Go ahead and hum the Aretha song if you like, but that is not what this is about.
It is about another legend, however. The guy whose name is on the trophy the Chiefs and Buccaneers will play for on Sunday.
If you are wondering why Vince Lombardi’s name is on the Super Bowl trophy, please stop. Yes, he coached the Green Bay Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowls, although they weren’t called that then, but Lombardi’s reputation goes far beyond wins and losses. A strong case can be made that Lombardi was the finest, most decent man ever to walk an NFL sideline.
This comes through loud and clear (literally) in “Inside the Locker Room,” a set of two CDs released by Jerry Kramer, an offensive guard on those great Packers teams who wrote the best-selling book “Instant Replay” about the season leading up to the second Super Bowl and their third straight NFL championship. He brought a tape recorder into the locker room every game that season and is now releasing what he recorded. I received it as a Christmas present from my pal Mike Caputo. I found it riveting as Mike knew I would..
Success, whether on a football field or in life, comes down to simple things. This was the Lombardi philosophy, and I am going to share one little anecdote from Kramer that illustrates the point.
As time was running out, the Packers were driving toward what would be the winning touchdown in the game known as the “Ice Bowl.” It was the 1967 NFL championship between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. The temperature at the start of the game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay was minus-15 degrees.
The conditions made everything difficult: passing, running, blocking, tackling, even thinking. The turf was frozen. Getting good footing was impossible.
The Packers were inside the 10 yard line. In the huddle, quarterback Bart Starr, who, Kramer points out, called all his own plays, called for a running play they named “the give.” It’s a play where no one blocks one of the opposing linemen. When he’s not blocked, he instinctively will run into the backfield and wind up standing there all by himself realizing the guy with the ball has already blown past him. Starr decided they would pull this stunt against Bob Lilly, one of the greatest defensive tackles ever to play the game. Lilly might be too smart to fall for it, Kramer worried, and if he didn’t, he would be right there to demolish the ball carrier.
As it turned out, Lilly did fall for it, and the runner took the ball to the one-yard line. On the next play, Bart Starr went into the end zone on a quarterback sneak and the Packers won, 21-17.
Here’s the thing Kramer wants everyone to know about Lombardi:
Kramer said every team in the league had a similar play in their offensive arsenal and because the idea is to fake out the defensive lineman, every other team called it the “sucker play.”
But not Lombardi. He called the play the “give.” You actually give the defensive player a chance to be caught out of position.
Lombardi was adamant about not calling it the ”sucker play,” Kramer said. “Nobody’s a sucker,” Lombardi would say.
It was always a matter of respect with Lombardi. To him, the road to victory began with respecting the people you were playing against.
Think about this Sunday when you watch someone doing a dance after making a tackle. Even if his team is trailing by two touchdowns.

Ed Ackerman