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Dolphins Fan

What Lamar Miller’s Injury means for the Dolphin run game posted by Dolphins Fan

If you thought the Miami Dolphins were in dire straits at the running back position when they lost Knowshon Moreno with a season ending injury, things got even worse when Lamar Miller left the San Diego game with an injury.

This is a make or break moment for the Dolphins as they will have to dig deep into their roster for production on the ground.

Miami has struggled this year but the one lone bright spot has been their run game, averaging almost 130 yards a game. It was a constant, and a point of stability for an otherwise struggling offense. Moreno and Miller work a great one, two duo.

Miller was having a breakout season, setting a career high in rushing touchdowns when he got his third in Week 6 against the Packers. He averaged more than five yards per carry in three of the first four games and ran for a career-best 108 yards on 15 carries in Week 3 against the Chiefs. 

The fourth round pick was on pace for 200 carries and more than 1,000 yards, both of which would be career highs. But now with both of these work horses out, the odds of maintaining that level of production is quite unlikely.

 So now the offense falls on the arm of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t been electric but now he will to step up. If there was ever a moment to solidify oneself as the framchise quarterback for this team, the quarterback to build a team around for years and years to come, this is that moment.

If Tannehill can navigate the rest of this season relatively unscathed, he will get amazing on the job training in shouldering an entire offense. He will build the confidence of his teammates that

Continue reading "What Lamar Miller’s Injury means ..."


Packers Fan

What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay posted by Packers Fan

Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett should suit up and be full go for Sunday’s showdown with inter-division rivals, the Chicago Bears. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Packers’ secondary was very much exposed last week when the Saints racked up 44 points with 311 yards through the air. Drew Brees completed 84% of his passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It’s clear Burnett’s veteran experience on the back end of the defense with communication and getting these younger corners lined up accordingly, is essential to the Packers success defensively.

Through seven games, the fifth-year pro out of Georgia Tech notched 59 tackles, 49 of them solo tackles; but more importantly was the elimination of coverage break downs that lead to big play passes that can be so devastating to a team’s morale. And Brees crushed the Packers morale as he had two deep balls, each over 40 yards, that led to touchdowns.

Even with Burnett back, the others in the secondary will need to play extra efficient as the Bears have 3 very tall, very athletic receivers in Marshall, Jeffrey, and the tight end Bennett. When these two teams faced off in week 4, the Packers were able to limit the 3 playmakers to under 200 yards receiving, combined.

The Packers Safety echoed that sentiment saying it takes a group effort to corral all three.

"Those guys are very athletic," he said. "They have big playmaking ability and they’re led by Jay Cutler so we have to be sound in our technique and be accountable to one another and trust the defense, and allow us to make plays.”

Continue reading "What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay"

Bears Fan

Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson to suit up against Green Bay posted by Bears Fan

For the first time in three months, Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson practiced as the Bears get ready to take on inter-divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Wilson fractured his clavicle at practice on Aug. 4 and has been on the injured reserve list ever since. Now that Wilson is back at practice, the Bears have 3 weeks to decide whether to activate him to their roster or keep him on the injured reserve.

The answer is clear cut as the Bears need all the help they can on offense. They rank 19th in scoring and their offense is limited to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bears need that #3 receiver to add depth and complexity to their passing game, and allow another option for Cutler to go to.

The Packers, best believe, will be ready for the Bears as they get their seasoned safety, Morgan Burnett, back. They were exposed last week against the Saints but now with a veteran in the defensive secondary, the Packers coverage will be tightened up.

The only negative side to activating Wilson is the possibility of pushing him too hard, too fast, and risk causing a more serious injury that will keep him out indefinitely. While this is a valid concern, one could argue that is the case with every player in the NFL. The game has gotten so fast, the players so big and strong, that injuries, season ending injuries, are becoming more and more commonplace. So to err on the side of caution is valid but when a player feels good to go, they should be allowed to suit and help the team do what it needs to do, win games.

They need to make a decision quickly to keep Wilson on their roster if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Continue reading "Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson ..."


Packers Fan

How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers? posted by Packers Fan

The Green Bay Packers were 8-7-1 last year, figuring in the latest tied game and only the 19th  time since 1974. They won the NFC North despite their quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined in the first half of the year. This season, the Packers are expected to contend anew for the Super Bowl.

Rodgers had led the Packers to a good start last year with a 5-2 record. But he broke his collarbone in a game against the Bears. He was out for weeks and returned to beat Chicago in a rematch. Yet he was not a 100 percent and failed to help the Packers in preventing a loss to the 49ers.

