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51 for LI: Legend Outduels Legend in Super Bowl XXXII

[lead align=”default”]Believe it or not, just 32 days remain until the Super Bowl. You may also remember Super Bowl XXXII, a game featuring two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in battle.[/lead]

One was in the early days of his career and the other was at the end. The younger quarterback was trying to win his second consecutive Super Bowl, while the older just wanted to win his first. One had an early career as a winner, while the other had been the proverbial bridesmaid several times, but never the bride.

The Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers met in Super Bowl XXXII. As J. Peterman once said, “–and it was pret-ty good.”

Super Bowl XXXII: Elway’s Erstwhile Futility

Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway previously appeared in three Super Bowls: XXI, XXII, and XXIV. The Broncos lost them all, and they were blowouts. Three conference championships and nothing to show for it, as far as Elway is concerned.

Entering Super Bowl XXXII in January 1998, Elway was 37 years old. Quarterbacks can play at a high level at that age, but you have more games behind you than ahead. Elway wanted to win and win bad.

Super Bowl XXXII: Favre’s Favorable Stretch

From Brett Favre’s early days, the Packers got further and further in the playoffs. So did the Broncos, really, but they plateaued at that one game. Not so for the Packers, who won Super Bowl XXXI over the Patriots. On a personal level, Favre won the second of his three-straight MVP awards.

Everything was coming up Milhouse Brett in the 90s.

Super Bowl XXXII: The Game

This contest in San Diego was a back-and-forth battle, not at all looking like a game in which Green Bay were 11-point favorites. Though the Packers struck first on a Favre touchdown pass, Terrell Davis capped the 58-yard opening drive with a touchdown later in the first quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Elway kept it himself from a yard out to give the Broncos a 14-7 lead. That ballooned to 17-7 after Jason Elam hit a long field goal following a Favre fumble in Packers territory.

As if we wouldn’t hear from Green Bay. The next ten points came from the Packers, with the first seven in a 95-yard touchdown drive to close the first half. The other three were on a Ryan Longwell chip shot field goal early in the third.

With just 34 seconds left in the third quarter, Denver struck again on another Terrell Davis touchdown run. Now at 24-17 Denver, Green Bay got their answer early in the fourth on a quick, long drive. Antonio Freeman hauled in his second touchdown catch of the game from Favre to tie the game at 24-24.

The tension built and built, and while the teams held each other at bay, it was Green Bay that cracked. With 1:45 left in regulation, Terrell Davis scored his third touchdown of the day to give Denver a 31-24 lead. The Packers got it back, but despite getting into Denver territory, they did not advance beyond the 31. John Mobley broke up a 4th-and-6 pass by Favre, and finally, John Elway was a champion.

Super Bowl XXXII: The (Full) Game, If You Have Lots of Time

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