ALUMNI 5: Five Questions With Jim Langer
June 22, 2017 08:03 PM | Harvey Greene
What is the funniest moment you saw on the field during your career?

(Former defensive end) Bob Lurtsema had been traded from the Vikings to the Seattle Seahawks. There was comradery back in those days between teams -- not every team hated each other. We had friends on other teams. Lurtsema had been a long-time Minnesota Viking, and Kooch (Bob Kuechenberg), Larry (Little) and I had played against Lurts a lot. We ended up playing Seattle after he got traded there and on the first play of the game, we came up to the line of scrimmage and there stood Lurtsema. "Hey Lurts, how are you doing," we said, exchanging pleasantries and things like that. And then Kooch looks over at me and says, "I got this guy today. You had the week off last week, so I'm taking Lurtsema today." Lurts of course was listening to all this, and so I told Kooch, 'No, I'll take Lurts and we were kind of joshing back and forth about who could take Lurtsema because in essence it would be a day off. This was all going on before the ball was snapped. He was over there swearing at us and cussing us up and down. What we proceeded to do was to double-team him after the ball was snapped and put him on his back about five yards downfield. Boy was he pissed.

What is the best thing you remember about the Orange Bowl?

It was a great atmosphere, and I think one of the big differences between the game back then and the game today was the closeness we had to our fans. It made the whole experience of playing at the Orange Bowl so special. We would get done playing a game and would go out of the locker room to meet our wives at the south end of the field. Once we got to the parking lot we'd go and sit down with the fans who were tailgating there and have sandwiches and beer with them. We'd sit there and celebrate with them for several hours. We didn't make much money back in those days -- I was making about $15,000 back then, and many of our fans were making more money than I was.

What is the greatest moment of your career?

The greatest moment of my career was coming back into the locker room at the Coliseum after we won Super Bowl VII. Back in those days we had a blackboard in the locker room that could be flipped to either side and somebody had written on one side of the blackboard "Best Ever" and "17-0" on the other.

I remember Kooch and I looking at those boards, and we sat down and the feeling of elation and accomplishment to me was something special. I still remember it as clear as day. I don't think we realized at the time what going undefeated meant. But winning that Super Bowl, without losing that year, it didn't dawn on us how that would carry forward as much as it has. I think the satisfaction of that championship was amazing.

What is the best coaching advice you ever got?

(Offensive line coach) Monte Clark gave me the best advice I ever heard. I had just made my first Pro Bowl, and we were coming back into training camp. After our first preseason game we were sitting around after a practice back in the dorm cooling down. Monte came in and said, "Jim, can I talk to you for a minute?" I said, "Sure. What's up?" He said, "Jim, you're playing like crap. You're a hell of a player. You have a lot of potential. But this isn't like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how to do it, you have to keep working at it. You have the passion -- that's what got you here. The minute you take that out of the equation, you're just another player. I've seen a little drop-off. I just want to remind you it's not like riding a bicycle." I still remember the quote today. That made me think. It's very easy to get a little bit complacent, and at that level the difference between being really good and just average is not much. It brought me back down to earth and I never, ever forgot that.

What is the funniest thing you ever saw in the locker room?

The funniest moment was the alligator story (when a few players put an alligator in Coach Shula's shower). I get asked about that one all the time, so I think everyone knows the story by now. The other one came while I was a rookie and still in camp late in the preseason and we were at our Saturday workout, which was pretty light. I had my son, Tracy, who was about two or three at the time. Right next to the door of the locker room was a plant -- I think it was a little palmetto tree -- and as we were coming out of the locker room I saw Tracy doing what little boys sometimes have to do right on the plant. Shula comes out of the door first, like always, sees my son doing what he's doing on the plant, and says, "Who the hell kid is this?" Of course, I was back aways, but when Shula saw me, he yelled at me, "Have him go somewhere else."

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