It's Midweek again, and that means it's time for my latest series history post. This time, we look at the history between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.
The Patriots, one of the original eight AFL teams, joined the NFL in the 1970 Merger. In those days they were known as the "Boston Patriots" before changing team names to "New England Patriots" prior to the 1971 season. Their first game against the Packers was in 1973, with New England coming away with a 33-24 victory.
The Packers answered back by winning the 1979 game, 27-14, before the Patriots defeated the Packers in the 1985 season opener by the score of 26-20. The Packers defeated the Patriots 45-3 in Milwaukee in 1988, one of the very few bright spots in an otherwise miserable 4-12 season.
Brett Favre's first game against the Patriots was in 1994. The game was a microcosm of everything gone wrong for the Packers. Green Bay blew a 10-0 lead, missed an extra point, and botched the ensuing kickoff to boot. The Patriots won, 17-16, in New England.
In January 1997, the Packers and Patriots met in New Orleans for what is undoubtedly the most famous game in the series: Super Bowl XXXI. Brett Favre, a native Mississippian, made his return to the Bayou on the NFL's grandest stage a memorable one, throwing long touchdown passes to Andre Rison and Antonio Freeman and running for a score to boot. The Patriots hung tough, until Desmond Howard finally ended hopes of a New England comeback by running a kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown. The Packers won the Super Bowl for the first time in 29 years, giving long-starved fans a taste of glory and finally winning a championship for the leader of their defense, Reggie White.
In the following 1997 season, the Packers traveled to Foxboro to face the Patriots. Green Bay had struggled on the road all season, but went into New England and blew out the Patriots 28-10, in a game that featured a memorable goal-line stand followed by a 99-yard Packer drive for a touchdown.
The series went on hold until 2002, when the Packers traveled to a rainy Gillette Stadium and again defeated the Patriots 28-10. This game featured Brett Favre reaching the career milestone of 300 touchdown passes late in the second quarter.
Since then, however, the Packers have not been able to defeat the Patriots. In 2006, New England went into Green Bay and won in a rout, 35-0. The Packer offense generated a mere five first downs and 120 yards of total offense. Four years later, the Packers played the Patriots in New England. This, however, would not be the Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady duel that many had expected, as Rodgers was sitting out due to a concussion sustained the previous week in Detroit. Matt Flynn made his first start and nearly pulled off an incredible upset, with the Patriots only holding on to win in the final few seconds. Despite the loss, the Packers didn't lose any ground as the New York Giants had inexplicably blown a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter earlier that day, which meant the Packers still controlled their own destiny for the 2010 playoffs. Given another chance, the Packers would go on to defeat the Giants the following week and rode the momentum to the Super Bowl while the Patriots were bounced out in the Divisional Round by the New York Jets.
All in all, the Patriots hold a 5-4 lead in the regular season, with the Packers winning the only playoff meeting between the two teams.
What are your memories of the Packers playing the Patriots?
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