Golden Football Magazine
NFL Championship Games
1962: Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants
This series covers the history of the NFL through the prism of its yearly championship games.
Note: The gray boxes contain asides that provide interesting material but could be skipped
without losing the continuity of the article.

Bart Starr

Y. A. Tittle

Joe Walton

Frank Gifford

Allie Sherman

Jim Katcavage

Roosevelt Grier

Packers fans outside team hotel morning of the game.

The two-time defending Western Conference champion Packers were a prohibitive favorite to repeat.
  • With free agency over a decade away, Vince Lombardi welcomed back all but five players from the 1961 team that walloped the Giants for the NFL Champion­ship. That would be a tough act to follow.
  • It was not in Lombardi's nature to let his team get complacent. If perfection is your goal, you keep working. He had no tolerance for prima donnas.
    FB Jimmy Taylor on the '62 team: There wasn't any jealousy on the club, no envy of, say, one particular receiver making All-Pro and the other not making it. We had as much unity as you possibly could have, which goes along with the love aspect Lombardi always talked about.
  • The result was a continuation of the pattern of year-to-year improvement under the former Giants offensive coordinator: 7-5 in 1959, 8-4 in 1960, 11-3 in 1961, and 13-1 in 1962.
  • It took Lombardi several years to develop QB Bart Starr into a leader he could trust. By 1962, the transformation was complete. Vince, the bombastic New York Catholic, developed the game plan, but Starr, the mild-mannered Southern Protestant, called the plays, read the defenses, and checked off at the line of scrimmage when necessary. Widely viewed as Lombardi's robot, Bart was any­thing but as the one Packer who could disagree with the coach. Vince rarely second-guessed his signal-caller because, as WR Gary Knafelc recalled, Bart and Coach Lombardi thought the same way about football ...
  • FB Jim Taylor had what would turn out to be the greatest season of his Hall of Fame career. He led the NFL in carries (272), yardage (1,474 to break Jim Brown's five-year stranglehold on the rushing title), yards from scrimmage (1,580), and touchdowns (19). Part of the reason for Taylor's dominance was the knee injury suffered in Game 5 by his backfield mate, Paul Hornung.
    While watching film of a 1960 Packers game, Lombardi singled out Taylor for going out of his way to run over the opposing safety. What are you trying to do there? Vince asked. You gotta sting 'em a little bit, Coach, Jimmy replied. You know you've gotta make those tacklers respect you.
    In his 1963 book Run to Daylight, Lombardi would write this about his full­back: They respect him. In fact every time he carries the ball there are 11 of them, all of whom want to pay their respects to him personally.
    No game better illustrated that attitude than the '62 championship clash.
  • The '62 Packers led the NFL in points scored and in fewest points allowed. The only teams that gave them any trouble were the Colts and Lions. The Pack won in Baltimore 17-6 and prevailed 17-13 in Wisconsin. A last-minute interception enabled Green Bay to upend the Lions 9-7 in their first meeting. When the Packers visited the Motor City for the annual Thanksgiving Day clash, Detroit got its revenge, 26-14, for Green Bay's only defeat. Read Bart Starr's recol­lection of the two Detroit games ...
  • When the Packers clinched the West title, Lombardi, New York born and bred, installed a sign leading into the locker room: HOME OF THE GREEN BAY PACK­ERS, THE YANKEES OF FOOTBALL

For the second straight year, the New York Giants compiled the second best record in the league.

  • 36-year-old QB Y. A. Tittle continued his late-career renaissance, setting a new NFL record with 33 touchdown passes. A league-leading twelve of them went to SE Del Shofner and nine to TE Joe Walton.
  • Tittle had the quarterback position to himself following the retirement of Charlie Conerly. On the other hand, another star from the late 1950s teams, Frank Gifford, returned to football after retiring for a year following the serious concussion he suffered in 1960. Coach Allie Sherman used Frank as a flanker rather than as a halfback, his previous position.
  • The Giants won the weak East by three games over the surprising Pitts­burgh Steelers, whose nine victories were the most in franchise history.
  • You had to combine New York's top five rushers to equal the yardage that Taylor alone gained for the Packers. Reliable FB Alex Webster led the G-men with 743, half Jimmy's total.
  • The Giants fielded their trademark defense anchored by the veteran Front Four: LE Jim Katcavage (six years experience), LT Dick Modzelewski (nine), RT Roosevelt Grier (seven), and RE Andy Robustelli (11). Behind them lurked six-year MLB Sam Huff. S Jimmy Patton (seven NFL seasons) quar­terbacked the secondary.
  • As the championship game against "the Yankees of Football" neared, the Giants posted a different sign in their locker room. All it said was "37." That was the margin by which the Packers belted the Giants in Green Bay a year earlier.
  • The player most fired up for the rematch was MLB Sam Huff. The Packers had run at him, over him, and around him in the '61 title game romp. The only way to resuscitate his reputation was to have an outstanding game. So he made it his personal mission to put the clamps on Taylor, the NFL's rushing leader. The Giants would employ the same gang-tackling mentality they used against the great Jim Brown of Cleveland.
    Robustelli expressed his attitude concerning the 1961 title clash like this: That game was the low point of my career. We have done a great deal with defense for the Giants, and that one really stings. It burned into my brain, and the only way I can get rid of the memory is by returning the aggravation. If we win this game, it won't be enough. We have to destroy the Packers and Lombardi. It's the only way we can atone for what happened to us last year.

A Brooklyn native, Lombardi returned to the city he loved the day before the title clash.

