Remmel: OT & Vikings Historically A Bad Combination For Packers


Appropriately enough, the Green Bay Packers played their very first regular-season overtime game against the neighboring Minnesota Vikings.

The principals in that historic match-up since have played five more such sudden-death contests during the 27-year interim.

And, frequently frustrated by the alleged law of averages, the Packers didn't win one until the turn of the century.

The mewling new century was precisely 10 months and six days old when the Packers, defending their Lambeau Field home, prevailed over the Purple Gang in OT for the first time on the misty night of Nov. 6, 2000.

As suggested, such a success had been somewhat overdue, Minnesota having been consistently reluctant to "concede" in any previous sudden-death encounter.

Looking back, these venerable enemies battled to a 10-10 stalemate in "Lambeau" in their first overtime struggle (Nov. 26, 1978) - one which saw the Vikings score in the final minute of regulation (on a 5-yard Fran Tarkenton pass to Ahmad Rashad in the end zone).

Rick Danmeier then kicked the extra point to forge a 10-10 deadlock that prevailed throughout the overtime.

Both teams missed routine field-goal opportunities during the sudden-death period. A 19-yard Danmeier effort veered right with approximately 5 minutes remaining and the Packers' Chester Marcol sending a 40-yard attempt left of the uprights with only 17 seconds to play.

Oddly enough, the very next time the Packers and Vikings met -in late September of 1979 - they again went into overtime.

To the Packers' discomfiture, the Minnesotans won that one, 27-21, with the aid of the long ball. Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer lofted a 50-yard strike to Rashad to settle the issue at 3:18 of sudden death at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.

Four years and one month later - to the day - the Packers and Vikings forged another four-quarter deadlock - and the Minnesotans again carried the day, this time, 23-20, by dint of a 23-yard Benny Ricardo field goal.

A similar scenario evolved on opening day in the 1992 season, in Lambeau Field.

The Vikings, spoiling Mike Holmgren's regular-season debut as Green Bay's head coach, won the toss on that unhappy occasion.

Terry Allen returned the OT kickoff 2 yards to the Minnesota 25 and the Packers defense forced a quick three-and-out. But, on the third play following the Vikings punt, Packers quarterback Don Majkowski was intercepted by Minnesota's Vencie Glenn, who returned 17 yards before fumbling at the Green Bay 35.

The teams subsequently traded punts and the Packers punted a second time. On the second play thereafter, Allen ran 45 yards up the middle to the Packers' 11.

On the next play, Fuad Reveiz kicked a 26-yard field goal (at 10:20) for a 23-20 Minnesota victory.

Two years later (Oct. 20, 1984), the venerable rivals again arrived at a stalemate - but in a different venue, the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

And it was "resolved," from the Packers' perspective, with unpleasant dispatch. The Vikings again won the toss and Qadry Ismael returned the kickoff 22 yards to the Minnesota 29.

The Vikings drove 62 yards in eight plays and Reveiz kicked a 27-yard field goal with 4:24 elapsed to end the suspense.

The Packers had to wait another six seasons - until the year 2000 - to gain some semblance of revenge for having to endure four consecutive overtime losses to their purple-and-white enemies.

{sportsad300}Fittingly, it was a cold and rainy night in "Lambeau" as these implacable rivals found themselves going into overtime in a 20-20 deadlock.

The sudden-death period began routinely with the Packers winning the coin toss and Allen Rossum returning the Vikings' kickoff to the Green Bay 18-yard line.

After Brett Favre's 22-yard strike to wideout Bill Schroeder winged the Packers across midfield, flanker Antonio Freeman pulled off one of the most remarkable plays in the team's long and distinguished history.

While flat on his back on the soggy field, Freeman made a seemingly impossible catch of a lob pass from quarterback Brett Favre - by way of a circuitous maneuver.

Freeman was being shadowed up the right sideline by the Vikings' Cris Dishman, who tipped the Favre pass off his right hand and then his left arm.

Freeman, who was sliding after making a head-first dive for the throw, then latched on to the "loose" football as he remained on the ground at the 15-yard line, with the ball caroming off his shoulder and facemask before Freeman controlled it with his extended right hand.

The cunning receiver watched Dishman run past him, then jumped to his feet and raced into the end zone - untouched - with the winning touchdown.

The winning touchdown, that is, when order was restored following the frenetic scene that ensued - before replay officials determined that Freeman indeed had made the providential catch.

*Continuing an association with the team that is more than 55 years old, Lee Remmel was named the first official Team Historian of the Green Bay Packers in February 2004. The former Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter and Packers public relations director, Remmel will write regular columns for as part of his new assignment.

In addition to those articles, Remmel will answer fan questions in a monthly Q&A column. To submit a question to Remmel, click here.*


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