Green Bay Packers: Top 10 Packers Games in the Super Bowl Era
Every so often, there is a game that comes along that Packer faithful will always remember, whether it is because of its importance, excitement or both.
From the Ice Bowl to Super Bowl XLV, this list will break down the top-10 greatest Packers games since the Super Bowl era began in 1966.
First, let's start with a famous win from the 2003 NFL playoffs, when a guarantee was quickly broken by one of the most famous defensive plays in Packers history.
10. Packers 33, Seahawks 27 (OT): 2003 NFL Playoffs
The 2003 Green Bay Packers entered the playoffs with a 10-6 record and faced the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round. It was a back-and-forth game between the Brett Favre-led Packers and the Seahawks, led by former Packer backup Matt Hasselbeck.
At the end of regulation, the game was tied at 27. During the overtime coin toss, which Seattle won, Hasselbeck opted to receive first, saying with a laugh, "We want the ball and we're gonna score." Unfortunately for Hasselbeck and the Seahawks, this didn't happen, as cornerback Al Harris intercepted a Hasselbeck pass and returned it for a touchdown.
It was a back-and-forth playoff battle in the cold weather of Lambeau Field which ended with one of the most celebrated plays in recent Packers history. The game is also notable for being the first playoff game that was decided by a defensive score in overtime.
9. Packers 14, Bears 13: 1989
In what is known as "The Instant Replay Game," the Packers were down 13-7 against the Bears near the end of regulation, but Packers quarterback Don Majkowski led the Packers on what would be a game-winning drive, capping it with a touchdown.
However, that would be contested due to the referees originally calling the touchdown invalid, as they initially ruled Majkowski past the line of scrimmage when he made the pass.
Lambeau Field held their breath as the referees reviewed the play, and rejoiced when they called it a touchdown. One of the reasons this game is so notable and well-remembered by Packers fans is that it was Green Bay's first win over the Bears since 1984.
8. Packers 41, Raiders 7: 2003
While a blowout win would rarely be considered a great game, the circumstances surrounding this contest and the level of play is what makes this so great.
Just one day after his father's death, Brett Favre's participation in a Monday Night Football game against the Raiders seemed questionable. In the end, however, Favre decided to play and put on one of the most brilliant performances of his career.
Favre threw four touchdown passes and 399 yards in a game that was clearly emotional for him. However, it wasn't just Favre who stepped up his game, as his receivers made brilliant plays as well. Favre and the entire Packers team seemed determined to win this game and put on a great show in the process.
7. Packers 48, Redskins 47: 1983
Although the Packers were not necessarily a great team in 1983, they had a very memorable Monday Night against the Redskins, narrowly winning a 48-47 shootout.
It was a game with very little defense, as Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey threw for 387 yards and three touchdowns, while Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann threw for 398 yards and two touchdowns. The total yardage gained by both teams was a staggering 1,025, and while it was an embarrassment for the defenses, it was clearly an impressive offensive output and an exciting game.
The game ended dramatically as well, as Redskins kicker Mark Moseley, who had made four field goals in the game, missed a 39-yarder with three seconds left to play. Twenty-eight years later, the game is still remembered among Packer fans as an exciting game in the midst of a struggling decade for the team.
6. Packers 24, Bengals 23: 1992
This will always be remembered as Brett Favre's first game. When quarterback Don Majkowski was taken out of the game with an injury, young quarterback Brett Favre stepped in, and while he had his struggles, he led the Packers on a fourth-quarter comeback that would help begin his legacy in Green Bay.
Down 17-3 going into the fourth quarter, Favre led the Packers down the field on two drives, including one in the final minutes of the game, where he threw a clutch, last-second 35-yard touchdown pass to Kitrick Taylor, giving the Packers a 24-23 lead and the win.
5. Packers 21, Bears 14: 2010 NFC Championship Game
No victory can be sweeter against the Bears than when it is for the chance to play in the Super Bowl. The 2010 NFC Championship Game was only the second time the Bears and Packers had played each other in the playoffs, and it was clearly the most important matchup between the two teams in their historic rivalry.
The Packers got off to a strong start under quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who led the Packers down the field to two drives and a 14-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Bears struggled and lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler at the end of the first half.
It wasn't until third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie stepped in that the Bears got back into the game. While the Packers offense now struggled, the Bears offense finally got a touchdown on the board, trailing 14-7.
But a costly interception by Caleb Hanie would be the defining moment of this game, as it was returned for a touchdown by none other than 340-pound defensive tackle B.J. Raji.
While Hanie and the Bears scored once again and narrowed the lead to a touchdown, the Packers sealed the win with another interception by rookie Sam Shields.
