NFC East Reporter
They’ve performed in among the most iconic video games in NFL historical past, in among the most historic buildings, with among the biggest gamers to ever play the sport. It hardly ever issues if it’s for a championship or simply one other recreation within the common season. There’s simply all the time one thing particular when the Inexperienced Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys face off.
These two storied franchises will renew their historic rivalry on Sunday at 4:15 p.m. ET on FOX when the 6-2 Cowboys journey to Lambeau Discipline to face the 3-6 Packers. It is going to be a homecoming for Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, who spent 13 years in Inexperienced Bay constructing a 125-77-2 file and main them to a win in Tremendous Bowl XLV.
That alone may make this a memorable recreation. However it might be simply certainly one of many of their lengthy, storied historical past.
Right here’s a have a look at among the greatest video games the Cowboys and Packers have ever performed:
1966 NFL Championship Sport
Jan. 1, 1967 on the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX
The Packers have been the NFL’s powerhouse crew again then, and the Cowboys have been nonetheless a great distance from turning into “America’s Team”. The Cowboys (10-3-1) have been younger, with just one participant over 30, and showing of their first-ever playoff recreation. The Packers (12-2) had simply completed their eighth straight successful season underneath Vince Lombardi, and so they have been the defending champs.
They have been additionally closely favored to win the primary NFL title because the AFL-NFL merger and acquire the coveted berth in Tremendous Bowl I.
So nobody was stunned when the Packers scored on their first drive, then recovered a fumble on the following kickoff and returned it for one more landing for a fast, 14-0 lead. The larger shock was that Tom Landry’s younger upstarts hung round, tying the sport earlier than the fourth quarter was over.
It was forwards and backwards all recreation lengthy. Packers quarterback Bart Starr threw for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns. Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith threw for 238 yards and a landing and Don Perkins ran for 108 yards. However when Starr hit Max McGee for a 28-yard landing within the fourth quarter, the Packers had a commanding, 34-20 lead with simply 5:20 to play.
However Dallas wasn’t completed. On a Third-and-20, Meredith linked with tight finish Frank Clarke on a 68-yard landing to chop the deficit to only a landing. And after the Dallas protection stopped the Packers on the following drive, the Cowboys had the ball again close to midfield with 2:19 to go. And an enormous pass-interference name on Packers security Tom Brown bought the Cowboys all the best way all the way down to the Inexperienced Bay 1.
However the Packers protection held, with Brown redeeming himself by selecting off Meredith in the long run zone on 4th-and-goal from the two. The Packers held on to win the NFL title 34-27.
“We had our chance down there and muffed it,” Landry mentioned after the sport. “It was just one of those things.”
1967 NFL Championship recreation (“The Ice Bowl”)
Dec. 31, 1967 at Lambeau Discipline in Inexperienced Bay, WI
The rematch of the 1966 NFL championship recreation would have been thrilling sufficient, however the situations are what made this recreation an immediate traditional. The kickoff temperature was minus-13 levels. It could drop to minus-18 as the sport went on. It was so chilly that when referee Norm Shacther blew into his metallic whistle to sign the beginning of the sport, it froze to his lips.
The wind chill made every thing even worse. To these within the stadium, it felt extra like minus-48.
And the gamers merely weren’t ready for it. Cowboys coach Tom Landry even refused to let any gamers who would possibly contact the soccer put on gloves. Years later, a lot of them claimed the frostbite from that day had left them with tingling sensations of their fingers. It was additionally onerous to run on a discipline that was frozen. And within the icy chilly, each hit felt 10 occasions worse.
That made the efficiency of Packers quarterback Bart Starr that day much more exceptional. He was sacked eight occasions by the fierce Dallas protection, but he nonetheless accomplished 14 of 24 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns — each of which got here within the first half because the Packers once more constructed a 14-0 lead.
The Cowboys, although, stormed again and took the lead when working again Dan Reeves ran a sweep, pulled up and hit receiver Lance Retzel with an choice go for a 50-yard landing. When the Packers bought the ball again, trailing 17-14 with 4:50 remaining with 68 yards of ice between them and the tip zone, the scenario appeared bleak.
