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Sport: Always When It Counts

2 minute read

Could Green Bay use him? Certainly—the way the Yankees could use another Mickey Mantle. Last week, in the National Football League championship, the Champion Packers faced their sternest test of the season; the New York Giants, humbled 37-0 by Green Bay last year, were thirsting for revenge. “We want this game so badly we can taste it,” said Giant Coach Allie Sherman, and 65,000 partisan fans braved Yankee Stadium’s 13° cold to howl for Green Bay blood. Around New York the “smart” money was on the home-town Giants. The Packers were tired, the skeptics said. Nobody could pass like the Giants’ Y. A. Tittle, nobody could catch like Del Shofner.

But the bookmakers, who bet no sentiments, chose the Packers by 6½ points, and that was just about right. The Packers’ aces—Fullback Jim Taylor, Halfback Paul Hornung, Quarterback Bart Starr—might be weary, but they were part of a team, a disciplined professional team that plays with precision and remembers Coach Vince Lombardi’s admonitions: “Wear them down. Punish them. Intimidate them.” Only twice in the first half did the vaunted Giant offense penetrate Packer territory. The lone Giant touchdown was scored by the defensive team, on a blocked punt. Tittle complained about the cold: “My hands were numb, and the wind was so crazy I couldn’t throw the long pass. The ball just broke up in the air.”

Yet Green Bay’s Hornung, noted mainly for his running, put the ball on the Giant 7 with a 21-yd. pass. The Packer line opened a truck-sized hole on the next play. And when it counted, Fullback Taylor, spitting blood from cuts inside his mouth, rumbled through for the score. “That was our only mistake,” said the Giants later. Had they stopped Taylor, the result would have been the same. Whenever the Packer attack stalled, Guard Jerry Kramer booted a field goal—three in all—and Green Bay won, 16-7. Then the country boys headed back to Wisconsin, richer by $5,888 a man.

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