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“A classic when it was published and a classic still today.” —David Halberstam
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
jerry kramer was a right guard for the Green Bay Packers from 1958 to 1968. During his time with the team, the Packers won five National Championships and Super Bowls I and II. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame in 1977, and his jersey has been retired. He lives in Boise, Idaho.
dick schaap (1934–2002), a sportswriter, broadcaster, and author or coauthor of thirty-three books, reported for NBC Nightly News, the Today show, ABC World News Tonight, 20/20, and ESPN and was the recipient of five Emmy Awards.
I read this book when it first came out, ca. 1968, when I was a high school senior in Racine, Wisconsin. I had been a fanatic Packer backer throughout the glorious early and middle 60s, but by 1968, Lombardi was no longer the coach, only the GM (and besides, I was now interested in other things). He would move on to the Redskins for the 1969 season before dying of cancer in the fall of 1970, so INSTANT REPLAY captures the end of an era, his last hurrah as coach in Green Bay.
As with another reviewer below, the Packers of the 60s have marked my life, especially Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, and their leader, the great Coach, and I have always viewed INSTANT REPLAY as the period or exclamation point on my early infatuation with them.
Besides its subject matter, INSTANT REPLAY possesses its own literary merit. Kramer is clearly highly intelligent, and since intelligence is not stereotypically associated with the brute violence of the NFL, it's interesting to read his reflections on life in general and life in football, not to mention the ways he perfected his blocking skills. He talks about how his helmet was his best weapon in warding off defensive linemen--which certainly must have done something to his braincells and neck muscles. I also love the running joke about Lombardi's almost-weekly proclamation: "Gentlemen, this is the start of the big push!" as he exhorted the Packers to still-greater efforts in a long painful slog of a season. There's also an interesting description of how the Packers' veteran blockers made a rookie look slow--the vets had played together for so long they anticipated the snap, while the inexperienced new guy waited for it, losing a fraction of a second in the process.
First a disclaimer: I first read this book when I was a kid- maybe 10 years old- I think my dad got a copy of it when he bought a razor or razor blades- something like that. This book turned me into a Green Bay Packer fan for life. 35 or so years later- I still love the team- lived and died with them during the lean 1970's and loved them when Favre led them to the Super Bowl. Funny how something you can read as a child can impact you that way. Ok, the book itself- a classic- funny, touching, moving- it really is a great peek behind the curtain of pro football. Jerry Kramer does a terrific job of showing what his job is like as a guard for the Packers. His description of Vince Lombardi, the great coach of the Packers, is wonderful and the way he talks about his job and his life really sets this apart from most sports book. It mgiht be the finest book ever written about football (though Friday Night Lights and Paper Lion are also pretty good). The book holds up even though it is almost 40 years old. It is written in diary form and is an easy read. The season it captures, the 1967 Super Bowl winning season, helps Kramer, but I suspect the book would have been just as good if the Packers would have been bad that year. Kramer's voice rings true and he brings us into the arena- he shares with us the good and the bad. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone who likes football or likes books about sport. It really is a classic of the genre.
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I'm a big professional football fan and love reading about football. Jerry Kramer's Green Bay Packers diary - which details the 1967 season of the Green Packers, was quite an enjoyable and educational read for me.
For starters, the Green Bay Packers in 1967 were clearly the best team in pro football but were showing signs of aging. This season saw the infamous Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Championship where Jerry Kramer threw the key block to get Bart Starr in for a touchdown, securing a trip to Super Bowl II. And of course this year also saw the Packers win its second straight Super Bowl and the legendary coach Vince Lombari's retirement from the Green Bay Packers.
Kramer's diary is pretty much just that - a retelling of what he went through during the 1967 season. Some things are familiar. Don't let the hyperbole or nostalgia fool you, money WAS a big issue in professional football back even if the contracts were not that large. Kramer talks a lot about money and business issues in his book. Kramer also tells us a bit about what it was like to be a player under Coach Lombardi - who drove the players relentlessly and made them better than they otherwise would have been both as individuals and a team. The players clearly had a love-hate, father-son relationship with the coach. Also, some of the stories about the playboys on the team like Max McGee and Paul Hornung are humorous. In today's NFL it seems the shenanigans of players involve guns and criminality. On this team, it was just booze and chicks, good old boys having fun.
And of course it was interesting to see how Kramer thought of the upcoming opponents - both individuals and teams - as he prepared to face them.Read more ›
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There will never be another great team like the Packers of the 1960's for a number of reasons. The only way to relive this era is through the numerous books that rehash the Lombardi dynasty. This book has to be one of the cornerstones of reliving that era with its candid yet humble prose giving an inside view of the Packer locker room. Jerry Kramer, who resents the 'dumb jock' stereotype of football player, composed a well written memior of football in "Instant Replay".
From the days after Superbowl I to Lombardi's retirement after Superbowl II, this book takes readers through the entire 1967 season. Lombardi is known for the grind players were made to endure in his training camps. Kramer tells what the players are feeling as speculation begins that this would be Lombardi's final season coaching in Green Bay. Being the number one target of the NFL after being champion for the last two years makes the regular season a grind. While the Packers did not play their best in the regular season, they turn their game up a notch in the playoffs. Often voted the greatest game in NFL history, Kramer devotes significant time to the Ice Bowl. This is significant because Kramer had a key role in the game and this book marks an early admission that he may have moved a little prematurely. After the Ice Bowl, the Superbowl almost seemed anticlimactic.
Two years after the 1967 season, Vince Lombardi died of cancer and many of the pieces of the Packer dynasty were in retirement. This book is a great way to relive the magic of the Packer dynasty.
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