Giants vs. Packers: Storied playoff history


Packers Jim Taylor rumbles in 1962 NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium.

The Giants-Packers rivalry is one of the most storied in the NFL, dating back to their first meeting in 1928, which New York won 6-0.

Five times the two teams squared off for the NFL championship, with the Packers winning four, including back-to-back victories in 1961 and 1962. Five years ago, the Giants went into Lambeau Field and beat a 15-1 Green Bay squad 37-20. In 2008, the Giants beat the Packers in a 23-20 overtime thriller in frigid Green Bay to win the NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Four of the seven post-season meetings between the two clubs were decided by a touchdown or less. The Pack won the other two via shutouts.

New York and Green Bay have met 60 times including the regular season, with the Pack holding a 32-26-2 advantage. Their most recent meeting occurred last October, when the Packers won 23-16.

Here are thumbnails on their seven playoff meetings:

Dec. 11, 1938 — Giants 23, Packers 17
In a see-saw battle, the Giants rallied to become the first team since the NFL split into two divisions in 1933 to win two NFL championships.

The Giants took a 16-14 halftime lead before Green Bay surged in front in the third quarter on Tiny Engebresten’s 15-yard field goal.

danowskiGiants halfback Hank Soar, who would later become a major league baseball umpire (he was the first base ump when Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series), carried the ball five times and caught a pass on the ensuing drive before making a leaping catch from quarterback Ed Danowski, right, for 23 yards and the winning touchdown.

A championship game record crowd of 48,120 witnessed the game at New York’s Polo Grounds. Each member of the Giants teams received $900, while the losing Packers received $700 per man.

Dec. 10, 1939 — Packers 27, Giants 0
Green Bay avenged its loss to New York the previous year with a resounding victory, the first shutout in championship game history.

The Packers took a 7-0 lead in the first half on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Arnie Herber to Milt Gantenbein.

Green Bay then pulled away with 20 points in the second half, which featured a 31-yard touchdown pass from Cecil Isbell to Joe Laws in the third quarter and a 1-yard touchdown run by Ed Jankowski in the final period.

The game was moved from City Stadium in Green Bay and held at the larger Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis near Milwaukee. Top tickets were priced at $4.40.

Dec. 17 , 1944 — Packers 14, Giants 7
In a game played in the midst of World War II, Green Bay scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter and held on to win the NFL title.

The Packers celebrated a victory that avenged a 24-0 loss to the Giants a month earlier,

Ted Fritsch scored on a 1-yard run and then hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Irv Comp to give Curly Lambeau’s visiting Packers the win.

Ward Cuff scored on a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter for the only score for coach Steve Owens and the Giants.

Giants tackle Al Blozis played in the game while on furlough. Six weeks later he was killed in battle by German machine-gun fire. His number 32 was later retired by the Giants.

Dec. 31, 1961 — Packers 37, Giants 0
In the first NFL championship game ever played in Green Bay, the Packers routed the Giants to give coach Vince Lombardi the first of his five NFL titles. A total of 16 Hall of Famers, 11 of them Packers, dressed for the contest.

Paul-HornungThe Packers were led by Paul Hornung, left, who scored a record-tying 19 points with a touchdown, three field goals, and four extra points.

After a scoreless first quarter, Hornung, who finished with 89 yards rushing, ran for a 6-yard touchdown, the first of 24 Packers points in the second quarter. Green Bay’s defense had four interceptions, and the Giants’ offense picked up only six first downs, one by penalty.

Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr passed for three touchdowns, two to tight end Ron Kramer.

Dec. 30, 1962 — Packers 16, Giants 7
With the temperature in the teens and an icy wind estimated at 30 miles an hour or more, Yankee Stadium was an icebox for the players and 64,892 fans. Both teams came out with cleatless, rubber-soled shoes, and the weather put a crimp in the Giants passing attack led by quarterback Y.A. Tittle.

“I remember the first pass Y. A. threw me; it was a simple square out,” said Giants flanker Frank Gifford. “The wind took it, and the ball sailed way over my head. Y. A. was a great, precise passer. One of the Packers, I don’t remember who, turned to me and said, ‘It’s going to be a long day, Frank.’ ”

Green Bay fullback Jim Taylor led all rushers with 85 yards and scored the game’s only offensive touchdown and guard Jerry Kramer kicked three field goals to account for the Packers scoring.

The Giants registered their only touchdown in the third quarter when Jim Collier recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.

New York would go on to lose its third straight championship game — this one to the Chicago Bears — in 1963, before enduring 18 years of playoff futility. The Packers would win the 1965 NFL championship game, and then went on to win the first two Supers Bowls in 1966 and 1967.

Jan. 20, 2008 — Giants 23, Packers 20 (overtime)
In one of the coldest games in NFL history, the Giants beat the Packers in overtime in the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The game-time temperature was -4 with a wind chill of -24

tynes-kicks-jpgFollowing Corey Webster’s interception of a Brett Favre pass early in overtime, Lawrence Tynes, right,  kicked his third field goal of the game from 47 yards out to give the Giants a hard-earned victory.

