As Green Bay and Dallas get set for what is being called the Ice Bowl II,  one of the key players in the original legendary game in 1967 has close ties to our region.  The NFL Championship game between Dallas and Green Bay is considered one of the 10 greatest games ever played.  This weekend, Dallas will make it's first post-season visit to Green Bay since that legendary game that saw the Packers win with seconds left 21-17 in -23 degree weather.   By the way, the temps in Green Bay this weekend?  Expected sub-zero.

The man they called "Mr. Cowboy,"  standout defensive lineman Bob Lilly,  played at and graduated from Pendleton High School.  (Photo is of Lilly in that 1967 contest).

A native of Texas,  Lilly and his family moved to Pendleton in the late 1950's where he was Oregon All-State in football and basketball his senior year.   He then attended Texas Christian University  and was the Cowboys first  draft choice when the franchise began it's 2nd. season in 1961.   Interestingly,  the fledgling Cowboys played an "exhibition" game vs. the L.A. Rams in 1960 at the Pendleton Rodeo Grounds!   We at Newstalk 870 found an old program from THAT GAME in our news archives in the storeroom (Pictured).

Cowboys vs. Rams program
Cowboys vs. Rams program (Townsquare media image)

A stellar 14-year career saw him earn the name "Mr. Cowboy" for his consistent play on the defensive line.   He not only was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1980, but was also named to the All-Century team.     The Sporting News called him the "greatest defensive tackle in NFL  history."

Lilly, who now runs a nationally respected photography business,   was in on the famous quarterback keeper run by Bart Starr to win the game for the Packers.   With 16 seconds left,  Green Bay had the ball inside the Dallas 1-yard line, trailing 17-14.   Two attempts to run the ball were stuffed by - you guessed it - Mr. Cowboy.

Starr, the Green Bay QB, surprised the Cowboys on 4th down by taking the snap and plunging over the goal line for the winning score.  Rather than test Lilly again,  Starr ran behind Center Ken Bowman and Right Guard Jerry Kramer.  They managed to budge the Cowboys other defensive tackle, Jethro Pugh, just enough to allow Starr to score.

Besides being the coldest NFL game on record (which stood for nearly 20 years)  it was the game that launched the Packers onto the rest of their dynasty under Vince Lombardi.  They won the first two Super Bowls against the AFL, and as they say, the rest is history.

Lilly would go on to win his own Super Bowl, in 1971 with the Cowboys, and he retired just prior to the Cowboys winning another in 1977.

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