Rodgers' Season Into Historical Perspective

Though it ended on an unfortunate fumble in the playoffs, quarterback Aaron Rodgers' season was one of the best in Packers history. Might it be the best? Our Matt Tevsh puts it up against the other great QB seasons in Green Bay in this top 10 installment.

It was the year of the quarterback in the NFL. Two of the four remaining quarterbacks in this weekend's round of championship playoff games — Brett Favre and Drew Brees — had career seasons. Another – Peyton Manning — was named league MVP.

All told, a record 10 quarterbacks passed for 4,000 yards and a record five finished with passer efficiency ratings topping 100. Among them was Aaron Rodgers, who in any other year would have been considered as an MVP candidate.

So good was Rodgers in 2009 that he deserves mention among the top 10 individual seasons in Packers history. Here is a look at those memorable quarterbacking performances in Green Bay:

10. Lynn Dickey (1983)

Building on the promise of their first playoff berth in a decade, the Packers exploded on offense in 1983. The unit piled up team records for yards (6,172, or 385.8 per game) and points (429, or 26.8 per game). Although Dickey threw 29 interceptions, he offset his mistakes with a league-leading 32 touchdown passes and 4,458 passing yards, still a team record. His 9.21 yards per passing attempt remains a team record. With wide receivers James Lofton and John Jefferson and tight end Paul Coffman, the 1983 team was one of the most vertical passing teams in Packers history. No more was that evident than in historic wins over the Houston Oilers (41-38) in the season opener, the Buccaneers (55-14), and the famous Monday nighter against the Redskins (48-47).

9. Arnie Herber (1936)

Born in Green Bay, Herber was more than just a local hero. He was the NFL's premier passer during his time in Green Bay (1930 to 1940). In 1936, he led the NFL in every statistical passing category as the Packers competed in and won their first ever postseason game, a 21-6 victory over the Boston Redskins at the Polo Grounds in New York. Herber threw for a career-high 1,239 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.

8. Don Majkowski (1989)

Don Majkowski
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
This one season of immortality remains fresh in the minds of many Packers fans. Marked by landmark wins and miracle finishes, "Majik" led the Packers to a 10-6 record, their first winning mark in a nonstrike season in 17 years. The Packers posted an NFL-record four one-point victories, including a 14-13 win over the Bears in the "Instant Replay" game in which Majkowski hit Sterling Sharpe for the game-winning touchdown with 32 seconds left. Majkowski solidified any issues at quarterback under coach Lindy Infante in 1989 and in the process became a star with 4,318 passing yards and 32 combined touchdowns (27 passing, five rushing).

7. Brett Favre (1997)

Favre won his third straight league MVP award. For the first time in his career, he saw two receivers — Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks — go over 1,000 yards in the same season. On his way to a 35-touchdown season, Favre got the monkey off his back by beating the Cowboys and Vikings in Minnesota for the first time in his career. He had been 0-11 in such games (including the playoffs).

6. Cecil Isbell (1942)

The Packers, or the NFL for that matter, never had seen a passing attack like this. In his fifth and final season in Green Bay, Isbell became the first quarterback to throw for 2,000 yards in a season and also set a league record with 24 touchdown passes. That latter record stood in team annals for more than four decades until Dickey put up 32 throwing scores in 1983. Isbell's primary target in 1942 was the already-established Don Hutson, who took pass receiving to a new level by shattering his previous receiving marks with 74 catches for 1,211 yards and 17 touchdowns.

5. Favre (1996)

In the Packers' official return to glory, no player shined brighter than Favre. Coming off tremendous statistical seasons the two years prior, Favre put his strong quarterback play to its best use yet by winning a Super Bowl, the first championship for the Packers in 29 years. Favre threw for a career-high 39 touchdowns on one of the most balanced offensive teams during his 16-year career in Green Bay. Eight players caught at least 23 passes during the regular season, but no one caught more than 56. As a result, the Packers posted a team-record 456 points during the regular season.

4. Aaron Rodgers (2009)

Aaron Rodgers
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The fraternity of elite NFL quarterbacks gained a new member in 2009. Rodgers, a second-year starter, backed up his impressive 2008 campaign with an even better encore in 2009. Rodgers' 103.2 quarterback rating was the team's best since 1968. Included among his numbers were 4,434 passing yards, 35 combined touchdowns (30 passing, five rushing) and only seven interceptions, giving him the lowest interception percentage (1.3) in the league. In a wild-card playoff contest at Arizona, Rodgers led a 21-point comeback by throwing for four touchdowns and 422 yards, the most ever for a Packers quarterback.

3. Bart Starr (1966)

In what might have been the greatest display of leadership and efficient quarterbacking in Green Bay, Starr led the Packers to a 12-2 record and a victory in the first Super Bowl. Starr set team records for quarterback rating (105.0) and interceptions percentage (1.2), throwing just three picks all season. It was the third season (1962, 1964) that Starr led the league in passing, and for his efforts, he was voted the league's MVP.

2. Favre (2007)

At 38, Favre underwent a renaissance during an unexpected 13-3 season. Included among the magical moments that season was Favre leading dramatic victories against the Chargers, at Kansas City, and at Denver, where he ended an overtime game with an 82-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings on the first play. As the season progressed, second-year head coach Mike McCarthy opened up his offense, going often to a spread attack. Favre thrived like he did back in the mid-1990s. When the season was over, he had thrown for 4,155 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 66.5 percent of his passes, a career high during his time in Green Bay. By almost every measure, it was the best season ever for a 38-year-old quarterback.

1. Favre (1995)

Brett Favre
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Regarded as one of the game's bright young stars, Favre became a complete quarterback in 1995 while winning his first league MVP. Statistically, he posted his best quarterback rating with the Packers (99.5) and most passing yards in a season (4,413). His 38 touchdowns included a 99-yarder to Robert Brooks on a Monday night in Chicago. Intangibly, Favre's legend grew. He threw five touchdown passes against the Bears on a severely sprained ankle. And in the regular-season finale, he returned to action after splitting up blood early against the Steelers to help lead the Packers to a 24-19 victory and their first division title in 23 years. The Packers advanced to the NFC championship game after a landmark victory at San Francisco in the divisional playoff round.

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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at

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