  • In his youth, he had attended numerous Yankee games. As a member of the "Seven Blocks of Granite" at Fordham, Vince played in the annual season-ending game against NYU in Yankee Stadium.
  • He worked for five years as offensive coordinator for the Giants after they moved from the Polo Grounds to Yankee Stadium.
    The New York newspapers were on strike and not publishing. That didn't bother Lombardi in the least since dealing with the press was the least agreeable part of his job as head coach. He figured he'd have to talk to the out of town press after the game Sunday but not before. But the NFL office had other ideas. Jim Kenzil, the league's chief publicist, set up a news conference for Saturday afternoon. When Lombardi received a call telling him to attend, he said he had plans to see his family at that time. Vince thought the matter was settled until he received another call, this one from Commissioner Pete Rozelle. So Lombardi took a cab to the Ame­ricana Hotel, where he walked briskly into the news conference without removing his hat and coat. Kensil announced that the coach would be available for only a few questions because of a prior commitment. After a few easy questions to get things started, Dick Young of the New York Daily News asked, Vinnie, you are coming back to your hometown for a championship game. Do you think there's any chance the officials might tend to be homers? Visibly angry, Lombardi replied, That's the silliest question I ever heard. Then he walked out.
"The methodical ground-hugging Packers" were 6.5-point favorites.
  • Immediately after the two teams worked out briefly Saturday morning, the field was covered by a tarpaulin to protect it against the rain that began to fall.
  • After the rain passed through, the temperature was expected to fall drasti­cally over night.
  • Lombardi told the press that the 1962 Giants were a much better club than the one his Packers humiliated the year before. Coach also said he would wait until game time whether to start injured Hornung or Tom Moore at halfback. Paul said, I feel good and I'm running well. I'm ready to go as far as I can. It's up to him (Lombardi).
    The identity of one injured Packer was not known to the press. Concerned that his team lacked the intensity needed to counteract the opponents' fire, Lombardi pulled MLB Ray Nitschke aside the Wednesday of champ­ionship week and told him, Hit those guys, Ray. Hit those guys like they're Giants. That was no problem for Nitschke, who often had to be toned down in practice. In a scrimmage, Ray drilled Jim Ringo, leaving the vete­ran center with a severely pinched nerve on the right side of his neck. Unable to center the ball, Jim didn't think he'd be able to play against the Giants. When the Packers arrived in New York and went to Yankee Stadium for a workout, a reporter from the Newark Star-Ledger, Dave Klein, overheard a conversation in the locker room. Lombardi asked Ringo, How's the arm? Jim replied, I can't feel it at all, coach. When Vince spotted Klein, he blew his top. Ringo explained to the reporter that, if the Giants knew about his injury, they'd take shots at his shoulder and cause permanent damage. Jim promised Klein that, if he didn't write about the injury, he'd give him an exclusive interview after the game. The reporter agreed.
  • Taylor was confident. We'll win. I think it will be a tough, low-scoring game. The Giants are a "money" club. They're tough in big games. (Jimmy's predic­tions proved to be right on the money.)
    The Giants were also confident. Tittle recalled: Green Bay was the heavy favorite, but I felt we had a better chance than in 1961. ... I really thought we could do it, and so did the rest of the team. There was an intensity about them that I had never seen before. The defense was really worked up.
  • The game pitted the league's best rushing team against the NFL's top passing club.
    Ray Nitschke later wrote of the 1962 rematch in the championship game: It seemed that both teams played through the season just to get it over with and get back at one another again. He recalled the signs in New York saying, Beat Green Bay - Bushville U.S.A.

NBC paid $615,000 for the TV and radio rights. This was the largest sum ever paid for the televison-radio rights for a sports event.

  • The TV announcers were Chris Schenkel (Giants) and Ray Scott (Packers).
  • Ken Coleman and Ted Moore handled the radio broadcast.
  • The telecast was blacked out within a 75 mile radius of the stadium after a Federal judge refused to lift the ban in response to a suit brought by three fans. So many Giants fans hit the road to motels and lounges outside the restricted area.
    The Jersey City Journal reported the next day: Fans were six deep in a How­ard Johnson's in Lawrenceville, talking of Tittle and Shofner while munching halftime hamburgers. Waitresses looked bewildered. And most of the motels kept a TV repairman on duty throughout the game to guard against the calam­ity of a blown picture tube. ... The owner of the Sleep-E-Hollow Motel in Law­renceville said he had begun to receive reservations for the game three weeks ago. By game time, all 53 of his units were filled, and someone even wanted to rent the TV set behind the motel desk. He kept it for himself. "I just hope the Giants don't lose," he said at halftime. "I'm afraid the fans will tear up the place."
1962 Green Bay Packers
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
5 Paul Hornung HB 6-2 215 Notre Dame 6
10 John Roach QB 6-4 195 SMU 7
15 Bart Starr QB 6-1 195 Alabama 7
22 Elijah Pitts HB 6-1 205 Philander Smith 2
24 Willie Wood DB 5-10 190 USC 3
25 Tom Moore HB 6-2 215 Vanderbilt 3
26 Herb Adderley DB 6-0 205 Michigan State 2
27 John Symank DB 5-11 180 Florida 6
29 Howard Williams DB 6-1 190 Howard 1
31 Jim Taylor FB 6-0 215 LSU 5
33 Lew Carpenter HB 6-1 220 Arkansas 10
40 Earl Gros FB 6-3 220 LSU 1
46 Hank Gremminger DB 6-1 200 Baylor 7
47 Jesse Whittenton DB 6-0 195 Texas-El Paso 7
51 Jim Ringo C 6-1 230 Syracuse 10
53 Ken Iman C-G 6-1 240 SE Missouri State 3
58 Dan Currie LB 6-3 235 Michigan State 5
60 Ed Blaine G 6-1 240 Missouri 1
63 Fuzzy Thurston G 6-1 245 Valparaiso 5
64 Jerry Kramer G 6-3 245 Idaho 5
66 Ray Nitschke LB 6-3 235 Illinois 5
71 Bill Forester LB 6-3 235 SMU 10
73 Ron Gassert DE 6-3 260 Virginia 1
74 Henry Jordan DT 6-2 250 Virginia 6
75 Forrest Gregg T 6-4 250 SMU 7
76 Bob Skoronski T 6-3 250 Indiana 7
77 Ron Kostelnik DT 6-4 260 Cincinnati 2
78 Norm Masters T 6-2 250 Michigan State 6
79 Dave Hanner DT 6-2 255 Arkansas 11
80 Gary Barnes E 6-4 200 Clemson 1
83 Bill Quinlan DE 6-3 250 Michigan State 5
84 Gary Knafelc TE 6-4 215 Colorado 9
85 Max McGee E-P 6-3 205 Tulane 7
86 Boyd Dowler FL-P 6-5 225 Colorado 4
87 Willie Davis DE 6-3 245 Grambling State 5
88 Ron Kramer TE 6-3 235 Michigan 6
1962 New York Giants
# Player Pos. Hgt. Wgt. College Exp.
9 Ralph Gugliemi QB 6-1 195 Notre Dame 8
14 Y. A. Tittle QB 6-0 190 LSU 12
16 Frank Gifford FL 6-1 195 USC 11
20 Jimmy Patton DB 5-11 185 Mississippi 8
21 Allan Webb DB 5-11 180 Arnold 2
22 Dick Lynch DB 6-1 200 Notre Dame 5
23 Paul Dudley HB 6-0 185 Arkansas 1
24 Phil King FB 6-4 225 Vanderbilt 5
25 Dick Pesonen DB 6-0 190 Minnesota, Minn.-Duluth 3
26 Sam Horner DB 6-0 200 VMI 3
29 Alex Webster FB 6-3 225 North Carolina State 8
31 Bill Winter LB 6-3 220 St. Olaf 1
34 Don Chandler K 6-2 215 Florida 7
40 Joe Morrison DB 6-1 210 Cincinnati 4
42 Charlie Conerly QB 6-1 185 Mississippi 14
46 Johnny Counts HB 5-10 170 Illinois 1
49 Erich Barnes DB 6-2 200 Purdue 5
53 Greg Larson T 6-3 250 Minnesota 2
55 Ray Wietecha C 6-1 225 Michigan St., Northwestern 10
60 Ken Byers G/DE 6-1 240 Cincinnati 1
62 Darrell Dess G 6-0 245 North Carolina State 5
64 Mickey Walker G 6-0 235 Michigan State 2
66 Jack Stroud G 6-1 235 Tennessee 10
70 Sam Huff LB 6-1 230 West Virginia 7
72 Chuck Janerette T 6-3 255 Penn State 3
73 Reed Bohovich T 6-1 260 Lehigh 1
75 Jim Katcavage DE 6-3 235 Dayton 6
76 Roosevelt Grier DT 6-5 285 Penn State 8
77 Dick Modzelewski DT 6-0 250 Maryland 10
79 Roosevelt Brown T 6-3 255 Morgan State 10
80 Joe Walton TE 5-11 200 Pittsburgh 6
81 Andy Robustelli DE 6-1 230 Arnold 12
82 Tom Scott LB 6-2 220 Virginia 10
84 Jim Collier E 6-3 205 Arkansas 1
85 Del Shofner SE 6-3 185 Baylor 6
88 Aaron Thomas E 603 219 Oregon State 2
When the Green Bay bus wheeled into the parking lot at noon Sunday, LB Ray Nitschke yelled, Welcome to Yankee Stadium, home of the world champion Packers!

Shortly after starting warmups, both teams knew the elements would play a decisive role in the fray.

  • By the kickoff, the temperature had dropped to 20° with swirling winds of 25-30 mph from the Northwest. The thermometer would fall to 10 by the end of the game.
  • The immortal Red Smith described the conditions like this in his syndicated article the next day: Polar gales clawed topseed off the barren playground and whipped it into whirlwinds about the great concrete chasm of Yankee Stadium. The winds snatched up tattered newspapers, more newspapers than people can find in all New York these days, and flung the shreds aloft where they danced and swirled in a Shubert blizzard ...
  • Throughout the game, players on both sides huddled around metal oil drums stuffed with trash and doused with lighter fluid, giving the game the feel of a Depression era sidewalk (Keith Dunnavant).
  • Occasionally, a gust would topple a sideline bench or blow a fan's hat away. Once, the hat be­longed to Lombardi. It also happened to Mrs. Bart Starr's favorite white fur hat, which she never saw again.
  • To make matters worse, the grassless field was like concrete–frozen in large areas with holes and ruts throughout. The players would have to take short, choppy steps to keep from slip­ping.
  • Lombardi later said he had never seen a worse day for football, including the '61 fi­nale in Green Bay. I was half sorry to ask people to play in those conditions.
  • Experiencing the tricky wind, a Giants assistant told head coach Allie Sherman, We just lost our passing game.
  • Starr and Lombardi also revised their game plan. The Packers had been planning to exploit weak­nesses in the New York secondary, especially against blitzes. You couldn't throw long because you weren't sure where the ball would go, Bart explained. So the coach and his quarterback decided on a more conservative approach built around FB Jimmy Taylor. Since the Giants' running game was much less productive (1698y to 2460y), the weather favored the visitors.
    Starr would later say, Lombardi and I conferred more during this game than any other I can recall.
  • Lombardi sought out Nitschke as the Packers warmed up. Give us some hits right away, Ray. Get the boys started hitting.

After the pregame workouts, each team made its decisions concerning footwear.

  • The Packers decided to have their backs and ends wear ripple-soled "coaches shoes" with the linemen donning cleats.
  • Every Giant wore the coaches shoes.
  • Some players on each team wore gloves.

The Packers were booed, and the crowd chanted "Beat Green Bay!" during the player introductions. Taylor provoked the loudest response.

A late arriving crowd of 64,892 watched a game that commentators would describe as "a slugfest," "a street fight," "primevil football," "a bone-crushing defensive duel," "an ugly, bloody, frigid test of wills," and "one of the most violent of all NFL championship games."

Giants try to keep warm on the sideline.


Injured C Jim Ringo introduced before the game.

Jim Taylor waiting to be introduced.

Earl Gros

Joe Morrison

Y.A. Tittle hands off.

Ray Nitschke tackles Alex Webster.

Del Shofner

Jesse Whittenton

Don Chandler

Vince Lombardi bundled up on the sideline.

Paul Hornung runs.

Sam Huff stands up Jimmy Taylor.

Sam Horner

Boyd Dowler

Ron Kramer

Dick Modzelewski

Roosevelt Grier nails Bart Starr as the QB passes.

Willie Wood and Herb Adderley tackle Shofner.

Starr fakes to Taylor. Notice Bart's ripple-soled shoes.

Taylor runs away from Robustelli.

Taylor bent over in pain as he leaves the field.

Kramer boots field goal.

Starr tries to pass.

Bill Winter tackles Hornung.

