A continuation of the Legacy of Champions series. Articles that chronicle the 13 Packer championships. If you’re just joining us, read about all the great Packer championships by clicking here.
In 1967, big changes were taking place in the world of professional football. The merger of the National Football League and the American Football League was proceeding. The NFL divided each of its two conferences into two divisions. The Eastern Conference, with its Capital and Century Division, and the Western Conference with its Costal Division and Central Division, of which the Packers were a part.
Some key changes happened within the Packers organization itself as the league added an expansion team in New Orleans. The Saints took Paul Hornung from the Packers as a part of the expansion and he was quickly reunited with his old tandem partner Jim Taylor as the Packers traded Taylor to the Saints.
Many thought an aging Packers team had lost a step, but they were about to prove that wrong.
The 1967 Packers Season
The Packers drew to a tie against the Lions in the first game of the regular season. The Packers lost early that season to the Vikings and Colts, but by week 13 had already clinched their division.
The Packers beat the Bears twice that season, by small margins each time.
As the season ticked to a close the Packers tallied two losses to end the season. One was to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the other was a heartbreakingly close game against the Rams. With 55 seconds left to go in the game, the Packers led 24-20. The Rams defense forced a stop and, on the ensuing punt, blocked the kick, recovered it and rumbled to the five yard line. Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel found Bernie Casey open for the touchdown completion that would log the Rams another one in the win column.
The game would end with the Packers losing 24-27, but revenge would be sweet as we’ll soon see.
1967 Western Conference Championship
Following the losses to the Rams and Steelers, the Packers turned right around to meet the Rams again in the Western Conference Championship. This was the Packers’ chance to show that the earlier loss was a fluke… and did they ever.
The Rams took the lead at 7-0 early. It was the only lead (and only score) the Rams would have. The tide turned in the Packers favor when Rams kicker Bruce Gossett dropped a field goal short of the cross bar and the Packers’ Willie Wood returned the kick 44 yards. The Packers drove the ball down, punched it into the endzone, and never looked back.
When the dust settled, the Packers were Western Conference Champions with a 28-7 avenging of their earlier loss.
1967 NFL Championship
It’s difficult to find a Packer fan, no matter how young, who doesn’t know about this game. It will always remain one the greatest games, if not THE greatest game, in the history of the NFL. In 1967, the Packers met the Dallas Cowboys on the frozen tundra for the NFL Championship in a game that would forever come to be known as The Ice Bowl.
In 13 below weather, the Packers jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Then Starr fumbled a ball that Dallas would recover and run into the end zone. A fumble by Willie Wood allowed the Cowboys to bring the score to 14-10 going into the half.
In the fourth quarter, Dallas scored on a 50 yard halfback option pass putting Dallas ahead 14-17.
The final Packer drive was one of the most exciting in the history of football. The Packers used 12 plays to drive 68 yards. They marched down to the one yard line and with seconds left Starr ran a QB sneak across the goal line for the win.
Here’s a recap of the game.
Super Bowl II
The Packers went from the Ice Bowl to sunny Florida for their second straight appearance in the new Super Bowl. Their AFL opponents… the Raiders.
The Raiders hung in there early on as they held the Packers to a single field goal in the first quarter. Then the Packers started to roll. Three field goals and a 62 yard pitch and catch from Starr to Dowler put the Packers up 16-7 at the half and the Raiders were only able to counter with a single touchdown.
In the second half, Chandler added another kick and Anderson a two yard run to pay-dirt. But the play that put the game out of reach for the outclassed Raiders was a 60 yard pick six by Herb Adderly. The Raiders would score one more time but never threaten the Packers’ lead.
The win gave the Packers back to back Super Bowl wins and a three peat of world championships. This was the second time the Packers had posted three championships in a row.
Unfortunately, this was also the last game the Packers would play with Vince Lombardi as their coach. In nine years with the Packers he had won six Western Conference championships, five NFL championships and two Super Bowls.