GreenBay100: January 26, 1997 - 'The Vince Lombardi Trophy is coming home!' after Packers' Super win

For 29 years, the Green Bay Packers had waited for the opportunity of January 26, 1997, the chance to finally bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to the franchise which first won the silver trophy bearing the legendary coach's name. 

But first, they had to take care of Bill Parcells' New England Patriots.

On the floor of the Superdome in New Orleans, they started the process on their second offensive play.

Quarterback Brett Favre chose to make an adjustment of the line of scrimmage, screaming the world "Black 74 Dino!" The move switched the routes that wide receivers Andre Rison and Antonio Freeman would run during the play. Rison caught the switch...and then caught a 54-yard touchdown pass with no Patriots anywhere near him.

"Look at Brett Favre coming off the field! He is so happy!" exclaimed WTMJ's Max McGee as Favre took his helmet off and lifted it triumphantly to mark the Packers' 7-0 lead early on.

A Chris Jacke field goal was then followed by two quick Drew Bledsoe touchdown passes to Keith Byars and Ben Coates, and the Patriots showed they were going to be no slouch.

But neither was Favre, who had just become a two-time NFL MVP.

Down 14-10 in the second quarter, Favre changed another play at the line of scrimmage. This one would send Freeman deep on the sideline. Freeman burned Lawyer Milloy for an 81-yard touchdown pass that gave Green Bay a 17-14 lead that it would not relinquish.

After a second Jacke field goal, the Packers got one more opportunity to score in the first half. Favre led a march that culminated with a run-pass option play from the two yard line. He took the run option, dived for the pylon and broke the plane of the goal line for the score that gave Green Bay a 27-14 halftime lead.

But Bill Belichick's defense forced a fourth down failure and a three-and-out to start the second half, and Curtis Martin ran for another score to make the Packers' lead just 27-21. 

The momentum was teetering toward the Patriots. In a span of about 12 third-quarter seconds, Desmond Howard permanently changed that.

Howard took Adam Vinatieri's kickoff at the one yard line, sprinted straight ahead to about the 30 yard line, broke one tackle, cut left after a block from special teams blocking stalwart Keith McKenzie, and broke into the clear along the left sideline for a 99-yard touchdown that broke New England's back.

Up 35-21, Reggie White took care of the rest of the job.

Three times in a period of about 14 minutes, he demolished Patriots tackle Max Lane and sacked Drew Bledsoe.

After an interception by Brian Williams with one minute left...the words from Jim Irwin on WTMJ said it all.

"The Vince Lombardi Trophy is coming home!"

A celebration 29 years in the making finally began.

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