This just-released book about the Green Bay Packers gets off to a great start before you even open it. Gracing the front cover is what I consider the most iconic photograph of the Packers ever taken – Jerry Kramer and Forest Gregg carrying Vince Lombardi off the field after defeating the Raiders in Super Bowl II. What makes the picture even more poignant is that the players knew this would be their last game with Lombardi as coach. What they didn’t know, was that in less than three years, Lombardi would be out of their lives forever.
This book is a celebration of the perhaps the most storied franchise in football history, and fittingly makes liberal use of some classic Sports Illustrated (SI) stories to tell the tale of “The People’s Champions,” the Green Bay Packers.
The book begins with a historical look back at the team and it’s fans, as seen through they eyes of those fans, some of whom are third or fourth generation Packers fans. We then get a photographic look at some particularly rabid Packer fans, many decked out in their unique and outrageous Green and Gold get-ups. Each tell a brief story about their love of the Packers.
Having covered the folks in the stands, the book shifts it’s focus to the playing field and the players they are cheering for. There are profiles and stunning photographs of 33 players who can best be described as, “Packers Royalty.” From Curly Lambeau to Aaron Rodgers, the best of the best are described with interesting anecdotes from their careers.
Next comes the meat of the book: a 70-page look at the Packers 13 championship game wins, from their 21-6 defeat of the Boston Redskins in 1936 to the Super Bowl XLV win over the Steelers. There are plenty of interesting facts and stories you probably haven’t heard before and candid photographs that bring you back to that moment in time.
The book concludes with a focus on SI’s coverage of the Packers over the years. Five classic stories, including two from the sixties glory days, are presented to you as the Editor’s “favorites.”
The book is edited by Bill Syken, former editor of Sports Illustrated. With 176 pages and over 200 photographs, it’s a must-have in any Packer fan’s collection.