Bill Quinlan

Bill Forester

Johnny Counts in his Hamilton Tiger-Cats uniform

Ken Iman

Herb Adderley

Willie Wood knocks down Tom Kelleher.

Johnny Symank

Ray Wietecha

Hank Gremminger

Dave Hanner

Jimmy Patton

Tittle leaves the field.

  • Quarter 1
    Before Willie Wood could kickoff for the Packers, the ball blew off the tee twice, forcing Earl Gros to kneel and hold it. The low line drive boot went to the 15 to Joe Morrison, who returned to the 32. Executing a game plan that called for establishing the run and wearing down the Packers Front Four, Y. A. Tittle called three straight running plays to gain a first down: Alex Webster for two, Phil King for six and another six. With fingers frozen stiff so that he could hard­ly hold the football, Y.A. tried his first pass, the patented down-and-out to Del Shofner. But a gust of wind knocked the ball down 3y short of its target. To make matters worse, Shofner was called for interference against Jesse Whit­tenton, his road roommate when the two played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1957.
    Steve Sabol, capturing video of the clash for Blair Motion Pictures, was shocked at what the wind did to the strong-armed Tittle's pass. There was such an expression of despair and surprise on Tittle's face, Sabol recalled. You could tell he realized he was in for a long afternoon.
    Starr recalled what he thought to himself on the Packer sideline. If Y. A. Tittle had this much difficulty with the wind, I saw no need to fight it.
    Webster got back 11y of the penalty. Then Tittle tried the airways again in vain to TE Joe Walton. On 3rd-and 15, Y. A. tried a long one to Shofner but didn't come close to a completion. Punting with the wind, Don "Babe" Chand­ler kicked 58y into the end zone.

    Nitschke tackles Webster.
    Answering questions about his health, Paul Hornung trotted onto the field with the Packer offense. Bart Starr started with a draw play to Hornung for 4y. Then Jimmy Taylor drove to the 34 to move the chains. Taking advantage of a calm in the wind, Bart called an audible and threw down the middle to TE Ron Kramer to the 44 for another first down. Taylor came around right end and bounced off tacklers until Sam Huff drove him out of bounds on the NY 42.
    Taylor headed directly for Huff but couldn't cut on the icy surface. As Sam made the tackle, he used his knees and elbows to accentuate the contact as the two skidded across the ice. Taylor struggled to his feet and, leaning over, coughed up blood. He then returned to the huddle and told Starr to give him the ball again.
    Sabol: The lasting image of that game in my mind is the ferocity and anger of Jim Taylor ... his barely restrained rage as he ran with the ball. Taylor just got the shit kicked out of him all day long ... There was all this trash-talking between him and especially Sam Huff ... Tons of profanity when they tackled him. I had never experienced anything like that.

    Sam Huff chases Jimmy Taylor.

    Giants close in on Taylor.
    Bart tried to hit Hornung down the left side but failed to connect. The next Taylor-Huff confrontation took place on the following snap, a draw play for no gain. Facing 3rd-and-10, Starr threw a screen to his fullback to the 29. After Taylor churned for short yardage to the 26, Bart threw another screen to Jimmy who followed a block by Fuzzy Thurston to the 19 to make it 3rd and less than a yard to go. It was Taylor time again, but the Giants stacked him up in the mid­dle. After unpiling the players, the officials ruled the ball short of the line to gain. So Jerry Kramer, wearing a ripple-soled shoe on his left foot and a cleat on his kicking foot, set up for a 26y field goal that sailed between the uprights in the swirling wind. Packers 3 Giants 0

    Jerry Kramer kicks first field goal.
    Kramer had taken over the placekicking duties early in the season when Hornung hurt his knee. Jerry recalled: It was common for players in my era to try and play two positions. It made you more valuable and less likely to be re­leased. I was a kicker in college ... But the guard still felt trepidation as he faced his first kick. I looked across the field at Huff, Robustelli, Katcavage, Grier, and that group, and I thought to myself, "What in the hell are you doing out here?" So I was a bit nervous, but I kept my head down and went through my funda­mentals, and I made the kick.
    With the swirling wind, all normal methods of lining up the kick were useless. All Kramer could do was aim and pray. The first one, when I looked up, it looked like the ball was outside the goal posts, yet the official had his hands in the air signaling "good," and I said to Bart Starr (the holder), "What the hell's he doing?" And Bart said, "Shut up and get off the field."
    Kramer continued: Yankee Stadium was an awesome experience, especially for a kid from Idaho. Just to walk into that place where you had heard fights broad­cast from, where so many World Series games were played, plus to see all the statues out in centerfield of Gehrig, Ruth, and DiMaggio. ... We knew how badly coach Lombardi wanted to win that ball game. And we knew the Giants had been embarrassed the year before in Green Bay. We knew the Giants were going to be loaded for bear that day. But we also knew coach Lombardi despe­rately wanted a victory, and so we wanted to win for him as much as for our­selves.
    The icy conditions didn't bother Kramer as much as the other players. I grew up in the cold in Northern Idaho, just south of the Canadian border. I know how to prepare for the cold. I put on thermal underwear and cut the arms off at the elbow and cut the legs off at the knees. Put a dickey around my neck. So I was ready. And once you're ready for it, you have to forget about it and get it the hell out of your mind.
    Sam Horner returned Wood's kickoff 24y to the 38. The Packer defense had watched their fullback take the battle to the opponent. Nitschke said later, Early in the game, Taylor set the tone. So Ray and his mates adopted that same approach when they returned to the field. Running behind their left side, King gained five and Webster, three. That set up a Tittle pass to Shofner who raced to the GB 33. Del caught the next one for eight more. Tittle to King on a screen put the pigskin on the 16. After MLB Ray Nitschke dropped King for a yard gain, disaster struck the Giants. Calling the defensive signals, Nitschke, knowing that Tittle liked to use his TE Walton on one of his "over-the-line quickies," decided it was time to gamble as the crowd yelled, "Go! Go!" Before the snap, Ray cheated to his left and when Y.A. indeed threw toward Walton, who was open in the end zone, Ray made a desperate lunge and tipped it. The ball settled into the hands of LLB Dan Currie at the 10. Currie ran the ball out to the 39.

