Jerry Kramer has been colder in life than the day he and his Green Bay Packers played in the Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys for the 1967 NFL championship.
There was a time in his post-career when British Petroleum flew him to Alaska for a speaking engagement on the North Slope.
“It was 65 below zero there naturally,” Kramer said. “All the people working out on the oil rigs had frosted mustaches and frosted beards…or they had a mask over their faces and it was all frosted where they were breathing. The Ice Bowl wasn’t quite that bad…but it was close.”
Close as in a minus-15 degrees with a wind chill of 48 degrees below at Lambeau Stadium that day. And that’s the focus game on the Talk of Fame Network as part of our “5 Games” series of podcasts this week highlighting five significant games in Kramer’s career. The Packers survived the cold and the Dallas Cowboys to win, 21-17, with Kramer throwing the most famous block in NFL history.
The Packers had struggled all day. In the previous 31 plays, they had a minus nine yards of offense before taking the field, trailing 17-14, 68 yards away from the end zone with 4:50 remaining.
“I later asked Bart, `When you got in that final huddle and started that drive, what were you thinking about?’” Kramer recalled. “He said, `Jerry, I started to say something. I wanted to say something. But I looked into the huddle…I looked in your eyes. I looked in Forrest’s eyes, I looked in Gilly’s eyes, I looked in Ski’s eyes, I looked around the huddle and I knew that you knew what we had to do. This was out final shot, our final drive, this was it. So all I said was `alright, let’s go.’”
Sixty-seven yards later, the Packers were on the Dallas 1 with 15 seconds to play and no timeouts. Green Bay would have one play to win the game. The field was ice but Kramer found some help from above on a play that was to go over his back.
“The biggest thing that happened at that moment was that my left foot found a golf club-like divot that was maybe an inch deep,” Kramer said. “My left foot settled into that divot and I got a great start off the ball. A couple of guys slipped and fell on that particular play and I very well could have slipped and ended up on my belly, too. Of course, then there’s no score and it’s just a mess.
“But I got a great start, got into (Jethro) Pugh and started moving my backwards. I turned around and looked for Bart. I didn’t look for Chuck Mercein who was supposed to carry the ball on that play. And what a wonderful sight it was to see Bart lying in the end zone neatly across the line of scrimmage and the goal line. There was a huge sigh of relief coming out of this Idaho potato. It was a huge moment.”
In the next podcast, we’ll talk with Kramer about the second Super Bowl -- Green Bay's 33-14 victory over the AFL champion Oakland Raiders in the final game Vince Lombardi ever coached the Packer. You can listen to this Ice Bowl podcast – and all of our podcasts -- at VoKalNow.com or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes: