1967: The Year I got a Chance of a Lifetime.


January 1, 1967. One win, and were in. We were versing the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Championship Game. If we ended up winning this game, we would be heading to the first Super Bowl, known as the World Championship Game at the time. We knew that if we could beat the Cowboys, we could easily win the Super Bowl as we would be versing a team from the newly founded AFL, a league that had only started about seven years ago (the NFL was about 47 years old).

A few hours until kickoff, coach wanted us to all huddle up. Coach Lombardi always expected the best out of us and tonight was no different. We went through the game plan and he reminded us of what we’ve been practicing all season for moments like these.

“Johnson, pay attention!” Coach shouted.

“Sorry, coach,” Johnson mumbled back.

“What was that?”

“I’m sorry coach!” Johnson shouted.

Coach Lombardi was the known for being strict. He was the greatest coach of our time and one of the greatest of all time as his legacy would carry on year after year. Whether it was the playoffs, the middle of the season, the preseason, or even just practices, Lombardi would always get on to us, especially Terry Johnson. Terry Johnson was the “team clown” and although he usually made everyone on the team laugh, Lombardi would never laugh.

“Why do you always got to be screwing around Johnson?”

“I was just uhhh…. uhhhh…”

“Spit it out! I have a game to coach in a few hours!”

“I was just telling a joke to Frank, I’m sorry coach.”

“It’s always you and your jokes Johnson”

The reason Terry Johnson always joked around was that he was getting old and he knew he wouldn’t play much anyways. He was a great player when he was younger, but everyone knew he would be retiring after this season.

A few hours later, it was finally game time. It wasn’t until the second quarter with only 30 seconds before coach had finally said, “Get in there Frank!” I had been waiting for what felt like days before I finally got the chance to go out and play the sport I love.

I head out to about the opponent’s 30 yard line to where our huddle was. It was third down and our quarterback, Bart Starr, gives us the play and I go out to line up outside. 10 up goalpost hook. This play meant the two outside recovers would go 10 yards then angle towards the goal post and the slot receiver and the tight end would go 10 yards before turning around to face the quarterback, also known as a button hook. This was our basic third down play and we wanted to get a touchdown before halftime to go up 17-14.

“Hike!” I hear Starr shout over the booming crowd. I dart down the field, after my ten yards I cut in slightly heading for the back of the end zone. I turn my head over my shoulder to see the ball coming in perfectly where I wanted it. I reach out for it as thousands of people are staring at me. The ball came in and bounced right off the palm of my left hand as it dropped onto the grass moments later. I tripped and landed face first into the grass. I dropped it. In front of thousands of people. We settled for a field goal. 13-14.

The game was almost over. I hadn’t gone into the game yet since I had my big drop, and it remained that way the rest of the game. Luckily we still had a great team and a great coach that helped us pull off a win with the score being 23-21.

* * * * *

Two weeks later, we were playing in the first ever Super Bowl. Our Green Bay Packers were the team from the NFL versing the Kansas City Chiefs from the AFL. We knew that we could beat the Chiefs, the NFL was so much more superior to the AFL, but coach Lombardi took no chances. Everyone on the team got there super early, well, everyone but one. 10 minutes into our game plan we hear the locker room door crack open and an individual walk in.

“Where’ve you been Johnson?” Coach yelled.

“Sorry coach, I had a bad night and got up late. My mistake.”

“You betcha it was your mistake, now I want to see you do 20 laps around the entire field after we’re done here.”

Later, we found out that Terry had been out all night partying with some of the locals and hometown friends. But Terry didn’t tell coach that.

Throughout the rest of our time in the locker room, I was dreaming. I couldn’t get over my last drop. Since I was never a starter, my time on the field was scarce and my one shot was ruined. I did have a good bit of time on the field during the regular season, but coach was tuff and the starters were the only ones who usually got time on the field during the post season. The only reason I got a chance last time was that one of the starters was winded from the last few plays similar to mine.

