Training Camp Countdown: 17 Days

The Packers have a great team, but how many players will be remembered as being great 15, 20 or 40 years down the road? We offer some Hall of Fame food for thought as we look ahead to our 40th anniversary and the start of training camp.

There are 17 days remaining until the Green Bay Packers kick off training camp.

Every day until the start of camp on July 26, we'll be giving you one juicy nugget to whet your appetite for the return of football. We'd give you more but the CBA forbids two-a-days. Sorry.


The Packers have an excellent team, led by an elite quarterback, playmakers at several positions and one of the best coaches in the game. Looking at the big picture, they have a realistic chance of etching their name as one of the truly great teams in NFL history.

The 1996 team was an excellent team, as well, with much the same formula: an elite quarterback, playmakers at several positions and one of the best coaches in the game. However, after winning Super Bowl XXXI, that team missed on its chance of being remembered as one of the truly great teams in NFL history.

As Packer Report celebrates its 40th year, we're embarking on a project to determine the best player in Packers history. Ultimately, that decision will be left up to our readers, but the preliminary work is being done by guys like Ken Crippen, who is the executive director of the Professional Football Researchers Association.

I asked Ken (and others) to give me his top 16 players in franchise history, in order. The juggernauts of Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi are well-represented. What's interesting is Crippen mentioned only Brett Favre and Reggie White from the Mike Holmgren-led teams. He didn't mention anyone from the Mike McCarthy-led teams. When all of the experts' opinions come in, I'll be interested to see if there's any support for Charles Woodson or Donald Driver, who have longevity and production, and Aaron Rodgers, who has production but not longevity yet.

It's impossible — but fun, nonetheless — to project five or 10 years down the road. Will Greg Jennings or Jordy Nelson be mentioned among alongside Don Hutson? Will Josh Sitton be mentioned in the same conversation as Jerry Kramer? Bryan Bulaga with Forrest Gregg? Clay Matthews with Dave Robinson?

Maybe it's impossible to build a Glory Years type of team in today's NFL, with 32 teams vying for players. Maybe it's the ultimate tip of the cap to Vince Lombardi for bringing out greatness in players who maybe weren't great. Or maybe it's the historical perspective, with some players remembered as being just a little bit better than they were when viewed through the prism of time and team triumphs.

Whatever the reason, maybe this Packers team doesn't have many players that will be viewed as historically great 15, 20 or 40 years from now. It's no slight on these players. Winning is all that matters, and this talented group is primed to win for the foreseeable future.

And if the Packers win it all two or three more times and become a legendary team, maybe the rising tide will lift a few more players to legendary status.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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