This year, Packers fans hope that Rodgers would be back to 100%.  The front office surprisingly failed to re-sign Evan Dietrich-Smith even with Rodgers’ pleas. It remains to be seen whether  rookie Corey Linsley will be able to fill in Smith’s shoes, but all signs point he won’t be enough.

The offense will get a boost with the return of Bryan Bulaga who tore his ACL last year. He’ll be the right tackle across sophomore David Bakhtiari, who performed creditably in his rookie season. Bakhtiari surrendered eight sacks last year, but four came in the first month of the season.

The big news for the Packers in the off-season was the acquisition of Julius Peppers from Chicago. But there will be questions on how Peppers will perform this year, as he is now 34 and is slowing down.

The Packers also picked Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the number 21 pick. Dix =is expected to start next to talented safety Morgan Burnett.  They will also benefit from the return of Casey Hayward who missed all but three games last season.

Continue reading "How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers?"


Joe Anello

2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap posted by Joe Anello

It was an eventful and unpredictable NFL Draft, even after the craziness that ensued in round one Thursday night. Friday night showcased rounds two and three, while Sunday wrapped up the draft with rounds four through seven. Let’s run through the major storylines that came out of the 2013 NFL Draft!

*Pardon for the delay. This is what happens when life throws the draft, C2E2, and the impetus to change jobs all in one weekend.

 

-After slipping through the first round despite several reported landing spots, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o became a San Diego Charger. The Chargers traded picks 45 and 110 to the Cardinals for pick number 38, allowing them to move up for Te’o. At that point in the draft, the drama-laden linebacker had great value. The Chargers run a 3-4 scheme, but he can still be a valuable inside presence for them.

 

-On the very next pick after Te’o was selected, the New York Jets saw a “franchise” quarterback fall right into their laps at number 39 overall with Geno Smith. Smith increases the QB count on the Jets roster all the way up to six, which includes Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and David Garrard. Yeah… someone’s gonna get cut. The obvious cut is Tebow. But then who? Do you cut the veteran Garrard, whom you just brought in? Or do you take the massive cap hit and release Sanchez? Or are you giving up on the idea that McElroy can be anything? The drama is ratcheted up in New York, and I’m gonna love every minute of it.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

The 2013 Divisional Round is completed! The best weekend in football lived up to the hype, with crazy finishes (double overtimes) and historic performances. Let’s not put off this any longer. It’s time for The Final Drive!

(12-6) Baltimore Ravens 38

(13-4) Denver Broncos 35

After the Ravens were forced to punt on their opening possession, this game got crazy… fast. Trindon Holliday took that punt return back 90 yards for the first score. A 59-yard pass to a streaking Torrey Smith (who was torching Champ Bailey deep most of the day) from Joe Flacco tied the game up. On Denver’s ensuing drive, a pass from Peyton Manning tipped off the hands of Eric Decker into the arms of Corey Graham, who boomeranged it to make the score 14-7 Ravens. Manning took the ball right back and marched his team 74 yards in 11 plays, ending with a pinpoint pass to old friend Brandon Stokley on the side of the endzone. 14-14. Were you still breathing at this point? A score from both teams in the second quarter kept the game tied at 21 going into halftime. And the drama did not subside in the start of a crazy NFL weekend.

Denver Head Coach John Fox will (and should) catch a lot of flak for not even attempting to try to get in field goal range with two timeouts and 20-plus seconds left on the clock. (As we would see later in the weekend, that’s not an impossible feat to accomplish.) Fox got extremely conservative in the offensive play-calling, leaning on the run too often when he had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time on the field. (Though doesn’t Peyton have full authority to change those calls at the line? Hm.) Not going for a third down conversion late in the fourth allowed the Ravens to get the ball back with just enough time to make something happen. And they certainly did.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

Alright everyone, it’s my favorite football weekend of the entire season! At this point we have the eight best teams left in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy, including the two greatest QB’s of our era in the AFC and a crazy Saturday night rematch in the NFC. I have stumbled out of the gates with my picks, currently standing at 1-3 after the wild card round. I owe that to every favorite covering last week and my apparently desperate need to pick against almost all of them. This week shall be different! I hope. Let’s get to The Opening Drive of the Divisional Round! (As always, point spreads are obtained from VegasInsider.com.)

