The Packers are in the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive year. This Sunday, Green Bay will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a win, the Pack will return to the Super Bowl for the first time in a decade.
Green Bay has won more NFL championships than any other franchise in league history, 13. So there have been many dramatic and memorable moments for the Packers in the NFC title game.
Here is a look at six dramatic plays by Packers in NFC Championship Games that had a big effect on the game. These plays are all from the Super Bowl Era and took place in the NFC Championship Game. Feel free to comment on these or mention other great moments that you feel belong on this list. Plays are listed in chronological order:
2010: B.J. Raji’s Pick Six
The Packers were clinging to a 14-7 lead with a little more than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Bears had the football.
Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie tried to throw a short pass in the left flat. Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji dropped back into coverage on this play and intercepted the pass. The 340-pound Raji rumbled 18 yards for a touchdown and the Packers had a two score advantage with 6:04 left in the game.
Green Bay held on for a 21-14 victory and advanced to Super Bowl XLV.
2007: Donald Driver’s 90-yard Touchdown Catch
The Packers offense struggled to move the football in the bitter cold of Lambeau Field during the 2007 NFC Championship Game. The game time temperature was one-below zero and a wind chill of minus-23.
The Packers trailed 6-0 and were unable to get much going on offense when they got the ball at their own 10 yard line.
Brett Favre dropped back, faked a handoff and tossed a pass to wide receiver Donald Driver on the right side. Driver found a soft spot in the Giants zone defense and started to run down the right sideline. He was barely able to elude a diving defender at the Giants 20 and scampered into the end zone for a 90-yard touchdown.
The Packers took a 7-6 lead but were unable to hold it. They lost the game 23-20 in overtime in what turned out to be Favre’s final game with the Packers.
1997: Eugene Robinson Interception
The defending Super Bowl champion Packers were facing the 49ers in San Francisco and held a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter. The 49ers were driving and had a third-and-eight at the Green Bay 28 as they looked to take the lead.
Quarterback Steve Young dropped back and looked for tight end Brent Jones over the middle, but the pass was underthrown and safety Eugene Robinson picked the ball off. The veteran safety managed to avoid potential 49ers tackles and zig zagged his way for 58 yards to the San Francisco 28.
Two plays later, Favre found Antonio Freeman for a 27-yard touchdown pass. The Packers had a 10-0 lead. Had the 49ers scored on that drive, the complexion of the game would have been completely different. Instead, the Packers took control and ended up with a 23-10 win and earned a return trip to the Super Bowl.
1996: Dorsey Levens TD Catch
The Packers were trailing 7-0 early in this game after a Brett Favre interception set up an easy Panthers touchdown drive. But running back Dorsey Levens came through with two huge plays to get the game tied and give the Packers some momentum.
Facing a third-and-one on the Packers 36, Levens ran off the right side for 35 yards all the way to the Carolina 29. Tight ends Jeff Thomason and Keith Jackson made key blocks to spring Levens free.
Then, on the next play, Favre threw the ball for Levens in the end zone. The ball was underthrown but Levens adjusted in mid-air, wrestled the ball away from cornerback Eric Davis and somehow got both feet in bounds for the tying touchdown. The game was tied 7-7 and the Packers were on their way to their first Super Bowl appearance in 29 years.
1967: Bart Starr Quarterback Sneak
The Ice Bowl remains the most famous game in Packers history and one of the most memorable contests in the history of the NFL.
The Packers were trailing 17-14 in the closing minutes of the game. The game time temperature was 13 below zero with the wind chill in the minus-40 range. Green Bay needed to go 68 yards against the Cowboys “Doomsday Defense” to get the winning score.
Bart Starr moved the Packers downfield mixing in short passes to running back Donny Anderson and some runs by Chuck Mercein. Green Bay had the ball at the Dallas one yard line but couldn’t get good enough footing to get the go-ahead score. Starr called his last timeout with 13 seconds remaining in the game.
The Packers quarterback conferenced with coach Vince Lombardi and told him he could score on a wedge play. Lombardi told him, “Run it and let’s get the hell out of here.”
Starr kept the ball instead of handing it to Mercein. Jerry Kramer and Ken Bowman got a tandem block on Jethro Pugh and Starr was able to keep his footing and plunge into the end zone for the winning score.
The Packers had won their greatest victory and earned a berth in Super Bowl II. They became the first team in NFL history to win three straight championships during the playoff era. No team has matched it since.
1966: Tom Brown’s Game Clinching Interception
The game came down to one play. The Packers were clinging to a 34-27 lead in the 1966 NFL Championship at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, but the Cowboys had the ball at the Green Bay two-yard line facing fourth and goal.
Don Meredith went back to pass put Packers linebacker Dave Robinson burst through the Dallas offensive line and pressured Meredith. The quarterback got his throw off in the general direction of Bob Hayes, but the throw was short and it landed safely in the hands of Packers defensive back Tom Brown who caught it and clinched the victory for the Packers.
The result was the Packers second straight NFL championship and a trip to Los Angeles to play in the first ever Super Bowl. Two weeks later, the Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 to win the first ever meeting between the NFL and the AFL.
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