It was time now. The first Super Bowl had just started. We got the ball first. First and ten, Starr threw to Boyd Dowler, he caught the ball and was thrown to the ground (McGinn). Next thing I new I hear my name coming from coach Lombardi’s mouth as I throw on my helmet and rush onto the field. The rest of the game, Terry Johnson and I shared time on the field as we found out that Dowler had injured his right shoulder and would be out the rest of the game. I was still disappointed in myself from last game still, so I made up for catching a total of 4 catches, 67 yards, and 1 touchdown before the fourth quarter, but I wasn’t done yet.

Fourth quarter was starting and time was already starting to tick down. Surprisingly, the Chiefs were putting up a good fight. We expected to blow them out of the water in the first quarter, but they had different plans. With just two minutes remaining in the game, they scored their third touchdown going up 24-20. They had scored a total of three touchdowns and a field goal while we had scored three touchdowns but missed our second extra point. As were were jogging onto the field, we stopped by coach Lombardi to ask him what the plan was.

“Two minute offense boys, Show them what were capable of. Show them no mercy!”

Now we jogged onto the field with only one thing on our minds, the end zone. The drop from the last game had left my mind, I wasn’t worrying about it anymore and all I was thinking about was victory.

Ten yard gain. Fourteen yard gain. Seven yard gain. This happened until we got to the Chiefs twenty-three yard line. Starr roles back and gets sacked for a seven yard loss before he could even throw. Starr roles back again and this time gets its out of his hand and into Jim Taylor’s hand, our fullback, for a four yard gain. Now we were on their twenty-six yard line. Third down and thirteen with eight seconds left. This time, our offensive line was ready for the blitz and Starr had an extra second to throw deep and he connected with Terry Johnson for a ten yard gain. Fourth and three with only two seconds left on the sixteen yard line. This time there was no blitz and Starr stayed in the pocket and threw a bullet right over the defense to the corner of the end zone right to me. This time I was ready. The ball was a little bit in front of me and I was close to the sideline so I dove out for the ball dragging my toes making sure I don’t go out of bounds. Everyone’s eyes were on me as I reached out for ball…

The next moment I remember was me getting picked up by my team and the whole stadium roaring with excitement. I don’t recall what happened in between but what I do know is that I caught it and won the game 26-24. I remember watching the replay on my new Sony TV time after time after time with teammates, friends, and family.

Later in the year, I got a letter from Ford saying that they wanted to put me in a commercial and in return, they would give me a brand new ’67 Mustang. This was my second big moment in life and I took it. Ford made the commercial about how winners drove Mustangs and I felt honored to be in it.

The rest of the year, I enjoyed life as it came to me. I decided to retire from football that offseason after six total seasons with the Packers. My wife and I were expecting a baby girl in September and I wanted to make sure I could spend every moment with her.

* * * * *

Now it was finally September and on the first Sunday, we were awarded our Super Bowl rings, the first of its kind. Two days later, on Tuesday, my baby girl was born. What a year I was having. Last year, I was a nobody. This year, I was a somebody. But my popularity didn’t last long because of the legacy that Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi left with the Packers winning the second Super Bowl as well. The Super Bowl trophy was later called the Vince Lombardi trophy and Starr would be the Super Bowl MVP for the first two Super Bowls (Fox).  Although these two and other legends drowned out my name, I was glad I was able to spend my career with them as I became a better football player, and a better human. Those two men, along with many others, were the reason I got the chance of a lifetime.


Works Cited

Fox, Bob. “Why the NFL’s Championship Prize Is Called the Vince Lombardi Trophy.” Bleacher             Report. Bleacher Report, 12 Apr. 2017. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

McGinn, Bob. The Ultimate Super Bowl Book: A Complete Reference to the Stats, Stars, and                 Stories behind Football’s Biggest Game– and Why the Best Team Won. N.p.: MVP, 2012.           Print.



“1967 Super Bowl I Recap between Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.” NFL.com.                    NFL, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

Beschloss, Michael. “Before the Bowl Was Super.” The New York Times. The New York Times,              24 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.