Revisiting the Path to Super Bowl XXXI

Maggie Loney looks back at the 1996 season to make an unexpected connection between three teams. 

For those of you that follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I’ve got a splint on my finger that has to stay there for at least a week. That means typing my articles is going to be a bit of a challenge in the short term! Because of that, I asked you for some brief topics I could write about. Here a few of my favorite ideas:

  • A synopsis on the Michael Roberts era

  • Why Mitch Trubisky is better than Aaron Rodgers

  • Teams that begin with the letter P

  • Why the Packers should trade Aaron Rodgers

  • Pros and cons of a Brett Favre comeback

I need to save some of these ideas for later, but I’m loving all of them (send me more in the comments if you’re so inclined!). Today, though, we’ll get started with the third option: teams that start with the letter P. 

I know what you’re thinking. “I come to Cheesehead TV and this is the type of content you’re trying to feed me?” You are exactly right. Yes. It is. 

Outside of our beloved Green Bay Packers, there are only two teams that start with the letter P, the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. Stick with me and I think you’ll approve of where this is going. 

What do both of these teams have in common, besides beginning with the letter P? Well, they both played pivotal roles in the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI victory. 

Let’s start with the Panthers. The Packers faced off against the Panthers in the NFC Championship Game hosted at Lambeau Field on January 12, 1997. Another historical note from that game is that former Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was the head coach of the Panthers at the time. 

The Packers beat Carolina pretty handedly, 30-13, to send Green Bay to their first Super Bowl in 30 years. 

Two weeks later on January 26, the Packers met the Patriots in the Louisiana Superdome. Fans will remember many standout moments from that game, beginning with the 54-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre to Andre Rison. Eventual Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard also returned a kickoff 99 yards in the third quarter. Additionally, the “Minister of Defense” Reggie White finished the game with three sacks after not posting a sack the entire playoff run. 

Today, the Packers, Patriots, and Panthers share different connections. For one thing, comparisons will always be made between Aaron Rodgers and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. I’m not here for the debate, I’m just saying it’s there. 

Additionally, the Packers enjoyed the success of Panthers great Julius Peppers for a few seasons between 2014 and 2016. Though Peppers was never able to snag a Super Bowl ring, he contributed to the playoff success of the Packers during his entire tenure with the team. 

While 2018 was likely the last time the Packers and Patriots will face off during the Rodgers vs Brady era (barring a Super Bowl appearance between the two teams), the match ups between them have always left us with exciting highlights. 

Another chapter in the Packers vs Panthers story will be written on November 11th when the two teams square off at Lambeau Field. The last matchup in 2017 wasn’t kind to the Packers as the Panthers shattered any potential hopes the team had of making the playoffs once Rodgers returned from his collarbone injury. 

While the topic of “teams that start with the letter P” started off as a humorous idea to keep my splinted finger from working too hard this week, I have to say it was fun connecting the dots between the two teams. The fates of the three P teams (that sounds terrible) will always be tied thanks to the 1996 season. 

Also, a special thank you to @mattbfromca for the idea. 



Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

1 points

Comments (4)

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ILPackerBacker's picture

June 25, 2019 at 12:35 pm

What year is this?
Does any phone/computer/internet device NOT HAVE the free software for voice recognition?

0 points
Since'61's picture

June 25, 2019 at 12:56 pm

How long before TC starts? Wake me up when we get there. Zzzzzzzz. Thanks, Since '61

1 points
NickPerry's picture

June 26, 2019 at 06:16 am

Well as always I appreciate any story or related info on the Packers...Thanks Maggie.

1 points
BradHTX's picture

June 26, 2019 at 06:43 am

Short content suggestions:

- Cap Management Tips from Mike Sherman

- Highlights of the Seneca Wallace Era

- Keto Diet Recipes from Gilbert Brown

And of course...

- Greatest Vikings Super Bowl Wins

I mean, that one practically writes itself.

4 points