 

(11-6) Baltimore Ravens at

(13-3) Denver Broncos

4:30 PM ET, CBS

This is the first of two AFC rematches that were completely one-sided in the first go-rounds. The Broncos slapped around the Ravens 34-17 in week 15, part of their 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and claim the one seed. In that game, Peyton Manning had very pedestrian numbers, but was bolstered by ground game that featured 45 carries, the most of any Manning team in his career. Their 163 yards pounded a then-short-staffed Raven defense. This game will be different, in that Baltimore is much healthier now. Ray Lewis is back, as is linebacker Danel Ellerbee. Still, the Raven corners are average at best, so they’re not going to be able to contain Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

Wild Card weekend in the NFL is a wrap! Note that this late posting is a testament to the dangers of kitties. (When you’re allergic to them.) There were bad offenses, great defenses, and ugly injuries to be found in the four match-ups, so let’s get through all the stories in The Final Drive!

(13-4) Houston Texans 19

(10-7) Cincinnati Bengals 13

The first half was a show of ugly offense, with three field goals by the Texans and only a pick-six by the Bengals to account for all the points on the board. Houston suffered because of failed third down conversions and a drop from Andre Johnson at the goal line, forcing them to settle for kicks. Andy Dalton threw a costly interception, but it was essentially wiped away as Leon Hall picked a Schaub pass and ran it back 21 yards to take a momentary lead. But the Bengal offense didn’t score at all in the first half. They barely improved.

In a trending theme of Saturday passing statistics, Cincinnati had -6 net yards passing at halftime. That prompted a “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” from Mike Mayock at halftime. (You have no idea how much Microsoft Word just hated that sentence.) When the Texans came out in the third quarter and mounted a touchdown drive, it practically was an insurmountable lead. The Bengals had no chance.

On a key drive in the fourth quarter, (while they were only down six), the Bengals were closing in on the redzone when they had to burn a timeout (play-calling disaster). On the ensuing play, they lost five yards due to a false start penalty. Then they went for it on fourth down (and failed), meaning the six point lead held.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

It’s that time of year. The NFL Playoffs are upon us, and with it come the unmitigated disasters that are my picks against the spread. (Which means I’m not picking winners or losers, but I’m predicting if a team will win by or keep it closer than the designated spread. Odds are grabbed from VegasInsider.com.) We’ve got some stellar match-ups as well, so without any further BS, it’s time to start the playoffs with this Wild Card edition of The Opening Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals at

(12-4) Houston Texans

4:30 PM ET, NBC

In typical playoff fashion, the Wild Card round starts with what is most likely to be the most lackluster match-up of the weekend. This solid Bengals team (that apparently no one outside of Cincinnati believes in) heads to Houston to face a Texan squad that was in near free-fall the last month of the season. It’s not exactly thrilling drama (even though it is a rematch of last year’s playoff game), but this I think game is going to very tight. The Bengals can’t explode offensively and the Texans haven’t been lighting up the scoreboards lately. They’d prefer to get Arian Foster going anyway, which means a slower paced game, full of that exciting clock management stuff. Cincy has a shot at getting passes completed on the outside if A.J. Green can handle the one-on-one match-up with corner Jonathan Joseph. I believe he can, so Andy Dalton has to be able to find him consistently in order to free up the running game and the underneath passes to tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears posted by Joe Anello

You know the rivalry. It’s the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears in a December game. It’s been 13 weeks since these teams met on the first Thursday nighter of the season, and each have had ups and downs in that time, especially the Bears, who now are fighting for their playoff lives.

 

(9-4) Green Bay Packers at

(8-5) Chicago Bears 

The Offense

The Bear offensive line doesn’t need this news, but Clay Matthews will be back on the field. The man who terrorized J’Marcus Webb in the first match-up will be on the outside again, giving the Packers their pass rush back. Like always, Webb will need help if they’re going to keep Matthews off the stat sheet. But Mike Tice should know how to offset this disadvantage: run the ball. Give Matt Forte and Michael Bush (who will be limited if he plays with a rib injury) about 30-35 carries and get the front seven off Jay Cutler’s case. This way Cutler can get freed up for play-action throws to Marshall, which are less likely to be into triple-coverage or be sat on by an opportunistic defense (that is missing defensive back Charles Woodson).   

Brandon Marshall made news this week by daring the Packers to give him single coverage. Let me tell you something Brandon: it won’t happen. Once. You’re the best/only consistent passing option on this offense, so you’re getting bracket coverage on every play. What would be nice is if the other Bear receivers could beat single coverage on the outside. Alshon Jeffery is the most likely option, but he’s still reaching for his potential. And is anyone really going to count on Devin Hester? I’m not.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green ..."

