Although Mike Sherman's dismissal as head coach on Sunday represented a disappointing end to his time with the Packers, he reflected on the highlights of his 2000-2005 tenure while meeting with the media on Wednesday.
"We've had so many great memories," Sherman said. "I'm proud of what we accomplished over that time."
As a head coach who reached the playoffs in four out of his six years with the team, Sherman coached several games which will go down in Packers' lore.
His most recent game, a 23-17 victory against the Seattle Seahawks, serves as one of those highlights. Although that win had no playoff ramifications, it carried a deep meaning for him on several levels. He defeated one of his mentors -- Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren. After the game Sherman presented a game ball to Brett Favre, and Favre was moved to tears. Sherman's children joined him in the locker room to revel in that festive postgame scene.
"I know it's an insignificant win to most of you," he said. "But it was very significant to me."
Another significant game occurred on Dec. 28, 2003. The Packers pummeled the Denver Broncos 31-3 to capture Sherman's second NFC North crown. The fans cheered loudly throughout, creating a Lambeau Field scene as lively as Sherman had ever witnessed. Toward the end of the blowout win, Sherman had time to soak in the boisterous atmosphere from the sideline.
"I thought there was a streaker in the crowd or something," Sherman said. "I will always remember that day. That was such a neat day."
That same year featured one of the most dramatic plays in NFL playoff history. Al Harris intercepted Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and raced 52 yards to the end zone to win the NFC Wild Card playoff game 33-27 in overtime. It represents the only defensive touchdown to win an overtime playoff game.
"Winning that game, I'll always remember that," Sherman said.
Another memorable moment occurred against the Minnesota Vikings during Monday Night Football on Nov. 6, 2000. The Packers faced third-and-4 at the Vikings' 43-yard line with the score tied at 20 in overtime. Favre threw a deep pass toward wide receiver Antonio Freeman. As Freeman slipped and fell to the rain-soaked turf, cornerback Cris Dishman briefly had the football in his hands but dropped what looked like a "sure" interception. The ball then unexplainably bounced off Freeman's left arm -- until he managed to control it against his chest as he lay on his back, and he sprinted to the end zone.
Sherman's experience with the fans will go down as some of the most rewarding. As he would leave to go to Lambeau Field on Sunday morning gamedays, early tailgaters would wave him into a parking spot. Then an amused Sherman would roll down his car window to inform them he had a reserved spot at the stadium.
Sherman also visited with fans during postgame tailgates. He read their stacks of mail and countless e-mails. And the Packers fans left quite an impression on the former head coach.
"Your passion for this franchise is what makes it so special. You are the Green Bay Packers," Sherman said. "Your love for this team has been inspirational to me."