BAD BREAKS AND THE PACKERS
Congratulations to Jerry Kramer for writing one of the best articles published by any magazine. Death by Inches (Aug. 4), written by one of the better guards in professional football history, is the most touching thing I've ever read. Mr. Kramer goes through an exacting account of the downfall of the greatest football dynasty ever.
I have been a fan of the Green Bay Packers for many years, and I must say that this year has been a saddening experience. Mr. Kramer says, "Everybody, it seems, has his own explanation for what went wrong." Well, I didn't. I was stunned when the Packers dropped down, and I didn't know what to think. After reading the article, I developed the opinion that it was the mental attitude that led to the downfall.
Santa Ana, Calif.
The injuries and bad breaks listed by Jerry Kramer in his fine article are certainly astounding. It may seem the entire league's misfortunes were dropped on Green Bay.
But let us now look at Chicago, one of Green Bay's chief opponents. Gale Sayers, Mr. Bear himself, was lost to his club for the most crucial games. If football is a game of inches, then that set the Bears back 10 feet, or maybe six yards per carry.
The Minnesota Vikings, the victors in the Central Division, lost the full effectiveness of several key players, including Dave Osborn. Osborn is a player who can mean the difference between an 8-6 or an 11-3 record.
Green Bay certainly did have trying times, but let's not knock the Vikings' or the Bears' play. The Packers do not have a monopoly on bad breaks.
Retired football player Jerry Kramer's confession was particularly appealing to me as an example of a defeated man probing his inner self for the source of his past motivation. Kramer candidly confronted the question—the source of his motivation as being truly his own, as opposed to a gift from his ex-coach, Vince Lombardi. Kramer's admission that the source was too little his own and too much Lombardi's is why I feel his article is both insightful and a confession.
In a world where the code is one of force and brutality, Jerry Kramer stands out as a remarkable paradox. On the one hand he is able to participate in this world of violence as one of its ablest members, while on the other hand he possesses the sensitivity to appreciate and record the significance and emotions of his experiences. The beautiful simplicity with which he tells his tale of human relationships in a crisis situation presents the reader with a truly priceless gift.
ROBERT PAUL LAMB