were roommates.

“I have a Kramer suite at the Davis home in Marina del Ray,” Kramer said. “It’s the big bedroom upstairs looking out at the ocean.”

It sounds awesome.

It would also be awesome if Kramer had a bust alongside of Davis at Canton in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That is an honor that has long been overdue for No. 64.