Off-season Game of the Week

Until the Ice Bowl, if historians needed one game to sum up the Vince Lombardi Era in Green Bay, they could point to the Packers' 16-7 win over the New York Giants on Dec. 30, 1962.<p>

On that raw Sunday, the Packers braved the elements, the Yankee Stadium crowd and a vengeful trash-talking foe in recording their second straight National Football League title.

The victory capped a season in which the Packers went 13-1 and outscored opponents 415-148. The accomplishments and the collection of burgeoning legends led by Lombardi have many believing that this team is the greatest in NFL history.

The fact that the 1962 Packers swept George Halas' Bears – who would win the NFL title a year later – by a combined score of 87-7 is a pretty good barometer of just how dominant this unit was.

The Packers and Giants confronted brutal conditions in their rematch of the 1961 title game, which saw Green Bay prevail 37-0.

The temperature dipped to 17 degrees during the game and a 40 mph wind made the slippery field difficult to navigate for both teams.

"The wind ruined the passing and the kicking game," Lombardi said afterward. "But both teams had to play in the same wind and on the same field." One press report of the day, though, indicated that the Packers handled the conditions better than the Giants.

"Essentially, the difference in the teams was that the Packers did everything they had to do on the frozen-hard, windswept turf," the United Press International story on the game read.

The Packers jumped to an insurmountable 10-0 advantage behind the game's difference-makers – bruising running back Jim Taylor and punishing linebacker Ray Nitschke, the contest's Most Valuable Player.

Green Bay took a 3-0 lead when its first drive resulted in a 26-yard field goal by Jerry Kramer. It was the first of a playoff record-tying three field goals for Kramer, who was kicking for the injured Paul Hornung.

The Giants tried to catch the Packers but Nitschke wouldn't let them.

Nitschke deflected a pass that linebacker Dan Currrie corralled to stop a Giant drive inside at the Packer 10. New York linebacker Sam Huff would later cite that play as the game's turning point.

In the second quarter, Nitschke came up with the first of his two fumble recoveries. The turnover gave the Packers the ball in Giant territory and led to Taylor's 28-yard touchdown run.

Nitschke's second fumble recovery occurred in the third quarter and helped give the Packers some breathing room after the Giants had pulled to within 10-7.

Nitschke jumped on the ball after a botched punt. Five plays later, Kramer converted a 29-yard field goal to put Green Bay ahead 13-7. Kramer sealed the deal with a 30-yard field goal with 1 minute and 50 seconds to go.

While Nitschke was abusing the Giants on defense, Taylor was doing the same on offense.

Taylor, the NFL's leading scorer (19 touchdowns) and rusher (1,474), logged a playoff-record 31 carries while gaining 85 yards.

"It was hard to run because ice formed around my eyelids, my nasal area was frozen and back at that time we didn't wear gloves," Taylor said in the 1998 book: Greatest Moments in Green Packers Football History.

Still, Taylor – who would contract a case of infectious hepatitis two weeks after the game – would endure.

"They kept yelling, 'You're overrated' at me all day," Taylor said. "They couldn't rattle me, though. I just rammed it back down their throats by letting my running do my talking."


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