On NPR’ Morning Edition this morning I awoke to a very unusual report about the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Forty eight hours from the Super Bowl, you might be wondering: What could be unusual about yet another report hyping the big game?
Well, what caught my ear was the musical angle that the reporter was pursuing. He began by comparing the performances of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
As the report went on, it seemed clear that the reporter — Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman — is strongly leaning toward picking the Steelers until he suddenly makes an Aaron Rodgers pivot to talk about how many of the current Packers have actually taken piano lessons this season.
On the teams’ lineups, though, the winner is clear. Several Steelers have held positions on the board of the Pittsburgh Symphony. But Green Bay players sweep the field with their musical talent.
“There are a whole bunch of Packers who have taken piano lessons in Green Bay,” Hoffman says. “There’s [quarterback] Aaron Rodgers, who also plays the guitar and is very interested in music theory. He has his own record label, so he’s really into music. Safety Nick Collins, cornerback Jarrett Bush, safety Charlie Peprah, quarterback Matt Flynn, linebacker Brad Jones — they’ve all taken group piano lessons in Green Bay.”
The players loved it and took it seriously.
“When they play their pieces together, they kid each other about how bad they are, and then they play absolutely as well as they can,” Hoffman says.
If you are wondering, as I was by the end of this report, where this piano-playing football players idea started in Green Bay, you’ll be interested in hearing that it goes all the way back to Vince Lombardi.
Yes, Gooogle lead me to an article from last last summer I found the obituary for Lombardi’s piano teacher:
Sadie Berman Jerry, 90, passed away on July 24, 2010 at her home in Green Bay, WI after a brief illness… She taught piano and organ for over 70 years… Special students of hers were Herb Adderly and Lionel Aldrich of the 1960’s Packers. They were encouraged to take piano lessons by Coach Lombardi in order to improve their dexterity with the football..
Nothing is said about whether her piano had green and gold keys.