Top 10 all-time best Packers

PackerReport.com correspondent Bob Fox ranks the top 10 all-time Packers

The Green Bay Packers started their illustrious history in the NFL in 1921. The Packers have won 12 NFL titles in that time, including three Super Bowl crowns. There has been an abundant of great players in that time frame, but I am going to try and rank the top 10. It will not be an easy task.

The various criteria that I used includes being among the best players in the NFL at his position, overall dominance, records achieved, longevity and championships won. There is not an exact science to all of this, but I will try to explain my reasoning. This ranking is for players only, no coaches, although Curly Lambeau did both at one time (Lambeau was actually all-pro 3 times).

1) Brett Favre
Favre was named the starting QB for the NFC this past year. The 2007 season was the best season for Favre in many years and in many respects. Under head coach Mike McCarthy, Favre has obviously improved. His completion percentage of 66.5 was the best of his career. His seven 300-yard passing games tied a career high, and his 4,155 passing yards (third-best of his career), 95.7 passer rating (third), 15 interceptions (tied for third) and 356 completions (fourth) were among the best marks of his 17-year career.

Add to that, all of the all-time passing records that fell and now belong to Favre. Favre now has 160 wins as a starting QB, which is now the best all-time mark, 12 games better John Elway's 148. 160 wins over 16 seasons. Think about that for a minute. That's 10 wins a year for 16 straight years on average. In the NFL!

Favre also added to his unbelievable consecutive game started streak by starting all 16 games in 2007 and adding to his astronomical amount of 253 games started consecutively. That's now 275 games if you include the playoffs. Favre is ranked 2nd all-time in consecutive starts to only DE Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings.

Favre also now has the all-time TD pass record (442) that used to belong to Dan Marino (420). Favre also now is the all-time passing yardage leader as he now has thrown for 61,655 yards in his career, which topped Marino again, who threw for 61,361. Favre is also the all-time leading passer in attempts (8,758) and completions (5,377). Favre actually set the completion record last year, before adding to it this year.

Speaking of the records, in the postseason, threw a touchdown pass in an NFL-record 18 consecutive games (1995-2007). Ranks second on the NFL's all-time list for postseason touchdown passes; his 39 TDs places him behind only Montana (45). Ranks second all-time in postseason yards passing, with 5,311, surpassing Elway (4,964) this past year; only Montana (5,772) is above him. Ranks second on NFL's all-time postseason completions list (438) and attempts list (721), behind only Montana (460-734). Owns the club's all-time postseason record for service with 22 games played. Overall, is 12-10 in the playoffs, including 2 NFC championships and 1 Super Bowl win.

The icing on the cake for Favre are his 3 MVP awards. Favre was also named all-pro 6 times and was named to the Pro Bowl 9 times. In terms of overall service with the Packers, Favre is tied with Bart Starr with 16 seasons played for Green Bay, plus he also played in 255 games (regular season) for the Pack, which is the most all-time.

2) Don Hutson
Hutson truly changed the position of wide receiver in the NFL during his era. Like Favre, Hutson was a multiple award winner of the NFL's MVP as he won it twice in 1941 and 1942. The Packers also won three NFL titles during his tenure, winning in 1936, 1939 and 1944. Hutson held 18 NFL records at the time of his retirement, which tells you how dominant he was at his position. Hutson led the league in receiving 8 times. In fact Hutson held the all-time record for TD receptions with 99, before it was finally broken by Steve Largent in 1989. Hutson had 105 TDs overall in his career. Hutson was also a two way player during his time in Green Bay, which was common in the NFL back then. Hutson was a defensive back and had 30 career interceptions. Hutson was also a kicker with 7 career field goals and 172 extra points made. Hutson is 2nd in career team scoring with 823 points. Hutson is in the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. Hutson was all-pro 11 times and was named to the Pro Bowl 4 times. The Packers also honored Hutson by retiring his uniform number (14) and by dedicating their state of the art practice facility across from Lambeau Field in 1994 to Hutson's name.

3) Bart Starr
Starr has won five NFL championships as QB, more than ANY other quarterback in NFL history. Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana have won 4 championships, but Starr still is alone with 5 titles. In addition, Starr quarterbacked the Packers to wins in the first two Super Bowls, winning MVP in each game. Starr also led the Packers to NFL championships in 1961, 1962 and 1965. Starr was also the league MVP in 1966, plus led the NFL in passing three times. Starr is probably best remembered for his thrilling quarterback sneak with 13 seconds remaining in the infamous Ice Bowl on December 31st, 1967. Starr was named all-pro 4 times and was named to the Pro Bowl 4 times. Starr was 9-1 as a playoff QB. Starr also had his number retired (15) by the Packers. Starr is also in both the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. Starr is tied with Brett Favre in the length of service with the Packers as he also played 16 seasons in Green Bay. Starr also played the second most games ever for the Packers, having played in 196 games. Starr also coached the Packers from 1975-1983.

