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Poll Question : Which Super Bowl was better?
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  Super Bowl XLV
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Offline Zero2Cool  
#1 Posted : Monday, July 18, 2011 6:19:19 AM(UTC)
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Mike Spofford said:
The case for Super Bowl XXXI and the team that won it.

It’s harder to make the argument for XXXI the game vs. XLV, because XXXI finished with a 14-point spread and nary a point was scored in the fourth quarter. But there are a few items worth noting.

XXXI had more big plays and electrifying moments, with Andre Rison’s 54-yard TD catch on just the second play from scrimmage, Antonio Freeman’s 81-yard TD down the sideline, and, of course, Desmond Howard’s 99-yard kickoff return for a score.

Those last two big plays produced Super Bowl records, as did Reggie White with his three sacks. Three records in one Super Bowl ain’t too shabby.

Plus, it’s often forgotten the lead actually changed hands a few times. The Packers jumped on top 10-0, only to see the Patriots rally for a 14-10 lead. Then the Packers went up 27-14 and the Patriots pulled within 27-21 before Howard’s game-breaking return. A very compelling first three quarters, to be sure, with momentum swings to rival any Super Bowl.

The argument for XXXI rests more squarely with the team, however. The 1996 Packers became the first NFL team in 24 years to lead the league in most points scored and fewest points allowed. That can’t be topped.

The offense had the league’s MVP in quarterback Brett Favre, while the defense set a record for a 16-game schedule by allowing just 19 opposing touchdowns, better than even the vaunted 1985 Chicago Bears defense.

The 456 points the Packers scored that year remained a team record until the 2009 team beat it by five. The 210 allowed continue to stand as the team mark for a 16-game season, and the next closest is 56 points away. That’s eight touchdowns, or one every two games, from even approaching that 1996 defense.

The clincher for XXXI, though, is simply the context. The Packers hadn’t gone to a Super Bowl in 29 years. The Vince Lombardi Trophy was so named because of the first two Super Bowls, and the Packers hadn’t been back since.

The mid-1990s was all about the rebirth of a franchise and the steady progression toward a title. In 1993 and ’94, the Packers reached the divisional round. In ’95, they reached the NFC Championship Game. Then came the culmination in ’96, with an all-around juggernaut of a squad winning its three postseason games in the rain and mud (vs. San Francisco), in the freezing cold (vs. Carolina) and in a dome (vs. New England).

What that championship meant to a franchise that had suffered through nearly three forgettable decades can’t be overstated. The Pack was truly back.
Offline Zero2Cool  
#2 Posted : Monday, July 18, 2011 6:20:13 AM(UTC)
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Vic Ketchman said:
The case for Super Bowl XLV.

The 2010 Packers were a No. 6 seed for the playoffs for one reason: Devin Hester returned a punt against the Packers for a touchdown.

That’s it. Had the Packers punted the ball out of bounds, they would’ve won the division and been the No. 2 seed for the NFC playoffs. They might’ve hosted the NFC title game, as the Bears did. Who knows?

So, get it out of your head that the Packers were a No. 6 seed. Nothing about the 2010 Packers is indicative of a team that had to scratch and claw to make it into the playoffs. Hey, they were favored for the Super Bowl.

The 2010 Packers are a classic Super Bowl champion: They got hot at the end of the season and rode the hot right arm of their quarterback all the way to the victory podium in Dallas. They dominated on defense and they overcame injuries with an awesome display of roster depth.

That’s a No. 6 seed? No way.

The 2010 Packers plowed through a killer schedule and then won on the road on three consecutive playoff weekends against the top three seeds in the NFC. How’s that for the look of a classic champion?

Nothing about what the Packers did last season is tainted by a soft touch. It’s not as though they beat a second-year expansion team to get into the Super Bowl. Everything about last year’s team was first class, right down to its quarterback winning the Super Bowl MVP.

I’m not taking anything away from the 1996 Packers that won Super Bowl XXXI. That was a great team with a legendary player on each side of the ball, but neither the road to XXXI, nor the game itself, compares to the road to XLV or the 2010 Packers’ win in it.

