Remmel: Packers vs. Seahawks

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In terms of pro football rivalries, National Football League genre, the Packers and the Seattle Seahawks are little more than nodding acquaintances.

Though they launched their relationship in 1976, the year Jimmy Carter wrested the White House from Gerald Ford, they haven't seen a great deal of each other since.

When they close out their regular season agendas in Lambeau Field New Year's Day. they will be meeting for only the 10th time in the series - and for just the fifth time in the past 15 years.

They thus are virtual strangers to each other, particularly when the series is compared to the Packers' 170-game rivalry with the Chicago Bear - as well as their 152-game history with the Detroit Lions.

Further, the Seahawks will be paying only their fourth regular season visit to Lambeau Field in the 28-year history of the series. They have made seven regular season appearances in Wisconsin but four of them were at Milwaukee County Stadium when the Packers were dividing their schedule between Green Bay and the state's largest city, an arrangement that ended following the 1994 season.


Ironically, the Packers' most memorable encounter with the Seahawks to date was not "scheduled." It came in the postseason - in the form of their NFC Wild Card Playoff in "Lambeau" following the 2003 season...two years ago this weekend.

The Packers' Al Harris personally took it upon himself to settle the issue in dramatic fashion, pilfering a Matt Hasslebeck pass and returning it 52 yards for the winning touchdown in overtime.

The Green and Gold thus departed the Lombardi Avenue premises with a 33-27 victory - the 24th and most recent postseason win in their imposing annals.

Harris also made significant NFL history in the process. His was the first defensive touchdown to win an overtime playoff in the league's 85-year annals.

Once Harris reached the end zone, his exuberant teammates tackled him, setting off a wild celebration.

Harris promptly responded to the jubilation, taking a lap around the stadium to salute the joyous faithful.

Seattle had tied the score with only 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on Shaun Alexander's third one-yard touchdown run.

Then Ryan Longwell was short on a 47-yard field goal attempt as regulation time expired.

The Seahawks proceeded to win the overtime coin toss and Seattle's quarterback, Hasslebeck, confidently announced to the referee, "We want the ball and we're going to score."

Seattle did get the ball, but shortly would be punting.

And, of course, it was Harris who scored on the game's only turnover to carry the day.

The Seahawks received a substantial assist from from the replay booth early in the overtime period when Seatlte's Alex Bannister was ruled to have fumbled. A video review, however, overturned the call, to the accompaniment of resounding boos.

As per custom, Packers quarterback Brett Favre prospered in the cold, which saw the wind chill reading a crisp 7 degrees at the kickoff.

The freewheeling Mississippian set an NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass in a 14th straight playoff game - breaking the mark he shared with former Dolphins star Dan Marino--while rallying the Packers to a 27-20 lead.


An intriguing sidelight to the series is the fact that Mike Holmgren, who led Green Bay to back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996-1997 before moving on to Seattle, has served both teams as head coach over his career - each at this point for seven seasons.

He escorted the Packers to a 31-10 victory at Seattle in '96-three years before leaving Titletown to take over the Seahawks in 1999. He since has compiled a 2-2 record against the Green and Gold as Seattle's field leader.

The former 49ers offensive coordinator maneuvered the Seahawks to a 27-7 regular-season victory upon his initial return to Green Bay in '99 but subsequently saw them bow to the Packers at Lambeau, 35-13 during the 2003 regular season, then fall by 33-27 in the Wild Card Playoff following the '03 season (January 4, 2004) before squaring his personal record against the Green and Gold with a 21-3 victory during the '04 preseason.


In returning to Green Bay for a fourth time Sunday, Holmgren will have an opportunity to scale a coaching plateau he did not attain during his Packers tenure. With a victory, he would close out the season with a career-best 14-2 won-lost record.

Holmgren's best records to date were back-to-back, 13-3 regular-season marks in leading the Packers to those consecutive Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997.

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 Packers.com 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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