Interview: Packers Legend Jerry Kramer on Ice Bowl II, Rodgers vs. Starr
It's playoff time, ladies and gentlemen. Time to bundle up. According to AccuWeather, there is a chance that the 49ers-Packers game at Lambeau Sunday could be the coldest game in NFL history. The forecast calls for a high temperature of -5 degrees, and a wind chill that could drop to as low as -51 degrees.
When the Chargers and Bengals met for the AFC Championship following the 1981 season the temperature at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium showed -9 degrees, with the wind chill dropping to -37. It’s the coldest game in league history. (UPDATE: "The wind chill reached -59° during the game and the temperature never rose above zero.... The wind chill was calculated using the formula in effect at the time.") Before that, the record belonged to the Ice Bowl. The temperature at the 1967 NFL Championship game in Green Bay between the Packers and Cowboys was -13 degrees, and the wind chill dropped to around -48.
No matter the exact numbers, one thing's for sure--it is going to be ridiculously cold Sunday for both San Francisco and Green Bay. So how do you prepare for dangerous conditions like these? Breitbart Sports asked a man who knows all about frigid football.
Jerry Kramer spent 11 brilliant seasons for the Packers. He was named All-Pro five times, and he was a member of five world championship teams. While playing guard, Kramer was a big part of the great Lombardi-era teams, and the Ice Bowl still sticks out as one of his top memories.
As for this weekend's contest the cold will certainly play its part. "There's a significant chance the weather will be a factor and will have an impact on the game at some point," Kramer told Breitbart Sports. "I think you're silly to try to talk yourself into it not being cold. It's probably like trying to talk yourself into not being drunk when the cop stops you. It just doesn't work. It's just not possible to do that."
That said, Kramer does believe the Packers are better suited for the wicked weather than their California counterparts.
"I think it'll be a very close ball game," said Kramer. "San Francisco has a fine team and I like their coach a lot. They're doing a lot of things right, but I think we're a little more comfortable than they are."
Overall, these teams should be able to match each other in many facets of the game. In other words, every play will count. Nothing new for Packer backers. "I think the game has always been for me and the Packers a game of inches," Kramer said.
Green Bay enters play at just 8-7-1. No team has ever advanced to the Super Bowl with less than nine victories. Kramer, though, thinks the Packers' tough road to the postseason may almost be a good thing. "For them to have struggled and come through the last few weeks under difficult situations without some top players is a big deal," Kramer said. "They've had to struggle to get here. Now with their running backs coming back, it's big. Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin make Jordy Nelson and the passing game stronger."
As far as the man running the Green Bay offense, the confidence in him is as high as the temperature is low. Kramer is impressed by the leadership abilities of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and he sees similarities in him and the man Kramer protected for so many years, Bart Starr. "It's probably not accidental," Kramer said. "Aaron and Bart have had a relationship for a period of time. Aaron is a quality human being. Not just a great player but a great person. While he's his own guy and very mature, he will also lean on Bart for some of his experiences."
"Bart is 'Mr. Perfect,'" Kramer said. "I heard him use the F-word one time in 50 years of being around him. He is a super special person and he works at being all things to all people. He wants to be. He really is a guy who spends his life trying to live it the right way. That's pretty hard to compete with. You'd try to emulate him if you have any sense at all."
Now, Rodgers will try to emulate Starr by winning a gigantic game in awful conditions.
"I like our position actually," Kramer said. "Everyone had to give it their all to get in and sometimes that's what you need to give to win the championship."
Jerry Kramer speaks from experience.
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