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Rivalry Week: Why the Packers are the Seahawks’ biggest rival outside the NFC West

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Rivalry week continues here at SB Nation, and while it’s been easy to focus on Seattle Seahawks rivalries inside the NFC West, what about outside of it?

Well there really isn’t much thought needed here. When you factor in competitiveness of the rivalry, frequency of games played, head-to-head playoff matchups, and memorable moments, only one team comes to mind for the Seahawks’ biggest non-divisional rival.

Green Bay Packers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The two franchises are connected fairly strongly over the past 20+ years. Mike Holmgren left the Green Bay Packers to help lead the Seahawks to glory after a frankly unwatchable decade of football. He eventually brought Matt Hasselbeck with him to eventually be Seattle’s franchise quarterback, and had ex-Packers head coach Ray Rhodes as defensive coordinator from 2003-2007. Post-Holmgren and post-Jim Mora, Seattle hired former Packers executive John Schneider to be the team’s general manager.

In terms of the actual games, Green Bay has the edge 10-6 over Seattle dating back to 1999, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The home team has won 14 of 16 times, and the majority of these matchups have happened at Lambeau.

One of the high points of Holmgren’s first year in Seattle was his return to Green Bay for a Monday Night Football showdown. The Packers committed seven turnovers, Brett Favre was benched for Matt Hasselbeck, and the Seahawks easily won 27-7 despite only getting 12 first downs and 222 yards of total offense. These teams combined for 11 fumbles, 19 penalties, and 14 punts. Bad game, but a big win that improved the Seahawks to 5-2.

It remains Seattle’s only win at Lambeau Field in franchise history.

The Packers’ sole victory at CenturyLink Field came in 2008, Aaron Rodgers’ first season as a starter and Mike Holmgren’s last year as Seahawks head coach. Green Bay came away with a 27-17 win against a Seahawks team that started Charlie Frye at quarterback while Keary Colbert caught a touchdown pass. That game is available to watch in full on YouTube, but why the hell would you subject yourself to that?

The first huge national moment of the rivalry occurred in the 2003 NFC Wild Card, with the Seahawks taking the Packers to overtime despite being a horrible road team all season, including a blowout loss at Lambeau in the regular season. Something something we want the ball, something something Al Harris, game over.

In 2006, the Seahawks beat Green Bay in Matt Hasselbeck’s return from injury, but Shaun Alexander was the star with 201 yards rushing on 40 carries. Oh yes, and this was all in a rare Seattle snowstorm.

Unfortunately, the snowstorm magic worked in Green Bay’s favor the following year, as an early 14-0 Seahawks lead turned into a 42-20 rout for the Packers in what proved to be Holmgren’s last postseason appearance. Brian Russell, even by his standards, played one of his worst games ever.

In the one year under Jim Mora, the Packers crushed Seattle 48-10 while Matt Hasselbeck did shit like this.

But Russell Wilson came along, beating ex-Packer Matt Flynn for the starting job in 2012. Needless to say, this rivalry has hit its peak.

We’ve had Fail Mary, we’ve had the Ricardo Lockette trick play touchdown, we’ve had the 2014 NFC Championship Game and overtime redemption of the highest order.

Sadly, back came the Pack with three straight wins in response on their home turf, with the Seahawks scoring only 36 points total and getting utterly humiliated in 2016 without Earl Thomas.

Their most recent regular season battle was a Thursday Night Football thriller. A terrible start by the Seahawks gave way to letting Russ cook, and he added to his 4th quarter comeback heroics with a game-winning touchdown to Ed Dickson.

From 14-3 down to 27-24 up, this was one of the games that got Mike McCarthy fired and helped send Seattle to the playoffs.

We do not need to revisit what happened in the Divisional Round of this past season, other than the conclusion that trailing for most of the game is actually a bad thing.

When isolating this to Wilson vs. Rodgers, one could argue that Wilson has had quite a few of his worst games against the Packers, while Rodgers really had a hard time solving the full compliment of Legion of Boom players.

The Seahawks to return to Lambeau in 2021 based on current schedule rotation, and at this point the number one thing I want out of this rivalry is to end that damn drought. Perhaps by then, instead of Wilson vs. Rodgers, it’ll be Wilson vs. Jordan Love.