Former Green Bay Packers lineman Jerry Kramer shares a smile as he's interviewed at Radio Row inside the Super Bowl Media Center at the Sheraton in downtown Dallas on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette
DALLAS — Former Green Bay Packers guard Jerry Kramer was beaming Wednesday as he stood in the middle of the Super Bowl media center.
It’s been 43 years since Kramer played in his last Super Bowl for the Packers, but he hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for his old team or the NFL’s biggest game.
“It cannot get better than this,” said Kramer, who was part of Vince Lombardi’s 1960s Packers dynasty when they won five championships in a seven-year span, including Super Bowls I and II.
Kramer never imagined the Super Bowl would grow into such a gala affair.
He remembers being dumbfounded at Super Bowl I when two buses were required to transport media members to the game.
“We thought, wow, two buses full of media, that’s really something,” Kramer said. “So it was huge for us, and no one could see the growth of it, no one could see where it was going or what it was going to be.”
The Super Bowl this year is being covered by 5,000 media members. “You couldn’t get everybody here in 50 or 100 buses,” Kramer said.
Kramer is savoring this year’s Super Bowl because of the path the Packers took to get here.
“It’s maybe the sweetest Super Bowl we’ve had in a long, long time,” Kramer said, “because we had to stop in Chicago and we picked up the George Halas Trophy. And now we’re playing in (Dallas Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones’ house, and he’s watching. And we’re playing a great football team like the Pittsburgh Steelers. I cannot think of a better scenario as a road to the Super Bowl.”
Kramer, who wrote four books about the Packers, remains in demand more than 40 years after his playing days ended.
As he surveyed the large press corps, Kramer said: “This media thing is a madhouse which is really fun, especially for a guard. Guards are not normally thought of by the media. Normally you guys talk to the wide receivers, the quarterback and everybody but the guards.”
Kramer has enjoyed the recent renewed attention Lombardi has received, including an HBO documentary and a Broadway play about the legendary coach’s life and legacy.
He’s not surprised Lombardi remains popular all these years later because, according to Kramer, the coach’s enduring principles mirrored those of ancient philosophers like Plato and Aristotle.
Two that stick closely with Kramer include “Excellence is not an occasional act, it’s a habit,” and “You don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.”
Kramer took in the play in New York City and loved it, even if it wasn’t an exact depiction of Lombardi.
“I knew the original, I lived with the original,” Kramer said. “No way anyone can recapture the original.”