3 Players Who Deserve More Credit for Packers' Super Bowl XXXI Win

Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Reggie White celebrates the Super Bowl XXXI win.
Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Reggie White celebrates the Super Bowl XXXI win. | DON EMMERT/Getty Images

We all remember the Green Bay Packers' 1997 Super Bowl win because of Desmond Howard's record-breaking 99-yard punt return for a touchdown. Howard was the first special teams player to ever earn a Super Bowl MVP trophy. It was also legendary quarterback Brett Favre's only Super Bowl victory. Unfortunately, those storylines overshadowed these quieter impact players in the victory.

3. Doug Evans

Former Packers defensive back Doug Evans breaks up a pass.
Former Packers defensive back Doug Evans breaks up a pass. | JEFF HAYNES/Getty Images

Evans may not have had a massive role on the Packers' squad, but his key interception is often overlooked in favor of other big plays in the game. The Packers put up a touchdown on the second offensive play of the game, and Evans immediately intercepted a pass from Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe that put the momentum on the Packers side and led to a 10–0 lead. Evans set the tone for the rest of the game that allowed the Packers to come out on top.

2. Antonio Freeman

Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman
Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman | George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Wide receiver Antonio Freeman scored a huge touchdown for the Packers, catching an 81-yard pass, a then-Super Bowl record, from Favre. He was targeted the most of any player on the Packers' roster and led the team with 105 receiving yards. Freeman's touchdown also came at a crucial time in the game, right after the New England Patriots had taken a 14–10 lead. The Packers never lost the lead again after Freeman's touchdown.

1. Reggie White

Former Packers defensive tackle Reggie White during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Former Packers defensive tackle Reggie White during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. | Focus On Sport/Getty Images

As one of the best defensive players in the history of the NFL, White usually gets plenty of credit for how incredible he is, but he's often an afterthought in this particular game because of how exciting the '97 Super Bowl was. White posted three sacks during the game, two of which were back to back. His dominance on the defensive line prevented the Patriots from trying to make a late push in the fourth quarter and was essential to bringing home a win for the Packers.