Super Bowl XXXI was played in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisina on January 26, 1997. In front of 72,301 people, the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots by a score of 35-21.
On the Packers' second play of the game, quarterback Brett Favre completed a 54-yard touchdown pass to receiver Andre Rison to take a quick 7-0 lead. Two plays later, the Packers' defensive back, Doug Evans, intercepted the Patriots' quarterback, Drew Bledsoe's pass at the 28-yard line. This set up a field goal for the Packers' kicker, Chris Jacke. The Packers' were now up 10-0 with just over six minutes having been played.
On the Patriots next possession, the Packers' Craig Newsome was called for a pass interference penalty setting up a 44-yard completion and touchdown from Drew Bledsoe to receiver Terry Glenn. On their next possession, the Patriots struck again, this time a pass to tight end Ben Coates, which gave the Patriots their one and only lead of the game. The first quarter ended at the score of 14-10, and it became the most combined points in the first quarter in Super Bowl history.
56 seconds into the second quarter, Favre found receiver Antonio Freemen for a Super Bowl record 81-yard touchdown bomb. Then, on their next possession, their kicker, Jacke, kicked his second field goal of the game to increase their lead to 20-14. Then, the Packers' Mike Prior, intercepted a ball by Bledsoe, leading to Favre driving the ball 74-yards downfield in about 6-minutes. The drive was capped by quarterback Brett Favre diving into the end zone on a run. By halftime, the Packers were up 27-14.
Now, in the second half, the Patriots were within striking distance again. With 3:27 left in the third quarter, the Patriots' running back, Curtis Martin ran the ball into the end zone from 18 yards, putting his team within a score of the Packers. But on the ensuing kickoff, the Packers' kick returner/wide receiver, Desmond Howard, returned the kicoff for a record, 99 yards. The Packers opted to go for two points, and Favre found tight end Mark Chmura for the 2-point conversion, and the lead of 35-21.
The Patriots just lost their fire in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe was intercepted twice in the quarter as New England was unable to cross midfield in four fourth-quarter possessions.
Brett Favre completed 14 of 27 passes for 246 yards, with no interceptions, throwing two touchdowns, and running in for another. Drew Bledsoe, on the other hand, completed 11 more passes than Favre, but for only 257 yards, and threw four interceptions as well.
The Packers' defensive lineman, Reggie White, set a Super Bowl record with three sacks. Some more Super Bowl records which were set were the 24 combined points in the first quarter, which were the most ever. Desmond Howard's 99 yard kicoff return for a touchdown was the longest ever in Super Bowl history. He equalred another Super Bowl record with a total of 244 return yards. Favre and Antonio Freeman connected on an 81-yard pass, which was the longest ever.
Desmond Howard was named the Super Bowl MVP (the first player to be named so for specifically playing on special teams) as Green Bay won their first Super Bowl in twenty-nine years.