The date was Jan 20, 2008. The location was the frigid Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. It looked like the coldest day since the historic Ice Bowl.
Tom Coughlin's face looked like it was frozen, and every Packer fan around the world knew the team was one step away from setting up the perfect storybook ending: Sending Brett Favre out with a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.
The Kleiber household was full of Packer fans. I was wearing my Reggie White jersey and my cheesehead. My dad was wearing his Packer gear. Saying we were pumped would be an understatement.
After the Giants beat Dallas the week before, we knew this was our year. The setting couldn't have been more perfect. We saw the Giants play in the cold earlier in the season, and we were not impressed. This was the Packers' year.
The game was as intense as ever and both teams played a sloppy first half with the Packers barely clinging to a 10-6 lead at halftime. We were not feeling so comfortable.
We all saw the Giants stay in the game against Dallas the week before and come out with a win. Favre and the offense had not really clicked in the first half, and Ryan Grant couldn't get going.
After some delicious snacks at halftime, my family and I were ready for the second half. Unfortunately, the second half was worse, as the Giants took a 20-17 lead, and Favre was throwing the ball as sloppily as he had ever thrown it.
The game conditions did not help either, because it was so hard to tackle and throw in the frigid weather.
The Packers defense looked like they were afraid to tackle Plaxico Burress, as he had his best playoff game ever and looked unstoppable with 154 yards. The Giants still kept giving the Packers every opportunity to come back, with fumbles by R.W. McQuarters, Brandon Jacobs, Burress. and Sean O'Hara.
The Packers could only recover McQuarters's fumble, and they still couldn't capitalize. Favre threw numerous sloppy passes, and he had already thrown one interception.
The Packers tied the game in the fourth with a field goal by Mason Crosby, but the game was coming down to the wire. My dad and I were gripping our seats like we were glued to them, as Lawrence Tynes set-up for a game-winning field goal with seconds to go.
Tynes had already missed one earlier, but we were still shaking. The kick was up and...NO GOOD! We stood up cheering as loud as ever, and the game went into overtime.
We knew every Giants fan thought the game was over after that, because the Packers won the coin toss, and Favre was setting up for another historic comeback win.
"This is it, we got this!" I told my dad right after the Packers won the toss.
Favre was ready to go and called "HIKE!" Favre stepped back to throw to Donald Driver, but Corey Webster was there to step in front and pick the pass off. My heart sank like I'd just been dumped by a girl.
"How could this happen?" I asked myself.
The Giants took over on downs and set-up for yet another Tynes field-goal attempt. Tynes set-up and the kick was...GOOD! The game was over. The Giants won 23-20, and Favre and the Pack's roller-coaster magical season was over as the Giants celebrated the victory.
I was so mad that I took my cheesehead and threw it across the room. The Giants ruined Favre's last ride, and as it would turn out, his final game.
Brett Favre retired from the NFL on Mar. 5, 2008, and that Webster interception would be the last pass he'd ever throw in an NFL game.
Even though my family and I were bitter and upset, we still couldn't hold a huge grudge against the Giants. The Giants were the better team, and they proved that as they ended the New England Patriots' perfect season. My dad and I got over it before the Super Bowl, and we still cheered for the Giants.
Even though Favre retired and played poorly in the NFC Championship game, he still is my all-time favorite football player, and he went out on top with one of his best seasons in his career.
We must all move on after major disappointments, and this is another one I had to put behind me.
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