This, of course, was our second Super Bowl in a row, and it wasn't quite as exciting as the first. For one thing, we were better able to judge the ability of the Raiders in watching the movies of them because we could compare them with Kansas City, the team we beat in 1966.
I can't honestly say that we were ever afraid of losing to the Raiders, but we did not take them lightly. One thing has happened to the Packers over the last few years. The team we look at in movies in preparation for a game is almost never like the team we meet on the field. Even the last-place teams bring a special spirit and dedication to their games with us. I think we had a bad first half against Kansas City because we took them too lightly, but this time we were alerted to the fact that the AFL champion was capable of giving us a tough game for a half.
Over the years we have usually been a second-half or even a fourth-quarter club, and that's not only because we are always in very good condition. Most of the clubs we play give it their all in the first half, and, when they find out that they can't dominate us at their peak, they usually have a tremendous psychological letdown in the second half. They lose their poise and character. We play about the same all the way through the game, so it is not that we play harder in the second half but that the other club lets down.
Then, too, we have played together a long time. The individuals on the team have enough experience so that they pick up very quickly what the other team is trying to do, man-to-man, and most of us know what to do about it. That's what happened against Kansas City, and the same thing happened against Oakland. The two games were very much alike.
The Raiders had a good first half, with Daryle Lamonica rolling out and getting time to throw the ball, and at the break we were leading only 16-7. We adjusted for that during halftime by widening the defensive line a little and by blitzing more. We are not a blitzing team as a rule, but it was effective against the Raiders and cut down on Lamonica's passing time as well as confusing his blockers. In the second half I doubt that they gained 50 yards running and passing. They seemed to have the same kind of emotional letdown that hurt Kansas City in the second half, too, and we rolled over them 33-14.
The first inkling we had that Coach Lombardi was considering retiring came on the Friday before the Super Bowl game, after our last practice. He called us all together and told us how proud of us he was and said, almost crying, "This may be the last time we are all together like this. Let's make the last game a good one."
We'll miss him. He was an amazing man. As a player, I have found over the years that I have to pace myself emotionally as well as physically in preparing for a game. You can't be gung-ho every day at practice. I remember once, the year Chicago won the championship, we were all as high as you can get on Thursday in Green Bay, and we had the best practice we've ever had. On Sunday, in Chicago, the Bears kicked the hell out of us. We were flat and not emotionally ready because we had left the game in Green Bay on Thursday.
But Lombardi was up every day. He had extraordinary emotional drive. He yelled a lot, but part of that was an act for the benefit of the player he yelled at. He seldom yells at Jerry Kramer because Jerry doesn't respond to it. He yelled at me a lot in my early days because I needed it and I was pretty wild. It helped me, and it helped Jimmy Taylor and Paul Hornung and the other players he got on. He infected all of us with his demand for perfection and his dedication to it. You could see the act sometimes, and know it was an act when he went into a rage, but you bought it anyway.
Phil Bengtson [the new Packer coach—Lombardi is now general manager] is an entirely different type. He has been my defensive coach for nine years now, and there is no man I respect more. He simplifies the defense and explains it better than any coach I ever saw. He is a quiet man, unlike Coach Lombardi, and he doesn't lose his temper often. But when he yells you jump, because you know he is really mad. And he can be just as tough and abrasive as Lombardi.
I think this year we should have the best Packer team of all time. With Starr healthy for a full season, Grabowski and Pitts back in the lineup, Marv Fleming at full speed, and with Anderson and Williams carrying another year's experience, we should be much more explosive offensively. I don't anticipate much change in the defense, although we do have some fine young players.