Green Bay Packers 31, Minnesota Vikings 3. AT the Metrodome. Brett Favre considering early retirement (even if it was in a joking manner). Brad Childress pushed to the brink of unemployment. Vikings fighting amongst themselves and totally humiliated. For Packers fans, does it get any sweeter than this?
Well, let’s find out.
Submitted for your approval (or disapproval), here are my picks for the top five most satisfying Packers victories of the last decade:
5. Packers 42, Seahawks 20, January 12, 2008 NFC Divisional Playoffs
Ah, the “Snow Globe Game.” Also Favre’s final victory as a Packer.
The game started off poorly with two fumbles by Ryan Grant and the Seahawks, led by former Packers coach Mike Holmgren and former Packers backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, jumping out to an early 14-0 lead. It looked like the postseason struggles of the Mike Sherman regime had spilled over to successor Mike McCarthy. Or maybe not.
Favre played his last truly great cold weather game and Packers offense exploded to lead the team to a 42-20 victory. Grant more than made up for his early mistakes and carried the ball very well in a heavy snowstorm.
Unfortunately, we all know how that season ended.
4. Packers 34, Raiders 7, December 22, 2003
No matter how much you may despise Favre right now this game still likely will bring a tear to your eye.
A day after losing his father to a heart attack, No. 4 played the game of his life under the most adverse of circumstances. With the Packers needing a win to keep their division title hopes alive and playing on national television, Favre had a masterful performance throwing for 399 yards and four touchdowns.
Favre’s emotional address to the team as well as postgame interview showed how much the game meant to him. Already a legend in Green Bay, this single performance doubled the size of his legacy. Packers fans knew then that he had their back and they had his. It was a match made in heaven. Little did we know at the time an even sweeter victory was two weeks away.
3. Packers 33, Seahawks 27, January 4, 2004 NFC Wild Card Playoffs
“We want the ball, and we’re gonna score!”
Matt Hasselbeck’s bold declaration after the coin toss to start overtime was not only heard loud and clear at Lambeau Field, but to a national television audience as well.
Hasselbeck was right. They did score. For the wrong team.
He learned that karma can be a female dog as Al Harris ran back a poorly thrown pass for the winning touchdown in the first postseason game to be won in overtime by a defensive touchdown (the second one the Packers would rather forget).
Thrown in that Holmgren was on the sidelines made this win so much sweeter for the Packers. Hasselbeck I’m sure has kept his mouth shut at the coin toss ever since.
2. Packers 24, Vikings 19, September 8, 2008
The Aaron Rodgers era began.
After a messy divorce with Favre that pushed the usually united Packers fan base to the brink of civil war, everyone wondered how Favre’s successor would perform under the spotlight.
They got their answer early.
After a deep heave and incredible catch by Greg Jennings, Rodgers got the Packers into the end zone with a Favre-esque throw to John Kuhn to put the Packers up 7-0.
Yet it was a one yard sneak into the end zone and subsequent Lambeau Leap by Rodgers that people take away from this game.
Why? Because in that one moment, despite all they had been through, Packer fans looked at each other and said “We’re going to be all right. This Rodgers kid ain’t half bad.”
Since then, Rodgers has become a hero to ALL of Packer Nation. He may not be a folk hero like Favre was, but he’s winning and that’s the only thing that matters. Vince Lombardi said so.
1. Packers 31, Vikings 3-November 21, 2010
Oh, the sweet irony of it all.
It’s fitting that the Packers and Rodgers put the final nail in the coffin of Favre’s final season and his career. Despite getting beaten senseless by Favre twice a year earlier, the Packers got the ultimate comeuppance.
Favre is a broken man and Childress, whom McCarthy has no lost love for, has been fired.
If there was any better way to slam the book shut on the Favre/Vikings era, I would love to hear it. With the Vikings bickering amongst themselves and their fans breaking out chants of “FIRE CHILDRESS!”, there has undoubtedly been no sweeter win than this for the Green Bay Packers in the last ten years.
If the FOX cameras had cut to a shot of him, I would be willing to bet even the normally stoic Ted Thompson had to have been smiling.
If that isn’t the sign of a satisfying win, I don’t know what is.
The video of this game should still be fresh in your mind and probably will be for a long, long time. So you don’t really need to see it here, do you? Well, all right, if you insist:
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke