Ever tried group therapy before? Want to start today? Perhaps Packers fans should all gather round, hold virtual hands and wallow in our own pity. This column might take you to lows never seen before. Just a warning.
After the Packers stunning, maddening, saddening, infuriating, heart-breaking, earth-shaking (that’s a loud stadium) defeat to the Seattle Seahawks Monday night, perhaps it’s good timing to go ahead and hit rock bottom.
We can all bask in the crapulence of the 10 worst Packers losses since the Packers became relevant again with the acquisition of Brett Favre in 1992, as selected by someone that is typically unable to communicate with friends or family for several days after they occur.
Despite this terrific run of competitive football in the past 20 years (only two losing seasons) there have been many games that left fans shaking their heads.
In compiling this list, it’s important to note that not only the fashion in which the game was lost was considered, but also the importance and ramifications of the game weigh heavily in the consideration.
Without further ado, here they are: The 10 most heartbreaking Packers losses of the past 20 years.
• 1. Broncos 31, Packers 24. Super Bowl 32. In the game’s biggest stage, the Packers were rolling. Winners of seven consecutive games and 14-point favorites over Denver, this appeared to be the Packers opportunity to put their names in the record book as one of the elite in NFL history.
Then Terrell Davis proceeded to run all over the Packer defense en route to 157 yards and the game winning touchdown with 1:45 to play. The Packers’ final drive ended at the Bronco 31-yard line.
If there was any doubt as to the legacy of this contest, refer to Ron Wolf lamenting the outcome.
“We’re a one-year wonder, just a fart in the wind,” Wolf said.
• 2. Giants 23, Packers 20 (OT). 2007 NFC Championship Game. Coming into the season with low expectations, these Packers were a surprise playoff team. When the Giants went to Dallas and upset the Cowboys, it meant they would travel to Green Bay, where the Packers had never lost a Championship game.
On a sub-freezing day, the Giants defense played well and Favre essentially played his way out of town with an interception in overtime.
• 3. 49ers 30, Packers 27. 1998 Wild Card game. Before Monday night, this was the biggest official gaffe in Packers history. On the 49ers final drive, Jerry Rice clearly fumbled the football before his knee hit the ground, with the Packers recovering. The call was missed on the field, and there was no instant replay at the time.
With the drive allowed to continue, Steve Young hit Terrell Owens with the game-winning pass with three seconds remaining to give the 49ers the win in improbable fashion.
Replay was instituted again in 1999.
• 4. Cardinals 51, Packers 45. 2009 Wild Card game. The Cardinals got a controversial defensive touchdown in overtime to cap the highest-scoring postseason game in NFL history. It appeared as though Rodgers was the victim of a facemask on the play.
Green Bay had fought back from a 31-10 third quarter deficit to tie the game. This game rates high on the list because that ‘09 Packer team was on fire, winners of seven of their previous eight games with the only loss coming on the final play in Pittsburgh.
• 5. Eagles 20, Packers 17 (OT). Fourth and 26. fourth and freaking 26.
• 6. Giants 37, Packers 20. 2011 Divisional game. The only game on this list that wasn’t decided in the last two minutes. The memory is still fresh here for Packer fans, but losing four fumbles and getting dominated at the line of scrimmage made for a terrible day.
• 7. Falcons 20, Packers 17, 2010 regular season. On fourth and goal from the 10 with 50 seconds left, Aaron Rodgers found Jordy Nelson in the corner of the end zone to tie the game. The score capped a thrilling 90-yard drive which featured three fourth-down conversions.
However, Eric Weems returned the ensuing kickoff to the 36 yard-line. The Packers were hit with a personal foul on the play, moving the football into Green Bay territory.
A few plays later, Matt Bryant banged home the game-winner from 47 yards to give Atlanta the win.
• 8. Steelers 37, Packers 36, 2009 regular season. The aforementioned contest at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh saw Ben Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace with a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired. The Packers were able to rebound with two wins in the final two weeks to make the playoffs, but the way this one ended was unforgettable.
• 9. Vikings 27, Packers 24 (OT). 1995 regular season. This one really sticks out among a host of unfortunate afternoons spent in the Metrodome. Favre was knocked out of the game, and later capable backup Ty Detmer was as well.
That left Los Angeles Ram castoff TJ Rubley as the man calling the signals. The Packers were facing a third and one from the Vikings 38-yard line with just 50 seconds to play in a 24-24 game. Rubley audibled out of the called run, rolled right and threw one of the worst passes in NFL history into the arms of a bewildered Jeff Brady.
The Vikings quickly drove down and kicked a game-winning field goal. Rubley was cut the next day, never again to don an NFL uniform.
• 10. Packers vs. Seahawks, 2012 regular season. Well, this is the one that happened Monday night. Anyone need reminders? Details? Home address of the official that signaled touchdown?
There they are, the 10 games that made Packers fans fall asleep with a tear-stained pillow. Or a broken remote. Hey, people grieve in different ways.
Take a deep breath. Feel better? You know what, me neither. Now where’s that remote? Anybody got duct tape?