Nothing Could Be Finer

the Thursday night game. "Once game day comes, it's exciting. 

"We know who is coming in town and how much it will be watched." 

The guys coming to town know who plays here and how much attention the game is attracting, too. It's just that the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 a year ago and a botched field-goal attempt from possibly playing a second-round playoff game in Chicago, somewhat expected to take a step forward this year. But the Packers, my goodness, they finished 8-8 last year and had to win their final four games of the season to do so. 

No one was even sure Favre had anything left. Some thought he should have retired. 

But here he comes, playing some of the best football of his career, having thrown for 3,356 yards in 11 games, more than anyone else in the NFL so far this season, and uh, that includes Tom Brady (3,059), who actually has thrown for only 16 more yards than Romo. 

Watching Favre have fun playing the game is worth the price of admission, and he sees the same thing in Romo, neither guy seemingly taking themselves too seriously and smiling along the way. 

Why, when Favre was asked if he was having an MVP season, he was at his southern Mississippi best: "I think I'm playing as good a football as I've played, up to this point, but I've never seen numbers Tom Brady is putting up, and the most important one obviously is undefeated . . . on top of that, Tom, he played here last year and put it on us pretty good. I thought he was outstanding that day, and I think his play period right now, regardless of who he is throwing to, is as good as anybody who has ever played the game. 

"So, with that in mind, I think I need to be MVP, yeah." 

Oh that Brett.  

See, this just seems to be different, definitely more civil than the Cowboys' more recent matchup with the Giants, and not laced with as much deep-seated loathing as those games with the Redskins. And you might say, yeah, but what about that previous Game of the Century this year with New England? OK, but, the Cowboys and Patriots just don't have much history together. 

You want history? Then I give you Cowboys-Packers, and that means more than just two storied franchises' history. We're talking NFL history. 

Who can forget Don Meredith throwing for the end zone in that 1966 NFL title game, the Cowboys trailing the Packers only 34-27 New Year's Day at the Cotton Bowl and the Packers' Tom Brown picking off the fourth-down pass with 28 seconds remaining? 

If you're old enough, bet you can tell me exactly where you were on Dec. 31, 1967, when the infamous Ice Bowl was played at Lambeau Field between these two teams for the NFL championship. Me, I can do it. I was sitting right there at home in Chicago with my dad, a freshman in high school knowing all you needed to know about Vince Lombardi and anything Green Bay Packers. 

And to this day, I can remember telling my dad as the Packers came to the Cowboys' 1 yard-line trailing 17-14, out of timeouts with 13 seconds to play, eschewing a game-tying field-goal attempt on the frozen field with no traction, "What are they doing? If they don't score, they're going to lose. He's got to kick the field goal." 

Of course, Starr scored on the quarterback sneak over Jerry Kramer for the Packers' 21-17 victory. I don't know, maybe 30 years later, the late Tex Schramm, unrelenting about that moment in Cowboys history, would continue to insist his team's most bitter loss was precipitated by Lombardi's "worst football decision ever." 

Now it's 40 years later, but the images of Dan Reeves throwing the 50-yard halfback-option touchdown pass to Lance Rentzel to give the Cowboys the fourth-quarter lead and the rather remarkable game by Green Bay backup running back Chuck Mercein are vivid. 

As would be those Cowboys playoff victories over the Packers at Texas Stadium in 1993 and 1994; Jason Garrett's memorable Thanksgiving Day performance during that 1994 season; and, of course, the Cowboys' 1995, 38-27 NFC Championship victory over the Packers, setting the stage for their third Super Bowl victory in four years. 

Then, too, there was that 1997 meeting in a frigid Green Bay, when the 6-5 Cowboys had the life sucked out of them, not only

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