The Lost Vince Lombardi Tapes

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ROBERT RIGER / GETTY IMAGES

Vince Lombardi on the sidelines with Quarterback Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers during a game from the 1960s

Forty years ago in the National Football League, the Pack ruled. In 1961, the Green Bay Packers blew away the New York Giants in the championship game 37-0. They beat the same team again the next year. In the 1965 season, the Pack would begin the first of three "league" championships in a row. The first one was in the old, pre-AFL league, when Green Bay beat Cleveland 23-12. The next year, when the precursor of what would later be named the Super Bowl was first concocted between the AFL champion and the NFL's best, the Pack turned it into an exhibition of the senior league's superiority, besting Kansas City 35-10. The Pack’s next Super Bowl victim was the Oakland Raiders, who went down 33-14 a year later, after Green Bay had eliminated the Dallas Cowboys in the famous Ice Bowl (temperature at game time: minus 13 degrees).

And who ruled the Pack? Vince Lombardi, the coaching legend for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named. As a member of that fabled team, guard Jerry Kramer made literary history of sorts with the publication of Instant Replay (co-written by the late Dick Schaap), an unprecedented look at Lombardi’s Packers, told from inside the huddle. And what a huddle: Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, and Paul Hornung led the offense. And on defense: Ray Nitschke, Willie Davis, and Herb Adderley. Throughout the season, Kramer lugged a tape recorder around to make his own notes, and chronicle the year. Before Superbowl II, Kramer snuck the device into the locker room and recorded Lombardi's words to the troops before the big game. He also recorded speeches made by his teammates. Kramer then misplaced the tapes. They turned up last year, a time capsule of a different era, and Kramer has made them into a CD package called Inside the Locker Room (available at jerrykramer.com). Here are a few excerpts.

* Vince Lombardi gives his pre-game address in the locker room of Super Bowl II. Listen

* Vince Lombardi speaking to the team in the locker room after winning Super Bowl II. Listen

* Packer great Willie Davis during a private locker room meeting before Super Bowl II. Listen