The Green Bay Packers have played a big role in the history of the Super Bowl. Vince Lombardi’s clubs won the first two Super Bowls when the game was still a showdown between the best team in the NFL and the best team in the AFL.

The Packers also won Super Bowls XXXI and XLV and lost a close game in Super Bowl XXXII.

While quarterbacks and offensive players tend to get the bulk of the attention, big plays on defense often change the momentum of a game and can make the difference between victory and defeat.

With that in mind, here is a look at the top five defensive plays made by the Packers in the Super Bowl. Plays are ranked based on their impact on the game and how memorable they are.

  1. Super Bowl XXXII: Eugene Robinson Intercepts John Elway

The Packers and Broncos played a classic game in Super Bowl XXXII with both teams taking turns taking the lead in a game that wasn’t decided until the closing seconds.

Late in the third quarter, the Packers were trailing 24-17 and Denver was driving. They had the ball 1st-and-10 at the Packers 22 yard line with a chance to go up by two scores and take control of the contest.

John Elway dropped back to pass and looked for Rod Smith over the middle. As Smith crossed from right to left, he had a step on cornerback Tyrone Williams. But safety Eugene Robinson read the play and stepped in front of Smith in the end zone to intercept Elway. He ran the ball back to the 15-yard line.

Brett Favre then led the Pack on the game-tying drive that culminated in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman.

The Packers eventually lost but Robinson’s interception kept them in the game and led to the tying score.

  1. Super Bowl XXXI: Reggie White Sacks Drew Bledsoe on Back-to-Back Plays

Late in the third quarter, Desmond Howard returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to give the Packers a 35-21 lead. The Patriots took over at their own 25 with a chance to get back in the game if they could mount a touchdown drive.

On first down, Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe hit fullback Keith Byers on a short pass which gained five yards. But then Packers defensive end Reggie White took the game into his own hands.

On 2nd-and-5, White used the hump move to push tackle Max Lane out of the way and then wrapped up Bledsoe’s legs for the sack. The eight-yard loss made it 3rd-and-13 for the Patriots.

On the very next play, White beat Lane to the outside and sacked Bledsoe again, this time for a six-yard loss.

The two sacks shut down the Patriots hope of a comeback and helped clinch the Packers first World Championship since the Lombardi Era. For White, it was his first championship at any level.

  1. Super Bowl II: Herb Adderley Has the Super Bowl’s First Pick-Six

Vince Lombardi’s Packers led 26-7 early in the fourth quarter when the Raiders had the ball and were approaching midfield. Oakland quarterback Daryle Lamonica went back to pass and looked for receiver Fred Biletnikoff. Packers cornerback Herb Adderley read the play perfectly and stepped in front of Biletnikoff to intercept the ball. The future Hall of Famer ran it back 60 yards for a touchdown and the Packers led 33-7 en route to a 33-14 victory.

This was the first pick-six in Super Bowl history and the first defensive touchdown in the history of the big game. It also clinched a Packers victory in Lombardi’s final game as head coach of the Packers.

  1. Super Bowl XLV: Nick Collins Intercepts Big Ben

The Packers had just taken a 7-0 lead over the Steelers late in the first quarter after Aaron Rodgers found Jordy Nelson on a 29-yard touchdown pass.

On the Steelers first play from scrimmage following the touchdown, Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass and looked for Mike Wallace deep down the left side. Packers defensive lineman Howard Green put pressure on Roethlisberger and forced him to underthrow the ball. Packers safety Nick Collins intercepted the flailing pass at the 37 and zig zagged through the Steelers players before diving over the goal line for a touchdown.

The pick six gave the Packers a 14-0 lead in a game they eventually won 31-25. The score gave the Packers a big lead they never relinquished and gave them momentum that carried them to an eventual victory.

  1. Super Bowl I: Willie Wood Turns the Tide

The Packers were heavy favorites entering Super Bowl I. As NFL champions, they were expected to crush the Kansas City Chiefs who were representing the upstart AFL.

At the half, the game was surprisingly close with the Packers clinging to a 14-10 lead. Kansas City was getting pressure on Bart Starr and their offense was able to move the ball enough on a tentative Green Bay defense.

The Chiefs received the second half kickoff with a chance to take the lead. Len Dawson ran 15 yards for a first down to start the drive. Two plays later, Kansas City faced a 3rd-and-5 at their own 49. The Green Bay defense called a rare blitz and Henry Jordan and Lee Roy Caffey got pressure on Dawson. He underthrew Fred Arbanas and safety Willie Wood intercepted the ball and ran it back 50 yards to the Chiefs five.

On the very next play, Elijah Pitts ran for a touchdown and the Packers led 21-10. The Pack dominated from there and won the game 35-10 to win the first Super Bowl.

Dawson admitted Wood’s interception was the turning point of the game. “I really believed at halftime we could win, but then I threw that interception to Willie Wood,” Dawson recalled.

That play by the future Hall of Famer helped the Packers win the first ever Super Sunday.


Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

Click here for more great Packers coverage

Visit my Web site for all things Gil Martin