NFC Championship Game thoughts

So-called national experts choke on Packers-Seahawks prediction; Packers-Giants connections

You definitely aren't Nostradamus
As the Green Bay Packers were getting ready to play the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, I kept a close eye on who the "experts" thought might win this game. The ones that stuck out to me, and picked the Seahawks to win were Cris Collingsworth, Cris Carter, Chris Berman and Bob Ryan. I'll give a pass to the first three because of their notoriety, especially Collingsworth and Carter because they were players.

But Ryan, who writes for the Boston Globe and works on ESPN, made maybe the dumbest statement I ever heard. On PTI, Ryan said he was picking the Seahawks because he "was Favred out." This coming from a guy that works in Boston, where the Red Sox are world champs, the Celtics are on the upswing, Boston College football made great strides this year, and the Patriots are undefeated and possibly headed for immortality. And Ryan is sick of Favre?

I guess maybe there isn't enough Boston stories to cover for Bob. The world doesn't evolve around Boston, no matter what you think, Bob. We all don't live in Boston or the East Coast. Your gall about Favre was appalling, especially with ALL the hype recently about the Patriots' Tom Brady.

Ryan is a fine writer and I usually agree with his commentary, but his statement was absurd, as the Favre/Packers story of 2007 has been very uplifting, especially when you think of the odds they have overcome.

Boston, except for the Celtics, was always an area that always felt unappreciated. The Red Sox hadn't won since 1918, before their two recent championships. The Yankees got ALL the attention. And before Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots were never considered a top team, like they are now. And that was BEFORE Spygate. Things have changed obviously in Boston, and good for that town and the fans there, but please don't tell the rest of us what is a good story or what isn't.

Packers-Giants connections
If you look at the history of the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants, there are plenty of connections, to this day. As everyone knows, RB Ryan Grant was undrafted, but signed by the Giants a couple of years ago, before being traded to the Packers just before the 2007 season for a sixth round pick. Backup safety Charlie Peprah was also acquired on waivers in 2006 as the Giants released him. CB Frank Walker was also signed as a free agent this year from the Giants.

Giants C Grey Ruegamer played with the Packers from 2003-2005. DE Dave Tollefson was drafted by the Packers in 2006 by Ted Thompson, but never made the regular roster, and has found a home in New York. Head coach Tom Coughlin has some Green Bay connections as well, as he coached for Forrest Gregg and the Packers in 1986-87. But the biggest coaching connection between the two teams is on Vincent Thomas Lombardi.

Lombardi was an assistant coach with the Giants from 1954-58, before he became the Packer head coach in 1959. The Giants won the NFL title in 1956. Lombardi was also very good friends with Giants owner Wellington Mara from their college days at Fordham. After Lombardi had great success in Green Bay, including winning his first two championships vs. the Giants, the Giants tried to get him back to New York to be head coach, but to no avail.

The Packers and Giants also have a rich championship history, but haven't played in a championship game since the 1962 NFL championship game at Yankee Stadium. That was the game where several participants from the "Ice Bowl" said that the conditions in "the house that Ruth built" were even worse that day. The temperature was above 0, but the winds were gusting up to 40 miles per hour as the Packers won 16-7.

The Packers and Giants played four other championship games before the one in 1962. In 1938, the Giants beat the Packers at the old Polo Grounds in New York 23-17. In 1939, the Packers whipped the Giants 27-0 at State Fair Park in Milwaukee. In 1944, the Packers defeated the Giants 14-7 at the Polo Grounds in New York.

Finally, there was the first championship game EVER played in Green Bay also against the Giants in 1961. The Packers won handily 37-0 as Lombardi and the Packers were on their way to their first of five championships in just seven years. Green Bay really became "Titletown", a name that has stuck ever since.

Bob Fox is a regular contributor to E-mail him at

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