The Green Bay Packers have won 13 NFL Championships and four Super Bowls since the team’s inception, but just two of those titles have come in the era of widespread television broadcasts and highlights. Today, we’re looking back to determine what the most memorable Super Bowl moment was in the history of the franchise, and with little video footage available of Super Bowls I or II — and considering those games took place over 50 years ago — we’re focusing on the most recent pair of wins. Still, there’s one storyline from Super Bowl I that will remain in the hearts and minds of Packers fans, and is worth including as well.
For whatever it’s worth, if we were talking NFL Championship Game moments, Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl would take the cake for this writer. However, that came in the 1967 NFL Championship, not the Super Bowl, and it is therefore ineligible for the list.
Let’s look at our top candidates, starting with Super Bowl I, and give us your pick for the number one play in the poll below.
Super Bowl I — Packers 35, Chiefs 10
Max McGee saves the day hungover
He wasn’t even really supposed to play in the game. Max McGee was in the 11th and second-to-last year of his NFL career. He was once a good receiver — no, a great one, making the Pro Bowl in 1961 — but father time was creeping up on him. He had only caught four passes during the 1966 season and he wasn’t expected to play much if at all in the first Super Bowl, so he went out the night before with a pair of flight attendants and had some fun, getting back to the team hotel at 6:30 in the morning.
Three plays into the first Super Bowl, Boyd Dowler injured his shoulder and a hung-over McGee was thrust into the game. He responded with one of the finest receiving performances in Super Bowl history: a seven-catch, 138-yard, two-touchdown game that included the first score in the first Super Bowl.
Sports Illustrated profiled McGee in 2015, spending plenty of time telling the story of his performance. It’s worth a read if you have not yet seen it, and it remains one of the most amusing and absurd football stories in history.
Super Bowl XXXI — Packers 35, Patriots 21
Andre Rison’s touchdown
It is the Packers’ second offensive play of the game, the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance in 29 years. On a second-and-nine from just shy of midfield, Brett Favre audibles at the line and heaves the ball to a wide-open Andre Rison, who struts into the end zone to open the scoring.
This wasn’t the longest score of the day — it wasn’t even Favre’s longest touchdown pass, as he threw an 81-yarder to Antonio Freeman in the second quarter. But the timing of that play, starting out the game with a bang, gives it special meaning.
Desmond Howard’s kickoff return
The other option from this game is a no-brainer. The Packers’ defense had just given up a big touchdown run to Curtis Martin, cutting the Green Bay lead down to six points at 27-21. With momentum starting to swing towards the Patriots, Adam Vinatieri booted the kickoff toward the goal line.
That’s when Desmond Howard put the game out of reach. After he shook one tackle, Don Beebe’s block freed him up to get to the end zone and do the robot. Reggie White’s back-to-back sacks on the next drive truly put the game out of reach, but Howard’s play will go down as one of the biggest in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XLV — Packers 31, Steelers 25
Nick Collins’ pick-six
Remember Howard Green? With the Packers holding an early 7-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers (on a magnificent touchdown pass throw from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson), Green bull-rushed a lineman into Ben Roethlisberger’s lap. That forced an errant throw that free safety Nick Collins corralled, and he weaved his way through a handful of Steelers to find his way across the goal line for a touchdown:
Rodgers to Jennings on 3rd and 10
With the Packers clinging to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, Rodgers and company faced a third-and-ten at their own 25-yard line with six minutes to go in the game.
Rodgers delivered a strike to Jennings, moving the chains and eventually leading to a field goal to stretch the lead out to six points. It is one of Rodgers’ greatest throws in his career, and arguably his best given the situation and the tight coverage that Ike Taylor had on Jennings.
What is the best moment from the Packers’ Super Bowl wins?
This poll is closed
Max McGee saves the day with a hangover
Andre Rison’s TD
Desmond Howard’s KO return TD
Reggie White’s back-to-back sacks
Nick Collins’ pick-six
Rodgers-to-Jennings on 3rd and 10
‘Spill it, Pickett!’ — Clay Matthews’ forced fumble