NFL Championship Match-Up Memories: 1990s Contests Revisited

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bills

Come Sunday night, we will know which teams will meet in Super Bowl LV.

This weekend’s contests features the AFC and NFC Championship games. In both cases, the teams have met before in the postseason.

Three of the four prior total match-ups took place in the 1990’s.

No Favre, No Sapp, No Problem

During the 1990’s, the “Battle of the Bays” had become a pretty important NFC Central rivalry. With names like Brett Favre, John Lynch and Warren Sapp, the rivalry could get pretty contentious. Only once however, did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers meet in the playoffs.

In the NFC Divisional playoffs in 1997, the Packers beat the Buccaneers at Lambeau Field, 21-7. Tampa Bay was coming off its first playoff victory in 18 years and just second ever, but managed only a Mike Alstott touchdown.

Dorsey Levens finished with 112 yards rushing and a touchdown for Green Bay. Buccaneers’ quarterback Trent Dilfer was just 11-for-36 passing for 200 yards and two interceptions. Donnie Abraham did pick off Packers’ quarterback Brett Favre twice for Tampa Bay in the loss.

Teams will hope for better quarterback play from future Hall of Famers in Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Tom Brady of Tampa Bay on Sunday when the teams again meet at Lambeau Field — this time for the NFC Championship. As was the case in 1997, the Buccaneers had gone 18 years without a playoff win before defeating the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints this postseason. The Packers are coming off a 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

This is Green Bay’s second straight trip to the NFC Championship. The last Super Bowl appearance for the Packers came in 2010. Tampa Bay’s only Super Bowl appearance came in 2002.

The teams will meet on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET. The contest airs on FOX.

It’s Been 27 Years

The Buffalo Bills are in the AFC Championship for the first time in 27 years. Buffalo will travel on Sunday to take on the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The opponent the last time that Buffalo was one game from the Super Bowl?

Kansas City.

During the 1993 season, the Bills wrapped up their fourth straight AFC title with a 30-13 win over Joe Montana and the Chiefs. Thurman Thomas rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns to power the Bills. Montana struggled and eventually left the contest with a concussion and was replaced by Dave Krieg. Marcus Allen scored the lone touchdown for Kansas City.

Sunday’s AFC Championship will be the fourth postseason match-up between the Bills and the Chiefs, but the first at Arrowhead Stadium. Buffalo opened the playoffs following the 1991 season with a 37-14 rout of Kansas City at Rich Stadium in the Divisional round. The Bills finished with 448 yards of offense in the win.

Jim Kelly overcame three interceptions to pass for 273 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Andre Reed. Reed finished with 100 yards receiving while Thomas added 100 yards rushing. Cornerback Kirby Jackson had two of the four interceptions for Buffalo off of Kansas City quarterback Mark Vlasic.

The first postseason match-up between the teams came during the 1966 season and was for a spot in Super Bowl I. Kansas City scored the game’s final 24 points in a 31-7 victory over the Bills in the AFL Championship at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo.

Len Dawson passed for 227 yards and a pair of scores while Mike Garrett rushed for two touchdowns in the win. Buffalo’s Jack Kemp passed for 253 yards, but was intercepted twice. The Bills turned the ball over four times.

The win earned the Chiefs a spot against the Packers in the Super Bowl I. A bout with Green Bay could again be on the line on Sunday. The AFC Championship begins at 6:40 p.m. ET and airs on CBS.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.