By David Pflughoeft Special to Published Jan 26, 2008 at 5:14 AM

Heartbreaking. It is the only term that can even begin to describe the mix of emotions that permeated the hearts and souls of all Packers fans last Sunday night when the Packers fell in overtime to the New York Giants. Anguish rippled across the state and the glory of Super Bowl parties here was diminished.

Despite this disappointing loss, the Packers had a truly remarkable and quite unexpected season, with a 13-3 record in season play. No one had expected this resurgence of the team and of the ageless Brett Favre, especially after last year's average 8-8 season.

While this is certainly the most disappointing loss of recent memory, my memory -- along with other teens' memories -- are only 17 or so years deep. Adult Packers fans have more perspective thanks to years of misery and defeat in the '70s and '80s. Our elders may even remember the pits of the '40s and '50s.

"Oh, it was awful," said Jeff, 45. "I watched every game they played, but they were so awful, I was sound asleep by the second half. We all still love the Packers, but we wished desperately for a return to the glory years."

Between 1968 and 1991, the Packers had only three seasons with winning records. Most seasons in this period yielded records of 4-12, 6-10 and a few 8-8s. The Packers also went through five head coaches during this period.

"I couldn't bear it," said Rob, 44, another long-time Packers fan. "In fact, there was many times where I would get up and just turn the TV off."

The Packers seem to be very successful in spurts with 30-plus years in between. The Packers first won a championship in 1929, and then with the powerful addition of Hall of Famer Don Hutson, added more championships in '36, '39 and '44. After this success, the Packers faced tough times until the 1960s with the late coach Vince Lombardi.

They won world championships in 1961, '62, '65, '66 and '67. After this decade of greatness, the Green Bay team went into remission again with awful records and seasons up until the 1990s with coach Mike Holmgren and quarterback Brett Favre. The Packers won the Super Bowl in 1996, and returned the next year but fell short of the Lombardi trophy. In the past 10 years, the Packers have made several playoff and Super Bowl runs.

The teen demographic hasn't yet had to suffer the slums of misery with their team. Many teens and kids don't know much about the Packers or their history. They don't know of the Hall of Famers like Don Hutson, Forrest Gregg and Willie Davis. They might have heard of some of the epic battles fought on the home turf, like the Ice Bowl, but they don't know much other than that it was cold.

I asked some of my friends who are fellow Packers followers about the intricate and legendary history of the Green Bay Packers. To my friend Dan, 17, I posed the question, "When and who founded the Packers?"

He guessed correctly one of the founders, Curly Lambeau, but insisted that he had never even heard of George Calhoun, the other founder, and had no idea when the team was created. I asked him where the name "Packers" comes from. Again, he had no clue. (The name comes from the Indian Packing Company, which was Curly's employer, and provided uniforms and a practice field.) Dan watches the Packers religiously.

When I asked another friend -- Mike, 17 -- how many championships the Packers have won, his answer was: "One in 1996, and some in the '60s."

When asked to name Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bart Starr, Reggie White and Vince Lombardi were almost always given and the list stops there. Only one friend was able to successfully name the quarterback who was knocked out of the 1992 game to give a young gunslinger his chance to shine.

Overall, the past 15 years have been successful for the Packers. The team's young fans have been lucky enough to witness two Super Bowl appearances, including one winning effort and this year's near-miss.

However, the Packers have the youngest team in the NFL, and after notching a 13-3 record, fans of all ages look forward to a promising season next year, and yet another possible Super Bowl run. 

David Pflughoeft Special to
David Pflughoeft is a 17-year-old junior at Menomonee Falls High School, where he plays football, baseball and basketball. He also is passionate about video games and writing. His stories have appeared in newspapers across the country.