For­mer Pack­ers re­call im­prob­a­ble upset

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The New York Jets’ upset of the Bal­ti­more Colts in Su­per Bowl III sent shock­waves through­out pro­fes­sional foot­ball.

Brash quar­ter­back Joe Na­math bold ly guar­an­teed a Jets vic­tory, and then de­liv­ered as New York hand­ily de­feated 19- point fa­vorite Bal­ti­more, 16-7, at the Or­ange B owl in Mi­ami.

Jerry Kramer, Pack­ers guard from 1958-’68, had to eat some ma­jor crow af­ter the shock­ing upset.

Green Bay, af­ter an un­prece­dented three straight NFL cham­pi­onships, in­clud­ing Su­per Bowl I and I I ti­tles un­der Vince Lom­bardi, failed to make the 1968 play­offs with a 6-7-1 record un­der new head coach Phil B eng tson.

That al­lowed Kramer to work for ABC net­work do­ing re­ports from Mi­ami on the teams lead­ing up to the Su­per B owl and on game day.

“All week long, I was telling the world that the Jets didn’ t have a chance, no shot in hell ,” Kramer said in a tele­phone in­ter­view from his Idaho home Sun­day.

“I was pretty loud and ob­nox­ious about it. Bal­ti­more was the su­pe­rior team, the NFL cham­pion, and the New York Jets and Joe Na­math were go­ing to get their butts kicked .”

Kramer then had the task of in­ter­view­ing Na­math af­ter the game in the Jets locker room.

“Well you can imag­ine it was ob­vi­ously a bit un­com­fort­able for me ,” Kramer said .“Joe had heard my( pre­dic­tion) all week long. Joe and I were pals, we knew each other. I choked it out, we got the in­ter­view done .”

Kramer, who had a weekly tele­vi­sion show in Green Bay dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, was in­vited to ap­pear on Na­math’s show in New York the fol­low­ing week.

“Joe gave me a lot of grief on his show,” Kramer said. “He men­tioned Su­per Bowl rings, and I brought all my cham­pi­onship rings and Su­per B owl rings along with me. So when Joe brought his up, I said ,‘ That’ s re­ally nice ... we got one like that in 1961,’62,’65,’66,’67. And two from the first two Su­per B owls.’

“Joe said ,‘ OK, OK, you got me .’” For­mer Pack­ers cen­ter Bill Curry from 1965-’66, who played on Green Bay ’s Su­per B owl I team, was the Colts’ start­ing cen­ter in Su­per Bowl III.

“An aw­ful mem­ory for me—worst of my NFL ca­reer,” Curr y said Mon­day af­ter­noon. “We had just beat Cleve­land, 34-0 (in the NFL Cham­pi­onship Game), and Na­math’s pre­dic­tion was hi­lar­i­ous to us, but I don’ t think we took them lightly. We were con­fi­dent.

“But on that day, they just beat us. We had turnover sand missed short field goals and Na­math and Matt Snell had great games. The next four times we played the Jets we beat them. But not in Su­per Bowl III .”

Curry said the Bal­ti­more play­ers were re­quired to at­tend a post-game par ty hosted by Colts owner Car­roll Rosen­bloom.

“We were so stunned we lost and had to goto this big party ,” Curry said. “Don’t know what pos­sessed me, but I went up to Mr. Rosen­bloom, who was talk­ing to ac­tor Burt Lan­caster, and said ,‘ We’ re go­ing to be back in the Su­per B owl and win it next time.’ Thank good­ness we won Su­per B owl V — and Mr. Rosen­bloom re­minded me of the prom­ise I made to him at that party in Mi­ami .”

Car­roll Dale has wit­nessed mon­u­men­tal upset sat ev­ery level of foot- ball—high school, col­lege, the NFL.

“When you don’t re­spect your op­po­nent, you’ re sub­ject to de­feat ,” said Dale, the for­mer Pack­ers re­ceiver from 1965-’72.“Seen it hap­pen at all lev­els of foot­ball. When the ques­tion is not who, but by how much, there’s a pos­si­bil­ity for an upset.

“The men­tal par t of the game is huge. The un­der­dog is very mo­ti­vated to win and prove ev­ery­one wrong. We rep­re­sented the NFL pretty well in win­ning Su­per B owl I and II. Coach Lom­bardi had the pres­sure to not only win the game, but win big to prove the NF L’ s su­pe­ri­or­ity .”

The Jets’ vic­tory sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased the AF L’ s cred­i­bil­ity.

“Huge win for the AFL and put Joe Na­math in the hall of fame,” said Jim Grabowski, for­mer Pack­ers’ run­ning back from 1966-’70, who was in the Or­ange B owl stands that day.

“I was shocked just like ev­ery other sports fan in the coun­try ,” he said.

Grabowski and his wife ran into Na­math af­ter the game in down­town Mi­ami.

“We were out on the town and stopped at the Play­boy Club and there was Joe Na­math,” Grabowski said with a laugh Mon­day af­ter­noon. “He was bas king in all the glory. Joe was very gra­cious and ob­vi­ously in high de­mand. All the Jets fans were cel­e­brat­ing and all the Colts fans were cry­ing .”


Weeb Ew­bank, coach of the New York Jets, con­grat­u­lates quar­ter­back Joe Na­math with just sec­onds left in Su­per Bowl III at the Or­ange Bowl in Mi­ami on Jan. 12, 1969. The Jets upset the heav­ily fa­vored Bal­ti­more Colts.

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