NFL Super Bowl XXXI: Packers 35 Patriots 21
The Packers Defeat the Patriots 35-21 to win Super Bowl XXXI, Packers KR-PR Desmond Howard named MVP
Desmond Howard picked the grandest of stages to carve out his niche in NFL history, totaling more than 250 combined yards on his kickoff and punt returns in a 35-21 win over New England.
Howard equaled a Super Bowl record with 244 total return yards.
The key play to his selection as MVP was a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown that dashed hopes of a comeback by the Patriots. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Michigan helped the Packers to their first Super Bowl title since the in twenty-nine years.
Brett Favre passed for two touchdowns and ran for a score.
It was Favre's arm that struck first, as he hit Andre Rison for a 54-yard touchdown pass on the Packers' second play from scrimmage to take a 7-0 lead. Two plays later Doug Evans made a diving interception of Drew Bledsoe's pass at the 28-yard line, setting up Chris Jacke's field goal and giving the Packers a 10-0 lead just 6:18 into the Super Bowl.
The Patriots answered with touchdowns on their next two possessions. Craig Newsome's pass interference penalty set up the first touchdown and a 44-yard completion from Bledsoe to Terry Glenn preceeding Ben Coates's touchdown gave New England its first and only lead. The 24 combined first quarter points were the most in Super Bowl history.
Green Bay struck again 56 seconds into the second quarter as Favre hit Antonio Freeman with a Super Bowl-record 81-yard touchdown bomb. Jacke booted his second field goal on Green Bay's next possession. After a Mike Prior interception, Favre orchestrated a 74-yard, nearly 6-minute drive that concluded with a diving Favre touching the ball against the pylon to give Green Bay a 27-14 halftime lead.
Curtis Martin brought the Patriots to within a score by running in from 18 yards out with 3:27 left in the third quarter. But Howard broke the Patriots' spirit by returning the ensuing kickoff a Super Bowl-record 99 yards. Favre found Mark Chmura for the 2-point conversion to finish the scoring.
Bledsoe was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter as the Patriots never crossed midfield in four fourth-quarter possessions.
Reggie White set a Super Bowl record with three sacks. Favre completed 14 of 27 passes for 246 yards, with no interceptions. Bledsoe completed 11 more passes than Favre, but for just seven more yards, and threw four interceptions.
Super Bowl XXXI: MVP Desmond Howard, KR-PR, Green Bay Packers
Desmond Howard enjoyed a celebrated college football career, winning the Heisman Trophy while starring at the University of Michigan in 1991. His pro football career, however, was judged more by potential than actual production.
But in 1996, Howard finally made his mark in the NFL. He picked the perfect stage, too, to showcase his ability -- Super Bowl XXXI.
Signed as a free agent, Howard found his niche as the Packers' return specialist. He led the NFL with a 15.1-yard punt return average and punt returns for touchdowns with 3. He took back a punt 92 yards for a TD in Green Bay's regular-season finale against Detroit and continued his roll into the postseason.
Against the 49ers, Howard set a team record with 117 punt return yards on just two attempts, including a 71-yarder. In the NFC Championship Game against the Panthers, Howard returned 4 kickoffs for 104 yards, including a 46-yarder, as the Packers advanced to their first Super Bowl in 29 years.
Then against New England at the Superdome, Howard made his mark in Super Bowl lore, personally putting a stop to the Patriots' third-quarter comeback with a record 99-yard kickoff return for a TD.
Ironically, Howard didn't think he had a chance at winning the MVP. "I really didn't expect them to be kicking the ball that much," he said.
Howard got his kicks -- and then some -- in Super Bowl XXXI.
