- The 1966 Green Bay Packers: Profiles of Vince Lombardi's Super Bowl I Champions ed. by George Bozeka
Professional football in America has always produced teams that, during their existence or relatively soon after, were widely regarded as among the greatest outfits in the sport's long history. With the approach of the fiftieth anniversary of the first Super Bowl championship game in 1967, the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) has launched a new series of extremely detailed histories on the great teams of pro football history, and the 1966 Green Bay Packers—who won the first Super Bowl game—is the initial entry in the series.
The books are intended to be complete histories of the teams covered, including coach and player biographies, game summaries and statistics for the season, and various [End Page 101] thematic essays about the team being covered. The many articles that comprise the book are all researched and written by individual members of the PFRA.
The Green Bay Packers fielded some excellent teams in the 1930s, but, by the 1950s, the franchise was in disarray. This began to change with the hiring of Vince Lombardi as head coach and general manager in early 1959. The first few essays cover how Lombardi asserted his strong personality on the football program, dealt with occasional attempts of team officials to interfere with his running of the football team, and then proceeded through drafting and trading players to begin radically improving the team. All of these topics are discussed thoroughly.
The following two sections of essays appear to be intended as the core of the book. The first section covers the 1966 season in substantial detail, including essays of nearly four pages on the action in each of the games the Packers played that year, with game statistics. This coverage continues in greater length through the NFL title game against Dallas and then the Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs. While the statistics and scoring summaries for each game might prove of value to occasional researchers, the essays on each game's action are much too detailed.
The second lengthy section contains biographical essays for every player on the team; the major stars such as quarterback Bart Starr get an eight-page write-up, while reserve players receive only two or three pages each. While the nearly two hundred total pages of biographical information in this section might have some possible use for researchers in the future, again, this reviewer considers this to be far too much data on just one team.
Two excellent features of the book include the essay on Lombardi's and the team's experiences and attitudes toward African American players and the fact that each essay in the book is followed by endnotes that contain the citations for the article—definitely a valuable and useable feature for researchers. The end result, though, is that this extensive publication is definitely not an academic work, but rather a book that falls somewhere between general reading for the most fanatical Green Bay fans and a football reference book that is extremely limited in scope with its very extensive material on just one season in the franchise's history. Yet Green Bay football fans will no doubt enjoy virtually every bit of this collection of well-written essays on one of pro football's greatest teams.