Super Bowl XLVII Dossier: Green Bay Packers

Why is a team from the NFL’s smallest market of Green Bay, Wisconsin, one of the most popular in the entire league? It’s because the Packers were the NFL’s first dynasty in the Super Bowl Era.
Behind legendary Coach Vince Lombardi, after whom the Super Bowl trophy is named, and Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, the Packers won the first two Super Bowls. In Super Bowl I, Starr was named the game’s MVP in a 35-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Los Angeles. Green Bay was a huge 14-point favorite over the AFL’s Chiefs (no total). It was worth a whopping $15,000 per man on the winning side, which is now pocket change for current NFL players.
In Super Bowl II, Starr was named MVP again in a 33-14 win over the Oakland Raiders in Miami, with the Packers as 13.5-point favorites and the total at 43. That was the final game on the sideline for Lombardi, who led the Pack to five NFL championships in addition to the two Super Bowl victories in his nine years.
Green Bay wouldn’t return to the Super Bowl until a young gunslinger quarterback named Brett Favre arrived. At XXXI on January 26, 1997, in New Orleans, the Packers beat New England 35-21 as a 14-point favorite (over 49 points). Green Bay’s Desmond Howard made history in becoming the first and still only kick-returner to win MVP honors.  He returned a third-quarter kickoff 99 yards for a score as the Patriots were rallying.
Favre led the Packers to the Super Bowl in San Diego the following season, but the Packers were beaten for the only time in the NFL’s title game, 31-24 by Denver as Broncos Hall of Famer John Elway won his first Super Bowl. Denver was an 11.5-point dog with the total at 49. It ended a 13-game NFC winning streak in the game and would be Favre’s final Super Bowl.
The Packers finally returned to the Super Bowl two seasons ago behind Aaron Rodgers, Favre’s former understudy. The playoffs were in doubt as late as Week 15. However, Rodgers had a huge game in a win over the New York Giants and Green Bay wouldn’t lose again, winning NFC playoff road games at Philadelphia (Eagles -1), Atlanta (Falcons -1) and Chicago (Packers -3.5). In Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, the Packers were three-point favorites (total 44.5) and beat Pittsburgh 31-25 in the first postseason meeting between the two storied franchises. Rodgers was named MVP, throwing for 304 yards and three scores.
Green Bay was the preseason Super Bowl favorite in 2011 and started the season 14-0 before being upset in Kansas City. However the Pack’s chances of repeating were dashed in a divisional-round upset loss at home to the New York Giants, who were eight-point underdogs.
Entering Week 14 of this season, Green Bay (8-4, 6-6 ATS) is tied with the Chicago Bears atop the NFC North. The No. 1 overall seed in the NFC is out of reach, but the Packers likely could claim the No. 2 spot by winning out. They will be favored in each game: versus Detroit, at Chicago (Packers beat Bears 23-10 in Week 2), versus Tennessee and at Minnesota. A playoff rematch with the Giants, whom Green Bay lost to 38-10 in Week 12, is a definite possibility. The Packers are 9/1 to win a fifth Super Bowl come February in New Orleans.