The ’96 Packers benefitted from the Cowboys and 49ers dynasties having expired. The ’96 Packers’ opponent in the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots, barely got by another second-year expansion team, the Jaguars, in the AFC title game.

What does it say about the state of the NFL in ’96 that the Jaguars and Panthers, with a combined four seasons under their belts, made it to their respective conference title games? By the way, the 2010 Packers’ opponent in Super Bowl XLV had won the game twice in the previous five years and leads the league in Super Bowls won, six.

The game? It was one of the best, not decided until Ben Roethlisberger’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 49 seconds to play. The Packers won the game, 31-25, thanks to a bevy of big plays that included a Nick Collins interception and return for a touchdown, a classic Clay Matthews helmet-on-the-ball tackle that caused Rashard Mendenhall to fumble and saved the day, and a series of clutch, tight-window throws by Aaron Rodgers that earned him individual game honors.

Super Bowl XXXI? The Packers won, 35-21, and the game was over before the third quarter was. By the way, has Bill Parcells ever explained why he threw the ball 48 times?

This is a debate, of course, that’s going to be decided by what follows. The ’96 Packers returned to the Super Bowl the following season, though that would be the end of their run. The 2010 Packers will be judged to a large degree by what they do on the heels of last season.

Should they go on to win another Super Bowl, well, then need I say more?
Offline Zero2Cool  
#3 Posted : Monday, July 18, 2011 6:28:50 AM(UTC)
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The final score was Packers 17, Bears 20.

If Devin Hester does not return the punt, and we go to after the Packers last TD, the score is Packers 17, Bears 7... their next two drives were scoring drives.

R.Gould 25 yd. Field Goal Drive: 7 plays, 67 yards in 2:53
R.Gould 19 yd. Field Goal Drive: 7 plays, 45 yards in 2:14

Both of which were within the 20 yard line so who's to say they don't toss one into the end zone and get lucky?


I'm not sure it's so clear and cut about the Hester return... maybe it is?
Offline Cheesey  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, July 20, 2011 4:02:28 PM(UTC)
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They WERE a #6 seed. That's FACT.
You can just as easily say that one more screw up, and they would have been 9-7 and out of the playoffs altogether.
It was THAT close, from SB winners to out of the playoffs.
Had there not been the 2nd wildcard team allowed in, the Packers would have been just like the 1989 Packers. Sitting at home watching the playoffs.
Both SB wins were HUGE. 31 was because of the long wait between SB wins. SB45 because of all the injuries, and being the 6th seed. Having NO home playoff games, and yet winning anyways.
Against Philly, had Vick made that last second TD pass, we lose and go home. The NFC title game, Raji doesn't make that HUGE INT TD, we go home.
What i'm saying is, ONE play could have knocked us out before, or even during the playoffs.
They hung tight, and beat the CRAP out of the odds.
NOW of course, i think just about everyone expects the Packers to repeat. That makes it alot tougher. EVERYONE will be gunning for them.
Offline Dexter_Sinister  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, July 20, 2011 8:05:14 PM(UTC)
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I thought they were closer to a 2 seed than to missing the playoffs. The Johnson catch being over turned, the freaky run back against the Patriots, 6 more seconds also against the Patriots ,the freaky INT that went of Jennings hands, the Jones fumble.

Those are all razors edge plays that meant the difference between that 2 seed and a 6th.

No game was lost by more than 4 points and they were not playing their best when they lost. That means that even at "not their best" they were actually capable of beating anybody they played.

If their best came up short in the games they lost, I would say they were lucky to be there. But it didn't happen that way.

I said and still say, there was not a team in the NFL that was better than the Packers last year.

Bad luck on IR aslo went a long way to hold the Packers back last year.