    Dan Currie returns tipped interception.
    Following two incompletions, Starr gave the ball to Hornung on pass-run option. Paul followed Thurston's block around right end to the 49. The measurement revealed first down. After Robustelli with Jimmy Patton's assistance stopped Taylor for no gain, Starr sent Boyd Dowler deep over the middle to clear the area and threw to Ron Kramer to the NY 34 for the Pack's sixth first down. Taylor fumbled but was ruled down at the 31. Next, Jimmy swept left, but Katcavage was waiting. No gain. Starr called 31's number again, but Huff took him down at the 30. Jimmy was bent over in pain as he left the field. On 4th-and-6, Jerry Kramer's 37y field goal fell short as period ended. Packers 3 Giants 0

    Grier and Huff down Taylor as Jerry Kramer and Forrest Gregg look on.
  • Quarter 2
    As clouds rolled in, the stadium lights were turned on, enhancing the Siberia­like feel. Winds were clocked as high as 50 mph on the field.
    Starting from the 20, the Giants alternated King and Webster to gain a first down at the 32 on three snaps. But three straight incompletions brought in Chandler to punt to the Green Bay 32.
    Starr faked to Taylor and handed to Hornung who ran for a first down at the 43. Hornung on a draw for six and Taylor over the right side made it another first down on the NY 48. Forced by the rush to throw early, Starr failed to connect with WR Max McGee over the middle. So Bart tried a flare to Taylor only to see Huff, Katcavage, and DB Allan Webb gang up on the receiver for no gain. On 3rd-and-10, the former Alabama quartrback rolled right–something he didn't like to do–and fired down the middle to WR Boyd Dowler to make it 1st-and-10 at the 33. It was Starr's 6th completion in 10 attempts. But Dick Modzelewski poured through and sacked Starr at the 44. That disrupted the drive so that, after two incompletions, McGee punted dead at the five.
    Despite the sack, Jerry Kramer felt he had a nice day blocking. I felt like I played a good solid football game.  My opponent Dick Modzelewski was an experienced player, but he wasn't physically overwhelming. He didn't have the great quickness some had, nor the great physical strength some had, but he was a just a very solid player. Anyway, I felt like a played a good game against him that day.
    Playing conservatively deep in their territory, the Giants ran Webster three times but fell a yard shy of the first down. Chandler took the low snap and just got the punt away to the Packer 45.
    The visitors could not take advantage of the excellent field position. Surprisingly, Starr called three running plays which netted only 2y. So McGee booted a low line drive out of bounds at the 29–a gain of 15 for the the home team in the exchange of punts.
    With 3:48 showing on the unofficial scoreboard clock–enough time to drive for a tying field goal–Tittle threw a screen pass to King. But a savage tackle by Currie caused a fumble that Nitschke recovered at the 28.

    Nitschke recovers fumble after Currie levels Phil King.
    On the sideline, Starr turned to Lombardi and said, How about it, Coach? Vince replied, Have at it.
    3:06 showed on the clock, more than enough for the Pack to increase their lead. They wouldn't need even 1/3 of the remaining time. Given the OK to at­tack, Starr called for one of his classic weapons, the halfback pass by the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Notre Dame. Running right, Hornung threw a perfect pass to Dowler to the eight. Then, thinking the Giants would be extremely ag­gressive but still somewhat unsure of themselves, Starr called "Blue Right 37." The play called for Taylor to run a slant off right tackle behind a cross-blocking scheme. But Modzelewski saw something in Taylor's stance that tipped him off that the play was coming at him. When Jimmy took the handoff and headed right, "Little Mo" followed only to have Kramer drive him further outside. The fullback read the block and cut left against the grain. C Jim Ringo got a piece of Huff to allow Jimmy to dash through a narrow opening up the middle for the touchdown. Kramer added the PAT. Packers 10 Giants 0 (2:39)

    Taylor bursts past Huff and Grier into the end zone.
    It was the only play of the game they didn't touch me, Taylor said later. After being told by Huff "you stink" every time Sam tackled him, Jimmy couldn't resist turning to his tormentor from the end zone after the touchdown run and ask­ing, How do I smell from here, Sam?
    Huff said later: He was that type of guy. He was always hooting his mouth off on the field. He'd tell me, "Yeah, you're just a big talker." He brought the best out in you. He was an unusual player, a great player, but an agitator. ... I did everything I could to that sonofabitch. "Everything" included piling on, giving Taylor an extra shot into the frozen turf, and kneeing him in the groin. On one play, Huff twisted Jimmy's head after the play ended. Yet the officials never threw a single flag for unnecessary roughness.
    Game films show Taylor exchanging words with other Giants including Ro­bustelli and Modzelewski. Mo claimed Jimmy bit him in a pileup.
    Johnny Counts took the kick on the nine and broke loose to the 41, where Wood made the saving tackle. Webster gained three before the two-minute warning. When play resumed, Tittle hit Walton dragging behind Gifford up the right sideline. Joe ran out of bounds at the GB 41 to stop the clock. But a draw to King for three and two failed throws brought on the field goal team. Chandler's kick from the 47 missed to the right. Since the ball was placed on the 20 after a missed field goal, the failed try was as good as a punt .
    The Packers ran out the clock.
    HALFTIME: Packers 10 Giants 0
    The Packers drank hot coffee or bouillon in the locker room before splitting into the usual offensive and defensive groupings. The meetings were inter­rupted by a scream from the back room where Taylor was getting his gashed elbow stitched up. He had also bitten his tongue and was spitting blood throughout the game. Jimmy would find out several weeks later that he had hepatitis, which explained his 15lb weight loss leading up to the game.
    Some players wondered if their fullback could play the second half. But in one of the gutsiest performances in football history, Taylor persevered, carrying 31 times for 85y. He recalled: We couldn't throw the ball because of the swirling wind. We just tried to come off the ball and run to daylight. They ran me out of bounds so much because I couldn't cut up field.
    Nitschke later admitted that, at halftime, I was so miserable, numb and cold I didn't feel like coming out to play the second half.

