Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sports Illustrated: December 16, 1996

The nineteenth appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the Green Bay Packers was in December of 1996, as they were headed towards the NFL Playoffs again. On the cover, quarterback Brett Favre is shown in passing form with the headline, “The Team to Beat... Why Brett Favre and the Packers are Looking Super.”

Inside, as the article opens with a two-page photo spread of Dorsey Levens leaping for yardage, the headline reads: “Back in Gear... The Packers turned it up a notch to rout the Broncos and move closer to earning the (frigid) home field advantage in the Playoffs.”

The article states: “By day’s end Lambeau seemed more daunting than it had all season. After rolling to a 41-6 win, the Packers — now 11-3 — had moved a step closer to securing home field advantage... a pressing quest given their 15-game winning streak at Lambeau. A few hours later, after San Francisco (lost) to Carolina, and the Cowboys had escaped with a victory over Arizona, Green Bay had become the conference’s clear-cut favorite to reach the Super Bowl... and Sunday’s game, viewed by many as a Super Bowl preview, sent a Pack-is-back message to NFL rivals.”

“Against all logic, Green Bay has become a garden spot for players from less successful organizations (like Andre Rison). ‘It’s like a home for the refuse of society,’ says safety Eugene Robinson, a 12-year veteran acquired in an off-season trade with Seattle. The nightlife options may be slim and the weather may be grim, but, in Rison’s words, ‘the vibe here is incredible.’ Defensive tackle Santana Dotson, who spent his first four years with Tampa Bay, says he loves playing for the Packers because ‘everyone from the front office executives to the janitor tries to get the players whatever they need to win.’ ”

Yes... these were swell times to be a Packer fan... as long as you didn’t believe in the Sports Illustrated “cover jinx.”


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