Green Bay Packers News

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Packers bring back defensive tackle Letroy Guion (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports


Already? Patriots installed as early Super Bowl LI favorites (Shutdown Corner)

Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, Peyton Manning and the rest of their Denver Broncos teammates have just begun to celebrate their championship over the Carolina Panthers to finish off the 2015 season, but oddsmakers in Las Vegas have already turned the page to 2016. Betting expert R.J. Bell posted the following to Twitter: Super Bowl 51 favs: NE 9/1 Car 10/1 Sea 11/1 GB, Pit 12/1 Ari, Cin, Ind 15/1 Den 18/1 Dal 24/1 KC, Min 25/1 Phi 35/1 Bal 38/1 NYG, NYJ 42/1 —RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) February 8, 2016 The New England Patriots, who lost to Denver in the AFC championship, are the favorites at 9/1, while the Panthers are at 10/1. The Patriots dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season, and have no significant free agents they must re-sign or may lose. The Panthers also lost some big-name players, including receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL during training camp. The Seattle Seahawks finished the season strong, and are just behind New England and Seattle at 11/1, with the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers at 12/1. More on Super Bowl 50 [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Super Busts: The best teams to not win the Super Bowl (The Associated Press)

Cam Newton and the rest of his ''Dabbin''' dancing, selfie-with-the-clock-still-running Carolina Panthers will try to avoid the same fate the 2007 Patriots or the 1968 Colt, teams whose seemingly inevitable coronation instead turned into a crowning moment for the underdog. Don Shula's first truly great team came four years before he led the Miami Dolphins to perfection. With the Green Bay Packers dynasty in its twilight, the Colts picked up the mantle of NFL's best and ran with it. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The ingredients for each of the six major Super Bowl upsets (Shutdown Corner)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. —Almost everyone seems to think the Carolina Panthers will win Super Bowl 50, and beat the Denver Broncos rather handily. That has been the vibe in the Bay Area, and the betting in Las Vegas reflects it too. Jay Kornegay, who runs the sports book at the Las Vegas Westgate, said 85 percent of bets are coming in on the favored Panthers and that’s expected to continue through the weekend, according to Jason Logan at Covers.com . The Panthers are favored by 5.5 points. Before we book the victory parade in Charlotte for next week, it’s worth looking at the history of some of the notable upsets in Super Bowl history. Alfred Williams was involved in one of the six major upsets in Super Bowl history, as an All-Pro defensive end for the 1997 Denver Broncos. The Broncos were 11-point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII and won 31-24. The problem with asking Williams how the Broncos pulled off that upset is he never thought it was an upset. “We were way better than them. Period," said Williams, who these days hosts a radio show in Denver. "We went across our individual matchups and I couldn't see where they were better than us. They weren't better than us at running back, they weren't better than us at quarterback, they weren't better than us at wide receiver or tight end or offensive line or defensive line for that matter. We matched them everywhere. I don't understand why we were not favored." Williams said he never knew what the point spread was that week. He said he realized most people expected the Packers to win, but he never did. “I hear that and I laugh. Because I'm like, man, maybe people really did think we were going to lose that game,”Williams said with a shrug. Williams is biased, but he thinks this Broncos team can pull off the seventh big upset in Super Bowl history. So as it turns out, not everyone in the Bay Area believes the Panthers will roll. “This team has a lot of old, salty veterans who can play,”Williams said. "People don't understand who the Broncos are right now. They're a tough, resillient, do-whatver-it-takes football team." To qualify as a major Super Bowl upset for this post, the winning team had to be at least a 7-point underdog coming in, based on Vegas Insider’s Super Bowl betting history . Not every upset is the same, but there are lessons to be learned from each of the six big shockers in Super Bowl history. (We’ll even include Super Bowl XXXII, even though Williams insists it wasn’t an upset.) Super Bowl III New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7 Colts were favored by 18 points We all know the Jets were confident coming in, given Joe Namath’s famous guarantee and all. And the Jets played well but it’s easy to see why they won: The Colts had five turnovers, and the Jets had one. Even an 18-point underdog has a shot when it’s plus-four in turnovers. Three of the Colts’interceptions were thrown at the Jets’4-yard line, the Jets’15-yard line and the Jets’25-yard line. One pick came when Earl Morrall missed Johnny Orr running wide open on a trick play. The Colts also missed a couple field goals, including a 27-yarder early on. The Jets did a fine job running the ball and moving the chains with a short passing game, but turnovers were the key. The Colts did not play well. Ingredients for the upset: Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers Super Bowl