The Green Bay Packers have supplied their fan base with plenty of memorable moments on the field over the past two-plus decades, and many of those plays are burned into the fan base’s collective memory. But sometimes, an announcer’s reaction live on a hot microphone is as memorable — or at least close to it — as the play on the field itself.
A recent post by SBNation.com looking at television and radio calls all across sports since the year 2000 found no Packers moments in the list, and that prompted us at Acme Packing Company to brainstorm about our favorite Packers-related calls since that same time.
Most fans watch Packers games on television, so the bulk of the calls represented here will be from TV announcers, either play-by-play or color analysts. However, the team’s radio broadcasters, Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren, are among the best in the NFL and deserve some kudos for their work over the past 20-some years. Let’s look back at some of the very best, in chronological order.
2000: “HE DID WHAT?!”
Antonio Freeman delivered plenty of thrilling moments in his career with the Packers. He scored the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter of Super Bowl XXXI, an 81-yarder after which the Packers never trailed. He was an All-Pro in 1998, when he led the NFL in receiving yards.
But the moment that will always stand out for fans who watched him in green and gold was his miracle touchdown in overtime on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings in 2000. The Vikings were favored on the road, coming in at 7-1 with the Packers just 3-5. The Vikings had won three of the last four games between the two teams, thanks in large part to the arrival of Randy Moss two years earlier. And yet, the Packers took Minnesota to overtime in the rain at Lambeau Field, spurred in part by a 90-yard kickoff return from Allen Rossum in the third quarter to set up a game-tying score.
The two teams played a scoreless fourth quarter, and Tyrome Williams sent the game to extra time by intercepting Mitch Berger on a fake field goal attempt from the 34-yard line as time expired on regulation. The Packers got the ball to start overtime, and drove 39 yards in six plays before facing a 3rd-and-4 from the Vikings’ 43-yard line. That’s when the miracle happened and ABC’s Al Michaels delivered one of his own most memorable calls in a long, illustrious announcing career.
That year featured ABC’s bizarre attempt to add comedian Dennis Miller to the MNF booth along with Michaels and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts. But it was Michaels’ “He did WHAT?!” that resonates these 23 years later.
2003: “We want the ball and we’re going to score!”
Part of the magic of Al Harris’ game-winning pick-six in the 2003 Divisional Playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks is as a result of Matt Hasselbeck’s declaration after the overtime coin toss. That moment, captured on the head referee’s microphone and broadcast across Lambeau Field and the world, was made that much more hilarious a few minutes later, when Harris picked him off and went 50 yards for a touchdown.
The Packers’ radio call of the play itself may not be quite as memorable as Hasselbeck’s comment, but it’s hilarious in its own right thanks to Larry McCarren screaming with excitement over play-by-play announcer Wayne Larrivee. Larrivee’s famous “dagger” makes an appearance as Harris crosses into the end zone, but it is McCarren’s sheer ecstasy that takes this call to great heights.
2004: “That is a disgusting act”
The only play on this list that came in a Packers loss is this one, which featured frequent Packers-killer Randy Moss doing his thing in the Divisional Playoffs the following season. Early in the fourth quarter of the game, the Packers closed the Vikings’ lead to just seven points, but Moss beat Al Harris for a 34-yard touchdown to put Minnesota back up by two touchdowns. It was then that he pretended to drop his pants and moon the Green Bay faithful in the end zone.
As color commentator Cris Collinsworth describes Moss “(shooting) the moon to the fans here in Green Bay,” FOX’s Joe Buck was incredulous, providing a line that will be associated with him forever.
On this day in 2005: “That is a disgusting act by Randy Moss.” — Joe Buck— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 9, 2021
To his credit, Buck does not regret saying it and he even joked about the call a few years ago on Colin Cowherd’s radio show, noting that he and Moss are on great terms.
2010: “There is your Super Bowl dagger!”
Larrivee loves to use the “dagger” line when a Packers victory is fully assured, and his first (and only) opportunity to do so thus far in his career was in Super Bowl XLV following the 2010 season.
With the Packers clinging to a 31-25 lead, they lined up to try to stop the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense on a 4th-and-5 with just under a minute left. Tramon Williams broke up Ben Roethlisberger’s pass for Mike Wallace, turning the football over on downs and giving Larrivee his moment.
2013: “Touchdown, Randall Cobb!”
One of the greatest plays in Packers history came from two players who had each missed huge portions of the 2013 season. As Aaron Rodgers missed half of the season with a broken collarbone and Randall Cobb sat out ten games with a broken leg, the Packers managed to stay barely afloat in a mediocre NFC North race.