Swirling winds in Yankee Stadium
  • Quarter 3
    Dick Lynch held for Chandler, who booted to Tom Moore at the 15. The third-year halfback ran down the sideline to midfield where he fumbled. But backup C Ken Iman got on top of football for the Packers.
    Dick Lynch tackles Tom Moore, causing a fumble on the kickoff.
    After a Starr-to-Dowler completion made in 3rd-and-1 at the NY 41, Taylor fumbled, but for the second time in less than two minutes, Green Bay escaped damange when Thurston fell on the ball. McGee's low punt into the wind rolled dead on the six.
    The battle between Taylor and the Giants' defense continued unabated. Huff: I hit him so hard I don't know how the hell he got up. I didn't think I could get up either, but I had too much pride to stay down. Most guys, rather than get hit, would run out of bounds. But I knew Taylor wasn't going to do it. I knew he was going to turn back into me and bury me. And I thought, "One of us is going to die." Huff was later diagnosed with a slight concussion.
    Tittle started the half using his heavy duty back with success. Webster ran to the 11, then got loose around the right side to the 22. After a 3y gain by Alex, Tittle connected with Shofner to the 37 where he was pushed out by Witten­ton. King ran a criss-cross to the 41, Webster hit up the middle for three before driving to midfield for a first down. Running from the rush of DE Bill Quinlan and LB Bill Forester, Y. A. threw the first of two straight incompletions. Offside on the Packers made it 3rd-and-5 at the GB 45. Morrison replaced King and took a screen pass. But Currie dropped Joe immediately at the line of scrim­mage. So Chandler toed a line drive punt over the goal line with 8:45 left in the period.
    With their offensive counterparts unable to put points on the board, the Giants defense and special teams took matters into their own hands. First, the left side of NY defense dropped Hornung for a 5y loss. Starr faked a handoff to Paul and threw a pass toward McGee that was almost intercepted by Lynch. With 10-0 lead, would Bart play it safe on 3rd-and-15? No. He again passed unsuccessfully to McGee. When Max dropped back to punt, DB Erich Barnes blocked it. The ball squirted into the end zone, where Jim Collier covered it for NY's first points against Green Bay in seven quarters. Chandler kicked the point. Packers 10 Giants 7 (7:34)

    Erich Barnes blocks Max McGee's punt.

    Jim Collier recovers blocked punt in end zone.
    Moore returned the kick from the four to the 33. With the crowd chanting "Beat Green Bay," Starr asked officials for quiet and rehuddled. Two Taylor runs lost 3y before Starr's pass to Ron Kramer was almost picked off by rookie LB Bill Winter. With momentum entirely with the Giants, McGee got away a low punt that Horner unwisely tried to field on the dead run. A scramble ensued that ended in a pileup. When the players were peeled off, Nitchske had the ball on the NY 42. Just like that, the Packers had tipped the field.

    Taylor tries to find room between Robustelli and Modzelewski.
    Taylor found a hole on the left side to the 30. Starr tried unsuccessfully to hit Dowler down the middle inside the five. Jimmy ran a draw to the 26. Starr threw to Dowler who stepped out on the 22, 2y short of the marker. Kicking from the 28, Kramer tacked on three points. Packers 13 Giants 7 (4:00)
    Starr explained his offensive strategy that day like this: As I took my position under center, I could see that the defense was pumped up to stop Jimmy. ... My first objective was to find one of our receivers deep downfield. They were smart and sure-handed, so I simply had to throw the ball away from the defensive back; they would adjust to the ball and make the catch. In the unlikely event they were covered, I dumped the ball off to an alternate receiver who had run a shorter route.
    With flags out straight behind him, Wood's kick went out of the end zone. Tittle fired a short sideline pass to Gifford who made his first reception of the game be­fore being pushed out at the 26 by Herb Adderley. After Webster gained zilch, Tittle repeated the pass to Gifford to the 31 for a new set of downs. Whitten­ton batted the next pass out of the hands of Shofner at the 43. The next snap saw Tittle, chased out of the pocket, connect with Shofner down the middle at the 42, his old Rams buddy Whittenton making the tackle. On 2nd-and-1, Tittle tossed a short one to Walton who got out of bounds on the GB 47. Yelverton Abraham took the next snap, put the ball on his hip, rolled right, and threw incomplete to Shofner, Wood breaking up the pass to seemingly force a punt. But official Tom Kelleher threw a flag for interference. When Willie bounced up to protest, he bumped into Kelleher and knocked him down. That brought another flag and an expulsion.
    Tittle passes as Roosevelt Brown loses his helmet.
    Johnny Symank replaced Wood. The double penalty moved the ball all the way to the GB 18. But this proved to be high tide for New York as a minute later they faced an incredible 3rd-and-47. Here's what happened. Tittle tried a flea flicker on 1st down. King took the handoff and gave the ball to Gifford on a reverse. Frank underhanded the ball back to the quarterback just before being tack­led by Forester. Y. A.'s pass was almost intercepted by Currie. On 2nd down, Quinlan and Davis moved in fast and hit Tittle as he threw incomplete to the 10. But the Giants were hit with an illegal use of hands penalty from the spot of the foul to make it 3rd-and-32 from the 40. Tittle then threw over the mid­dle to Webster to the 33. But another penalty for holding moved the pigskin to the NY 40. 3rd and 47. Facing a fierce rush, Tittle threw to Gifford, who drop­ped the ball. Chandler got off a short kick that hit on the 35 and rolled to the 28, which was 10y short of where the New Yorkers had started the last set of downs.
    End of the quarter. Packers 13 Giants 7

