Tonight the MJS started a month long review of that iconic game from New Years Eve 1967. It made me think about the following:
Although it was almost 50 years ago I can still remember how excited I was for the Packers to get Dallas in GB after that nail biter in the Cotton Bowl the year before, but also worried at how the Packers looked old at the end of the season and perhaps too old. The trashing of the Rams in the Western Conference Final that year buoyed my 14 y/o spirits and how all of a sudden all my friends wanted to be Travis Williams when we played touchball.
Of course the quick 14 the Packer put up in that game made me think it was going to be the Rams game all over again. Reality set in and I can still remember how brutal the game was. Starr got hit so many times and the whole offense so inept I was sick at the thought of InVicible Vince losing one at home. It was late in the game but before the final drive when my dad (who was a big Johnny Unitas fan) started to chirp a little about the Cowboys and that Doomsday defense.
I started thinking not about the game but about all the stories I had heard from my uncle and those friends of his who had been in North Korea (Chosin Reservoir) in the winter of 50-51 and how tanks and trucks froze to the ground and bullets wouldn't fire, and I started to think about how 22 men were standing out there in long sleeve shirts(in the same weather) and I marveled how freaking cold it was, and I just wondered how they did it. I also admired their tenacity- even the hated Cowboys with their big mouths and fastest man alive, and of course those guys on defense.
Just when I was sure my dream about those 3 consecutive world championships were over, the Packers came out for that final drive. I still remember how calm and poised Starr was and it forever cemented my respect for the guy! I still remember him calmly setting the offense unworried about the possibility of getting ragtagged again and slowly willing the team down the field before scoring the winning TD. Of course the victory was what made my teenage heart pound, but in later years I dwelt on the adversity both teams faced and how strong a will almost everyone on both sidelines displayed just to be on that field. It is obvious it was a zenith and valley moment for the participant's but how all of them remember it as a defining moment in their careers struck me even though most of the Cowboy players on that team would win a world championship a few years later it seems they all define their career by their participation in that game!