IV Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7 Vikings were favored by 12 We have to take into account that sometimes the line is just way off. That might have been the case for Super Bowl IV as everyone was still under the impression the AFL was the NFL’s junior varsity. Looking back, the Chiefs had a phenomenal team. They had seven Hall of Fame players and a Hall of Fame coach in Hank Stram. But again, turnovers were key. The Vikings had five. The Chiefs had one. Kansas City’s defense had a great day, limiting Minnesota to 239 yards, 13 first downs and a single second-half touchdown after the Chiefs already held a 16-0 lead. Ingredients for the upset: Turnovers, stifling defense, bad betting line Super Bowl XXV New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19 Bills were favored by 7 This upset featured complimentary football at its finest. The Giants offense pounded the ball on the ground and held the ball for an amazing 40:33. That kept the Bills’great offense off the field. And Buffalo didn’t do much when it did have the ball. The Giants took away the deep pass, giving up just one pass of more than 20 yards. Thurman Thomas had a fine day on the ground, but the Giants were willing to live with that. And then there was some luck, as Scott Norwood missed wide right at the end. Ingredients for the upset: Time of possession, limit big plays, missed field goal at the end Super Bowl XXXII Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24 Packers were favored by 11 Williams’feelings about this game aren’t unique. Many players from that Broncos team will say they were very confident they were going to win because they felt they were the best team. And as we look back, the 1996-98 Broncos were a phenomenal football team. Coach Mike Shanahan also had a great day, effectively taking All-Pro defenders Reggie White and LeRoy Butler out of the game with his play calling. And the Broncos got a phenomenal effort from Terrell Davis, who rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns despite missing about a quarter due to a migraine headache. We’ll also give Williams some credit: There’s no way this Broncos team should have been a double-digit underdog against anyone. "We just played our normal game," Williams said. "We didn't make any adjustments. We just played football." Ingredients for the upset: Coaching, great individual performance, bad betting line Super Bowl XXXVI New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17 Rams favored by 14 Of all the upsets on the list, this one is among the hardest to figure out. The Rams dominated the box score. St. Louis had 26 first downs to New England’s 15, 427 yards to 267 for the Patriots, and controlled the ball for 33:30. Tom Brady had 92 passing yards going into New England’s final drive. New England was just 2 of 11 on third downs. Turnovers were huge. St. Louis had three. New England had none. Cornerback Ty Law’s pick six of Kurt Warner was the biggest play of the game. A fumble by the Rams gave the Patriots field position at St. Louis’40-yard line and they cashed in a touchdown. It was also curious that the Rams didn’t use Marshall Faulk more, giving him just 17 carries compared to 44 pass attempts for Warner. However, give Bill Belichick credit for doing some things to take Faulk away. And while the Patriots gave up a lot of yards, they got key stops. St. Louis didn’t reach the end zone until the fourth quarter. Then, of course, when New England needed it, Brady came alive and led one great drive to set up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal. Ingredients for the upset: Turnovers, big defensive score, clutch last-minute drive Super Bowl XLII New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14 Patriots favored by 12 The Patriots were on the wrong end of an upset just six years later. This game was dominated by the Giants’defensive line, which got consistent pressure on Brady and sacked him five times. Due to pressure the Giants held an offense that is among the best in NFL history to just 14 points. The Patriots were stuck on 7 points until the final three minutes. New York also didn’t give up any big plays. The longest pass play for the Patriots was 19 yards. Their longest run was 9 yards. New England couldn't effectively run the ball, with just 45 yards on 16 attempts. The Giants made New England one-dimensional but still didn’t allow any big pass plays. The Patriots did take a lead with 2:45 left. Then Eli Manning led a game-winning drive highlighted by David Tyree’s famous helmet catch. New York coverted a fourth down and two third downs on that drive, including a third-and-11 after Tyree’s catch. Ingredients for the upset: No big plays allowed, dominant pass rush, clutch late drive - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


NFL-From Namath to Norwood, dramatic moments enter Super Bowl lore (Reuters)

By Jahmal Corner Jan 31 (Reuters) - From Joe Namath raising his finger toward the sky to David Tyree's "Helmet Catch", the Super Bowl is a history book of indelible moments that lead to next Sunday's 50th edition. When the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos face off in Santa Clara, California, the suspense will be palpable. Created as a deciding crown between the National Football League and American Football League champions, in 1967, Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers captured the first two played, earning a place in lore and the famous coach's name on the trophy. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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