    Taylor runs behind Hornung's block.
  • Quarter 4
    As the sun set, the thermometer dropped to 13°. Numb players stood on the sidelines in their fluttering capes.
    Tom Moore swept left end for 14y to the 42. But four plays later, McGee punted out of bounds on the 24.
    The wind blew the ball away before C Ray Wietecha could get over it. When the ball was re-placed, the Giants started an ineffective series that produced just 3y and almost resulted in a pick by Adderley off a deflection by Hank Gremminger. So Chandler launched a high spiral that sailed over the head of one return man, Carpenter, and was picked up by the other, Pitts, who re­turned to the 43 in NY territory.
    On 3rd and nine, Starr found McGee in stride, Patton knocking Max out of bounds on the 28. But the defense drew the line there and, after three runs netted -1, Kramer tried a 40y field goal. But against the wind, the pigskin fell short. Patton picked up the ball on the five and was tackled immediately with 8:37 mark.
    After Dave Hanner dropped Webster for no gain, Tittle faded into the end zone and hurled a long one to Shofner on the 45–incomplete. The Packers jumped offside before the next snap to give the offense a little more breathing room. Y.A. threw a down-and-out to Gifford, who stepped out at the 25. Staying with quick throws to blunt the pass rush, Tittle hit Walton, who ran 6y before Gremminger forced him out of the field of play at the 36. After an incompletion, old pros Tittle and Gifford repeated the sideline pattern in front of Adderley at the 44. On 3rd-and-2, Y.A. chose to pass again. He rolled right, tripped, and threw the ball underhanded as he fell. The crowd howled as Sherman sent in the punt unit. To compound fans' displeasure, Chandler got off one of his poorer punts of the day–out of bounds at the 28.
    Taylor ran a counter play to the 34. Guess who got off the bottom of pile? Huff, of course. Moore popped through a hole on the right side to 38. The meas­urement showed less than a yard to go. Taylor took care of that with room to spare, pounding over the right side to the 43 as the clock wound down to 5 1/2 minutes to play. The next three snaps exemplified classic Packer football: Taylor up the middle to the 45 carrying tacklers with him, Hornung sweeping right to the NY 47; then, after Hornung went off injured, Taylor taking the ball on 3rd and less than a yard, sliding off tacklers, and skirting the right side to the 41 before being forced out of bounds. The Packer offensive machine marched relentlessly on, squeezing the last drops of hope from the Giants as the wind kicked up swirls of dust from the frozen field. Moore found running room up the middle to the 29. On 2nd down with Barnes playing loose, Starr changed the pattern and threw the ball to Dowler, who dropped it on the 18. However, a defensive holding infraction put the ball on the 24 with an automatic 1st down. But Green Bay suddenly turned sloppy. Starr's handoff to Moore was not clean and, when Tom gained full possession, he was dropped by Patton for a loss of two. Then Taylor slipped on a draw play and fell at the 27. Sherman finally used one of his timeouts. Starr, chased by Katcavage, ran to the 23 before the two-minute warning. Starr knelt at the 30 as Kramer lined up the kick. If you make it, it's all over, Jerry told himself. We've got the game won. Keeping his head down, Kramer boomed the clinching field goal into the wind to tie the record held by many, including Hornung in 1961–three field goals in a championship game. His teammates jumped on Jerry, something that doesn't often happen to a guard. On the sideline, Lombardi threw his clenched fist into the air. Packers 16 Giants 7 (1:50)
    After all he had gone through earlier in his life, Kramer's coolness under pressure came as no surprise. In fact, it was a miracle that he played football at all. As a high school freshman, he backed into a lathe in manual arts class and tore the heavy muscle in one hip. Next he was banged up in an automo­bile accident. Then his shotgun exploded while he was hunting. It destroyed half the muscles in his right forearm, fractured both bones, and crushed the ulnar nerve in his wrist. Some of the pellets penetrated his liver. He went through weeks of plastic surgery and skin grafts and was still yielding shot­gun pellets 18 months later. Finally, just before the start of football practice his senior year, he was chasing a calf at the family farm. The calf stepped hard on a board and shattered it. A lance-shaped splinter shot through Jer­ry's abdomen and stuck out his back between two vertebrae. Doctors cut the splinter in two and pulled the pieces out front and back. Two weeks later, he was out for football practice.
    Faced with a seemingly insurmountable deficit, the Giants needed a good return. But Horner reached only the 27. With his defense in prevent mode rushing only three, Nitschke almost snared an interception with his frozen hands on each of the first two throws. Then Tittle completed the next one to Shofner to move the chains to the 45. Timeout NY at 1:08. Y.A. threw a screen pass to Webster, who was brought down inbounds at midfield. Offside on the Packers made it 1st-and-10 at the GB 45. Tittle threw down the middle to Walton to the 32. The Giants used their final timeout at 0:27 (unofficially). Whittenton almost intercepted the next pass in the end zone. Tittle ran around, looking for an open man, finally connecting with Walton, who ran out of bounds at the four as the gun sounded. The 69y on the final drive actually gave New York the edge in total yardage, 291-244–a much better performance than in '61 but still not good enough. The Giants had not scored on the Packer defense in two championship games.

    After the game, Ed Sabol, Steve's father, learned that two of his company's six cameras froze, several boxes of film cracked, and one cameraman suffer­ed frostbite. Despite those obstacles, Blair Motion Pictures put together its presentation of the 1962 championship game entitled Pro Football's Longest Day, a takeoff on The Longest Day film about the D-Day Invasion (which Ed had participated in). The film so impressed Commissioner Pete Rozelle that he asked the NFL owners to buy out Sabol's company, which they eventually did several years later. The company was renamed NFL Films.
For the first time, the sportswriters voted the MVP award, and the Corvette that went with it, to a defensive player, Ray Nitschke, who recorded ten tackles and three forced turnovers. Ray consid­ered the honor as a tribute to the entire defensive team.

Final statistics

  • First downs: Packers 18 Giants 18
  • Yards rushing: Packers 46-148 Giants 26-94
  • Passing: Packers 22-10-0/96 Giants 41-18-1/197
  • Return yardage: Packers 5-129 Giants 5-82
  • Fumbles-Lost: Packers 2-0 Giants 3-2
  • Penalties: Packers 5-44 Giants 4-62
  • Punting average: Packers 6-25.5 Giants 7-41.9
As he always did, win or lose, Lombardi told the team, "Take a knee!" and led them in the Lord's prayer. He then awarded the game ball to Jerry Kramer, whose three field goals marked the difference in the game. Kramer later said he'd rather have the MVP Cor­vette than the game ball.

