The Best NFC Championship Game Performances in Packers History
It takes an incredible season to make it all the way to the NFC Championship game, and it takes a great effort to make it beyond the conference title game to the Super Bowl. Fortunately, the Packers have had more than a few great performances in their conference championship games, so let’s take a look at a few of the best.
Bart Starr leads the way among Packers passers
When the NFC Championship game was still categorized as the NFL Championship game, Bart Starr put up one of the best performances in Packers history, bar none. Facing the Dallas Cowboys on New Year’s Day in 1967, Starr racked up 304 yards and four touchdowns on 19 of 28 passing in one of the best (and most unappreciated) performances for the Packers, before or since.
In the era of true NFC Championships, Brett Favre takes the top spot with his 19 of 29, 292 yard, 2 touchdown, one interception performance against the Carolina Panthers during the Packers’ 1996 Super Bowl run.
Dorsey Levens is tops among NFC Championship rushers
As far as great rushers, the list of exceptional NFC Championship game performances is quite short. Only three players in Packers history have rushed for more than 100 yards in an NFC title game, and Dorsey Levens is the only one to do it after the NFL/AFL merger. He posted 114 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries during the 1997 NFC Championship game against San Francisco en route to the Packers’ second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.
In the pre-merger days, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor both went over 100 yards in the de facto NFC Championship game. Hornung rushed for 105 yards and a score on 18 carries in a 1966 win over Cleveland, and Taylor put up 105 on 24 rushes against the Eagles in 1960, the Packers’ only title game loss under Vince Lombardi.
Receivers have been great across all eras
When it comes to great receiving days, there are quite a few options from which to choose. Donald Driver racked up 141 yards and a score on just five catches during the 2007 NFC Championship game against New York, with most of that yardage coming on a 90 yard catch and run early in the game.
Greg Jennings didn’t find the end zone, but he did pile up 130 yards and eight catches during the 2010 title bout with Chicago. Carroll Dale was on the receiving end of a few of Bart Starr’s passes during his outburst in the 1967 game mentioned earlier, pulling in five passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. And Dorsey Levens also merits mention, proving his dual threat value during the 1996 NFC Championship game with 117 yards and a touchdown on five catches to go with his 88 yards rushing.
A mixed bag on defense and special teams
On the defensive side, results have been mixed in NFC Championship games. Morgan Burnett and Keith McKenzie both recorded two sacks apiece in the 2014 and 1997 NFC Championships, respectively, but only McKenzie advanced to the Super Bowl.
Likewise, both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Sam Shields recorded two interceptions in the 2014 and 2010 championship games, but only Shields got the chance to play in the Super Bowl.
Finally, Mason Crosby gets the saddest award for kicking five field goals during the 2014 NFC Championship game. I’m sure even he thinks the Packers should have tried to score on one of the many times they came up short that day.