In the most important matchup in this storied rivalry, the Packers moved onto the Super Bowl.
4. Packers 35, Chiefs 10: Super Bowl I, 1967
Although Super Bowl I wasn't necessarily very competitive, the fact that it was the very first Super Bowl and won by Coach Vince Lombardi and the Packers makes it a very notable game.
In the midst of the Packers' glory days of the 1960s, the Packers played the 1966 AFL champion, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the NFL-AFL Championship Game. It would be the first-ever game of this magnitude, starting a tradition which continues today and is one of the most important sporting events of the year.
Not only did the Packers win, but they won their first Super Bowl title and a trophy that would later be named after their head coach, Vince Lombardi.
3. Packers 31, Steelers 25: Super Bowl XLV, 2011
The 2010 season for the Green Bay Packers would be one marred by injuries and several setbacks. By mid-December, a team that was thought to be a serious Super Bowl contender was sitting at a disappointing 8-6 record, and very few people saw them as contenders.
But they embarked on a remarkable six-game run from the end of the season to the postseason, where they beat the rival Bears twice, and, as a No. 6 seed in the playoffs, defeated the first, second and third NFC seeds on the road. Their road would end in Super Bowl XLV, where they played the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a 12-4 record.
The Packers jumped out to a 21-3 lead, but in an odd reflection to their season, were hit by several injuries that took out veterans Charles Woodson and Donald Driver, allowing the Steelers to close the gap to 21-17.
But the Packers kept fighting, and never let up on their lead. In the end, quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to two fourth-quarter drives that ended in 10 points, which helped seal their win, 31-25.
Rodgers was named MVP, and with his Super Bowl win cemented his legacy among the all-time great Packers quarterbacks like Bart Starr and Brett Favre, who both have Super Bowl rings themselves.
2. Packers 35, Patriots 21: Super Bowl XXXI, 1997
After winning Super Bowls I and II, the Packers underwent a 30-year drought of no titles and largely struggling seasons. The struggles ended in 1992 with Brett Favre, when he came in and helped solidify the Packers once again and put them back on the map.
It wasn't until the 1996 season when they would finally get their Super Bowl title. Sitting with a 13-3 record, the Packers cruised to the Super Bowl and faced the New England Patriots. Similar to Super Bowl XLV, the Packers got off to a strong start, but the Patriots narrowed the game and eventually took a 14-10 lead.
The game went back and forth in the first half and into the third quarter, but an unlikely hero stepped in and helped seal the game for the Packers late in the third.
With the Packers leading 27-21, kick returner Desmond Howard returned a kickoff 99 yards, giving Green Bay a 35-21 lead. After that, the Patriots were not able to regain the momentum, and the Packers took home their first Lombardi Trophy since the days of Lombardi.
Although it is very close to Super Bowl XLV in terms of notable games, this game gets the slight edge since it was the Packers' first championship since 1968.
1. Packers 21, Cowboys 17: 1967 NFL Championship Game
This game is not only commonly seen as one of the greatest Packers games of all time, but one of the greatest games in the history of the NFL. On New Year's Eve of 1967, Lambeau Field was literally a frozen tundra, but they would still face the Cowboys for the NFL Championship Game and a chance to play in Super Bowl II.
This game is still the coldest NFL game ever played, and fittingly, it would be a close, back-and-forth game between two good teams. It wasn't until the end of the game, though, when Bart Starr helped execute the game-defining play. Down 17-14 just inches from the goal line, Starr ran a quarterback sneak into the end zone, giving the Packers a 21-17 lead and the eventual win.
Today, this game is known as the Ice Bowl, and is still remembered as one of the greatest games ever played.
Packers 33, Raiders 14: Super Bowl II, 1968
Because it is a Super Bowl win, it should be on the list, but since it wasn't a very competitive game, and the Ice Bowl definitely overshadowed this game, I decided not to include it.
Packers 28, Vikings 24: 2010
After two losses to Brett Favre and the Vikings in the 2009 season, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers finally overcame the Vikings, defeating them in a close 28-24 game where Favre was intercepted three times. The Vikings still had a chance to seal the game at the end, but fell short.
Packers 48, Falcons 21: 2010 NFC Divisional Round Game
The No. 6 Packers demolished the No. 1 seed Falcons 48-21. Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another.
Packers 42, Seahawks 14: 2007 NFC Divisional Game
In Brett Favre's final win as a Green Bay Packer, the Packers were down 14-0 due to costly fumbles, but he led the Packers to a comeback on a snowy day in Lambeau. This contest ended in a rout, as the Pack advanced to their first NFC Championship game since 1997.