Friday, April 14, 2017

An entertaining read

Overslept this morning, so I don't have time to write a proper blog post. I will point you to a fascinating interview, however. For those of you who remember the era, John Brockington was the bell cow of the Green Bay Packers, a powerful runner who gained over 1,000 yards a season for his first three years. This was 1971-73, an era where the NFL played only 14 games in a season and the defenses were geared to stop the run. It was actually quite an achievement.
On the move in '72

Green Bay Packers historian (yes, they have one) Cliff Christl conducted a couple of interviews with Brockington, who is now 68 years old. The entire interview is here, but have a taste:

Playing for Dan Devine on a 4-8-2 team as a rookie compared to playing for Woody Hayes at Ohio State, which was unbeaten his senior year heading into the Rose Bowl: “(Devine) was very strange. When we were getting ready for the Bengals (the third game in ‘71), I’ll never forget, he said, ‘This team is bigger than us, they’re stronger than us, they’re faster than us. You have to do everything just right to win this football game.’ Like, why are we going out to play? When I was at Ohio State, we never went into a game thinking we could lose. Woody would say, ‘This is how we’re going to beat them.’ And we believed him because he was Woody Hayes. This guy (Devine) tells us, ‘If we don’t play a perfect game, we’re going to lose. They’re better than we are.’ I couldn’t believe it. But that was (Devine).”

On Devine telling him before the 12th game in 1971 that if he could start a team he’d take Minnesota’s Dave Osborn as his running back:  “So we’re in St. Louis and I was like chump change away from 1,000 yards and he makes the comment about Dave Osborn. Gillie says, ‘We got a back that’s ready to get 1,000 yards and (Devine) wants to start a team with somebody else.’ I didn’t want to get into that crap; I just wanted to play football. But he was a strange guy.”

On whether it was common for Devine to do things like that: “He wasn’t a coach that brought the team together. The things he said were so obvious that you wouldn’t do, but he’d do it anyway. It was amazing. He’d say things like, ‘If I was to start a football team, I’d start it with Alan Page or Joe Moore or Dave Osborn.’ It was never a Green Bay Packer. It was always somebody else. I mean how do you get ready for football games when the head coach doesn’t respect the team he is coaching?”
If you are a football fan of a certain age, this is great stuff. Check it out.

1 comment:

W.B. Picklesworth said...

The Packers made it into my Easter sermon this morning. Better than devine!