Rivalries add a nice bit of spice to the Packers’ schedule, and as fans, we’re blessed (cursed?) with three divisional rivals to oppose our favorite team.
But the Packers’ rivalries don’t stop with the NFC North. They have plenty of bad blood with teams around the league. Here are our picks for the Packers’ biggest non-division rival.
Rcon14: Seattle Seahawks
I’m too young to remember the Dallas Cowboys rivalry days, and frankly, that has largely been a one-sided rivalry for most of my life. The 49ers are a compelling case except that too has been very one-sided when it has mattered. I think the answer here is Seattle. There are a bunch of games to point to. The Matt Hasselbeck/Al Harris OT game was an epic. The snowglobe NFC Divisional Round game in 2007. Then you have the entire Russell Wilson vs Aaron Rodgers era, which has had multiple crescendos, including one NFC Championship Game we would all like removed from our collective memories. The rivalry felt like it was petering out after both Seattle and Green Bay began to fall off after their mid-decade runs, but it was re-kindled this past January in a great one-score victory for Green Bay. Oh, and there was also the Fail Mary in 2012.
Tex: San Francisco 49ers
Rivalries can be a bit difficult to define, but in my experience, the team that’s usually losing ends up focusing on their nemesis as a rival more so than a team that’s winning consistently against another. In the early 1990s, the Packers saw the Cowboys as their biggest non-division rival because Dallas kept beating up on Green Bay. And before 2019, I probably still would have said the Seahawks are the pick thanks to plenty of recent meetings between the teams and a certain playoff game that I have blocked out.
But now, with the Packers back on the right side of the ledger in that rivalry, my focus shifts back to the 49ers, a team that has eliminated the Packers from the postseason three times in the past decade. Yes, the first two came with a different quarterback and head coach, but those wounds still hurt. What puts them over the top were the two games in the 2019 season, both of which saw the Packers look foolish and unprepared and one of which ended their season a game away from the Super Bowl.
Until the Packers beat San Francisco (particularly if they do so in California and/or in the playoffs), they will remain the team that Green Bay will focus on.
Shawn Wagner: Seattle Seahawks
I think the Dallas Cowboys remain a rival for their history against the Packers and their “America’s Team” nickname. But the more recent generation of Packers fans, including me, can’t help but feel apprehensive whenever Green Bay and Seattle square off. From the NFC Championship Game debacle to the Fail Mary, it seemed like bad juju occurred versus the Seahawks, particularly on the road. The Packers’ most recent victory in the playoffs helped to alleviate some of those bitter feelings, and the Legion of Boom characters have mostly gone their separate ways since the mid-2010s. Yes, there have been some highlight moments along the way in the teams’ matchup history. But I never feel very good ahead of a date in Seattle regardless of record and my personal offseason of gloom in 2015 changed the overall kind of sports fan I am to one that is very pessimistic. Never again will I be comfortable with any type of lead in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks, or any other team for that matter.
Paul Noonan: New York Giants
We should have at least one head-to-head Super Bowl pitting Aaron Rodgers at the height of his power against Tom Brady’s Pats. We should also have one additional matchup of late-surging latter-day Favre against Tom Brady’s Pats, at the height of their powers. Instead, Eli Manning has two rings and we are left with some unsatisfying what-ifs.
Both losses are awful. The 2007 overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game was a Favre special, as Brett didn’t look like he wanted to spend another minute in the frigid weather and threw an awful pick, essentially ending the game. The 2011 juggernaut ran into a very good defense peaking at the right time, but this was a team that went 15-1, and dominated the league all year, including a win over New York in Week 2. While recent Packer teams have also been thwarted by “the Seahawks” and more generally “running quarterbacks,” the Giants were just a run-of-the-mill contender with a meh offense and excellent defense. The Packers routinely defeated Bears teams built the same way, and it remains obnoxious that the Giants managed to eke out two Super Bowls at Green Bay’s expense.
Jon Meerdink: Dallas Cowboys
Just about any NFC West team fits the bill in the 21st century (don’t forget the Packers’ two playoff losses to the Cardinals), but for the balance of Packers history, it has to be the Cowboys.
The Packers share deep connections with the Cowboys (Tom Landry’s connection to Vince Lombardi is the prime example), they have plenty of iconic regular season and postseason matchups, and they’re both storied franchises in their own ways. Plus, their traditional branding paints them as perfect opposite equals. The Packers are earthy, reserved, and traditional. The Cowboys are Jerry Jones.
The Packers and Cowboys are the perfect rivalry matchup, and the fact that they meet a little less frequently only adds to the appeal.
Now give us your opinion in the poll below!
Which team is the Packers’ biggest non-division rival?
This poll is closed
New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers
Other (please explain in the comments)