Denver's Last Td Was Uncontested Holmgren Says He Let Davis Score So Green Bay Could Have More Time. But He Miscalculated.

Posted: January 27, 1998

SAN DIEGO — Terrell Davis breezed untouched into the Green Bay end zone from 1 yard out, putting Denver ahead by a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the Super Bowl, apparently because the Packers wanted him to.

``I wanted the ball back,'' Packers coach Mike Holmgren said yesterday.

Instead of attempting a time-consuming goal-line stand, the Packers let Davis score on second and goal, and then had 1 minute, 45 seconds and two time-outs to come back.

Holmgren said he'd mistakenly thought it was first and goal when Davis scored, instead of second and goal.

Had Green Bay stopped Denver on the next two plays and used its two time-outs, the Packers might have gotten the ball back with almost 1:30 left.

``But at any rate,'' Holmgren said, ``we made the decision.''

Green Bay safety Eugene Robinson said he thought it made sense to concede the touchdown and give quarterback Brett Favre the ball with as much time as possible.

The Packers reached the Denver 31 before Favre's fourth-down pass intended for Robert Brooks was tipped away with 28 seconds remaining.

``At least we made it interesting,'' Holmgren said. ``It was a strategy I felt was our only chance to win. There would have been only 10 or 15 seconds left the other way.''

Denver coach Mike Shanahan thought there might be more time - a minute or more. And if the Packers had resisted, they might have held the Broncos to a field goal, meaning that if they reached the 31, they would have been in range for an attempt at a tying field goal.

``You can think of it in different ways,'' Shanahan said. ``Indianapolis beat them by kneeling down and then kicking, and there was no time left. It's funny. That touchdown looked awfully easy from the field. It wasn't until I saw the replay later that I realized how easy it was.''

For conspiracy theorists of the world's biggest sports-betting event, Roxy Roxborough, a Las Vegas bookmaker, said yesterday that ``at the most, 20 bets'' could have been affected by the decision.

``You have things like how the last touchdown was scored, over-under, Denver winning without regard to the spread, things like that,'' Roxborough said. ``Also, things like number of rushing touchdowns by Terrell Davis.

``Tactically, however, perhaps it was the best move to make.''

The Las Vegas line by Keith Glantz and Russell Culver had the Packers favored by 12. The over-under was 48 1/2. Denver won by 31-24.

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