With the Green Bay Packers set to host the New York Giants on Sunday in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs at Lambeau Field, there's been a lot of attention in the media this week on two recent games between the two franchises.
The first is their meeting earlier this season in Week 13 in New York, a 38-35 victory, a game won on a drive directed by Aaron Rodgers with less than one minute remaining leading to a field goal by Mason Crosby as time expired.
The second is the 2007 NFC Championship in Green Bay, an overtime win for the Giants that catapulted them to the Super Bowl where they beat the undefeated New England Patriots. It was a game in the not-so-distant past in which several players from both current teams took part, minus Brett Favre, of course.
But the Packers and the Giants took part in several classic battles, five of them for NFL championships, all before the Super Bowl era and probably before many people reading this era were born, myself included.
Here's a brief look at those games that make this an underrated rivalry in NFL annals...
- 1938 NFL Championship game––Played at the Polo Grounds in New York City. The Giants defeated Curly Lambeau's Packers for their third NFL championship and the second since the NFL used a tournament format to determine its champion. Pro Football Hall of Famers quarterback Arnie Herber threw for a touchdown and running back Clarke Hinkle ran for a touchdown in the second quarter. Packers kicker Paul Engebretsen gave the Packers a 17-16 lead in the third quarter, but the Giants won the game when Ed Danowski threw a touchdown pass to Hank Soar to end the scoring.
- 1939 NFL Championship game––Played at State Fair Park in Milwaukee. The Packers won their fifth NFL championship and second since the NFL went to a postseason tournament. Arnie Herber and Cecil Isbell each threw touchdown passes as the Packers shutout the Giants, 27-0, in the first ever shutout in an NFL title game.
- 1944 NFL Championship game––Played at the Polo Grounds in New York. The Packers won their sixth NFL championship and the last under Curly Lambeau. Fullback Ted Fristch scored the only two touchdowns for Green Bay that day, one on fourth-and-goal and another on a touchdown pass from Irv Comp. Defensive back Joe Laws had three interceptions for the Packers in a 14-7 defensive showdown.
- 1961 NFL Championship game––Played at Lambeau Field, then known as New City Stadium in Green Bay. A 37-0 victory for the Packers was Vince Lombardi's first of five NFL championships and the seventh overall for Green Bay. Paul Horning scored 19 points on a touchdown, three field goals and four extra points. Bart Starr threw for three touchdowns, and the Packers defense limited the Giants to 130 yards, six first downs and forced five turnovers.
- 1962 NFL Championship game––Played at Yankee Stadium in New York. In a game played in cold and blustery conditions, the Packers won, 16-7, their eighth world championship and second of five under Vince Lombardi. Ray Nitchke was named MVP after deflecting a pass that led to an interception and recovering two fumbles. In addition to playing guard, Jerry Kramer scored 10 points as the team's kicker on three field goals and an extra point.
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