(As the Buccaneers travel Sunday to legendary Lambeau Field to play the Packers, our Tampa Bay historian, Paul Stewart of BucPower.com in London, takes a look at the lengthy rivalry of former division rivals and gives a few of his top games.)
The all-time series with the Packers is led 31-21 by Green Bay with there also being one tie, the only one in franchise history, in the 1980 encounter in Tampa. The two teams played twice a season from 1978 to 2001 as part of the original NFC Central Division. They also met in the 1997 Divisional playoff at Lambeau Field, a game won by the Packers 21-7.
Sunday 1 December 1985 at Lambeau Field
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0 Green Bay Packers 21
This game regularly makes NFL highlight programmes whenever inclement weather is mentioned. Because the Buccaneers and probably not many other teams, have ever played in conditions like this. There was a foot of snow on the field at kickoff time and another four inches fell during the actual game. Less than 20,000 fans actually braved the elements to make it to Lambeau Field with over 45,000 no-shows as the local media stressed to travel if absolutely necessary.
On the field, the Buccaneers were in white and QB Steve Young could often not even see his receivers through the blizzard. He ran the same pass play to Kevin House consecutively with one sailing over the receiver’s head on the wind and the next falling five yards short at his feet. On the other side of the ball, the Packers seemed to move the ball at will outgaining the Bucs 512-65 in total yardage making the final 21-0 scoreline amazingly small
The Bucs did get out of Wisconsin on a flight that evening but several of the players had staged a protest convinced it was not safe to fly. Eventually the pilot had to come out of the cockpit to convince them that he had a wife and family and wouldn’t put them at risk by taking off in dangerous conditions. “Show us the pictures” LB Scot Brantley remembers calling out. “You could hear a pin drop when we rolled down the runway” he added.
Sunday 13 September 1992 at Tampa Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31 Green Bay Packers 3
The Vincredible game. Sam Wyche arrived as head coach for the 1992 season and the Bucs opened his reign with a 23-7 win over the Cardinals on opening day. Expectations were raised for the arrival of the Packers the following week but no-one anticipated the almost perfect game that would be played at the Old Sombrero.
QB Vinny Testaverde was a staggering 22 of 25 for 363 yards and two touchdowns, only falling short of an NFL record for completion percentage when a long pass to Courtney Hawkins fell incomplete in the fourth quarter. “I messed him up right there,” Wyche said. “I actually knew – I hate to even admit this – I knew that he’d set an NFL record for the highest percentage of completions in the history of the game. But the important thing is that we won.”
On the other side of the ball, competing against CB Ricky Reynolds who won NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts, was a young QB making his debut in relief of an injured Don Majkowski. If the Bucs and NFL had known what Brett Favre would go on to accomplish, they might not have been so generous. But Favre did complete his first NFL pass … to himself. A deflected pass came back to him to result in a great trivia question for the future Hall of Famer.
Sunday 8 November 2009 at Raymond James Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38 Green Bay Packers 28
After 12 years, the Bucs finally returned to their orange colours for their first-ever Throwback game in November 2009. The stadium was decorated orange and Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon was being inducted as the first member of the team’s Ring of Honor. It was truly a memorable day in Tampa.
Raheem Morris’ team was 0-7 on returning from playing in England and made the decision to start rookie QB Josh Freeman. He merely passed for three touchdowns including the go-ahead score to WR Sammie Stroughter on 4th down with just over four minues remaining. @The guy was very poised – unreal, like, wow,” RB Cadillac Williams said. “That’s the hardest position to play in football, man. For that guy to come in and do the job he did, unbelievable.”
S Tanard Jackson sealed the victory with a pick six off QB Aaron Rodgers in the final seconds and as the Gatorade bath descended on Morris for his first NFL coaching victory, the Bucs were able to party like it was 1979.
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