Super Bowl XXXI
SUPER BOWL XXXI SCORING
New England Patriots
Green Bay Packers
GB Rison 54 pass from Favre (Jacke kick), 3:32
GB FG Jacke 37, 6:18
NE Byars 1 pass from Bledsoe (Vinatieri kick), 8:25
NE Coates 4 pass from Bledsoe (Vinatieri kick),12:27
GB Freeman 81 pass from Favre (Jacke kick), 0:56
GB FG Jacke 31, 6:45
GB Favre 2 run (Jacke kick), 13:49
NE Martin 18 run (Vinatieri kick), 11:33
GB Howard 99 kick return (2-pt Chmura from Favre, T-Formation), 11:50
January 26, 1997
Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Super Bowl XXXI: Ticket and Championship Ring
Super Bowl Games & Super Bowl MVP History
Super Bowl I
Green Bay Packers 35 Kansas City Chiefs 10
Super Bowl II
Green Bay Packers 33 Oakland Raiders 14
Super Bowl III
New York Jets 16 Baltimore Colts 7
Super Bowl IV
Kansas City Chiefs 23 Minnesota Vikings 7
Super Bowl V
Baltimore Colts 16 Dallas Cowboys 13
Super Bowl VI
Dallas Cowboys 24 Miami Dolphins 3
Super Bowl VII
Miami Dolphins 14 Washington Redskins 7
Super Bowl VIII
Miami Dolphins 24 Minnesota Vikings 7
Super Bowl IX
Pittsburgh Steelers 16 Minnesota Vikings 6
Super Bowl X
Steelers 21 Dallas Cowboys 17
Super Bowl XI
Oakland Raiders 32 Minnesota Vikings 14
Super Bowl XII
Cowboys 27 Denver Broncos 10
Super Bowl XIII
Pittsburgh Steelers 35 Dallas Cowboys 31
Super Bowl XIV
Pittsburgh Steelers 31 Los Angeles Rams 19
Super Bowl XV
Oakland Raiders 27 Philadelphia Eagles 10
Super Bowl XVI
San Francisco 49ers 26 Cincinnati Bengals 21
Super Bowl XVII
Washington Redskins 27 Miami Dolphins 17
Super Bowl XVIII
Los Angeles Raiders 38 Washington Redskins 9
Super Bowl XIX
San Francisco 49ers 38 Miami Dolphins 16
Super Bowl XX
Chicago Bears 46 New England Patriots 10
Super Bowl XXI
New York Giants 39 Denver Broncos 20
Super Bowl XXII
Washington Redskins 42 Denver Broncos 10
Super Bowl XXIII
San Francisco 49ers 20 Cincinnati Bengals 16
Super Bowl XXIV
San Francisco 49ers 55 Denver Broncos 10
Super Bowl XXV
New York Giants 20 Buffalo Bills 19
Super Bowl XXVI
Washington Redskins 37 Buffalo Bills 24
Super Bowl XXVII
Dallas Cowboys 52 Buffalo Bills 17
Super Bowl XXVIII
Dallas Cowboys 30 Buffalo Bills 13
Super Bowl XXIX
San Francisco 49ers 49 San Diego Chargers 26
Super Bowl XXX
Dallas Cowboys 27 Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Super Bowl XXXI
Green Bay Packers 35 New England Patriots 21
Super Bowl XXXII
Denver Broncos 31 Green Bay Packers 24
Super Bowl XXXIII
Denver Broncos 34 Atlanta Falcons 19
Super Bowl XXXIV
Saint Louis Rams 23 Tennessee Titans 16
Super Bowl XXXV
Baltimore Ravens 34 New York Giants 7
Super Bowl XXXVI
New England Patriots 20 Saint Louis Rams 17
Super Bowl XXXVII
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48 Oakland Raiders 21
Super Bowl XXXVIII
New England Patriots 32 Carolina Panthers 29
Super Bowl XXXIX
New England Patriots 24 Philadelphia Eagles 21
Super Bowl XL
Steelers 21 Seahawks 10
Super Bowl XLI
Colts 29 Bears 17
Super Bowl XLII
New York Giants 17 New England Patriots 14
Super Bowl XLIII
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Arizona Cardinals 23
Super Bowl XLIV
New Orleans Saints 31 Indianapolis Colts 17