However Starr drove them down the sphere to the Cowboys’ 1-yard line with 16 seconds remaining within the recreation, after which plowed into the tip zone on a quarterback sneak to present Inexperienced Bay a 21-17 win and a berth in Tremendous Bowl II.
“For years when it got cold my hands would hurt so bad,” Cowboys defensive sort out Bob Lilly recalled years later. “We were thankful that we got out of there alive.”
1995 NFC Championship recreation
Jan. 14, 1996 at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX
The Cowboys had moved on from head coach Jimmy Johnson, and after two straight Tremendous Bowl titles they have been knocked off by the San Francisco 49ers within the NFC championship the yr earlier than. In different phrases, it regarded like their dynasty was ending. They regarded like they have been able to go the baton because the NFL’s greatest crew, and the Packers hoped to take that baton.
The Packers have been undoubtedly on the verge of one thing. Quarterback Brett Favre was about to win the primary of his three straight NFL MVP awards. They’d simply knocked the defending-champion 49ers out of the playoffs the week earlier than. And now up have been the Cowboys, who had knocked the Packers out of the playoffs in every of the final two seasons.
It took a wild, traditional recreation for them to do it once more.
Some of the entertaining NFC championships ever, the sport featured six lead adjustments. The Packers needed to climb out of an early 14-3 deficit. And on the power of 307 passing yards and three touchdowns from Favre, the Packers even led 27-24 heading into the fourth quarter.
However the Cowboys rallied again with two fourth-quarter touchdowns from working again Emmitt Smith, who ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns within the recreation. The second, game-winning TD got here two performs after Favre threw his second interception of the sport.
Dallas Cowboys working again Emmitt Smith breaks via the Inexperienced Bay Packers defensive position in the course of the NFC Championship Sport in Irving, TX. Picture by CHRIS WILKINS/AFP through Getty Photos
Favre truly bought the ball again yet one more time with 2:36 remaining, however he couldn’t get out of his personal territory. Finally, the Packers simply didn’t have sufficient to carry off the Cowboys’ famed Triplets — QB Troy Aikman (21 of 33, 255 yards, 2 TDs), WR Michael Irvin (7 catches, 100 yards, 2 TDs) and Smith.
The Cowboys, of their second season with Barry Switzer as head coach, went on to beat the Steelers in Tremendous Bowl XXX — their third championship in a span of 4 seasons. The Packers, although, used this loss as gasoline and went on to win the Tremendous Bowl the subsequent yr.
2014 NFC Divisional Playoffs
Jan. 11, 2015 at Lambeau Discipline, Inexperienced Bay, WI
Was it a catch?
That’s without end how this recreation will likely be remembered; Dez Bryant both caught it or he didn’t. It could change into one of the vital notorious performs in NFL historical past when Bryant, with the Cowboys trailing 26-21 and fewer than 5 minutes remaining, made a leaping catch on the 5-yard line on a 4th-and-2 from the Packers 32, and landed across the aim line.
To everybody watching within the stadium or at residence, it regarded like an incredible catch.
However a evaluation finally dominated that it truly wasn’t.
It was a wild recreation even earlier than that second. The Packers bought a superb efficiency from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who accomplished 24 of 35 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. That included a 46-yard landing go to rookie receiver Davante Adams late within the third quarter and a 13-yarder to Richard Rodgers that put the Packers up 26-21 with 9:10 left within the recreation.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo (15 of 19, 191 yards, 2 TDs) went proper to work, shifting Dallas rapidly into Inexperienced Bay territory. However he confronted a 4th-and-2 from the 32 with 4:42 to play.
And as a substitute of going for the fast first down, the Cowboys went for all of it, sending Bryant down the left sidelines. The go was excellent, permitting Bryant to leap over his protection, seize the ball and land proper across the aim line.
However after Bryant got here down with the ball and took a few steps, he reached out for the aim line as he fell with the ball in his left hand. When he hit, the bottom jarred the ball unfastened, although it popped proper up and Bryant caught it once more. The Packers challenged the decision, and after a prolonged evaluation, the referees overruled themselves, saying it was not a catch as a result of Bryant “did not maintain possession” earlier than he hit the bottom.
That was the tip for the Cowboys. They turned the ball over on downs, and the Packers then ran out the clock on offense and superior to the NFC Championship Sport.