4) Forrest Gregg
Vince Lombardi once said, "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!" in his book Run to Daylight. Gregg played 14 seasons for the Packers. Gregg was the key staple in the offensive line during the Lombardi years which included such greats as Jim Ringo, Jerry Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston and Bob Skoronski. However, only Gregg and Ringo are in the NFL Hall of Fame, which to many is a travesty, especially because of Kramer's omission. Gregg was named all-pro 9 times and was named to the Pro Bowl 9 times as well. Besides being in the NFL Hall of Fame, Gregg is also in the Packer Hall of Fame. Like Starr, Gregg was on 5 NFL championship teams. Gregg also coached the Packers from 1984-1987.

5) Ray Nitschke
Ray Nitschke was the face of the defense in the Vince Lombardi era. He also played in an era that had fine middle linebackers like Dick Butkus, Sam Huff, Bill George and Joe Schmidt. Nitschke was named all-pro 6 times and a ridiculously low 1 time for the Pro Bowl. Nitschke was also MVP of the 1962 NFL championship game against the New York Giants as he deflected one pass for an interception and also recovered two fumbles. Nitschke is also in both the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. Like Starr and Gregg, Nitschke was also on 5 NFL championship teams. The Packers also retired Nitschke's jersey (66). Nitschke also has one of the two outdoor practice fields named for him, and was also the founder of Packer Report.

6) Willie Wood
If there was anybody that Ray Nitschke was afraid of on the Packer defense in the Lombardi era, it was Willie Wood. Nitschke once said that he hating missing a tackle, because Willie would "give him that look. He would kill you with that look." Wood was not just a player that would look mean, but also play mean. Wood was named all-pro 9 times and was also named to 8 Pro Bowls. Wood had 48 career interceptions as a Packer. Wood was also an accomplished punt returner as he returned the most punts (187) and has the most punt return yardage (1,391) in team history. Wood also returned two punts for TDs. Wood is also in both the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. Like Starr, Gregg and Nitschke, Wood was also on 5 NFL championship teams.

7) Herb Adderley
Before there was Deion Sanders, there was Herb Adderley. Adderley was the epitome of a true shutdown cornerback. Adderley had 39 career interceptions, including 7 for touchdowns. Another interception return of a touchdown occurred in Super Bowl II when Adderley returned one 60 yards. Adderley was named all-pro 7 times and was named to 5 Pro Bowls. Adderley also has returned the 3rd most kickoffs (120) in team history, plus has the 3rd most yardage (3,080) in team history. Adderley also returned two kickoffs for TDs. Adderley is also in both the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. Like Starr, Gregg, Nitschke and Wood, Adderley was also on 5 NFL championship teams.

8) Jim Taylor
Taylor is the all-time rushing leader for the Packers with 8,207 yards. Taylor also scored 91 touchdowns in his career, including 19 in 1962, the year Taylor was named MVP in the NFL. Taylor was named all-pro 6 times and was named to the Pro Bowl 5 times. Taylor led the team in rushing 7 times, and also led the NFL in rushing in 1962. He probably would have led the league a few more times if not for the presence of the great Jim Brown in his era. Taylor had 5 seasons of 1,000 yards or more, plus gained over 100 yards in a game 26 times. Taylor is also in both the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. Taylor played on 4 NFL championship teams.

9) Reggie White
White only played in Green Bay six seasons, but they were memorable ones. White was named all-pro 6 times every season he played in Green Bay and to the Pro Bowl 6 times every season as well. White was also named the NFL's defensive player of the year in 1998. White also had three sacks in the Green Bay win over New England in Super Bowl XXXI, still a Super Bowl record. White also had 68.5 sacks as a Packer, second most in team history. White is also in both the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. White also had his jersey (92) retired a a Packer.

10) Paul Hornung
Hornung without a doubt, was Vince Lombardi's favorite player with all of his versatility. Hornung led the NFL in scoring three consecutive years from 1959-1961, including a record that was just recently broken, when Hornung scored 176 points in just 12 games in 1960. The "Golden Boy" also shares the single most playoff record with 19 points in the 1961 NFL championship game against the New York Giants. Hornung was named NFL MVP in 1961. Hornung was also named all-pro 2 times and was named to the Pro Bowl 2 times as well. Hornung is 4th in career team scoring with 760 points. Hornung also had 62 career TDS, plus 66 field goals and 190 extra points. Hornung also gained 3,711 yards rushing and 1,480 yards on pass receptions. Hornung was also a great blocker and was very dangerous as a passer out of the backfield as a HB, as he played QB at Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy. Hornung played on 4 NFL championship teams. Hornung is also in both the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame.

Some great players are not in my top 10, but deserve special consideration. Players like Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, Jerry Kramer, Jim Ringo, James Lofton, Sterling Sharpe, Cal Hubbard, Johnny "Blood" McNally, Clark Hinkle, Mike Michalske, Arnie Herber, Tony Canadeo, Ahman Green and LeRoy Butler. Davis was especially hard to keep out of the top 10, as he was all-pro 5 times and also named to the Pro Bowl 5 times.

All were great players, but they are competing not only against the best players in Green Bay history, but also the history of the NFL. Everyone one of my top 10 is or will be in the Packer Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. So are many of the others I mentioned. That's really all you need to know about the history of the Green Bay Packers. Yes, there were great coaches like Lambeau, Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren and the 12 NFL titles. But the players were also VERY special.


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