Playing methodically and almost without verve, the Green Bay Packers won the championship of professional football Sunday under the warm Miami sun. They beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14 on what can only be described as an off day. To be sure, an off day for Green Bay is equivalent, roughly, to a superhuman effort by most mortal teams. Against the young, eager and at times impressive Raiders, the off day certainly was enough.
"I thought I was ready for this one," Forrest Gregg, the Green Bay offensive tackle, said. Gregg, 34 years old, has been around for 11 years and this was his eighth championship game. "When I got out there, I just did not have the zip I had against Dallas and Los Angeles," he said. "It was mechanical. It's been a long, long season."
Lee Roy Caffey, the Green Bay corner linebacker, agreed with him. "It's tough to get up again when you've been on the stick for two big games," he said. "I know we did not play as well as we have. We made mistakes we don't make in most games. But I guess it turned out all right, didn't it?"
That it did. Even making unaccustomed mistakes and playing with something less than the fire that animated them through the last five minutes against Dallas and all day against Los Angeles, Green Bay was clearly superior to a Raider team that had won 14 games and lost only one in the AFL.
"They're getting better," Henry Jordan said after the game. "If they improve as much each year, they'll be on a par with us soon. I think this was a tougher team than Kansas City, especially on defense. And the AFL is becoming much more sophisticated on offense. I think the league has always had good personnel, but the blocks were subtler and better conceived in this game."
Jordan paused and reflected for a moment. "They were in the same position we were in before our first championship game against Philadelphia," he said. "That was the first big one for a lot of us—me, Nitschke, Thurston, Skoronski, Starr—lots of us. We thought we were ready and would win, but we weren't and we got beat. All of us have regretted that ever since. We have never forgotten it. We don't talk about it much, but it's always in the back of our minds in a game like this. I'm sure they'll regret this one, too."
The game itself was so nearly what most people had expected it to be that it lacked the suspense that creates excitement in professional football. The Packers, no team for frippery, did all the things they have done so well for so long. The first time they got the ball, Starr directed them in his businesslike way from the Green Bay 34 to the Oakland 32 and Don Chandler kicked a 39-yard field goal. At the end of the first period, Starr marched them from the Green Bay three to the Oakland 13 and Chandler kicked another field goal. The longest gains on the two drives were a 17-yard pass to Carroll Dale, who had gotten behind Willie Brown, and a 14-yard run by Starr himself.
The Oakland corner backs, as expected, played much tighter on the Green Bay wide receivers than is customary in the NFL. This cost them a touchdown in the second quarter when Starr, on first down from his own 38, found Boyd Dowler deep down the middle for a 62-yard touchdown.
"I just bulled by Kent McCloughan," Dowler said. "He was playing me tight and he bumped me and I ran through him. It was a little post pattern, and when I got by no one was left."
The Raiders produced their best football of the day just after that. They were behind by 13 points; if they had been stopped again the game might well have become a rout. But Daryle Lamonica, the rather brash but very good young Oakland quarterback, went to work with all the poise of a Starr. He ran Pete Banaszak and Hewritt Dixon into the line, and for the first time they made good yardage. He had tried to send them wide earlier, but Green Bay's linebackers are too fast for backs who have no more speed than these two. They went over tackle for their gains. Lamonica passed once to Banaszak and wound up the drive by passing to End Bill Miller behind Tom Brown in the corner of the end zone.