Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Green Bay vs. Dallas the best game of the year....agian?

I read an excellent post over at FoxSports this morning. Part of it is here, for the rest, click here.

In today’s Sports Culture we are quick to throw around titles like Great, Greatest, and Best. Ohio State vs. Miami in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl produced the Greatest Championship Game of all time. That was until 2006 when Texas beat USC in the Rose Bowl. Maybe it was 2007 when Boise St upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Miami vs. Ohio St went from the Greatest Game ever to the second best Fiesta Bowl in a matter of 4 years.

I am going to throw around the term greatest in this respect. The 2007 NFL Regular Season has had the most entertaining big game matchups in the history of the league. Consider the following:

1) October 14, 2007, New England (5-0) at Dallas (5-0) – This game had it all. First (5-0) team vs. (5-0) team. The last undefeated team in the NFC vs. the best-undefeated team in the AFC. Tony Romo vs. Tom Brady. Randy Moss vs. TO. America’s Team vs. Public Enemy #1. I still think this game is unfairly labeled as a blowout. Part of the reason is because New England was ahead 14-0 in that game after the first quarter and part of the reason was the final score. Dallas led 24-21 in the 3rd quarter. The score was 31-24 New England after three quarters. The 4th quarter got away from Dallas, but it was a competitive game until the final minutes.

2) November 4, 2007, New England (8-0) at Indianapolis (7-0) – This was billed as the best regular season matchup in the history of the NFL. The latest that two undefeated teams squared off in a regular season game. Three of the last four Super Bowl Champions were on display. It was a rematch of the 2006 AFC Championship Game. Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Some felt the game didn’t live up to the billing because the score was only 24-20. When you consider the Patriots trailed 20-10 in the 4th quarter before coming back to win 24-20 the game was a classic contest.

3) November 29, 2007, Green Bay (10-1) at Dallas (10-1) – Okay, it isn’t (8-0) vs. (7-0). But it sure is good. The last time two (10-1) teams or better met was 1990 when the (10-1) New York Giants traveled to (10-1) San Francisco. The time before that was back in 1969 when the (11-0) Rams lost to the (10-1) Vikings in Los Angeles.

Any of the three contests are worthy of highlighting season. We are going to have had them all within two months of each other. It isn’t so much that there are so many good playoff teams playing in the 2007 season; we have seen that on a number of occasions. 1991 saw the #5 seeded Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs at 11-5. 1998 saw the four-conference finalist have a 55-9 record. 14-2 Atlanta played on the road in the NFC Championship game. 2001 saw the 49ers open up a playoff game in Green Bay with a 12-4 record as the 5th seed. 2004 saw the four-conference finalist combine for a 53-11 record with 14-2 New England playing on the road in the AFC Championship Game.

However, most seasons you don’t have this many great matchups this late in the season. Rarely will you have so many instances where the heavy weights square off against one another. Most weeks (8-3) Jacksonville at (9-2) Indy is drawing national headlines. It’s the second best game this week. In a couple weeks we have Pittsburgh at New England in what will be our 4th premier non-divisional matchup of the season. It will probably be New England’s only test to go undefeated prior to the season finale against the Giants. It has truly been a historic season in terms of great regular season matchups.

Dallas and Green Bay have quite a bit of history in their own rite. Their first meeting was in Dallas’s expansion season back in 1960. The Packers would beat the Cowboys 41-7 in Green Bay. Green Bay was beginning the Lombardi era. They would suffer his only playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles later that season. 1961 would mark the first of 5 NFL Championships and 2 Super Bowls victories.

The Cowboys and Tom Landry would finish that 1960 season 0-11-1. Neither appeared to be headed for greatness. By 1966 Dallas was playing Green Bay in the title game. They would lose the 1966 Championship Game in Dallas 34-27. They would lose the Ice Bowl in 1967 by the score of 21-17. Dallas would win their first Super Bowl in the 1971 season. Landy would coach the Cowboys until the 1988 season.

The two franchises went in different directions after the Lombardi era. The Packers would win one playoff game in the 1981 strike season. It would mark their only playoff victory from 1968 season through the 1992 season. Dallas would go on to win two Super Bowl under Landry and lose three others. Two of those losses were to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dallas would have a winning record every year from 1966 to 1986. Jerry Jones would buy the Cowboys and hire Jimmy Johnson to coach the Cowboys in 1989.

This is when the Packers and Cowboys crossed paths again. The Cowboys hiring of Jimmy Johnson and trade of Herschel Walker to the Vikings led to a rebirth of the Cowboys. They would win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years from 1992-1995. Meanwhile, the Packers hired Ron Wolf in an attempt to turn around one of the worst run franchises in sports. He hired Mike Holmgren, traded a first round pick for Brett Favre, and signed Reggie White in free agency. The rest was history. The Packers would appear in 3 straight NFC Championship games from 1995-1997, winning the 1996 Super Bowl and losing the 1997 Super Bowl. They have had one losing season since 1992.

From 1993-1996, Dallas and Green Bay played each other a total of seven times. The game was played in Dallas all seven times. Three times it was in the playoffs. Dallas went 7-0. The average score was 33.3 to 18.3. Dallas won every game by more than a touchdown with five of the seven Dallas victories coming by double digits. While Green Bay had the superior passing attack, Aikman managed the game more efficiently behind the best offensive line and running game in football. Even in Green Bay’s magical 1996 Super Bowl season; Green Bay lost 21-6 in Dallas. They would not get to face the Cowboys in the playoffs in 1996, due to Carolina upsetting Dallas in the second round.

Green Bay would finally host Dallas in the 1997 season. The Cowboys were going through an up and down season and went to Green Bay 6-5. The Packers were in the midst of their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. The frustrations of the 1993-1996 seasons were taken out on Dallas that day 45-17. The Cowboys would fail to win another game the rest of the season. The Cowboys would get back to the playoffs in 1998 and 1999. However, they have not won a playoff game since 1996. The 1996 Panthers loss and the 1997 Packers loss are the two games that marked the end of 1990’s Cowboy dynasty.

3 comments:

aladdin11 said...

I do think it will be a good game. Romo is a Favre type player so it should be interesting to compare the two after they play head to head. Check out my nfl blog at www.theleagespot.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

uh packers didnt lose in 97 they beat the patriots...

Anonymous said...

no...in 97 they lost to the Broncos