Green Bay Packers: Five Best Second-Half Surges
The Green Bay Packers have struggled to "clean up" the problems that have plagued them at the midpoint of the season, and appear hard-pressed to make a playoff push with a difficult second-half schedule.
However, in an attempt to keep the faith, here are five Packers squads that had things come together in the second half of the season.
Perhaps the 2009 edition can follow their lead.
Lynn Dickey and Co. made a ferocious second-half surge, winning seven of their final eight games, losing only at Detroit on Thanksgiving.
The Packers feasted on a relatively weak NFC Central division, winning five second-half games against division rivals, including a Week 16 road win against a Chicago Bears team that would peak a season later in their Super Bowl Shuffle campaign.
The bad news?
They started the season a dismal 1-7 and failed to make the playoffs in one of three straight 8-8 campaigns under Lombardi dynasty-era members Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg.
Outside of a strike-shortened playoff season in 1982, this stretch was as good as it got for Packer fans of the seventies and eighties.
For those of you lamenting the agony of 2009 just remember, it used to be a lot worse folks.
The Majik man gave Packer fans hope as he helped lead Green Bay to a 10-6 record in 1989, including a 6-2 second half.
Quarterback Don Majkowski had a stellar 1989 season, putting up over 4,300 yards passing and throwing 27 touchdown passes, most of them to stud wide receiver Sterling Sharpe.
They also defeated the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, prevailing 21-17 in one of only two losses for the Niners on the season.
Unfortunately, 10-6 failed to secure a playoff spot for the Packers in an extremely competitive NFC and Green Bay would fail to build on their solid '89 campaign, going 6-10 in 1990 and 4-12 in 1991.
While Green Bay lost 27-7 in that final game, the 1992 campaign laid the foundation for a team that would win big throughout the rest of the decade.
The Packers didn't miss the playoffs again until 1999 and didn't post a losing record until 2005.
Favre's gutsy performance playing with a separated shoulder in a 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles helped sway Hall-of-Fame defensive end Reggie White to come to Titletown via free agency, and the team steadily improved each season until they brought the Lombardi Trophy back home four years later.
The defending Super Bowl champion Packers went 7-1 to close out the 1997 season, with only a shocking 41-38 road loss to the 0-10 Indianapolis Colts as a second-half blemish.
Packer fans will also fondly remember the hated Dallas Cowboys finally visiting Green Bay in Week 13 that season to receive a 45-17 thrashing at Lambeau Field.
Following a Deion Sanders pick-six to put Dallas up in the second quarter, Green Bay scored 38 of the next 45 points to exact a bit of revenge on their long-time tormentors.
The Packers would ride that momentum all the way to Super Bowl XXXII...and I'll just leave it at that.
While the 2003 ended in a cruel, soul-crushing loss at Philadelphia, it is easy to forget the incredible run Green Bay had leading up to that game.
Following a Thanksgiving day loss to the lowly Detroit Lions that appeared to end the Packers playoff hopes, Green Bay won their final four games, including the unforgettable Monday Night contest against Oakland following the death of Brett Favre's father Irv.
But it still didn't appear to be enough, as the Packers needed the hated Vikings to lose at Arizona.
Improbably, Arizona quarterback Josh McCown found receiver Nate Poole in the end-zone with no time remaining and the Cardinals pulled out an 18-17 victory after what seemed like a two-hour official review to determine whether Poole was forced out of bounds.
While the season ended in the worst of ways, for a few short weeks it did seem as though the football gods were smiling upon the Green Bay Packers, and still ranks as one of the most incredible stretches in team history from a personal perspective.
Closed the season by winning six of their final seven games and made the playoffs for the only time in the decade.
Both of their second-half losses came to the Washington Redskins, who knocked them out of the playoffs with a 16-3 victory en route to the Super Bowl, where they would lose to Don Shula and the undefeated Miami Dolphins.
The 2007 Packers went 6-2 in the second-half of their run to the NFC Championship game.
However, they lose points for having a stronger first-half, and for that ugly 35-7 loss at cold, windy Soldier Field.
Their struggles in Chicago would be a precursor to their poor home performance in the cold against the New York Giants, in what turned out to be the last game of the Brett Favre era in Green Bay.
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