Herb Adderley (1961-1969)

Herb Adderley Football Card


  • Born: June 8th, 1939 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • College: Michigan State
  • Years Active: Green Bay Packers (1961-1969) , Dallas Cowboys (1970-1972)
  • Position: Cornerback
  • Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame Induction: 1981
  • Professional Football Hall of Fame Induction: 1980


Growing up in Pittsburgh, Herb Adderley was no stranger to racial discrimination. In high school, Herb was a top scoring athlete in many sports, Football being one of those sports. In his senior year of high school, Herb scored 28 touchdowns in 8 games which helped lead his team into the championship game. Herb became a top scoring athlete, however many did not receive this well. Leading up to this championship game, Herb began receiving death threats. He stated, “I had a death threat in 1955 the week before we played against Gratz for the Public League High School title… It scared the hell the out of me, my mother and grandmother because whoever did it called our house several times… The police were notified and I had protection going to and from school the entire week before the game”1. He went on to the championship game and led his team to victory.

In Green Bay, however, he noticed a different atmosphere. It was not along the lines of discrimination but mere curiosity. At the time, Green Bay was not a very diverse city, and most residents had never seen an African American before.  “I remember some of the first times I was in downtown Green Bay; people would come up and ask if they could touch me, because they’d never seen a black person… They knew we were Packers so they would call out all of the guys’ names until they announced the correct one” 2 It was not until the team traveled south for a game in Jacksonville, Florida that he experienced it.

In 1962, the team arrived at their hotel, when they were stopped by an African American bellhop saying that the hotel was a whites only hotel, and that the African American players could not stay there. They all waited for an African American cab driver to take them to the African American side of town to stay in an African American Hotel. Lombardi said that they would never play in the state of Florida again until they could all stay in one place as a team. “It blows my mind thinking about how Lombardi hated racism and discrimination in the ‘60’s and I had to deal with it 10 years later with the Cowboy’s” 3

In 1970, Herb was traded to the Dallas Cowboys where he was treated very differently by the head coach, as well as some of the team. When he arrived, he met with recently retired African American player Don Perkins, who warned him that when he played for the Cowboys they only cared about you when you were on the field, in other instances you’re invisible. Herb did not want to believe him. He was used to the Lombardi way of life, not seeing color and being seen for his abilities. When Coach Landry introduced him to the team, Landry never asked the decorated champion for any opinions, “I was never asked about the defenses or anything else about the Packers. Landry never asked my opinion about anything” 4. Calvin Hill, another Cowboys African American player remembers Herb as a positive influence for the team and paved the way for African American players in Texas. When Herb joined the team, the Cowboys reached their first super bowl. Herb was quick to realize the differences between Lombardi’s and Landry’s coaching. Lombardi played you for your abilities regardless of the color of your skin, Landry did not.

Did you know Herb Adderley played several positions different positions throughout his football career?



  1. Adderley, Herb, Dave Robinson, and Royce Boyles. Lombardi’s Left Side. Olathe, KS: Ascend Books, 2012. 29.
  2. Adderley, Herb, Dave Robinson, and Royce Boyles. Lombardi’s Left Side. Olathe, KS: Ascend Books, 2012. 100.
  3. Adderley, Herb, Robinson, Dave, and Boyles, Royce. Lombardi’s Left Side. Olathe, KS: Ascend Books, 2012. 113.
  4. Adderley, Herb, Dave Robinson and Royce Boyles. Lombardi’s Left Side. Olathe, KS: Ascend Books, 2012. 201