Former Packers LB Robinson 'anxious' day before Hall of Fame announcement
Alden Roche (87), Dave Robinson (89). | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Archives
GREEN BAY - One of the unsung heroes of Vince Lomabrdi's championship Packers teams may find out this weekend that he'll be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I'm getting very excited, very anxious, very nervous," Dave Robinson told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jay Sorgi.
Robinson usually didn't feel anxious when he took the field for 10 years with the Green Bay Packers.
He was one of the first African-Americans to start at linebacker in the NFL. He was also one of the best outside linebackers of his era.
Robinson specialized in pass defense, and could cover any running back or tight end.
"When a fullback came out of the backfield, or Gale Sayers or Jim Brown, the responsibility came on my shoulders. I gladly accepted it," said Robinson.
It helped to have three Hall-of-Famers surrounding him on Vince Lombardi's defense, but he'll tell you that he helped those Hall-of-Famers out, too.
"Willie Davis, Herb Adderley and Ray Nitshcke was (in the Hall of Fame) because I was there...and my career was stellar because I could depend on Ray Nitschke, Herb Adderley and Willie Davis. We were a team."
A team with one of the greatest defenses in NFL history.
The Packers ball-hawkers on defense were so good, that when you count scores from pick-sixes and fumble recoveries, they actually had a greater point-per-game defensive impact than the great Steel Curtain defenses of the 70's.
Robinson's finest defensive moment, however, came against Vince Lombardi's orders, when the Packers defense had to hold the Dallas Cowboys on 4th and goal with less than a minute left to win the 1966 NFL Title Game in Dallas.
"I decided that the thing to do was beat (Cowboys quarterback) Don Meredith, and lucky for me, he was slower than I thought," said Robinson about a play where, on his own two yard line, he was not supposed to blitz.
"My job was, I thought, to make the tackle. I didn't worry about how the coach designed the play."
As Meredith rolled out with :28 left in the game, Robinson reached him, but didn't make the tackle.
But as he grabbed Meredith's shoulders, he altered the throw enough to direct it to safety Tom Brown.
Brown intercepted the pass to clinch a 34-27 win and a berth in Super Bowl I.
But the finest moment of his football life may come Saturday, if he finds out that he would be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I played against a lot of Hall of Famers, and I played with a lot of Hall of Famers. I couldn't put into words how it would feel to be able to say I'm one with them."