Green Bay Packers
As the 2011 National Football League season moves towards the playoffs, it is a wonderful time to be a Green Bay Packers fan. Though their quest for an undefeated season ended on December 18, the team and especially their quarterback Aaron Rogers have been magnificent. Long time Green And Gold supporters have been happily reminded of the Lombardi Glory Years and the greats like Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Forrest Gregg, Willie Davis, and Ray Nitschke. Those great Packers teams made it almost impossible for some of the excellent players to receive their full measure of acclaim in the years that followed “The Lombardi Era.” Coach and General Manager Vincent Lombardi served in the singular role of Packers General Manager after the 1967 season and his very first number one draft choice was William Lueck from the University Of Arizona. As the twenty-sixth pick in the ’68 draft, offensive tackle Lueck was certainly a known factor among NFL scouts and had earned that distinction. Lueck’s gridiron success came early and he continued to build upon a personal record of excellence.
Hard core high school football fans who follow the history of the sport in their specific states know that some schools churn out collegiate and professional football players on a regular basis while others struggle to achieve sporadic winning records. The athletic tradition at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona, a thirty mile jaunt from downtown Phoenix, usually recognizes NFL great Randall McDaniel as the best player to come from the Agua Fria Owl program. However it was the earlier, 1963 team that posted a 7-2 mark and outstanding statistics that put the football program among the best in the state. Led by All State two way tackle Bill Lueck who cleared the way for his younger brother fullback Fred Lueck, and All State quarterback and future NFL special teams fanatic Rusty Tillman, the ’63 verstion of the red and gray clad Owls caught the attention of the entire state.
Bill Lueck (71)
Unfortunately, Lueck’s college career
at the University Of Arizona was not as rewarding. Playing for Head
Coach Jim LaRue his first two seasons and then finishing his varsity
career under new mentor Darrell Mudra, three consecutive three-victory
seasons did not bring the team rewards that Lueck had known at Agua Fina.
Lueck’s individual career was perhaps reflective of what he would find
later with the Green Bay Packers. While his own efforts always received
high ratings from peers and observers alike, the overall team win-loss
record did not deliver the satisfaction that a dedicated athlete seeks.
Lueck (62), Gillingham (68), and Dick Himes (72) were very much underrated as an offensive front through the Packers immediate post-Lombardi era
As the Packers first round choice, Lueck
lived through the transition from Lombardi to Phil Bengston, and again from
Bengston to Dan Devine. He had the wonderful experience of playing with some
of the best of the Packers’ greats, though by 1968, most were aging. Still,
as the rushing attack changed from Donny Anderson, Jim Grabowski, and Elijah
Pitts to John Brockington and MacArthur Lane, the Green Bay offensive line
did their job. Despite what would be termed mediocrity in the win-loss
column, the Packers interior group of Ken Bowman, the recently deceased Gale
Gillingham, and Lueck was consistently effective in paving the way for a
rushing attack that remained respected and in some seasons, feared. At 6’3”
and 250 pounds, the quiet, steady Lueck epitomized the understated
comportment of the offensive linemen of his era. His seven years with the
Packers and final season with the Eagles left a legacy that fit the
descriptions given to him throughout his entire career: “solid,” “steady,”
and “very good at all phases of the game.” With brothers that played the
game and a family steeped in the tradition of dairy farming, Lueck’s work
ethic made him very much an unsung but necessary component to any success
the Packers enjoyed from 1968 through the 1974 season. Because our staff at
HELMET HUT recognizes the sterling
contributions of players like Lueck as much as those with instant name
recognition and huge statistical numbers, we were thrilled to hear from him
one’s face into Dick Butkus will weaken the face mask clips on anyone’s
Bill Lueck’s brief note read, “I have 2 of my Green Packer helmets from the
60's and 70's that need the grey clips to attach the face mask. The old ones
have broken.” That they were after so many decades, “broken” was no
None of the plastics from those years
had UV protection and thus become brittle with age. As almost every helmet is
picked up by the face mask the clips are often the first part of the
helmet to need replacement. Needless to say, it was our great pleasure
to provide the clips to the masks for Mr. Lueck so that his keepsakes
and reflections of what was a very good and solid pro career, could be
preserved. We wanted his helmets to be in the best condition possible,
almost as much as Bill Lueck did!
Bill Lueck’s brief note read, “I have 2 of my Green Packer helmets from the 60's and 70's that need the grey clips to attach the face mask. The old ones have broken.” That they were after so many decades, “broken” was no surprise.
None of the plastics from those years had UV protection and thus become brittle with age. As almost every helmet is picked up by the face mask the clips are often the first part of the helmet to need replacement. Needless to say, it was our great pleasure to provide the clips to the masks for Mr. Lueck so that his keepsakes and reflections of what was a very good and solid pro career, could be preserved. We wanted his helmets to be in the best condition possible, almost as much as Bill Lueck did!