On Friday morning, Deadspin posted an interesting question to its readers: if you could change any sports championship outcome, which would it be?
Using strict adherence to the rules outlined in their article (namely, that it can only be changing a final result between the two teams that were already in a championship game/round), Green Bay Packers' fans' choice should be painfully obvious: Super Bowl XXXII is the only Super Bowl that the Packers have played in and lost, and it's one of only three NFL Championship Game of any form that they have lost. (The other two were the 1938 and 1960 title games.)
Therefore, most Packers' fans choices for that question are easy to answer - beating Denver after the 1997 season would have made the Mike Holmgren-led Packers back-to-back champs.
Instead of posing that easy question to you, we want to flip the script slightly and look instead at the Packers' losses in NFC Championship Games instead. Green Bay has lost three of those over the past 25 years, each painful in different respects. The question you must answer is which of these three games would you change and send the Packers to the Super Bowl instead of home to the couch? You can only pick one, and assume that doing so provides no guarantees about what would have happened in the Super Bowl. We'll take a look at each of those to see why each one is a valid choice, as well as look at Green Bay's chances of winning in the Super Bowl matchup that would have awaited them.
1995: Cowboys 38, Packers 27
In '95, the Cowboys' dynasty was in full swing, and the Packers had lost to them in the divisional round each of the previous two years, both at Cowboys Stadium. They met in the NFC Championship Game in 1995, again in Dallas, when the Packers put up a better fight than in the previous two meetings but again fell short.
Of course, the Packers went to the Super Bowl following the 1996 and '97 seasons, beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI and losing to the Broncos in the aforementioned Super Bowl XXXII.
If Green Bay won this game, it's likely that they would have been favored over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Dallas dominated most of that game, forcing three Neil O'Donnell interceptions. It's likely that the Packers would have also been victorious, landing Brett Favre and Holmgren a ring a year earlier and giving them a shot at a true dynasty.
However, would the Packers have been as motivated in 1996 if they were coming off a Super Bowl win instead of losing one step away from the big game? Is it possible that the '96 squad would have fallen flat in another game or two, lost home-field advantage in the playoffs, and flamed out before even making it to New Orleans?
2007: Giants 23, Packers 20 (OT)
We go from a game early on in Brett Favre's career to his final game in Green and Gold. The winner of this game would go on to play the 18-0 New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
The Packers' defense that season was good, but the pass rush was not elite - that was arguably the biggest factor in the Giants' victory over New England. Tom Brady was sacked five times and hurried far more in New York's 17-14 win. The Packers' defense racked up 36 sacks in the regular season, a far cry from the Giants' 53. So even if Favre didn't throw that interception to Corey Webster in overtime, Green Bay would have been a long shot to defeat the undefeated Pats - although the Giants were as well.
Imagine if they had defeated New England, though - would Favre have retired that offseason, and done so for good instead of trying to come back a few months later? Or would he have never retired in the first place, coming back for one more shot at a Super Bowl and likely forcing Ted Thompson to find a trade partner to take Aaron Rodgers off his hands?
All of that is on the table for discussion about this game.
2014: Seahawks 28, Packers 22 (OT)
This contest is the most recent, and therefore the wounds have had little time to heal. What makes this loss particularly difficult to take was the litany of errors, mishaps, and brain farts that led to the Seahawks' comeback and eventual appearance in the Super Bowl.
What would have happened if the Packers had advanced? Well, they had beaten the AFC champion Patriots at Lambeau Field earlier that season, in one of Mike McCarthy's best performances as a game-planner and playcaller. Aaron Rodgers was magnificent while Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson carved up New England's secondary. Who's to say that wouldn't have happened again? As it was, Seattle nearly had that game won before the questionable call to throw the ball in the middle of the field from the one-yard line.
Based on Pro Football Reference's "simple rating system", the Packers had a better offense than New England's in 2014, but a roughly league-average defense. That would have likely made them slight underdogs in the game, but as they proved in week 12 that year, they certainly could have won that game and given Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy a second Super Bowl ring.
So which will it be? You get to choose a single NFC Championship Game loss to overturn. Does the recent sting of 2014 outweigh the chance to start a Packers dynasty in the mid-1990s? Or would you want to give Favre a chance to go out on top, knowing that the decision might lead to Aaron Rodgers' departure? Give us your answer in the poll below and in the comments.