But the blitzing Broncos defense rattled Brett Favre. The aging, but not washed-up John Elway, finally getting some help in the backfield with MVP Terrell Davis, kept it close for Denver. And finally, the Broncos scored with a minute left the game to take the lead—a touchdown that was "conceded" by Packers coach Mike Holmgren.
The Packers couldn't answer. Denver won, 31-24. The Broncos won the next Super Bowl, too. And the Packers haven't been back since.
The loss stung Ron Wolf, a longtime Packers GM who engineered the franchise's renaissance in the 1990s. And never one to mince words, he blamed the loss on Holmgren.
Among other things, he called Holmgren "pig-headed," in terms of the decisions made throughout the game. Principally, Holmgren never adjusted against Denver's blitzing schemes and allowed the Broncos to disrupt the Packers' high-powered offense.
"Certain calls were to be made that weren't made," Wolf told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Mike Holmgren refused those calls. There would have been an adjustment on the blocking scheme and it would have been over."
But now Wolf regrets those words, which were said during a trip to Green Bay in August.
"You guys (in the media) know me well enough, when you ask me a question, I'm going to answer the question," Wolf told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "(But) I don't think anybody wants to look like a jerk, and I come out looking like a jerk here. We're talking about something that happened 11 years ago. I mean, who cares?"
Wolf said he spoke to Holmgren and apologized. Holmgren didn't seem to be all that bothered by it, but...
"Because he hadn't seen the article," Wolf said." After he saw that article that could change, but I don't know that."
Wolf, now retired and residing in Florida, praised the work of current GM Ted Thompson, who has reconstituted the Packers to within an overtime loss of reaching the Super Bowl. And he cherishes his tenure in Green Bay with fondness.
"I consider myself green and gold," Wolf said. "It's a wonderful place. By far the best thing that ever happened to Ron Wolf is the opportunity to be affiliated and associated with the Green Bay Packers."