Jeffrey Phelps / AP Enlarge
MINNEAPOLIS - 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. Efforts to resuscitate failed.
"I just lost my best friend," former teammate Paul Hornung told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "[His wife] Denise was away from the house. She'd warned him not to get up there. He shouldn't have been up there. He knew better than that."
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 Vince Lombardi's Packers had beaten the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
"Now he'll be the answer to one of the great trivia questions: Who scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history?" Hornung said. "Vince knew he could count on him. ... He was a great athlete. He could do anything with his hands."
McGee had only four receptions for 91 yards during the 1966 regular season. He didn't plan to play in the title game against the Chiefs because he violated the team curfew and spent the night before partying.
The next morning he reportedly told Dowler: "I hope you don't get hurt. I'm not in very good shape."
Dowler suffered a separated shoulder on the Packers' second drive, and Lombardi summoned McGee. He had to borrow a helmet because he left his in the locker room. A few plays later, McGee made a one-handed snare of a pass from Bart Starr and ran 37 yards to score.
"When it's third-and-10," McGee once said, "You can take the milk drinkers and I'll take the whiskey drinkers every time."
McGee was a running back at Tulane and the nation's top kick returner in 1953. Selected by the Packers in the fifth round of the 1954 draft, McGee spent two years in the Air Force as a pilot after his rookie year before returning in 1957 to play 11 more seasons.
After retiring from football, he became a major partner in developing the Chi-Chi's chain of Mexican restaurants. In 1979, he became an announcer for the Packer Radio Network with Jim Irwin until retiring in 1998.
In addition to his wife, Denise, McGee is survived by four children and several grandchildren.
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