I remember as if it were yesterday.
It was 1992.
My 10-year-old daughter and I went to a Packers game. It was against the Cincinnati Bengals. This was Mike Holmgren’s first year as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers had a flash-in-the-pan at quarterback in Don Majkowski. He was injured the year before in his throwing shoulder, and I remember he had asked Holmgren if he could take it easy in training camp by limiting his throws. Holmgren said, “No, I need to see what we got”.
So the Majic Man entered the season as the starter and started the first two games as the Packers went 0-2. In game three against the Bengals, after going 1-for-2 for seven yards, Majkowski got hurt and had to leave the game and pretty much was never heard from again.
Enter one Brett Favre, the strong-armed wild stallion who came in 22-39-289 yards and two touchdowns. Of course one of those touchdowns was the game-winner when Favre lobbed a pass to a streaking Kitrick Taylor down the sidelines for a 35-yard touchdown.
Game over. Packers win in exciting fashion and everyone is excited about this young gun-slinging quarterback. Favre would start the next week for the first time in his career against Pittsburgh ( I took my wife to that game). Brett Favre would go on to throw 37 touchdowns and 37 interceptions over the next two years, before setting just about every prolific passing record in NFL history.
Yes, that Cincinnati game was memorable and the winning touchdown was fantastic, but with all that happened in that game, there was another moment that when I think of that game. I think of one particular play, and in my experience it was the most exciting play in Packers regular season history of all the games I personally attended (73).
The Packers also had another young, brash newcomer on the team, rookie fifth overall pick Terrell Buckley from Florida State. Baby Dion was a talker. He would tell anyone who would listen he was the greatest athlete since Jim Thorpe. Buckley was in fact an exceptional athlete and a very good cover corner, but his brashness even rubbed teammates the wrong way.
This was Buckley’s first game as a Packer as he held out for the two weeks of training camp.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Packers trailing 17-3, The Bengals punted to Buckley, where he caught it at the Packers 42 yard line. From there, he put on some incredible moves, ran down the field with lighting speed, and took it to the house for a 58-yard punt return.
The stadium went absolutely crazy, and I remember yelling “OMG he backs it up. He backs up his words!
To this day that was one of the loudest, most exciting games I have experience at Lambeau Field. Some have called Buckley a bust. I vehemently disagree. Tony Mandarich was a bust. Justin Harrell was a bust. Ahmad Carroll was a bust. John Michaels.
These men were busts because of their draft status, their inability to perform, and their lack of contributions to the team.Terrell Buckley was an exceptional cover corner out of whom the Packers got three years of service. He wasn’t the most popular because of his mouth, but make no mistake, to this day he is one of the most athletic players the Packers have ever had. T-Buck had 10 picks with Green Bay and 50 interceptions over his NFL career with 8 touchdowns. That’s backing up his words, too.
So when I think back at that Cincinnati game of 1992, I think of first going with my daughter, as I can still see her in the stands as I am falling back into the crowd several rows below where we were sitting, as Terrell Buckley and the electricity he brought with him the first time he ever touched the ball for the Packers after no training camp.
A frozen moment in time for me and one of my babies.