Packer remembers Ice Bowl heroics at Iowa Lions gala
“Run to win” and “challenge” are the words engraved on the side of the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl II championship ring. Retired Green Bay Packer offensive lineman Jerry Kramer has one of these rings and shared it as the featured speaker for the Iowa Lions Foundation Gala on Feb. 22 at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center.
Kramer played 11 years as a guard for the Green Bay Packers. During those 11 years, the Green Bay Packers won five NFL titles and two Super Bowl rings.
Kramer had you laughing one minute and ready to cry the next minute as he answered questions. He talked about his proudest moment in his football career, the last 4½ minutes of the Ice Bowl Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys.
With temps at 15 degrees below zero and wind chills approaching 60 degrees below zero, he told about those last 4½ minutes. Before this final drive to win the game the Packers had held the ball for 31 second-half plays with net offensive total yards of negative nine yards.
Kramer said he asked Bart Starr why Starr said no words when he entered the huddle on the last drive other than to call the play. Starr told Kramer he looked up and saw the faces of Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston and many other of the lineman. It was then he saw a sparkle in their eyes, showing these players had the will to win the game.
Kramer called this a true Lombardi moment.
As the drive progressed down the field, the Packers got the ball to the 2 yard line against Dallas' dooms day defense. Two plays and the ball and only moved 1 yard closer to the end zone.
The play 31 wedge was called. Starr and Kramer had the noticed in game films that Dallas defensive lineman No. 75 Jethro Pugh liked to block in a certain manner the entire game. On this play, Starr knew without talking to Kramer, Kramer was going to open a big hole for the running back to score easily except this time it was Starr who followed Kramer into the end zone for the win.
When asked about Lombardi, Kramer called him a father figure who grew up in different times and knew how to win. Lombardi coached the players mind, body and soul to play football. Lombardi was the coach who pushed Kramer. Lombardi challenged him to be the best guard in football, and each day Lombardi thought Kramer could be better than the previous day
Today Kramer lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife. He has six children and five grandchildren living all over the United States. After retirement from football, Kramer wrote five books. His book “Instant Replay” which is a journal of Kramer's experiences with the 1967 Green Bay Packers hit No. 1 on the bestseller list. Jerry has since reprinted the book and released the book again to the public. Kramer also worked for a short time as a NFL TV commentator for the CBS.
At the age of 79, Jerry believes he must remain busy all of the time or he will get bored. He continues to do public speaking all over the country for many corporations and other events like the Iowa Lions Foundation Gala.
Before the evening’s festivities Kramer talked about Lombardi time. If you did not show up at least 15 minutes early for a Lombardi practice you were considered late. He talked about Lombardi's three most important facets of life: God, Family and the Green Bay Packers in that order.
Lombardi believed coaching pride, courage and determination was what any person needed to be successful in football and life.