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July 07, 2011
The Packers didn't always exhibit their characteristic zip, but they played with enough to bury the Raiders
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July 07, 2011

Coasting To Victory

The Packers didn't always exhibit their characteristic zip, but they played with enough to bury the Raiders

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Kramer, unlike many of his teammates, had been excited by this game. "I don't know why," he said. "It just built and built for me. I got up this morning, put my shorts on backward and, for the first time in my life, I forgot a team meeting. I was having breakfast with my wife when I suddenly realized I was supposed to be someplace else. One funny thing about this one—we made more mental mistakes than I can ever remember our making in any other game."

Despite the mistakes, Starr put together the game-clincher early in the third quarter. It was third-down-and-one on the Green Bay 40. Starr faked to the fullback going into the line, dropped back and lofted the ball to Max McGee, who had replaced Dowler.

McGee caught the ball behind Rodger Bird for a 35-yard gain to the Raiders' 25-yard line. Donny Anderson and Carroll Dale caught two shorter passes down to the Oakland one, and then Anderson cantered through a wide gap in the Raiders' line for the second touchdown.

In the fourth period Herb Adderley ran 60 yards with an intercepted pass to put the game far out of reach. "We designed the defense to take away their runs," Adderley said. "We wanted to make them put the ball in the air. That's the way we like it." Shuddering blocks by Henry Jordan and Ron Kostelnik cleared Adderley's path to the goal line.

As they do for all games, the Packers prepared for the Super Bowl with all the emotion of a surgeon scrubbing for a routine operation. They were stationed at the Galt Ocean Mile Motel, a sunny, comfortable hostelry on the ocean some 30 miles from Miami, and, fittingly enough, they worked out on the field that the New York Yankees use. For the week Vince Lombardi's team was there the field assumed some of the glamour of the glory days of the Yanks. The coach, who for two years has been hinting that he may retire, seemed a bit drawn at the end of what has been a particularly demanding season, and so did the team. During the first two days in the Florida sun the players were a bit sluggish, but tongue-lashings by Lombardi got them out of that quickly enough. By the Thursday before the game the club was operating with its accustomed efficiency, and he eased up a bit.

Even that minor bump was not apparent to outsiders. Unlike Oakland, the Packers are not an openly emotional team. But implied in Lombardi's hints at retirement was the possibility that this would be his last game as a coach. Implied too was the possibility that this would be the last game for some other longtime Green Bay heroes. Lombardi and his veterans needed no greater incentive. If they were going to retire, it would not be after a loss to an AFL team.

Paul Hornung, driving a multicolored jalopy and now a year into his retirement, visited his old teammates and revealed how strong Lombardi's hold is on his players even after they have retired. "I had a dream the other night that I came by and sneaked Max McGee out after hours," he said. "Vinnie found out about it, and darned if he didn't fine me five thousand bucks, even if I wasn't with the team any longer. The thing that woke me up was that I dreamed I paid the fine."

After the game Lombardi was smiling happily, even as he pointed out his team's imperfections. "It wasn't our best effort," he said. "All year it seems like when we get a couple of touchdowns ahead, we let up. Maybe that's the sign of a veteran team. I don't know."

Someone asked him if he planned to retire, and he smiled again but did not answer.

Gene Upshaw, the rookie Raiders offensive guard who played opposite Jordan, came into the Packers' dressing room after most people had left and sat down next to him. Jordan introduced Upshaw to Gregg. "Here's a fine young ballplayer who did a hell of a job on an old man today," Jordan said, smiling.

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