Aaron Rodgers’ injury has given Packers fans little to cheer for this season. The tie recorded against the Minnesota Vikings two Sundays ago has been the only positive moment which speaks to how desperate times have become. But for me, the recent 26-26 tie brought back a great memory when I heard on the way into school the following Monday that the Packers’ previous tie was September 20, 1987. I instantly knew the score and opponent (17-17, Denver Broncos) because my Dad and I attended that game. It was my first Packers game ever, and it was played at Milwaukee County Stadium.
For some reason that Sunday morning (maybe he finally gave in to my constant requests), my Dad suggested we go try and buy tickets at County Stadium. To our luck, the only tickets available were up in the Mezzanine section between the lower and upper decks. I remember how awesome it was to sit in those seats and watch the the “Majik Man”, Don Majkowski and my favorite receiver, Philip Epps take on John Elway. Elway was already a great quarterback but not the legend he would become later in the 1990s.
The more I thought about that Packers-Broncos game, I remembered I still had a game-day program (pictured above) and pennant that my Dad bought me that afternoon. I must have valued that day a lot as I saved the pennant with the date, score and “1st game with Dad” written on it. Looking through the program, it is great to recall that era under Forrest Gregg and realize how far Green Bay has come since then. The Pack’s recent struggles at quarterback harken back to those days when like Scott Tolzien today, Randy Wright was a former Wisconsin Badger back-up quarterback in 1987 and yes, he also wore number 16. We had to wait five years for the Holmgren-Favre glory years to begin and with it much higher expectations from what my Dad and I had that September morning. Indeed, that game was the last game played by the regular players who went on strike the following week.
I began to think about 1987 and compare then to now and of course there are websites that have already summarized what life was like then. You can click here and here for the big political and cultural events of that year. That Sunday afternoon was a special day for my Dad and I and it is great to have mementos like the program and Epps #85 jersey I wore that day as reminders. Over the past 26 years my Dad and I have become closer and enjoy lunches but it is great to have such vivid reminders of one of the first times we spent one-on-one together. For me, the Vikings tie and memories it brought back is the highlight of this Packers season.