When Elisabeth Krautter was a second-grader in Winnetka, Ill. she didn't play house with her friends or dream about growing up to become Miss America. Northwestern University was just down the road, in neighboring Evanston, and it had a terrible football team at the time. Libby's dream was to become the Wildcats' star quarterback for a couple of seasons before heading south to float down the upper Amazon in a dugout canoe. Actually, Libby realized her second dream (or a reasonable facsimile of it) first. She discovered fishing and in time became a regular Danielle Boone (fishing, hunting, camping and white-water canoeing). When she accepted the fact that Dream No. 1 was beyond her reach, she switched her football loyalty to a team that already was a success—the Green Bay Packers.
All this is in the way of explaining how petite, dark-haired Libby Krautter came to be SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S NO. 1 football researcher. Miss Krautter is no dilettante. She is an all-out, glassy-eyed, walking-record-book, August-through-January football nut. Her job is twofold: 1) to supply information—immediate or recondite—to our writers, and 2) to guard them, and us, against factual fumbles. The pro football preview (page 50) is at once the most rewarding and frustrating job of the year for her; after it goes to press Libby is faced with a few bleak days in which she can only wring her hands over late injuries and roster changes.
Checking pro football copy is not, in any case, a job for those hooked on such time-consuming habits as sleep. Our weekly deadline is Sunday night, and sometimes game copy doesn't reach our office until nearly midnight. On a normal Sunday, Libby will get home by 4, though her record is 7 a.m. Monday morning. She is not, however, superhuman, and has been known to sneak under her desk on Sunday nights for an hour or two of sleep. Once she even grabbed a few winks while sitting on top of a radiator.
Libby applied for a job with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in the fall of 1966. While she was waiting for a decision she drove from Winnetka to northern Wisconsin to try out a new kayak she had bought. In her first few hours on the Wolf River the kayak tipped over three times, but Libby paddled the day through, camped out that night and awoke in the morning with icicles in her hair. She needed no further excuse to drive to a nearby bar where she watched her Packers beat the Lions on television.
September 15, 1968
We hired her and she came to New York. "I wouldn't have moved to this frantic, dirty city for any other job," she says, "but here I am adjusting." Adjusting means finding ways to beat the environment. There are no roaring rivers, northern pike or upland game birds in New York, but Central Park does have a nice running track, and Libby is out there three days a week doing her latest thing. "It's just to let off steam," she says. "Not for health or any other reason."
And, of course, there is always football. Last month, in a preseason warm-up touch football game on the beach at Fire Island, she scored two touchdowns on end runs. Interested, Northwestern? Libby still has three years of NCAA eligibility.