Green Bay Locker Room

  • Lombardi to the press: Gentlemen, you have just seen a truly great football game. In my opinion, this was as fine a football game as has ever been played. There was great tackling, great blocking, great running, and great pursuit on the part of both teams. My boys were superb on defense.
  • Nitschke's face was spattered with dried blood.
    Ray wrote this about the '62 championship. Nobody ever called us "Bushville U.S.A." anymore. From then on it was "Titletown U.S.A." And let's face it, it's got to give you a little extra kick for the smallest town in major league sports to knock off the biggest city in the nation.
  • When Starr pulled off his shoulder pads and jersey, the purple welts covering his entire torso were revealed. The wind really was fierce, but you had to live with it. In all my years of football, that was the trickiest wind I've ever seen. You couldn't tell which direction it was coming from or where it was going to. This win was even a bigger thrill than last year. We were playing in Yankee Stadium before a hostile crowd, and we knew that if we wanted to have any pride over the winter, we had to win this game. On the weather: It was 14 below in Wisconsin last week, but it wasn't nearly as cold as it was here. I was happy to get off the field.
    Starr in his autobiography: After the game, some New York sportswriters suggested that the results might have been different had the game had been played in better conditions. I agree. We would have beaten them by more than nine points.
    Bart also agreed with those sportswriters who suggested the '62 Packers were the great­est team in NFL history. Out of twenty-two all-pro positions, we captured eleven first-team a­wards and four second-team honors. As a team, we scored the most points, thirty per game, allowed the fewest, ten per contest, and lost only one game out of twenty-one, all games in­cluded.
    Years later, Huff agreed with Bart. Those Packer teams of '61 and '62 were just fantastic football teams if not the greatest of all time. There was no way you could go into Green Bay and beat them.
  • Taylor: I never took a worse beating on a football field. The Giants hit me hard, and then I hit the ground hard. I got it both ways. This was the toughest game I've ever played. ... I just rammed it down their throats by letting my running do my talking. They couldn't rattle me. ... I think Huff hit me with his elbow after a tackle. Anyway, I cut my tongue of all things. Jimmy said he carried on a gabfest with Robustelli during the game. No fighting or anything like that. I always talk a lot dur­ing the game. I guess it isn't really good, but I still do it. ... I got more bruises in this one game than in five or six others.
  • Hornung said, There probably never will be a tougher game. The weather and the hitting by both sides were fierce. There will never be another such combination. Paul said the Packers of 1962 were not as good as the Packers of 1961. We were more efficient last year. When someone pointed out the '61 squad lost four games while the '62 outfit dropped only one one, the Golden Boy stuck to his guns. We were never expected to beat them 37-0 last time. So we didn't come to New York to romp. We came to win.
  • When someone suggested the shoes aided the Green Bay victory, C Jim Ringo replied, I guess they helped, but I hate giving a pair of shoes credit for this ball game. Man, it was rough and that cold–brrrr. He admitted he reinjured his neck early in the game and was slow getting off the frozen turf after one play. I wasn't thinking of getting out of the game. If I went to the side­lines, Vinny would have chased me back in. I was safer on the field than near him at that stage.
  • Someone shouted the airport bus would leave in ten minutes, someone else shouted, Anybody see the game statistics? Coach Lombardi replied, Who cares about stats? I'm not sure about the final score, but I know we won.
New York Locker Room
  • Sherman called the game "vindication." Last year, when we lost to Green Bay 37-0, some people–not the fans–were prone to say we had been humiliated. That's wasn't humiliation then. And our team vindicated itself today. Our men proved that didn't affect them at all, and that they are real pros. This was no humiliation. Allie refused to place any blame for the loss on the weather conditions. I'm not looking for any alibi. However, he did admit the wind hampered Tittle's deep passing, which had been the Giants' main scoring weapon. With that wind, you just couldn't put that ball up there because you couldn't control it.
  • Tittle: We couldn't throw the ball downfield the way we like to. ... Sure, my hands were cold, and my passing was affected. It wasn't very good, was it? The wind gave me more trouble than any­thing else, though. But it was just as tough on them, don't forget.
  • The Giants defended their play against Taylor. Lynch: He never stops defying you. Modzelew­ski called Jimmy a crazy runner.
  • Huff: Taylor isn't human. No human being could have taken the punishment he got today. Every time he was tackled, it was like crashing him down on a concrete sidewalk because the ground was as hard as pavement. But he kept bouncing up, snarling at us, and asking for more. ... If there was any turning point in the game, it was that time in the first quarter when we went right down there and didn't score because they intercepted that pass.
  • Robustelli disagreed with referee Emil Heintz's call on the Packers' first field goal. It was at least three feet wide. That guy's been out there in California too long. The air out there is lighter, and the ball is true. It was a little different out there today.


  • After the Packers boarded their buses to take them to the airport, a Yankee Stadium mainte­nance man told the lead bus driver, They're all in and ready to leave. Get those goddamn Pack­ers out of New York!
  • Everyone drank the bubbly and celebrated on the trip back to Wisconsin except one Packer. Taylor huddled alone in the back of the plane shivering under an overcoat. Two weeks later, while preparing for the Pro Bowl in Los Angeles, Jimmy found out he had hepatitis.
    He got the absolute crap kicked out of him, said Jerry Kramer. He was really hurting. But what a game he had.

Yankee Stadium would never again host an NFL Championship Game.

1962 NFL Championship Game participants in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Giants: Roosevelt Brown, Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Y. A. Tittle, owner Wellington Mara
Packers: Herb Adderley, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, Henry Jordan, Ray Nitsch­ke, Jim Ringo, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Coach Vince Lombardi

The gross receipts again totaled $1,243,110.

  • The players' pool came to $716,599.
  • The Packers got $5,888.57 each.
  • Each Giant made $4,166.85.
1962 NFL Champion Green Bay Packers

References: When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, David Maraniss (1999)
The Fire Within, Jim Taylor with Kristine Setting Clark (2010)
Starr: My Life in Football, Bart Starr with Murray Olderman (1987)
Golden Boy, Paul Hornung as told to William F. Reed (2004)
Nothing Comes Easy: My Life in Football, Y.A. Tittle with Kristine Setting Clark
Nitschke, Edward Gruner (2002)
Magnificent Seven: The Championship Games That Built the Lombardi Dynasty (2002)
America's Quarterback: Bart Starr and the Rise of the National Football League, Keith Dunnavant (2011)
Bart Starr: When Leadership Mattered, David Claerbaut (2004)
The Football Game I'll Never Forget: 100 NFL Stars' Stories, selected by Chris McDonell (2004)
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