Super Bowl XXXI

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Super Bowl XXXI was an American football game played on January 26, 1997 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 1996 regular season. The National Football Conference (NFC) champion Green Bay Packers (16-3) defeated the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots (13-6), 35–21. This was the Packers' third overall Super Bowl victory, and their first one since Super Bowl II. The Packers also extended their league record for the most overall NFL championships to 12.

Beginning with Super Bowl XIX in 1985, the NFC won twelve consecutive Super Bowl games. With this Packer win, the NFC streak was extended to thirteen consecutive wins, with fifteen of the last sixteen contests. The NFC domination in the Super Bowl was indicative with the overall record of 17-10, not including the 1966-1969 Super Bowls when the games were played between the old NFL and AFL.

Kick returner/punt returner Desmond Howard was named Super Bowl MVP, the first special teams player ever to do so. He ran for 154 kickoff return yards, and scored the game-clinching touchdown on a Super Bowl record 99-yard kickoff return. Howard also recorded a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards, thus setting the Super Bowl records of total return yards (244) and combined net yards gained (244). Howard became the 4th Heisman Trophy winner to be named Super Bowl MVP.



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