Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


No love lost between Packers and Vikings

Tomorrow night Miami will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to play in one of the most highly anticipated games of the college football season. The Hurricanes and Hokies are the No. 2 and 11 teams in the country, respectively; there are Big East title aspirations at stake. Miami hasn’t lost a game in the Orange Bowl since Sept. 18, 1999.

While many of us on campus will be far more concerned with partaking in this weekend’s Halloween festivities, sports fans across the country will be attentively watching this Big East showdown.

Aside from the game’s obvious national championship implications, people are drawn to matchups like these — if for no other reason, because they just feature successful teams.


From the high school state basketball tournament to the Super Bowl, everyone loves to watch great squads pitted against one another.

There are, however, matchups that hold special significance regardless of what the two competitors’ records, ranks or positions in the standings.

Army vs. Navy, Ali vs. Frazier, Yankees vs. the Red Sox, and A.C. Slater vs. Marvin Nedick, for example, would all still be meaningful no matter when, where or under what circumstances their respective clashes took place.

Summed up in a single word, these matchups are referred to as rivalries. And as pretty much anyone from Wisconsin or Minnesota will tell you, arguably the most heated one in the history of sports is between the Packers and Vikings.

Other than the obvious animosity that stems from the teams’ close proximity to one another, a general disdain has grown between the Pack and Vikes’ players, fans and coaches because of how evenly matched the teams have been over the years.

They have squared off 84 times since their series began in 1961, and Minnesota will enter this Sunday night’s matchup with just a one-game advantage on Green Bay; the Vikings have won 42 games, the Packers have won 41 and there has been a single tie, a 10-10 draw played at Lambeau back in 1978.

It should also be noted that nearly half (31 to be exact) of those 84 games have been decided by seven points or less.

When I think of some of the most memorable games I’ve seen in my 21 years — for better or worse — I think of a number of historic matchups between these two Central and North Division foes.

As far as the better games go, I’d have to say Antonio Freeman’s grab on Monday Night Football in 2000 ranks at the top of my personal list.

After Minnesota botched a 34-yard field goal attempt on the last play of regulation, Freeman made one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen to win the game in overtime.

Brett Favre launched a deep pass to Freeman, who slipped on the wet grass as cornerback Cris Dishman deflected the ball at the 20-yard line. The ball then bounced off the back of Freeman’s left shoulder as he rolled over, and he tipped it into his chest with his right hand before it hit the ground. Freeman then jumped up, put a quick juke on Vikings’ safety Robert Griffith and bolted into the end zone.

Later dubbed as the “Immaculate Deflection,” it was one of the most incredible plays in the history of the Packers’ and Vikings’ storied rivalry.

As for the worse, T.J. Rubley’s idiotic audible in the Packers’ loss to the Vikings in 1995 is undoubtedly the play I think of before any other.

With the score tied 24-24 and only one minute remaining, Green Bay faced a third and about a foot situation at the Minnesota 38-yard line. For a reason that still eludes me and probably any other fan of the Green and Gold in the entire universe, Rubley opted to audible out of Holmgren’s quarterback sneak call and decided instead to throw an arrant pass in the middle of the field. The Vikings would intercept Rubley’s moronic toss, and they would kick a game-winning field goal 47 seconds later.

It is games like these that have contributed to the mystique of the Green Bay vs. Minnesota rivalry, as crazy plays have occurred with regularity since the two first squared off more than 40 years ago.

And as the number of crazy plays has increased over the past 40-plus years, so too has the level of animosity between Packer backers and Viking supporters.

As those who know me the best would probably tell you, I’m a pretty laidback guy. But over the course of the past three years, I’ve wanted to give my roommate Lee, a native of Minnesota and a loyal Vikings fan, a swift kick to the junk on more than one separate occasion.

In all seriousness, though, the Green Bay vs. Minnesota rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sports, and the two’s matchup holds a special significance regardless of either team’s record or standing.

So, tune into their showdown Sunday. If history is any indication, it could be a classic.

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