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1997 ‐ Super Bowl XXXI ‐ Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots

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Green Bay Packers 35
New England Patriots 21

January 26, 1997

Super Bowl XXXI was played at the Louisiana Superdome. The NFC champion Green Bay Packers (16-3) faced the AFC champion New England Patriots (13-6). The game was watched by 128 million people, the fourth-largest audience in TV history.

Under coach Tom Holmgren, Green Bay posted the NFC’s best record and had the NFL’s best defense and offense. Despite a 0-2 start, New England rallied to its best season with coach Bill Parcells.

Green Bay took the lead on its second play when Favre threw a 54-yard touchdown pass. Two plays later, Green Bay intercepted a Drew Bledsoe pass at the Patriots’ 28-yard line. A field goal gave the Packers a 10-0 lead at the 6:18 mark.

New England scored touchdowns on its next two possessions, taking its only lead at 14-10. The 24 combined first quarter points were a Super Bowl record.

Green Bay scored 56 seconds into the second quarter as Favre threw a record 81-yard touchdown pass. A field goal and a touchdown set up by an interception by Packers defensive back Mike Prior gave Green Bay a 27-14 halftime lead.

Running back Curtis Martin cut the lead to 27-21 with an 18-yard touchdown run with 3:27 remaining in the third quarter. But Desmond Howard clinched the Packers’ win with a kickoff touchdown return for a record 99 yards. A 2-point conversion completed the scoring.

Packers’ defensive end Reggie White set a Super Bowl record with three sacks. Favre completed 14 of 27 passes for 246 yards and no interceptions. Howard equaled a record with 244 total return yards, the 4th Heisman Trophy winner to be named Super Bowl MVP.

The Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI win was their third overall, their first since II, and increased their record for most NFL championships to 12. Their win was the NFC’s thirteenth straight, giving the NFC a 17-10 record in the Super Bowl series, excluding the 1966-1969 games between the original NFL and AFL.

Around the World on January 27:

  • News broke that French museums had almost 2,000 works of art stolen by Nazis.

Around the NFL in 1997:

  • January 14 – Colts owner Robert Irsay died at 73.
  • March 11 – The NFL allowed owners to own teams in other sports.
  • April 6 – Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died at 84.
  • June 22 – The Barcelona Dragons beat the Rhein Fire 38-24 to win the 1997 World Bowl in Barcelona.
  • August 19 – Paul Allen became owner of the Seahawks.
  • September 14 – The Redskins opened Jack Kent Cooke Stadium with a 19-13 overtime win against the Cardinals.
  • October 5 – The NFL’s 10,000th regular-season game was played when the Seahawks beat the Tennessee Oilers 16-13 at home.
  • October 26 – Falcons owner Rankin Smith died of heart failure three days before his seventy-third birthday.
  • November 16-17 – Attendance in Week 12 reached a record 999,778.
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