The Old NFL paved the way for today's success

Gary D'Amato, Journal Sentinel:
Like most of us, Jerry Kramer sometimes forgets where he put his cellphone. He misplaces his car keys. He runs into an old acquaintance and draws a blank on the name. Alzheimer's disease runs in his family. His mother had it. An uncle. His brother.

It runs in his other family, too. Nobody likes to talk about it, but many members of the 1960s Green Bay Packers teams are struggling with various stages of dementia.

There are 11 players from the 1964-67 Green Bay Packers who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Their names would become synonymous with excellence. Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke and Vince Lombardi are just a few who transcended the game. OG Jerry Kramer is one player who deserves admittance, but has been overlooked.

"It was a brotherhood," Kramer says. "It was a big family and a love affair. You were so fortunate to be a part of it, to have that many guys you felt strongly about. Now it's like losing a big family."

Let us remember those awesome individuals who sacrificed life and limb. They were clean living characters who deserve a few moments of our time. Without their efforts, there is no chance that 42.3 million viewers would tune in to watch a wildcard matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys as they did this past Sunday.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

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