Green Bay led 10-6 at the half sparked by a 90-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Donald Driver, but the Giants rebounded in the third quarter to take the lead on touchdown runs by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

Mason Crosby’s fourth quarter field goal tied the game 20-20, and Tynes missed a pair of field goals, including one at the gun, before kicking the game-winner.

The Giants advanced to the Super Bowl, where they knocked off the previously unbeaten New England Patriots 17-14 to win their third Super Bowl.

Jan 15, 2012 – Giants 37, Packers 20

Eli Manning passed for 330 yards and three touchdowns, outdueling Aaron Rodgers in a divisional round upset.

Hakeem Nicks caught two touchdowns, including a 66-yarder in the first quarter and a 37-yard Hail Mary pass just before halftime that gave the Giants a 20-10 lead.

Manning hooked up with Mario Manningham on a four-yard TD pass in the third quarter to extend the Giants lead. Brandon Jacobs ran 14 yards for the final New York touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Much like the last time, the Giants went on to beat the Patriots 21-17 in the Super Bowl.

And once again, Manning and Rodgers will match up as quarterbacks.


51 years later, NFL title game back in New York

Packer running back Jim Taylor battles Giants defense in the 1962 NFL championship game.

The last time the NFL championship game was played in New York, more than 51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was in office, the epic film Lawrence of Arabia had just premiered in London, and the Beatles had yet to set foot on American soil.

The date was December 30, 1962, the scene was Yankee Stadium, and the Green Bay Packers were battling the New York Giants for the NFL title for the second straight year.

It was a cold, windy day in the Bronx, and reportedly there were no cell phones in use at the Stadium. While Green Bay was referred to as Title-town for its’ 1961 championship, New York was called Tittle-town, in reference to quarterback Y.A. Tittle.

And for the second straight year, the Packers won the championship — this time with a hard-fought, even savage, 16-7 victory. Here are 10 interesting storylines to that memorable clash:

1. Although the game was sold out, it was blacked out in New York per NFL television regulations of the day. Chris Schenkel and Ray Scott called the game on NBC. But you couldn’t see it in New York unless you had a ticket. (You can see it on this YouTube replay, with Ken Coleman and Ted Moore at the mike. Well at least some of it, there is missing video. And lots of cigarette advertisements.) And you couldn’t read about it either, since the city papers were on strike. So a slightly different New York State of mind.

2. How cold was it? It was cold. Freezing cold, Temperatures in the teens and winds gusting close to 40 mph. Players found inventive ways to warm themselves, huddling around small fires in metal trash cans on the Yankee Stadium sidelines.

3. The Packers were coached by the legendary Vince Lombardi, who was the Giants offensive coordinator before moving to Green Bay prior to the 1959 season. Allie Sherman was in the midst of coaching the Giants to the second of three straight championship game losses. In a soundbite for the ages, Lombardi would say: “I think it was about as fine a football game as I have ever seen. I think we saw football as it should be played.”

4. It was a match-up of Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Bart Starr for the Packers and Y.A. Tittle for the Giants. In terrible passing conditions, Starr was 9-for-21 for 85 yards; Tittle completed just 18 of 41 passes for 197 yards. Neither threw a touchdown pass.

5. In fact, there were Hall of Famers all over the field that day, 16 starters to be exact. 10 Packer starters — Starr, Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung, Jim Ringo and Forrest Gregg on the offense, and Willie Davis, Ray Nitschke, Henry Jordan, Herb Adderley and Willie Wood on the defense — are all enshrined in Canton. And six Giants — Tittle, Frank Gifford and Rosey Brown on offense and Rosey Grier, Andy Robustelli and Sam Huff on defense– are in the Hall of Fame.

6. These were clearly the NFL’s two best teams in 1962. Green Bay won the Western Conference with a 13-1 record, the only loss coming to the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. The Pack ranked first in both offense and defense that year. New York was nearly as dominant, winning the Eastern Conference at 12-2. The Giants were second in offense and fourth on defense in the 14-team league.

7. Guard Jerry Kramer, who authored Instant Replay, a diary of the Packers 1967 season, kicked three field goals for Green Bay to provide the margin of victory that day. Jim Taylor scored the only Packer touchdown; Rookie Jim Collier recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for New York’s lone score.

8. Green Bay linebacker and Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke was named the game’s MVP and drove away with a Corvette. Jerry Kramer was awarded the game ball.

9. If there had been a Super Bowl in 1962, the Packers would have faced the Dallas Texans, who won the AFL championship in 1962 a week earlier with a double overtime win over the Houston Oilers. Later in the decade, Green Bay would go on to win the first two Super Bowls.

10. After the game, Lombardi led his team in prayer in the Green Bay locker room. No champagne, no cameras, no music. Just the Lord’s Prayer. The winning share for the Packers was $6,000 per man. Yes, life was much simpler back then.

Personally speaking — I was 11 years old, and I remember that cold Sunday afternoon in December of 1962. We went sleigh riding over the hills of a golf course in White Plains, NY, but not for long. It was too cold and windy. And I remember huddling with my father around the radio, listening to Giants’ announcer Marty Glickman call the game.