Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer edited by Dick Schaap. (World, 1968).
Instant Replay was something of a publishing phenomenon in 1968. It was just the second football book to hit the best seller lists (after George Plimpton’s Paper Lion a few years before). It also fully established the seasonal diary as a standard form for sports books, although it was not the first sports book to follow that custom.
The book was Dick Schaap’s idea, and his skill at editing makes the volume still highly readable nearly 50 years after its original publication. However, the observations, reflections and anecdotes are all those of Packer All-Pro guard Jerry Kramer. Despite the fact the language and sexual content were toned down from reality, the book provides the best glimpse of life in the locker room and on the field for an NFL team at that time when football began to surpass baseball as the national pastime. And it was Schaap’s perfect sense of timing that allows us to experience as insiders the culmination of Lombardi’s Packer championship run, including the thrilling climax of the Ice Bowl, the chaser of Super Bowl II and the hangover of Lombardi’s denouement.
The book is light and frothy at times and quite insightful and poignant at others. It remains the greatest literary gift to Packer fans that anyone has ever written. Through Instant Replay, we all connected with the most beloved Packer era of all.
Custom Kramer cards for 1961, 1966, 1967 and 1968.