“Come on man, I think it was a catch,” Bryant mentioned after the sport. “They took it away.”
Not that it helped Bryant or the Cowboys, however after a number of years of debating that play and attempting to find out the definition of a catch, the NFL truly modified the catch rule three years later. Bryant’s reception would have stoof if the brand new guidelines had been in place.
2016 NFC Divisional Playoffs
Jan. 15, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
For the primary 22 ½ minutes of this recreation, it wasn’t a lot of a recreation. After that?
It was bedlam.
After the Packers jumped out to an early 21-3 lead, the Cowboys made it clear they wouldn’t go away quietly, particularly in entrance of their residence crowd. Dak Prescott was sensible, finishing 24-of-38 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. That included two touchdowns to Bryant, who had a superb 9 catches for 132 yards.
Two of Prescott’s landing passes got here within the fourth quarter, which started with the Packers nonetheless holding a 28-13 lead. Prescott hit tight finish Jason Witten with a 6-yarder and Bryant with a 7-yarder, and instantly, with 4:08 remaining, the sport was tied at 28-28.
That’s when it bought actually loopy.
The Packers wanted two and a half minutes to maneuver throughout midfield and get in place for a 56-yard discipline aim by Mason Crosby with 1:38 remaining, giving them a 31-28 lead. However the Cowboys answered proper again, utilizing up simply 53 seconds to get inside Inexperienced Bay territory so Dan Bailey may nail a 52-yard discipline aim that re-tied the sport.
However they left 35 seconds on the clock, which was greater than sufficient for Aaron Rodgers — who accomplished 28-of-43 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns – to discover a means. The massive play got here on a Third-and-20 from his personal 32, when he rolled out of the pocket and located tight finish Jared Prepare dinner down the sidelines for a 36-yard catch. And what a catch it was, with Prepare dinner simply barely dragging his toes in bounds earlier than his knees landed on the sidelines.
Jared Prepare dinner of the Inexperienced Bay Packers makes a catch in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys in the course of the 2016 NFC Divisional Playoff Sport at AT&T Stadium. Picture by Joe Robbins/Getty Photos
It was simply sufficient for a 51-yard discipline aim from Crosby as time expired, giving the Packers a wild, 34-31 win and sending them on to the NFC Championship Sport.
“Unbelievable effort,” Rodgers mentioned. “I mean, what a game. What a game!”
Week 13 of the 2007 season (Nov. 29, 2007) — This recreation would’ve been large enough, contemplating each groups have been 10-1 on the time. However it turned much more notable when Packers QB Brett Favre was injured within the second quarter, forcing a younger Aaron Rodgers into the sport. In his first prolonged look, Rodgers went 18 of 26 for 201 yards and a landing in entrance of a hostile crowd at Texas Stadium. However Tony Romo was even higher, finishing 19 of 30 for 309 yards and 4 touchdowns, main the Cowboys to their sixth straight win, 37-27, as they clinched an early playoff berth.
Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys confronted the Inexperienced Bay Packers on November 29, 2007. Picture by Sporting Information through Getty Photos
Thanksgiving Day, 1994 (Nov. 24, 1994)
Lengthy earlier than he coached the Cowboys, this was the massive second for Jason Garrett. He was the backup to quarterback Troy Aikman, who was injured and unable to play on this recreation. And to nobody’s shock, the Packers jumped out to an early 17-3 lead over Garrett and the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. They even nonetheless led 24-13 within the third quarter. However Garrett was sensible, finishing 15 of 26 for 311 yards and two touchdowns, main the Cowboys to 26 unanswered factors. That included a 35-yard landing go to Michael Irvin late within the fourth quarter to place the sport away. Garrett, in a shocker, beat Brett Favre, who was 27 of 40 for 257 yards and 4 touchdowns. However as sensible as he was, he wouldn’t begin once more for the Cowboys for one more 4 years.
Large receiver Alvin Harper of the Dallas Cowboys heads to the tip zone on a 45-yard landing reception in opposition to the Inexperienced Bay Packers in 1994. Picture by Joseph Patronite/Getty Photos
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years masking the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years masking the Giants and the NFL for the New York Day by day Information. Observe him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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