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Super Bowl I team-signed ball joins Packers Hall of Fame

Paul Srubas
USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
The Lombardi Trophy from Super Bowl I, at left, joins the Lombardi Trophy from Super Bowl II, center, and Super Bowl XXXI, right, in the the display case at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Touchdown! exhibit,

A bit of Green Bay history made its way to Green Bay Sunday, thanks to a displaced Packers fan and his wish to keep a promise to an old friend.

John Wucinski, a Milwaukee native now living in Dallas, acquired a collector's item two years ago, a football signed by the 1966 Packers and also by the Cowboys. Sunday, he donated it to the Packers Hall of Fame.

"I had a dealer once offer me $12,000 for it, but I turned it down," Wucinski said. An old friend, William Weiss, had one the football in a raffle and gave it to Wucinski, whom he knew to be a Packers fan.

"I promised Billy when he gave it to me that I'd never sell it," Wucinski said. "I said if the Packers Hall of Fame wanted it, I'd donate it. I'm keeping my word to a dear friend who has passed away."

The football bears the signatures of 60 players, including 12 inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, two from Dallas and 10 from Green Bay. The ball was part of a fundraising effort linked to the Aug. 20, 1966, preseason game played in Dallas. The Cowboys ended up winning that exhibition game but losing the NFC Championship game to the Packers later that season. The Packers players who signed that ball went on to win the league's very first Super Bowl that season.

"We have a variety of team-signed footballs, but this is very unique," said Hall of Fame archivist Tom Murphy. "The Packers and the Cowboys were the powerhouses at the time, the two best teams in football signing this – it's a very significant piece."

Wucinski also donated a program from that Aug. 20, 1966, game. Murphy isn't sure how the items will be displayed in the expanded Hall of Fame when it opens next year.

— psrubas@pressgazettemedia.com and follow him on Twitter@PGpaulsrubas.