Mud Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
San Francisco 49ers 0 7 7 0 14
Green Bay Packers 14 7 7 7 21
Date Saturday, January 4, 1997
Stadium Lambeau Field
Location Green Bay, Wisconsin
Referee Dick Hantak
Attendance 60,787
Network Fox
Announcers Dick Stockton and Matt Millen

The Mud Bowl, as it is most commonly referred to as, was an NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers during the 1996-97 NFL playoffs. The game was played before 60,787 fans at Lambeau Field on January 4, 1997.

The gameEdit

The Packers defense forced five turnovers en route to victory, while Desmond Howard's key punt returns enabled the Packers to jump to a 14-0 lead after only 3 offensive plays. On his first punt return, Howard ran 71 yards for a touchdown. He then returned a punt 46 yards to set up quarterback Brett Favre's 4-yard touchdown to wide receiver Andre Rison. Early in the second quarter, defensive back Craig Newsome's interception set up the Packers third touchdown of the day. Newsome fumbled the ball while being hit during the interception return, but his teammate Sean Jones recovered the ball on the 49ers 15-yard line. Three plays later, Edgar Bennett's touchdown run increased the Packers lead to 21-0.

Two Green Bay turnovers enabled San Francisco to mount a comeback attempt. First, a 49ers punt bounced into Packers safety Chris Hayes and was recovered San Francisco's Curtis Bailey at the Green Bay 26-yard line. Six plays later, backup quarterback Elvis Grbac (Who had replaced injured starter Steve Young) threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Terry Kirby with 24 seconds left in the half. Then the Packers fumbled the second half kickoff, and San Francisco defensive back Steve Israel ran the fumble recovery to the Green Bay 4-yard line. On the next play, Grbac's 4-yard touchdown run cut the score to 21-14.

However, the Packers marched 72 yards for another touchdown, in which a fumble by Bennett was recovered in the end zone by wide receiver Antonio Freeman. Later on, with 5:31 left in the game, Kirby lost a fumble while being tackled by Green Bay defensive back Mike Prior, and Hayes recovered the ball on the 49ers 32-yard line. 6 plays later, Bennett scored his second touchdown of the game to close out the scoring. Because the weather dipped in and out of freezing causing both rain and snow, the field got extremely muddy as the game went on causing the Green Bay Press Gazette to call it the "Mud Bowl." Neither team had much success moving the ball on offense due to the field conditions. The Packers, who averaged over 345 yards per game during the season, gained just 210 yards, while the 49ers managed only 196. Bennett was one of the top players of the day with 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns, along with two receptions for 14 yards.


The Packers went on to defeat the Carolina Panthers 30-13 in the NFC Championship game the following Sunday at Lambeau Field. From there, Green Bay advanced to Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans and defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 for the team's 12th NFL championship.

AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Baltimore Denver Arizona Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cincinnati Kansas City Dallas Detroit Carolina
Miami Houston Oakland NY Giants Green Bay New Orleans
New England Jacksonville San Diego Philadelphia Minnesota St. Louis
NY Jets Pittsburgh Seattle Washington Tampa Bay San Francisco
1996 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXXI

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