Jerry Kramer helped the Green Bay Packers win five championships in his 11 seasons. He went to three Pro Bowls and was selected to the 1960s NFL all-decade team. He was voted the greatest guard in the NFL’s first half century and will receive a bust in Canton this summer.
But Kramer experienced something in 1962 that never happened before or since. He kicked three field goals and an extra point in the NFL championship game to personally outscore the New York Giants in a 16-7 Green Bay victory, giving the Packers back-to-back titles.
Kramer visits the Talk of Fame Network this week as part of our “5 Games” series of podcasts highlighting five significant games in his career. In this podcast, Kramer revisits Green Bay’s 1962 season and, specifically, that NFL championship game.
Despite Kramer’s blocking (the Packers rushed for almost 150 yards) and kicking prowess that day in New York, Green Bay middle linebacker Ray Nitschke was voted the championship game’s most valuable player, receiving a Corvette from Sport Magazine for the honor.
“That’s the life of a lineman,” Kramer said. “The team voted me the game ball and writers voted Nitschke the game Corvette. That’s the difference between playing guard and playing middle linebacker. That’s the way life is. But I was quite comfortable with having the football and having the team sign it. It never happened again in my career. So it was a rare moment.”
Kramer recalls the motivational tactics of Vince Lombardi that season, how an injury to Paul Hornung suddenly made him Green Bay’s kicker and the tremendous challenge he faced kicking in New York that day – 40 mile an hour winds. His field goals covered 26, 29 and 30 yards.
“When I lined up for that last field goal, I know if I can make it the Giants would have to score twice to beat us,” Kramer said. “That was not likely against our defense. So I knew if I make this, we’re going to win. The wind is blowing hard so I aimed 10 yards outside the right post and played it perfectly, the wind brought it right back to the center of the uprights.
“I felt the joy, the love, the appreciation that quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers feel when they score. The whole team jumped on me and pounded on me, pummeled me and congratulated me and made me feel like a running back for a moment or two. It was huge moment in my life.”
Kramer also recalls Green Bay’s lone loss that season – a 26-14 shellacking on Thanksgiving Day at the hands of the Detroit Lions – and how he and fellow Pro Bowl guard Fuzzy Thurston invented a new block that day.
In the next podcast, we’ll visit with Kramer about the first Super Bowl in 1967, Green Bay’s 35-10 victory over the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs. You can subscribe to our podcast at iTunes or listen for free at @VokalNow.com