The Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers face off Saturday night in an NFC Divisional Playoff game which will be the sixth time since January 1996 that the two teams have faced each other in the playoffs.
The Packers and 49ers became quite familiar opponents in the 1990s as they played each other in the playoffs each year from 1996-1999 (note I am going by the year the playoff games were played, not the year of the ‘season’). It was a rivalry for the ages as the Packers won the first three games and the 49ers won the fourth in dramatic fashion.
Even though the four games included an NFC Championship which the Packers won en route to Super Bowl XXXII, it’s the first and the fourth of the 1990s contests that have the highest historical importance.
They almost serve as bookends for the Mike Holmgren era. The Packers’ 27-17 victory over San Francisco at Candlestick Park on January 6, 1996 served notice to the entire NFL that Green Bay was now one of the league’s elite teams. The Packers lost to the Dallas Cowboys the following week in the NFC Championship, but the win over the 49ers served as a springboard for the great 1996 season.