The ''66 Packers team will be featured as part of a series on all 40 Super Bowl champions on Tuesday at at 8:30 PM (ET) on NFL Network.
How did the "Lombardi mystique" help center Bill Curry during a flight cancellation prior to training camp? How did defensive lineman Willie Davis' leadership change Curry's life? Why was quarterback Bart Starr the only player that could stand up to coach Vince Lombardi?
The 60-minute documentary of the '66 Packers is told through the eyes of Starr, Davis and Curry, who provide an intimate portrait of how these players became Super Bowl champions. The show is narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Donald Sutherland.
Here is a sampling of what's notable and quotable from America's Game: 1966 Green Bay Packers:
"Lombardi Mystique" – Curry received his first taste the "Lombardi mystique" after a flight cancellation derailed his attempt to arrive at Packers training camp at St. Norbert College.
"I asked for the manager of North Central Airlines. He told me I'd be on the next flight out which was the next morning. I was going to be 12 hours late for Vince Lombardi. So I decided my only hope was to inform him of that. I said, ‘I'm going to be late for my very first meeting with Vince Lombardi and it's your fault, it's North Central Airlines fault and I'm going to be sure the coach knows that.' The gentleman had my bag pulled from the plane, he leased a single-engine plane and had me flown to Montana where I was met by a North Atlantic Airlines van and was driven to Packers training camp 15 minutes early. That was my first taste of the Lombardi mystique."
Davis the Leader – As a boy growing up in College Park, Georgia during the 1940s, Curry experienced racial tensions. Upon joining the Packers in 1965, he had a life-changing event.
"All my life I had been taught by the culture I was in that we were different and better than other people. I knew there was something wrong with that, but didn't know how to articulate it or how to behave. Now I'm in the locker room with Lionel Aldridge, Herb Adderley, Willie Wood and I thought they'd hear my southern accent, injure me and send me home. Who could blame them? We were in the middle of the civil rights movement and I didn't know how to act. The most intimidating of all was Willie Davis, who shattered every stereotype that I'd learned growing up in the south."
"I'm walking out of the dorm one night at St. Norbert College and this voice comes out of the darkness, ‘Bill.' It was Willie Davis, I thought it was God. I just sat down in the grass terrified. He said, ‘I'd like to speak with you,' and I thought he was going to tell me to go home. He said, ‘I've been watching you at practice and I think you've got a chance to make our team; and I'm going to help. When (Ray) Nitschke's snapping your facemask and Lombardi is screaming in your face and you don't think you can take another step, you look at me and I'll get you through it.' He didn't just help me to play in the NFL for 10 years, he changed my life because I was never able to look at another human being in the same way I had. It was an unexpected, undeserved, unrewarded act of kindness by a great leader and a great man. I've never forgotten that and that is the difference in the outstanding teams and the others. If you've got Willie Davis, nobody can beat you."
Starr vs. Lombardi – The Lombardi legend is well detailed in the annals of pro football lore. He ruled the Packers franchise with an iron fist that no player would dare challenge – except Starr.
Said Curry: "Bart was the only player I ever saw – and Bart doesn't like to talk about this – who would stand up in front of the team and say, ‘Wait a minute coach. Don't be criticizing us about that because that's not true. Let's get it right.' And Lombardi would actually concede to him."
"I hated (Lombardi's) guts. I didn't like anything about the way he coached the team. He had a reputation for going to church every day and I didn't believe it. I went to Starr and said, ‘There's no way coach goes to church everyday.' Bart said, ‘Oh no, he goes to church every day. You're going to realize as you work with him more, this man needs to go to church everyday.'"
-- Bill Curry
"When you talk about the last play of the 1966 NFL Championship against the Cowboys, you don't realize how close Tom Landry came to being the winning coach. What is now called the Lombardi Trophy might be called the something else had it not been for a few key plays at the end. It might have been called the Landry Trophy."
-- Bill Curry