Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers: History and Numbers Behind the Rivalry

The 49ers will travel to Green Bay for their season opener against the Packers, with the game marking the 62nd time the two teams have played one another.  This will be the second time in both teams history they will start the regular season against each other.  The only other season opens was in 1976, with the 49ers beating the Packers 26-14 at Lambeau Field.  Here is a look at the history and numbers behind the 49ers vs. Packers rivalry:

The Rivalry

The 49ers-Packers rivalry dates back to 1950 when the teams first met.  But the rivalry was at its peak in the 1990’s with the 49ers led by Steve Young and the packers led by Brett Favre.  Here are the most memorable games in the rivalry:

1996 NFC Divisional game: By the end of the first half the 49ers were already down 21-3.  In the second half the 49ers scored two touchdowns, but Young’s playoff record of 65 pass attempts (he only completed 32 passes) was not enough to beat the Packers.  Favre and the Packers not only embarrassed the 49ers on their home turf, but they also stopped the 49ers from repeating as Super Bowl Champions.  The Packers win was the only time in 1990’s an NFC team won a divisional round game on the road.

1997 NFC Divisional game:  For the second straight playoffs the 49ers found themselves going up against the Packers again in the NFC Divisional game.  This time it was in Green Bay but again they lost, this time 35-14.  A big key to the 49ers loss was turning over the football five times.  The Packers built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of the game on just 3 offensive plays.   Steve Young was injured in the game and replaced by Elvis Grbac.  The 49ers tried to mount a comeback but by the time the 49ers scored their second touchdown, the Packers already had 35 points.

1998 NFC Championship game:  Facing the Packers for a third straight time in the playoffs, this time in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers were again embarrassed by the Packers in the playoffs with a loss.  The field at 3Com Park was muddy and slippery which hampered the 49ers offense.  The 49ers only scored one touchdown and had 257 total yards in the 23-10 loss.

1999 NFC Wild Card game: The Catch 2! The fourth time being a charm, the 49ers finally defeated the Packers in the playoffs.  This game is in the top-three of my favorite games and victories for the 49ers. Who can forget the back-and-forth in scoring that went on between the 49ers and Packers?  And the way it ended, with Young connecting with Terrell Owens on a 25-yard winning touchdown pass with eight seconds left in the game, simply amazing.  I will never forget the sure joy and excitement watching Young throw to Owens, and the 49ers announcers yelling, ‘Owens, Owens, Owens!’  It still gives me chills and puts a big smile on my face thinking about it.

The Numbers

  • 30-25-1: Packers lead the regular season series history with 30 wins to the 49ers 25 wins.
  • 1-4:  49ers postseason record vs. the Packers.
  • 9: Packers have won last nine meetings.
  • 3: Number of wins Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy, a former 49ers offensive coordinator, has against the 49ers.  He has zero losses.
  • 23: The amount of losses the 49ers have at Lambeau Field.
  • 1990:  The last year the 49ers beat the Packers in the regular season at Lambeau Field.
  • 8: The 49ers current losing streak at Lambeau Field (6 regular season and 2 playoff games).
  • 23.7: Vernon Davis’ average for yards per reception against the Packers in three games.
  • 13: Number of touchdowns Randy Moss has against the Packers, the most by any player in NFL history.
  • 2: With a 49ers win, Jim Harbaugh will be just the second coach in franchise history to win his first two season openers.  George Seifert is the only 49ers head coach to accomplish this feat.

49ers-Packers Connections

  • 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio held the same position when Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was head coach with the Panthers from 1995-1998.  Fangio was again Capers’ DC from 2002-2005 when he was head coach with the Texans.
  • 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman also coached for Capers with Panthers from 1995-1997 in various positions.  Like Fangio, Roman was also with the Texans from 2002-2005 as the tight ends and quarterbacks coach under Capers.
  • More Capers and 49ers coaching connections: Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Brad Seely held the same position with the Panthers under Capers from 1995-1998.
  • 49ers’ secondary coach Ed Donatell was the Packers defensive coordinator from 2000-2003.
  • Before taking over as head coach of the Packers, Mike McCarthy was the 49ers offensive coordinator in 2005, Alex Smith’s first season.
  • In a twist of irony, it was McCarthy who convinced then head coach Mike Nolan to draft Smith over Aaron Rodgers.
  • Rodgers is from Chico, CA (Northern California), attended the University of California, Berkeley and grew up a 49ers fan.
  • Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene played for the 49ers in 1997.
  • From 2002-2005, 49ers safety Donte Whitner, receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and guard Alex Boone played with Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk at Ohio State.
  • 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown played with Packers running back Cedric Benson (2003-2004) and tight end Jermichael Finley (2005-2006) at the University of Texas.


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