Super Bowl Memories: Part 3
Roger Staubach, “Mean” Joe Greene, and Craig James on the super effects of Super Bowl XLV.
(Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowls VI, X, XII, XIII)
When I was in the service I was listening to the first Super Bowl while I was on a patrol boat in the Danang Harbor, listening to Green Bay play Kansas City in that first Super Bowl. And at that time I didn’t think I would ever play football. And then all of a sudden to get a chance to play in four Super Bowls, as a competitor and an athlete to get the opportunity to do that was—well, the biggest thrills of my life were those Super Bowls … and the Army-Navy game.
The first one [Super Bowl VI], well we had lost the year before [V], and I got a chance to start the second one, and it was that team like, we were “Next Year’s Champions,” and all that stuff was coming out. So I think the biggest thing was winning that game and taking the pressure off of Coach [Tom] Landry. I used to always kid around about when Walt Garrison said, when asked if he had ever seen Coach Landry smile, “No, but I was only there nine years.” And Walt was carrying him off the field, if you ever see the picture of Tom being carried off the field with that big smile on his face, I think that was the most important victory he’s ever had. Because it just really showed, he’s a winning coach, but now you’re graded on winning a Super Bowl, even back then. And being in the locker room with actually Don Meredith’s team and me being the quarterback … just to see [Bob] Lilly and [Mel] Renfro, for me, and being the first season I really started, to win the Super Bowl was, I mean I still remember everything about that locker room. I can still see Duane Thomas up there being interviewed. I always remember it was a great moment being an athlete to win a Super Bowl.
I think just being a Dallas Cowboy has had a big effect on my life. We had a winning tradition, a city that was good to me. In the off-season I was working in real estate, and then the rest of my life, and the Cowboys were instrumental to me both on and off the field.
“Mean” Joe Greene
(Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowls IX, X, XIII, XIV)
It was the culmination of a life-long dream to play in the Super Bowl, and I was fortunate to be there four times. And the thing about it is you and all the people who were instrumental in your life get to participate and share in that, and I had the opportunity to bring those people aboard the second and third and fourth time, the ones I might have forgotten the first time. That was a very, very nice thrill for me to have an opportunity to do that. And the biggest joy for me was obviously winning it, but I can never get over that moment when you are playing that [conference] championship game, and you know the next one is going to be the Super Bowl. And at that moment when the clock is ticking in your head and you are ahead and you know you have won the ballgame and are going to the Super Bowl.
After [winning four Super Bowls], when I walked around, I walked around very proud. We can’t go back, obviously, but that is something that is part of my life, and the people I experienced that with, they’ve been a part of it. No amounts of money and fame can take away that joy. So that’s something I feel all the time.
(New England Patriots, Super Bowl XX)
I was one of the original guys who had the ability to delete things; I deleted that entire day. What Super Bowl? We weren’t there. I think there were some folks who showed up in red jerseys [losing, 46-10 to Chicago]. My memory was it was more entertainment than a game, and the pizzazz leading up to the game and that you got excited, and then there was a long national anthem, and then there was a long commercial break, as if there were two or three pregames before the game got started. That struck me, with all the lightbulbs and the flash, the entertainment probably more than anything else.
There were a lot of great players, far greater than me who never got a chance to play in the Super Bowl, so I always reminded myself how fortunate I was to have been in the NFL and to have played in the Super Bowl. And, you know, some people say, hey, I think it’s cool to have on a résumé to say, hey that guy played in a Super Bowl, and the older you get people say, hey that guy must have played on a pretty good team and he must have been a pretty good player.