If they can put a season together like '09 was offensively and '10 was defensively, they will be a great team.
Offline zombieslayer  
#6 Posted : Friday, July 22, 2011 5:31:36 PM(UTC)
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Cheesey said: Go to Quoted Post
They WERE a #6 seed. That's FACT.
You can just as easily say that one more screw up, and they would have been 9-7 and out of the playoffs altogether.
It was THAT close, from SB winners to out of the playoffs.
Had there not been the 2nd wildcard team allowed in, the Packers would have been just like the 1989 Packers. Sitting at home watching the playoffs.
Both SB wins were HUGE. 31 was because of the long wait between SB wins. SB45 because of all the injuries, and being the 6th seed. Having NO home playoff games, and yet winning anyways.
Against Philly, had Vick made that last second TD pass, we lose and go home. The NFC title game, Raji doesn't make that HUGE INT TD, we go home.
What i'm saying is, ONE play could have knocked us out before, or even during the playoffs.
They hung tight, and beat the CRAP out of the odds.
NOW of course, i think just about everyone expects the Packers to repeat. That makes it alot tougher. EVERYONE will be gunning for them.


I'm with the Cheesemeister here. The '96 team was superior. The ONLY problem with the '96 team is why the **** did we only win by 14 points? I still can't figure that out. We should have won by 30+. Seriously. All that talent and we couldn't completely dominate them.

Yes, the '10 team was really good but we barely made the Playoffs. I don't believe in "ifs." Facts are facts. We snuck in.

Are we the favorites for '11? Sure. It's because a third of our team was on IR. Just imagine how good we'd be with less injuries.
Offline Wade  
#7 Posted : Friday, July 22, 2011 5:47:41 PM(UTC)
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If the XXXI team played the XLV team, I think the XXXI team would win, for one reason: I don't think the XLV OL could have handled the DL, and that would have made the difference.

But I'm still going with the XLV team here, for four reasons.

First, I tend to think we should go by the team at the end of the year. And at the end of the year, I think the Rodgers/Matthews led teams were a little bit better than the Favre/White-led teams. Right now I'd take Rodgers over Favre in his prime. Though I wouldn't take Matthews over Reggie in his, and probably never will, Reggie in 1996 had diminished a bit to make him merely great (instead of stupendously great). And other than special teams, I'd take any unit of the XLV team over the XXXI team. Even the OL, though it really pains me to say this, since Bruce WIlkerson and Earl Dotson were two of my favorites and, well, everyone knows what I think about Colledge and the alternatives at his position.

Second, the XLV team is deeper. No way would the XXXI team have survived the number of injuries the XLV did. Yes, they survived the loss of Brooks and other receivers, but the losses of XLV were greater overall, IMO.

Third, the XLV team played a tougher opponent. The XXXI team played a team with Drew Bledsoe at the helm, for crying out loud.

Fourth, the XXXI team had nowhere to go but down. And, as the XXXII debacle (I'm still pissed at Holmgren for that one) showed, they did just that. On the other and, this team has all the pieces (well, except for that OL, again, and even there there's substantial reason for optimism) to become even more special. And McCarthy is better than Holmgren.

Offline Zero2Cool  
#8 Posted : Saturday, July 23, 2011 7:47:07 PM(UTC)
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The '96 team dominated the season and I don't remember too many close games. Most games were over by half time.

The '10 team persevered through injuries and adversity and there's no questioning the fact they earned their place in the playoffs.


I think the '96 team was better because they dominated on all three phases of the game. Offense. Defense. Special Teams.
Offline Nonstopdrivel  
#9 Posted : Saturday, July 23, 2011 10:51:05 PM(UTC)
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Zero2Cool said: Go to Quoted Post
The '96 team dominated the season and I don't remember too many close games. Most games were over by half time.

This would tend to support the author's implication that the league in general was in a sorry state in 1996.
Offline Cheesey  
#10 Posted : Sunday, July 24, 2011 12:25:01 PM(UTC)
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Dexter, i never said the Packers didn't deserve/earn their spot in the playoffs. I agree with you 100%! It would have been a shame if they wouldn't have made it.
Looking back at their season, there were SO many close wins, and close losses. It could have swung either way for them. But they REALLY earned it, considering what the team went through injury wise.
The 1989 Packers went 10-6 also, and i think they could have gone all the way that year. But they missed the playoffs.
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