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The Great One speaks..

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packers Fan Forum' started by [email protected], Nov 21, 2005.

  1. P@ck66

    [email protected] Banned Banned

    Likes Received:
    Jun 5, 2005
    (from nfl.com...)

    The start of something big

    By Bart Starr

    (Note: The following is an excerpt from The Super Bowl: An Official Retrospective, a dazzling new book that chronicles the history of the world's greatest sporting event. The Super Bowl is packed with brilliant photography and behind-the-scenes stories from the players and coaches who shaped the game. It also includes the NFL Network DVD, In Their Own Words.)

    When the Green Bay Packers represented the NFL in the first Super Bowl, which of course was not even known as the Super Bowl at the time, how could we possibly have known this annual championship game would grow into the extraordinary global event it is today? However, there were some clues that this was the start of something big.

    Packers coach Vince Lombardi had a great appreciation of history, so he did an excellent job conveying the importance of this first-ever title game between the NFL and the fledgling American Football League.

    As for any sense of what this game might become in the overall landscape of sports and American culture in general, there was no way to know. There was nothing we could fall back on as a reference. Except for this: While we had been privileged to play in five NFL championship games over a seven-year span, we had never, ever seen as many people from the national media as were there for the first NFL-AFL Championship Game in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1967. It was a strong signal, and unreal at that time. Obviously it pales in comparison to today, but in those days it was very large and very significant.

    There was just as much pressure then as there is now. It was a unique experience. We were honored and thrilled to be representing the prestigious National Football League in the first game of its kind. For coach Lombardi, it was a matter of pride. Many fans didn't think the AFL could compete with the best the NFL had to offer, but as we prepared for the game, it was obvious to us that the AFL champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, were a very good football team.

    We had a lot of respect for the Chiefs, and it was not a surprise that the game was very close in the first half -- closer than most remember, since the final score was 35-10. We were a great football team but so were they. The biggest difference was our experience in championship games, and in the second half it became obvious.

    Even after that incredible media blitz, it wasn't until a few years down the road that we began to appreciate the size and importance of the Super Bowl. In the years following our appearances in Super Bowls I and II, we were privileged to attend future Super Bowls. We saw the crowds -- and the intensity -- grow to mammoth proportions. It was a wonderful experience.

    The Super Bowl started as a battle for pride. We knew the Chiefs were worthy opponents, as were the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II. Because the Packers were fortunate enough to prevail in those games, however, the AFL and its fans still had something to prove.

    Joe Namath and the Jets changed all that in Super Bowl III, and it was with mixed emotions that I watched that historic contest. As an NFL man, I was naturally disappointed to see the mighty Baltimore Colts defeated. I was personally pleased for Namath, a fellow University of Alabama alum. What Namath and the Jets accomplished was an eye-opener for most of the NFL, especially since the Colts were so good that year.

    Anyone who thought Super Bowl III was a fluke would soon be proven wrong, as the Chiefs defeated the Vikings a year later to win Super Bowl IV. Some people were stunned that the AFL had captured two Super Bowl titles, but remember the respect we had for that league when we faced the Chiefs and Raiders. We knew they were good, and it didn't take long for the Chiefs to have their own day in the sun.

    Bart Starr led the Packers to two titles in Super Bowls I and II.
    Of course, the NFL and AFL would then merge, and I really believe the Super Bowl has grown significantly over the years because of the combined strength of both conferences. Everything surrounding the Super Bowl has grown -- the publicity, the celebrity factor, the halftime shows -- and it has added to the mystique of Super Sunday. It is quite an event, and everyone associated with professional football should be very proud. I still believe the level of competition is the driving force behind the Super Bowl's popularity.

    Football is the greatest example of a team sport. There is no other sport where you have 11 players working together at one time as a team. It is the ultimate team sport, and that is what makes the Super Bowl the ultimate championship event.

    Coach Lombardi was right when he told us it would be a significant honor to be crowned champion of the first title game of its kind. It was just as special a few years later, when the trophy given each year to the Super Bowl champion was named in Lombardi's honor. I'm sure I can speak for all of our players who were there at the time. We were privileged to have been led and coached by him, and it is emotional each year to see players hoisting the trophy that bears his name.

    Officially, attendance at the Los Angeles Coliseum for Super Bowl I is listed as 61,946, but the number of fans who tell me they were there seems to be 10 times that number. For those of us who were there, it's something we'll never forget.

    (I have this VHS tape that i picked up from a sale at a public library called Starr vs Unitas part of the NFL greats series where Horning interviews Bart Starr--anyone seen it..? cool stuff.)
  2. big3

    big3 Cheesehead

    Likes Received:
    May 9, 2005
    Novi, MI
    oh, I'm sorry. I thought there would be a quote from barry sanders here. I misunderstood the title of this thread.
  3. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

    Likes Received:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Green Bay, WI
    Packer Fan Since:

    I hate you, because I agree :p

    j/k bro I don't hate you!

    I love Barry Sanders!!

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