Though we no doubt all remember every snap from every Packers Super Bowl (at least the ones we’ve been around for), we’re sorry to say the Packers don’t make it to the big game every year. But most of us still watch anyway, and this week we’re sharing our memories of the earliest Super Bowl we can remember, Packers-related or not.
Evan “Tex” Western: Super Bowl XXIX
While the first play I distinctly remember was Don Beebe chasing down Leon Lett on a fumble return, the first actual Super Bowl game I can distinctly remember watching was the San Francisco 49ers’ disassembling of the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. There are a couple of big reasons why that one stands out in my mind.
First, a few relatives of mine played college football with Steve Young at BYU. That by extension made my family fans of his. Meanwhile, my aunt, though always a Packers fan first and foremost, loved Joe Montana, and so she cheered for the Niners as her second team in the 1980s when the Packers were in the doldrums. With the Young connection, our whole family happily pulled for San Francisco in that game, especially after they beat Dallas -- who had beaten the Packers in the Divisional playoffs -- in the NFC Championship Game.
I can still recall seeing Young and his teammates miming taking the monkey off his back on the sideline in illustration of finally meeting the expectations of 49ers fans after Montana’s departure. (However, in what probably was a good move, I have apparently blocked out this mess of a halftime show from my memory.)
Owen Riese: Super Bowls XXXI and XXXIV
I’m going to cheat and say two. The first Super Bowl I remember watching was when I was 6 and watching the Titans and Rams Super Bowl. I didn’t have a huge idea of what was happening, but I remember thinking that when Mike Jones tackled Kevin Dyson at the 1yard line as time expired I had seen something special.
However, I’m going to cheat and give a favorite Super Bowl moment. Favre audibling to “29 Razor” and the bomb to Andre Rison is a Super Bowl play I’ll never forget. Rison doing the “Dirty Bird” across the goal line and watchin Favre’s unadulterated glee as he sprinted to the end zone exemplified what the game meant to him, and his passion and excitement was palpable through the television screen. I probably watched Super Bowl XXXI 100 times on the tape it was recorded on, and that was always my favorite play.
Peter Bukowski: Super Bowl XXIX
The first Super Bowl I remember watching was 1994 when Steve Young and Jerry Rice took the Chargers absolutely apart. The 49ers were one of the few teams other than the Packers I’d seen often because they were on national TV all the time.
They were the team, not the Cowboys, I always compared to the Packers as the gold standard in the NFL.
And it made the 1995 playoff upset win over that team by the Packers that much more satisfying. It made the Terrell Owens catch that much more gutting.
My first game ever at Lambeau Field was against the 49ers in the playoffs during the Super Bowl year the following season.
And never forget Jerry Rice fumbled.
Bob Fitch: Super Bowl XXXI
They say first impressions last; this one certainly has for me. Not only is SB XXXI the first Super Bowl I remember watching, but it’s the first football game I remember watching, at any level, and I have an older brother who has played his entire life. That game is the reason I grew an interest in football, and (to echo Owen) watching Brett Favre sprint toward the end zone with his helmet in his hand entrenched me as a Packers fan. It was clear he at that moment that he had an unbounding enthusiasm and joy for the game, and I wanted to follow suit and feel that exact feeling.
While I don’t remember much from the game itself, I remember more about how I managed to watch the game. As I was only 8 years old at the time, my older brother and I shared a bedroom and of course I had bottom bunk. Our bedroom was adjacent to the living room, and there was a door at the foot of our bed that opened into a hallway, allowing us a viewing angle on the TV. Since bedtime was early on a school night, my brother and I were sent to bed before the game started. We waited until the game was happening, slowly inched the door open, and poked our heads out of our beds watching silently. I didn’t really know what was going on, but I loved every second of it.
Shawn Wagner: Super Bowl XXXI
Like Bob, I’m not sure I have any Super Bowl memories prior to the Packers’ victory over the Patriots. As an extremely young fan, I distinctly remember the first two plays from scrimmage, especially Brett Favre’s long pass to Andre Rison for six points. From there, I remember bits and pieces of the game such as Reggie White’s third sack and Favre’s touchdown scamper at the goal line in which he reached for the pylon. Of course, that would have been a fun official review in today’s game.
At the time, I’m not sure a elementary-school Shawn Wagner knew the significance of the game on Packers history or my life in general. What I do remember is the absolute joy of my entire mom’s side of the family watching the game together in my grandparents’ living room. I remember the Title Towels after the game and the memorabilia in surrounding stores that came with winning that championship.That game truly may have been a springboard to becoming a diehard fan later in life.
Paul Noonan: Super Bowl XX
I was 8 years old for this Super Bowl and while I know I watched a few before this one, the hype around the 1985 Bears along with the Shuffle and the Fridge struck a chord with me. I remember it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Bears would destroy the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and while that game wasn’t actually very exciting, no one can say that Chicago didn’t put up.
I wasn’t a fan or anything — while my Mom’s family is from Illinois and does cheer for the Bears, we were all Packer fans — but this was a championship-level performance, and you couldn’t help but be impressed. This game kicked off the “rivalry” in my head, and notion of beating the Bears actually became a big deal for me, they seemed like actual invincible monsters. I think in some ways watching this Super Bowl made the eventual 1989 Majkowski “over the line” game even sweeter as it was (I believe) the first time the Packer beat the Bears post-Super Bowl XX.
Jon Meerdink: Super Bowl XXX
As a young football fan I knew two things about the NFL: the Packers were Good and the Cowboys were Bad. Not good and bad in terms of their quality as football teams, mind you. These were evaluations of the moral quality of the two franchises.
The Packers represented every Norman Rockwell, blue collar, midwestern ideal you could imagine, while the Cowboys stood for things like drugs and crime and scantily dressed cheerleaders and pretty much all the other things typically associated with the two-dimensional villain teams of a sports movie. I’m not exactly sure who communicated this idea to me because it certainly wasn’t something I think I’d have picked up by myself as a seven-year-old, but it was affirmed in full by the 1995 NFC Championship game. The thoroughly evil Cowboys stymied the manifest destiny of the gloriously upright Packers that day through what could only be nefarious means.
As a result, all I remember from Super Bowl XXX is the most deep-seated, seething anger an elementary school kid could muster. Every yard gained by the Cowboys was just further evidence that the universe was uncaring and cruel, ruled by a vengeful force that allowed evil to triumph while good was forced to watch from home. The Steelers, with their square-jawed head coach and industrial-style uniforms, seemed like a fair enough stand-in for the Packers, but their inability to get anything done against the Cowboys until it was too late was just a further insult.