SAVOR THE MOMENT!
The Green Bay Packers face the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California for the NFC Championship. The winner advances to Super Bowl LIV (54) on February 2nd in Miami.
Listeners know I am a Packers fan. However, I am a sports fan first and foremost. I certainly understand the heartbreak that comes with getting close to making it to the big game and coming up just short. I can share that with fans of any sport and certainly with Vikings fans.
Two Green Bay Packers NFC title games come to mind in that respect. The 1995 NFC title game saw the upstart Packers fall short at Dallas 38-27 after leading 27-24 going into the fourth quarter. It was the Pack’s third straight year falling at Dallas in playoffs. Brett Favre, Reggie White, Mike Holmgren and the rest of the crew finally got over the hump in 1996 to secure the Packers first Super Bowl win in 29 years.
The 2014 NFC title game in Seattle saw the Packers kick the Seahawks butts for three quarters and craft a 19-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Seattle scored two touchdowns in less than a minute late in the fourth quarter, the second coming after the Packers failed to recover an onside kick. Green Bay ultimately lost 28-22 in overtime in the most devastating loss most Packers fans have experienced.
Vikings fans share the pain for sure. The losses in the 1998 NFC title game in overtime to Atlanta and the 2009 game in overtime to New Orleans are legendary heart breakers for sure.
Whether you wear a Cheesehead or Helga Horns we can agree on one thing. We live and die with our clubs here in the frozen tundra. My first football memory was born in what many consider the #1 game in NFL history.
The first football game I can ever remember watching from start to finish was the legendary Ice Bowl on December 31, 1967 when the Packers beat the Cowboys 21-17 on the epic Bart Starr led drive and quarterback sneak in the final seconds. The Super Bowl II win two weeks over the Raiders in Miami was almost anti-climactic…even for a chubby six year-old!
Two years later I found myself rooting for the NFL Vikings who lost 23-7 to the AFL Chiefs in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans. I remain an NFC fan to this day, except for my fascination with the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
The conference title games to me are more pressure packed than Super Bowls. It’s like broadcasting a section final in high school sports. I am much more anxious broadcasting a section final than a state tournament game. You play all season for a chance to get to the big stage. Winning that game is a real high. Losing that game is a real downer.
I will savor the moment Sunday. Who knows when my favorite NFL squad will get another chance to win one game to get to the big game? One final thought for Packer fans. Let’s say Rodgers wins this game and just happens to lead the Pack to a win in Super Bowl LIV. Does #12 pass #4 on the favorite Packers QB list? It doesn’t really matter to me. I am of the generation that will always list #15 as my favorite Packers QB, namely because of that epic day on December 31, 1967.