Advertisement

Super Bowl XXVII : THROUGH THE YEARS : Footnotes To History : I : WILLIE WOOD : GREEN BAY PACKERS

Share via

There is a good reason Willie Wood doesn’t have the football he intercepted to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 35-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl I.

“In my day, if you wanted to take home a football, they charged you for it,” Wood said.

Wood, a Hall of Fame safety, also did not save the many telegrams he received from other NFL teams before the game, warning him not to mess up against those upstarts from the American Football League.

“The pressure in that game was unbelievable,” he said. “It’s not something I enjoy thinking about.”

Advertisement

But Wood will always have memories of that interception.

In a matter of seconds and inches, he helped save a proud team and league from humiliation.

With the Packers leading, 14-10, early in the second half, Len Dawson led the Chiefs into Green Bay territory when he was pressured into throwing a poor pass across the middle.

Wood grabbed the ball at the Packers’ 45-yard line and ran 50 yards before being tackled by Mike Garrett, a fellow USC alumnus.

That set up a five-yard touchdown run by Elijah Pitts, and the rout was on.

Historians may like to think that the play was inspired by a halftime speech by Coach Vince Lombardi, but Wood said it sprang from a halftime adjustment by defensive coordinator Phil Bengtson.

“Dawson was using a lot of play-action (passes), and getting outside on us where he had time to throw the ball,” Wood said. “So we started blitzing our linebackers from the other side to put some pressure on him.

“Dawson threw the pass just before Lee Roy Caffey got to him.”

The maneuver was one of Bengtson’s finest moves as an assistant coach, but his story had a bittersweet ending. Given the task of replacing Lombardi in 1969, he went 14-14 in two seasons before being replaced by Dan Devine.

Advertisement

“It’s sad, because Phil Bengtson was a great defensive coach,” Wood said. “But replacing Lombardi, nothing he could do was ever enough.”

* 1967 AT COLISEUM

Kansas City 0 10 0 0 -- 10 Green Bay 7 7 14 7 -- 35

GB--McGee 37 pass from Starr (Chandler kick)

KC--McClinton 7 pass from Dawson (Mercer kick)

GB--Taylor 14 run (Chandler kick)

KC--FG Mercer 31

GB--Pitts 5 run (Chandler kick)

GB--McGee 13 pass from Starr (Chandler kick)

GB--Pitts 1 run (Chandler kick)

Attendance--61,946

Winning Coach--Vince Lombardi

MVP--Bart Starr

Advertisement