One of the great (or depending on your opinion, horrible) traditions of the NCAA tournament is the winner's coronation montage being set to the ubiquitous, ‘One Shining Moment.' While dopey as all hell, it's also one of the few songs that accurately conveys just how vagarious sports can be. Things like momentum and destiny make for better narratives, but as we all know, it's moments (or a series of them) that decide games, and there's a fine line between euphoria and a bottle of scotch.
So when I read this article on Deadspin that asked readers which sports moment they'd change if they could go back in time, it got me thinking - which moment in Packers history would I reverse if I had the chance?
We could spend all day talking about the moments that led to the Packers collapse in Seattle just a few months ago. But that's hardly the full list of potentially game - or even franchise-altering - moments the Packers have experienced over the years. So let's get in our time machine and take a trip down memory lane to examine some of the more obvious ones in recent history. I'll also rank the significance of the moment based on a scale of 1-10 Favres, 10 being the most Favrian. Also, be sure to include your choice (and reasons why) in the comments below.
The moment: ‘The botched onside kick'
The game: NFC Championship VS. Seattle 1/18/2015
The stakes: A trip to Super Bowl XLIX against New England
The situation: After controlling the majority of the game, the Packers suddenly found themselves - and the collective blood pressure of Packers fans - on shaky ground. Up by 19-14 with just over 2:00 to play, they lined up to receive the onside kick from Seattle. Secure it, burn some clock, and they're playing the Patriots in two weeks.
The outcome: Instead of following his blocking assignment, Brandon Bostick's brain stops working for a split second. The ball domes him, pops up for grabs and seconds later, it's Seattle ball. There's no guarantee that Bostick holding on ensures a Super Bowl berth (though it doesn't get much closer), and they'd still have to, y'know, beat New England. But still, this one was pretty huge.
I give it 8 Favres.
The moment: ‘2007'
The game: NFC Championship VS. New York Giants 1/20/2008
The stakes: A trip to Super Bowl XLII against New England
The situation: After a memorable win over Seattle in the divisional ‘Snow Globe' game, the Packers returned home to Green Bay in weather that nearly turned Tom Coughlin into a White Walker. After New York kicker Lawerne Tynes shanked two kicks that definitely had nothing to do with gambling, the Packers had a shot in overtime to seal a trip to Glendale, Arizona.
The outcome: Two plays into their drive, Favre stares down Donald Driver for approximately six-and-a-half minutes on a curl route. Cornerback Corey Webster pounces, returning the intercepted pass to the Green Bay 34. Not long after, Tynes nails a 47-yarder to send the Packers into the off-season. That it occurred in sudden death certainly hurts, but reversing Favre's pick wouldn't have guaranteed a win in this game, let alone against a behemoth New England team in the next one. A brutal loss no doubt, but not the worst.
This one gets 6 Favres.
The moment: ‘4th & 26'
The game: NFC Divisional Game VS. Philadelphia 1/11/2004
The stakes: A trip to Carolina to face the Panthers in the NFC Championship
The situation: With one of the best rushing attacks in team history, the 2003/2004 Packers found themselves on the cusp of an NFC Championship berth. Up 17-14 with just over a minute remaining, the defense lined up on a seemingly impossible 4th & 26 stand versus Donovan McNabb and the Eagles.
The outcome: Head Coach Mike Sherman calls the play by making fart noises into his headset (dramatization), the defensive coverage is blown and the next thing you know, Freddie Mitchell is catching a 27-yard pass. A field goal and one ‘F-it' throw by Favre later, and the stunned Packers are heading home. It wasn't a Super Bowl or even an NFC Championship (and the Panthers were much better that year than most remember) but the 2003 Packers were really good. One of the more painful kicks to the nuts in franchise history.
Grade: 8 Favres
The moment: ‘The Catch II'
The game: NFC Wildcard Game VS. San Francisco 1/3/1999
The stakes: A trip to Atlanta to face the Falcons in the NFC Divisional Game
The situation: With Head Coach Mike Holmgren all but wearing Seahawks undershirts and the 90's Packers run on its last legs, the team was vying to put the 49'ers away with just minutes remaining. Following a total BS non-call on a Jerry Rice fumble, the Niners had one last chance from their own 25, trailing 27-23.
The outcome: Simply put - Steve Young fired a dart to Terrell Owens (who never gets enough credit for withstanding a hit that could be considered a finishing move in Mortal Kombat) in the end zone for the touchdown, game over. This is one of the few games I watched with my Dad and to this day, I will never forget the absolute crushing silence of the next few minutes. He knew it was over. I knew it was over. The Packers dynasty had come to an end. That said, there was still a long ways to go in the playoffs and this was but one play in what wasn't the most meaningful game. Still, a heartbreaker.
I give it 4 Favres.
The moment: ‘The repeat falls short'
The game: Super Bowl XXXII VS. Denver Broncos 1/25/1998
The stakes: A second straight championship
The situation: An absolute juggernaut in the regular season, the Packers came into the game 11 ½ point favorites versus Denver. After trading blows through three and a half quarters, Mike Holmgren lets Denver score to give Brett Favre - who was throwing fire at this point - enough time to mount a game-tying drive. The Broncos lead 31-24.
The outcome: After a promising drive that got the Packers to the Denver 31-yard line, a 4th and 6 pass from Favre to Mark Chmura is broken up, giving the Broncos an improbable victory, and exposing the world to just miles of Elway teeth in the process. While the play itself didn't directly affect the outcome, a first down at least gives the Packers offense four more shots at tying things up. Definitely not a given, but considering the stakes, this one goes at the top of my list of plays I'd want reversed.