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Remmel: Packers vs. Eagles


It may be gratuitously referred to as the City of Brotherly Love, but Philadelphia has been somewhat less than fraternal as far as the Packers' experiences in Philly are concerned - going back more than four decades.

For the record, it has been 43 years since the Green and Gold last won a game in the Pennsylvania metropolis, where the Eagles have taken Green Bay's measure seven times in succession during the lengthy interim.

It was Veterans Day in 1962 (Nov. 11), when the Packers last savored a victory on Philadelphia terrain. They essentially overran the Eagles that afternoon, 49-0, amassing a club-record 628 yards of offense (294 rushing and 334 passing), an imposing mark which still stands.

But that was then and this, assuredly, is now.

As the Packers' road encounter with the Philadelphia Eagles nears, veteran loyalists are visited by bittersweet memories of the Green and Gold's 1960 NFL Championship Game against the Eagles in Philly, staged on the day after Christmas.

There is, in reflection, the fond recall of resurgent pride which then surfaced over the Packers' return to the NFL's title game for the first time in 16 years, their first such appearance since 1944, when they defeated the New York Giants (14-7) to claim their sixth world championship.

There also is the haunting memory of what transpired in Philly's Franklin Field that late December afternoon in '60 - the mental "picture" of Jim Taylor being sat upon by Chuck Bednarik at Philadelphia's 8-yard line as time expired, thus sealing a 17-13 victory for the Birds.

And an even fresher - and thus less tolerable - memory of the divisional playoff following the 2003 season, a 20-17 misadventure in overtime at Philly's Lincoln Financial Field, on the same site where the Packers and Eagles will have at it late Sunday afternoon.

But, happily, there are other recollections of a more rewarding nature with respect to the rivalry, such as the Packers' 27-24 victory over the Eagles at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1992, for pertinent example.

That win - registered in mid-season - was one of eight Packers victories in their last 12 Wisconsin encounters with the Eagles since that '62 runaway in Philadelphia's Franklin Field. It may not seem overly significant in the grand scheme retrospectively. However, it was a game that well could have influenced Reggie White to join the Packers as a world class free agent the following year.

And, for good reason. Brett Favre, then a second-year field general and making only his seventh start at quarterback for the Packers, likely "sold" White on Number 4's ability to lead Green Bay to a Super Bowl.

Favre, to be sure, was an impressive performer, orchestrating a come-from-behind victory despite suffering a first-degree separation of his left shoulder (non-throwing arm) early in the game.

It was the kind of performance that would have made a profound impact upon the "Minister of Defense," who signed with the Packers the following April and joined Favre in leading Green Bay to back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997.

Approximately a quarter-century earlier, the Eagles had provided the opposition as the Packers formally implemented a historic change in leadership on the afternoon of Sept. 15, 1968. On that occasion, new Head Coach Phil Bengtson presided at a 30-13 Green Bay victory over the Eagles in his season opener as the successor to Vince Lombardi.

Some familiar faces, prominent as the Packers had forged to five championships in the previous seven years, were missing from that scene, among them split end Max McGee, left guard Fuzzy Thurston and placekicker Don Chandler, all of whom had retired following the '67 season.

It also was the next-to-last hurrah for two other key figures in that remarkable dynasty - left tackle and offensive captain Bob Skoronski and right guard Jerry Kramer, author of the most celebrated block in Packers history, the one that sprang quarterback Bart Starr for the 1-yard, last-minute sneak which triggered Green Bay's victory in the famed "Ice Bowl."

Both would call it a career two weeks later - following the Packers' 33-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II at the Miami Orange Bowl.

It would be another 20 years before Sunday's combatants played what remains the only overtime game in the history of their regular season rivalry.

The date was Oct. 18, 1987, during a period of labor strife, when NFL teams played three games with replacement players (free agents) while the "regulars" were out on strike.

The Packers won that one, their third and last "replacement" game, 16-10. Fullback James Hargrove scored the winning touchdown at 5:04 of sudden death.

Although Hargrove settled the issue, it was Green Bay's Kevin Willhite who emerged as the game's leading rusher, amassing 100 yards in 16 attempts, including a 61-yard run, which turned out to be the team's longest excursion from scrimmage of the season.

Willhite's 100-yard performance remained the most recent of its kind by an undrafted Packers running back until Samkon Gado rushed for 103 yards against Atlanta Nov. 13, two weeks ago.

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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