In no real order – because all rivals should be loathed, though maybe not equally – here are 10 of Green Bay’s biggest rivals.
1. Vikings. Through years of weird happenings at the since-salvaged-after-getting-literally-snowed-in Metrodome and that blaring horn which sounds like a dinosaur mating call to Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss, John Randle, Mike Tice and Cris Carter to more recent examples like Adrian Peterson, who enjoys playing the Packers wayyy too much, Jared Allen, Brad Childress (arguably their greatest coach if you’re polling people in Wisconsin) and, last but not least, name your Packers expat, Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell, Greg Jennings – now apparently assuming a new role as Minnesota’s loudest chirping Packers-obsessive – ending with, of course, Brett Favre and yeah, is there really anything that needs to be said other than this incredibly long sentence? Probably, but we’ve got nine more of these things. Let’s just move on.
(Okay, one more note: We know we said ‘no real order’ but, if there were an order, No. 1 is No. 1 for us for so, so many reasons.)
2. Giants. The Packers and Giants have met in the playoffs seven times. This is tied for the second-most all-time, ever. In their first postseason meeting, New York defeated Green Bay for the NFL Championship in 1938. That maybe doesn’t sting as much now, but 2007 and 2011 sure make up for it. A charmed season with only a game in frigid Lambeau between the Packers and the Super Bowl, or a 15-1 regular season sunk like a stone tied to a boulder, at home again, and including a completed Hail Mary catch? You choose your own nightmare adventure there, but the Giants have been involved in some pretty crushing defeats of late. And losing to Eli Manning always makes neurons fry and synapses crumble trying to process the information as truth.
3. Bears. There’s that long, long lineage of football history between the cities of Chicago and Green Bay, meaning this is the sort of feud that transcends over years and decades and generations (Chicago leads the overall regular season series, 91-87-6). No matter how old you are, there’s something to dislike the Bears for. This ability to pass the rivalry down within families is important for good old fashioned friction-building. Each team has had runs of dominance in the series, but recently? Jay Cutler and the Bears, despite Brian Urlacher’s thorny efforts over the years, have accommodated. Most notably the Packers snuck by Chicago, 10-3, to make the playoffs in the 2010-11 season, then advanced to the Super Bowl by winning in Chicago for the NFC Championship. Did you need reminding of that? Yes, yes you did.
4. 49ers. Here’s an example of a ‘90s trend coming back. The teams squared off on plenty of occasions before that, but the playoffs got involved in the 1990s. Granted, the Packers are 4-2 all-time in the postseason against San Francisco, but the two losses – the Terrell Owens catch (also the Jerry Rice fumble/non-fumble) and last season’s Kaepernick stampede – ring just as loudly as any of the wins. This one, like many others, remains to be continued.
5. Recent overtimes. Seriously: the dumb luck, intensely-magnified version of football that overtime conjures has a wicked spell over Green Bay right now. The Packers haven’t won a regular season overtime contest since October of 2007, when Brett Favre connected with Greg Jennings for an 82-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in Denver. They’ve lost their last four opportunities. (The 2013 regular season notwithstanding.)
In the playoffs, Green Bay hasn’t won in overtime since 2004, when then-Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck infamously predicted scoring after winning the coin toss. There was a score and all, Al Harris saw to that, just probably not the way Hasselbeck had it drawn up. Anyway, Green Bay has lost its last three to the Eagles, Giants and Cardinals. Playoff overtime losses have the instant pain of running into a glass door combined with the lingering nauseousness of food poisoning. Fun combo.
6. Eagles. See the aforementioned playoff loss. That was, yes, the 4th-and-26 game. Also in that one, the Packers stopped Philadelphia in the first overtime series before Favre threw a pretty bad-looking prayer into the sky, answered by Eagles safety Brian Dawkins. Philadelphia also defeated Green Bay for the 1960 NFL Championship and had won five straight in the series in the 2000s before the Packers won, 16-13, in 2007. Since, Green Bay swept the Eagles in Philly in 2010, winning the season-opener and in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
7. Lions. Our Thanksgiving friends and also very old rivals. Detroit will always sniff around for scraps of an upset, and if the Packers leave a game on the stove unattended for too long the Lions have certainly been known to steal it from time to time over the years. (Green Bay holds the all-time regular season record handily, though, at 93-65-7.) They are usually a team to worry about, if only because you really do not want to have to worry about worrying about them.
8. Buccaneers. Remember the NFC Central Division and Warren Sapp and Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott? Good times we all had together. The Packers, though 30-21-1 overall in the regular season against them, didn’t always seem to fare very well down in Tampa. The Buccaneers have won seven of the last eight meetings in Florida, and have won three of the last four contests overall. Plus, it’s the Battle of the Bays, and if something’s got a good tagline like that you stick with it.
9. Cowboys. Dallas dominated the Packers for most of the 90s, winning eight in a row – including three playoff eliminations – before Green Bay ended the streak with a 45-17 win at Lambeau in 1997. Green Bay, however, owned the beginnings of this rivalry, claiming eight of the first nine meetings between the teams from 1960-1975. The Packers won back-to-back NFL Championships over the Cowboys in 1966-67, the latter being the famous Ice Bowl. Certainly it seemed like something large was routinely on the line when these squads met. Dallas also likes to call itself “America’s Team,” which is of course questionable at best.
10. Seahawks. Before the glitchy touchdown non grata of last season, Seattle and Green Bay crossed swords in the first big way following the 1998 campaign when Mike Holmgren left the Packers to become Supreme Overlord of all things Seahawks (or something like that). Since then, Green Bay has won six of nine contests against Seattle, knocking the birds out of the playoffs twice along the way. The 42-20 win in the 2007 Divisional Playoff, “The Snow Game,” or whatever you want to call the whiteout conditions on the field, remains one of the best times we’ve had in Lambeau.
The 1: Budding rival: Falcons. Michael Vick did end Lambeau Field’s age of playoff impenetrability on that snowy night in 2002, and Atlanta has edged out a few tight ones over Green Bay in recent years. But after the Packers blew the doors and seats and maybe some peaches out of the Georgia Dome in a 48-21 Divisional Playoff win en route to Super Bowl XLV, the ante feels upped. They meet again this season on Dec. 8, on Sunday Night Football, in Lambeau. Feels pretty rivalry-ish, if you ask us.
Tell us what you think about The 10’s list of Packers rivals. Did we miss anyone? Who’s your biggest personal rival to the Packers? Let us know in the comments.