Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Hornung visits area

by Mike Ramczyk

August 11, 2011

With the frequency of Green Bay Packers visiting the area, the city’s official colors should be green and gold.

On Friday, just like Charles Woodson, George Koonce, John Kuhn and Fuzzy Thurston have done in the past three months, another Packer showed up in Lake Geneva.

But this wasn’t any old player. This was National Football League Hall of Famer and four-time NFL champion (including Super Bowl I) Paul Hornung.

A former Heisman Trophy winner, Hornung, 75, set an NFL record for most points scored in a 12-game season (176). Hornung, who currently resides in Louisville, Ky., was versatile enough to play halfback, quarterback and kicker in his illustrious seven-year career with Green Bay (1957-62, ‘64-66). A two-time league MVP, he along with Earl Campbell and O.J. Simpson are the only players in NFL history to be selected first overall in the draft, win the Heisman Trophy and be inducted in both the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fame.

Hornung visited Famous Faces Friday, where he signed autographs and shared a few laughs with local Packers fans.

The Regional News caught up with Hornung to discuss why he journeyed to Lake Geneva, the current state of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and the difference between today’s game and Hornung’s era.

RN: What brings you to Lake Geneva?

PH: I’ve been here a couple times. We’ve known Mike McNeese (Famous Faces owner) a long time. He does this around Green Bay when we’re up there and Milwaukee. I’ve done about four or five autograph things for him. We did the state fair yesterday, and we’re doing the national memorabilia show in Chicago tomorrow.

RN: What do you like most about getting out to these autograph signings?

PH: You get to meet a lot of great Packer fans. They enjoy it, and I enjoy being with them. Mike is a friend of mine, and I was glad to do it.

RN: Did you expect the Packers to win it all last year?

PH: I thought they would win it. Rodgers was on a roll, and he ended up being the best quarterback in the NFL. They played great as a team, and they deserved it.

RN: How nice was it that Green Bay beat Chicago to make the Super Bowl?

PH: I loved that of course. I do a lot of work with Gale Sayers. He’s one of the real great football players of all time.

RN: How has the NFL changed since you played?

PH: The players are a lot faster. They are bigger, and they grow 15 or 20 pounds every five years. We had some 300-pound players in my day, but not as many as today. All the teams in college had weight programs. It started in the 1950s just when I went to Notre Dame. A couple schools down South started it. It’s been the single most reason the NFL players are so big and strong.

RN: You went back-to-back with the Packers in 1965 and ‘66. How hard is it to go back-to-back in the NFL?

PH: Nobody won as many as the Packers. We’re proud of that. They (the current Packers) don’t have to do anything but play the way they played last year. We were good for 10 years. We got to that level. The Packers are at that level now.

RN: What is the biggest concern coming into this season for the current Packers?

PH: All they have to do is not lose anyone through injuries. They have the players and the best quarterback in the league. People keep mentioning this quarterback or that quarterback, but they don’t talk about Bart Starr. He’s won more championships than any other quarterback (five). Not the guy from New England (Tom Brady). Joe Montana didn’t win as many as Bart. He still doesn’t get mentioned. They talk about Dan Marino and Montana.

RN: Any thoughts on the NFL lockout?

PH: It didn’t surprise me, they’re not going to let the season go down the drain. You’re talking about billions of dollars.