For those of us who remember the Green Bay Packers teams of the 1970 and 1980s we understand how lucky we have been to have watched as this franchise has become the symbol of excellence in the National Football League.
Many of us remember those teams coached by Bart Starr and Forest Gregg. They always seemed to be respectable, always competed, but could never get over the hump to win games that needed to be won. Too many times, it was the Minnesota Vikings or the Chicago Bears that would dominate what was the the NFC Central Division during those two decades. The Packers were an afterthought and the butt of many jokes.
It was tough being a Packers fan during those times. But we held firm. We understood that time would help; that one day the Packers franchise would once again rise to the level of prominence we remembered from those fabulous teams of the 1960s.
Those days arrived in the early 1990s when Reggie White and Brett Favre stepped off the plane in Green Bay. The jokes faded away and ESPN actually uttered the name of our revered Mecca and did it without having to attach the word “loss” to it.
This weekend, the Packers travel to San Francisco to renew a playoff history that helped lift the Packers from has-beens to elite status. If you remember that history from 1995 until today, you will remember several Packers vs. 49ers playoff games, beginning with the one that made people sit up and take notice.
The date was Jan. 6, 1996, and the Packers had just finished winning the NFC Central with an 11-5 record. The Detroit Lions finished right behind the Packers with a record of 10-6. To start the playoff season right, the Packers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 37-20 to earn the right to advance to play the defending champion 49ers at Candlestick Park.
Nobody gave the Packers a chance, but from the moment CB Craig Newsome picked up a fumble on the 49ers first possession and rumbled into the end zone to give the Packers a 7-0 lead, the gloves were off and it was the Packers time.
Before the Niners could get their bearings, that gunslinger from Kiln, Miss., had thrown two touchdown passes, one to tight end Keith Jackson and the other to the other tight end, Mark Chmura, the Packers were in complete control of the game and on their way to the championship game at Dallas.
Though Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and company would win the game, it was the momentum the Packers earned in that playoff run that led to their 1996 Super Bowl Championship over the New England Patriots. It would also act as the springboard that would propel the Packers to becoming one of the most revered and competitive franchises in the league. It would lift Brett Favre to three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards and would not only endear Reggie White to Packers Nation, but would put an exclamation to the end of his career.
From that January game in 1996 to Saturday’s matchup, the Packers and 49ers have played many memorable games – in both the playoffs and regular season.
This Saturday’s game no doubt will continue the tradition between the two teams. Again, we have to playoff-caliber teams going head to head in their biggest game of the season. Many are saying this could be Super Bowl as either the Packers or 49ers will most likely defeat either the Seattle Seahawks or Atlanta Falcons.
That’s debatable and will be debated, but regardless of how you feel about that, Saturday’s game, once concluded, will most likely be viewed as another one to log in the memory banks … no matter which team wins.
Just like the 1996 game that propelled the Packers to prominence, the game this coming Saturday should be one that will be talked about many years from now.
Both Packers and Niners fans should enjoy the ride … while it most likely will come around again, staying at the top of this league is a fickle thing.
We here at Lombardiave.com are proud to say that the Packers are still playing in January and that the future for both the Packers and Niners looks bright indeed.
Our hope is that we will be here in another 18 years looking back on that Jan. 12, 2013, as one of the best ever.
Here’s a rundown of every game between the two teams:
Here is a rundown of every result in the history of this series:
November 26, 1950: Packers win 25-21 (GB)
December 10, 1950: 49ers win 30-14 (SF)
December 9, 1951: 49ers win 31-19 (SF)
December 14, 1952: 49ers win 24-14 (SF)
November 22, 1953: 49ers win 37-7 (Mil)
December 6, 1953: 49ers win 48-14 (SF)
October 10, 1954: 49ers win 23-17 (Mil)
December 5, 1954: 49ers win 35-0 (SF)
November 20, 1955: Packers win 27-21 (Mil)
December 4, 1955: Packers win 28-7 (SF)
November 18, 1956: 49ers win 17-16 (GB)
December 8, 1956: 49ers win 38-20 (SF)
October 20, 1957: 49ers win 24-14 (Mil)
December 15, 1957: 49ers win 27-20 (SF)
November 23, 1958: 49ers win 33-12 (Mil)
December 7, 1958: 49ers win 48-21 (SF)
October 11, 1959: Packers win 21-20 (GB)
December 13, 1959: Packers win 36-14 (SF)
October 23, 1960: Packers win 41-14 (Mil)
December 10, 1960: Packers win 13-0 (SF)
September 24, 1961: Packers win 30-10 (GB)
December 10, 1961: 49ers win 22-21 (SF)
October 21, 1962: Packers win 31-13 (Mil)
December 9, 1962: Packers win 31-21 (SF)
November 24, 1963: Packers win 28-10 (Mil)
December 14, 1963: Packers win 21-17 (SF)
October 11, 1964: Packers win 24-14 (Mil)
November 15, 1964: 49ers win 24-14 (SF)
October 10, 1965: Packers win 27-10 (GB)
December 19, 1965: Tie 24-24 (SF)
October 9, 1966: 49ers win 21-20 (SF)
December 4, 1966: Packers win 20-7 (Mil)
November 19, 1967: Packers win 13-0 (GB)
December 1, 1968: 49ers win 27-20 (SF)
September 28, 1969: Packers win 14-7 (Mil)
November 1, 1970: 49ers win 26-10 (SF)
November 5, 1972: Packers win 34-24 (Mil)
November 26, 1973: 49ers win 20-6 (SF)
December 8, 1974: 49ers win 7-6 (SF)
September 12, 1976: 49ers win 26-14 (GB)
December 18, 1977: Packers win 16-14 (Mil)
November 9, 1980: Packers win 23-16 (Mil)
October 18, 1981: 49ers win 1303 (Mil)
October 26, 1986: 49ers win 31-17 (Mil)
December 6, 1987: 49ers win 23-12 (GB)
November 19, 1989: Packers win 21-17 (SF)
November 4, 1990: 49ers win 24-20 (GB)
January 6, 1996: Packers win 27-17 (SF) (Divisional)
October 14, 1996: Packers win 23-20 (OT) (GB)
January 4, 1997: Packers win 35-14 (GB) (Divisional)
January 11, 1998: Packers win 23-10 (SF) (NFCCG)
November 1, 1998: Packers win 36-22 (GB)
January 3, 1999: 49ers win 30-27 (SF) (Wild card)
November 29, 1999: Packers win 20-3 (SF)
October 15, 2000: Packers win 31-28 (GB)
January 13, 2002: Packers win 25-15 (GB) (Wild card)
December 15, 2002: Packers win 20-14 (SF)
November 23, 2003: Packers win 20-10 (GB)
December 10, 2006: Packers win 30-19 (SF)
November 22, 2009: Packers win 30-24 (GB)
December 5, 2010: Packers win 34-16 (GB)
September 9, 2012: 49ers win 30-22 (GB)