The season came down to a winner-take-all contest against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, where both Rodgers and Cobb returned in the hopes of leading the Packers to the postseason. They connected on a 7-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Packers a short-lived lead, but the Bears stormed back and were up 28-27 late in the fourth quarter. Green Bay’s final drive saw them convert a pair of 4th-and-1 opportunities, but it was 4th-and-8 from the Bears’ 48-yard line with just under a minute left when the two got together for only the second time in the game.
You know the play — Cobb burns safety Chris Conte straight down the field, John Kuhn picks up a block on Julius Peppers to buy Rodgers just enough time to get the throw off, and Rodgers hits Cobb for the game-winning (and division title-winning) touchdown.
On television, Joe Buck’s call is simple and understated, allowing the sounds of the stadium and the video feed to tell the story. Meanwhile, Larrivee and McCarren had a great call of their own on the radio, in part because of McCarren’s exuberance that hearkened back to the Al Harris interception.
2015: “For the win!”
Quick: do you remember who was on the call on television for the Miracle In Motown?
Aaron Rodgers’ first Hail Mary of the 2015 season came on a Thursday Night Football matchup in Detroit, one week after Thanksgiving. That year, TNF games were split across networks, and this particular game was showing on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on the call.
Like so many of these other plays, this is a shocking game-winner, as Rodgers unloaded a howitzer that nearly touched the roof at Ford Field. As Simms realizes the ball is going to make it to the end zone, Nantz comments “He turned 32 yesterday, does he have a vintage moment in him?” When the football came down, it landed in Richard Rodgers’ arms for a 61-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a 27-23 victory. With the younger Rodgers lying in the end zone clutching the football, Nantz shouts “Caught! For the Win! Richard Rodgers with a walk-off touchdown!”
2015: “Oh, STOP IT!”
Six weeks later, Rodgers did it again, this time in the postseason in Arizona with both miracles coming to Jeff Janis on a final, last-ditch drive in overtime. Rodgers’ first prayer was answered when Janis hauled in a 60-yard bomb on 4th-and-20 that he heaved from the end zone. Two plays later, with just five seconds remaining, the two did it again.
This time on the mic was a pair of announcers who have each made appearances separately earlier: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. With the ball in the air, Michaels seems dismissive of any chance of a completion, but as Janis comes down with it, Collinsworth interjects with a hilarious line — “Oh stop it!”
Unfortunately, the Packers sent the game to overtime by kicking the extra point and they never got the football back as the Cardinals drove straight down the field for a touchdown. But this call and the Hail Marys — which totaled 101 yards on the two plays — will be remembered for a long time.
2016: “Cobb...Touchdown! Unbelievable”
Like in 2013, Joe Buck was on the call for another Cobb moment, this time in the Wild Card playoffs. Hail Mary expert Aaron Rodgers struck again, this time to Cobb just before halftime of the game against the New York Giants.
Buck’s call of this play was actually a bit more vocal and excited than his call on Cobb’s touchdown to beat the Bears three years before. Like that call, after Buck’s initial explosive call he went silent, this time to allow the ecstatic voices from the crowd at Lambeau Field to take over until Aikman jumped in to break down the play on the replay several seconds later.
These calls for one reason or another don’t quite qualify as Packers calls, but both are worthy of reference. The first is a play that got Green Bay into the playoffs, while the second...well, that clip just speaks for itself.
2003: “The Cardinals have knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs!”
This list would not be complete without mentioning Paul Allen, the Vikings’ radio play-by-play announcer. Although one of his two most schadenfreude-inducing calls had no direct impact on the Packers — “How can you even ponder passing?” — the other one did.
That was Josh McCown and Nathan Poole hooking up for a last-second touchdown in week 17 of the 2003 season, giving the Vikings a loss that sent Green Bay into the postseason instead of Minnesota. One week later we got the Al Harris pick-six, but on that day we’ll forever have Allen screaming in anguish as the Cardinals knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs.
“He put the team on his back”
Does commentary during a game of Madden count? We’re going to make a special mention of a Madden player’s legendary replay analysis as he breaks down his victory with the Packers and Greg Jennings (with some NSFW language, of course). Poor Gumby.
2021: “I Still Own You!”
This one isn’t a broadcast call, but like Hasselbeck’s declaration in 2003, it’s an incredible moment caught on the microphone. It also was our #1 play of the 2021 season, thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ celebratory moment at Soldier Field.