Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Memory Loss Cost Packers Second Title

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Memory Loss Cost Packers Second Title

Article excerpt

Super Bowl XXXII has been opined as the greatest in history.

Greatest wire-to-wire drama. Greatest offensive execution.

Greatest sentimental finish.

And for Green Bay Packers coach Mike Holmgren, maybe the

greatest case of amnesia since the University of Michigan's

Chris Webber called timeout in the 1993 NCAA championship game.

When Holmgren ordered his defense to allow the Denver Broncos

to score the go-ahead touchdown from 1 yard out with 1:45

remaining -- so the Packers would have more time to tie the game

-- he left himself open to criticism. Not only did he concede

seven points when the possibility of a turnover or blocked field

goal existed, Holmgren admitted he thought it was first down,

not second, when he issued the lie-down edict.

Still, that decision didn't cost the Packers the game, but

another memory lapse by Holmgren most certainly did.

The lapse was grossly overlooked by the media, which got caught

up in misty-eyed salutes to John Elway. But as much as the

Packers' Swiss-cheese defensive front, it ruined Green Bay's

chance to stake a claim alongside the Vince Lombardi teams as an

NFL dynasty.

Forget something, coach? Does the name Dorsey Levens ring a

bell? Or do Super Bowl champions routinely stop going to their

primary ball-carriers when the game is on the line?

I understand wanting to place the bulk of responsibility in the

hands of three-time league MVP Brett Favre. But the Packers lost

this game as much for abandoning the NFL's most underrated

rusher as for failing to contain Terrell Davis.

With the game tied 24-24, Levens ran the ball just one time in

two drives. This is the guy who rushed for 1,435 yards during

the season. The guy who ran for 114 yards against Tampa Bay and

112 yards against San Francisco in playoff victories. The guy

who ran for 90 yards on 19 carries against Denver.

Oh, the Packers remembered to call Levens' number on that final

desperation march. They threw four consecutive passes to him,

moving the ball from their 30 to the Broncos' 31. From there,

three incompletions to other receivers sealed a 31-24 Denver

victory. …

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