A chat with Bobby Dillon

1. How and when did you lose the sight in your eye?

I lost my eye when I was 10 years old.  I was helping some neighbours move and one of their boys accidently hit me in the eye with a plank and damaged it so bad it had to be removed.  Since I lost it when I was young, any compensations happened naturally, but I really learned to look around because of the lack of peripheral vision.

2. Was Gene Ronzani or Jack Vainisi responsible for drafting you?

Jack Vainisi probably was responsible for I don’t think Ronzani was that involved.

3. What can you tell me about Jack Vainisi?

I liked Jack very much and had a lot of contact until I left Green Bay.  He certainly was responsible for drafting many great players.

4. Why did you retire in 1959 and what did you do from then on to earn a living?

I retired in 1959 for several reasons.  My wife was ready for me to quit for moving back and forth each year was hard.  The money wasn’t very good in those days and I had started working for a small company in Temple in the off season.  Lombardi tried to get me to come back but the company was growing so fast that I couldn’t afford to be gone for that long.  I started in sales in 1959 when the sales were about $5,000,000 and we were the smallest in the USA.  When I retired in 1995 as President our sales were about $500,000,000 and we are the largest company in the world manufacturing high pressure laminates.  Formica makes a similar product in England.  You may be familiar with it.

5. In 1958 the team went 1-10-1, how can a team with all that talent have a season like that and yet with basically the same players win the NFC Championship in 1961 and 1962?

Coach Lombardi was the difference.  He brought discipline, organisation and pride to Green Bay that had not been there before.  He deserves all the credit.

6. You played under four Head Coaches, can you evaluate them?

I wouldn’t want to evaluate the coaches as I feel that Lombardi was the only one who really was a professional coach.  The others were nice men but in comparison they were not in the same league with him.

7. Can you tell me about “Bulldog” Turner, Sammy Baugh, Bobby Layne, Norm Van Brocklin, Bob Waterfield and Frank Gifford?

Some general comments on these questions.


Bulldog” Turner was at the end of his career when we played so I can’t judge him.  He lives in Gatesville, Texas which is near Temple and I have visited him several time.  He was a great player and is a really good man.


Sammy Baugh is originally from Temple and moved to Sweetwater in time to play football there.  He is a super person.  I got to know him more after he left the Redskins.


Bobby Layne was the best competitor inside the 20-yard line that I played against.  He willed his team to score and got more out of them than any other quarterback of his time.


I was never impressed with Van Brocklin or Waterfield.  They had a lot of publicity from Los Angeles, but I thought there were several better QBs in the league.


I can’t tell you much about the other stuff that you mentioned except that Gifford and I graduated college the same year and played together in an all-star game against the Rams in 1952 where they barely beat us 10-7.

8. Who was your roommate?

Bill Forester of SMU was my roommate most of my career.

9. Ray Nitschke said you could run faster backwards than he could forwards.  What was your time for the 40-yard sprint?

They didn’t time the 40-yard sprint then but I ran track in college and was timed 9.8 seconds for the 100-yard dash so I had good speed.  Nitschke is being very kind, but I could run pretty good

10. What were you doing on the day of the draft and did you know anything about Green Bay or have any preferences?

The draft wasn’t a big deal then like it is now and I didn’t know for a day or two who had drafted me.  I thought New York or Los Angeles would get me for they had talked to me and Green Bay never did.  I had no preference and knew nothing about Green Bay or the climate.


11. When you retired did you think the Packers were going to be a good team? What can you tell me about Bob St Clair?

I thought that they would be very good and that is what made it hard for me to retire.  I always went back to Texas in between seasons.  I always thought St. Clair was overrated and the raw meat thing was BS.

12. Who was the best quarterback you faced?

I think Unitas was the best overall QB that I faced but Layne and Tittle were also very good.

13. Who was the best wide receiver you came up against?

Raymond Berry of the Colts was the best receiver that I faced.  Many of the moves that are seen now were started by him and Unitas.  Harlan Hill of the Bears was another good one at this time.

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