Sunday, October 21, 2007

Max McGee: 1932-2007

The Green Bay Packers did not play this weekend but their organization suffered a loss nonetheless.

Max McGee, the free-spirited Green Bay Packers receiver who became part of Super Bowl lore after a night on the town, died when he fell while clearing leaves from the roof of his home. He was 75.

Police were called to his home in suburban Deephaven on Saturday afternoon, Sgt. Chris Whiteside said. Efforts to resuscitate failed.

McGee caught the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history in 1967, a game he expected to watch from the sideline. When it was over, he had caught seven passes for 138 yards and two TDs and Green Bay — coached by the great Vince Lombardi — had beaten the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

McGee often drew the ire of the legendary Lombardi with his antics off the field. In fact, there was one notable incident which resulted in McGee being reprimanded in front of teammates.

McGee was notorious among the Packers for sneaking out after curfew, in search of bright lights and pretty companions.

One time, Lombardi caught and fined McGee twice within a few days. Then came a third infraction. "MAX!" Lombardi roared at a team meeting, "that will cost you five hundred dollars." That was real money in a time when $25,000 a year would make an All-Pro tackle very happy.

Lombardi was shaking with anger. He seemed to be fighting a losing battle, and he didn't like to lose at anything. "Max, if I catch you again" -- the coach had turned from red to purple -- "the fine will be ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS." The room grew silent and Lombardi stopped shaking. "Max," he said, softly. "If you find anything worth a thousand for sneaking out, call me and I'll go with you."

McGee is survived by wife Denise, four children and several grandchildren.


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