Top 10: One Man's Favorite Packers
Fresh off an exciting, albeit uneven, win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, let's take a look at some of my all-time favorite Green Bay Packers.
The list ranges fairly far into the past, but for the most part it consists of players either still active or active in the 1996/97 season. Did something happen in that season that would affect my selections? I can't remember...
The bottom eight are in no particular order; No. 1 and No. 2 are where they are for a reason.
Let's do this thing.
Darren Sharper, Safety
In 1997, Darren Sharper's rookie season, he scored three touch-downs for the Packers (2 interception returns and one fumble recovered in the end-zone I believe) and showed them he was their future at the safety position.
Through the 1999 to 2001 seasons Sharper averaged 16 starts, 100 tackles and 6 INT's for the Packers. For those of you that don't know, that's some good stuff.
Sharper found himself the starter heading into the 1998 season and there he remained until signing with the hated Vikings in 2005.
Sharper was a phenomenal player for the Packers and is still making plays, now in New Orleans.
So far in his career, Sharper has recorded 670 solo tackles, 187 assists, 120 passes defensed, 7 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 8 TD's and a whopping 56 INT's for 1115 yards. He already has two picks for New Orleans this year alone.
I'm glad Sharper's now a Saint; as a Packer's fan it makes it easier to cheer for him with him out of the division. His signing with the Vikings did make it easier to accept...
Brett Favre, Quarterback
In 1991, Favre's rookie season with the Atlanta Falcons, he attempted four passes with zero completions and two interceptions. Quarterback rating 0.0.
Then the Packers traded for him. Ron Wolfe is a genius. I was a young football fan who didn't follow much besides scores back then; I didn't even know it had happened.
That is until the third game of the 1992 season, when then-starting QB Dan Majikowski was injured and Favre stepped in against the Bengals. Favre won the game that day for the Packers, despite fumbling four times.
The fumbles were jitters; Packers fans got used to this because all Favre did was start every single game for the Pack at QB for the next 16 seasons.
That's 253 regular season games and a whole shwack of playoff games that I won't even bother to count. Having someone as talented as Favre manning the most difficult position in football was fantastic for Packers fans. Having him there every game for almost 16 years defies words.
Favre's career stats are gaudy and numerous and I won't bother getting into them. Suffice to say, career leader touchdowns and career leader interceptions.
His best years for the Pack were 1994 through 1997/98 when he won three league MVPs and went to the Super Bowl twice, winning once in early '97 against the Patriots. How sweet it still is.
Al Harris, Cornerback
Alshinard "Al" Harris could also have another name in parentheses.
"Dirty One" is so named by other players in the league for the way he plays the game.
Packers fans love him for the way he plays the game...Quit yer belly-achin' ya bunch of sissy wide-outs!
Since coming to the Packers in 2003, Harris has made a ton of plays, started a ton of games, and single-handedly won the Packers a playoff game.
The playoff game was a game the Packers needed to win or they would have looked like fools. The game winning interception against the Seahawks and their loudmouth QB easily gets Harris on this list.
Frank Winters, Center
Winters spent time with the Browns, Giants, and Chiefs before finally coming to where he belonged in 1993.
Where he belonged happened to be Brett Favre's starting center for the next eight seasons. He missed a few games due to injury in '97 and a bunch at the end of his career, including the entire '01 campaign, but from '93 through 2000 he was nearly as durable as Favre himself.
Winters did play a few games for the Pack in 2002, but a recurring injury forced him to hang 'em up that same year and retire.
Frank's stellar play, Super Bowl ring, toughness, and nicknames (Frankie Bag O' Donuts or Baggadonuts) gets him on the list.
Don Beebe, Wide Receiver
As a Packers fan and a fan of football, including Don Beebe on this list was easy. Really easy.
The reason he's pictured wearing Buffalo blue is that he's resting after stripping Dallas defensive tackle Leon Lett of an apparently not-so-sure touchdown in Super Bowl XXVII from early '93.
Nearing the end of a really solid but Super Bowl victory bereft career, Beebe managed to win a ring with the Packers in 1996/97 season. Based on sheer karma, nobody on the team deserved one more.
Thank you Mr. Beebe for one of my absolute favorite football moments.
Travis Jervey, Gunner
Jervey was only a Packer for four seasons, 1995 through '98, before he left for a big money contract in San Francisco. He only played two years for the 49ers and three more for the Falcons before retiring, but whatever.
While his actual position was tailback, in his time with the Packers Jervey defined himself as a coverage man on opponent kick returns or a "gunner." He made a huge impact for the team at this position, especially in the Superbowl seasons of 1996/97 and '97/98.
He went to the friggin' Pro-Bowl for his special teams play in 1997, and from what I saw, he deserved it. Jervey was exceptionally fast and aggressive and loved to blow guys up, given the chance.
The fact that Jervey also attended school at "The Citadel," which sounds pretty creepy/cool to a horror movie fan such as myself, gets him on the list.
Aaron Kampman, Outside Linebacker
Sometimes it's pretty easy to feel sorry for Charlie Frye. Aaron Kampman is a machine, and I don't think the next few moments after this picture was snapped were good ones for ole Charlie.
A career Packer, Kampman has recorded 50 and one-half sacks for the Packers in eight seasons, after being drafted out of Iowa as a defensive end in 2002.
He's played the end for the Packers up until this season, where Dom Capers has him standing up as an outside linebacker in the 3-4.
His electrifying play in the 2006 season—when he recorded 15 1/2 sacks—and his re-signing with the Packers before that season instead of going to say, Minnesota (who'd already signed him to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent the year before), gets him on the list.
LeRoy Butler, Safety
The pic is from the 2005 Pro Bowl legends game and that's certainly what Butler is to Packers fans: Legendary.
Twelve years at the safety position for the Packers, 20 1/2 sacks, 38 interceptions, 721 tackles with 168 assists, one Super Bowl ring and one more thing...
This is the guy who invented the Lambeau Leap. That will get you on a list or two. Legendary.
Vince Lombardi, Coach
There's no picture of Saint Vincent available, so I'll use the trophy that bears his name.
That says a lot right there, doesn't it, Packers fans? They don't give you the George Halas trophy when you win the Super Bowl.
Vince Lombardi and his Packers won the first two Super Bowl's there were to win, with this basic philosophy:
Run the same plays over and over again; run them perfectly every time. Your opponent will know what's coming and will still not be able to stop you. Win football games.
Lombardi's insights into football and football psychology changed the game forever. His gruff, sometimes vicious, exterior housed a huge heart and a love for every single one of his "boys" on the field.
Lombardi expected his teams to act like champions and play like champions, and time and again, they ended up being just that.
His career coaching record is 105-35-6 and his playoff record stands at 9-1 with five league championships, including the two Super Bowls.
How would I know about the moods and demeanor of a man who passed away eight years before I was born? And if he meant so much to the Packers, why isn't he first on the list?
Well, that's because of...
Jerry Kramer, Right Guard/Place Kicker
If there wasn't a picture of Vince Lombardi available, you better believe there was no Jerry Kramer. I'm iffy on the legalities of some stuff, and while I certainly am no stranger to trouble, I'd hate to get B/R in hot water, so no picture.
I'm sure you're tired; there was a ridiculous amount of written content in this slide-show and I do apologize. These are my favorite Packers, I had to do them justice. Let's wrap this up.
Jerry Kramer was a stellar offensive guard, sometimes place-kicker, on the Lombardi-era Packers.
Kramer had an amazing career, being selected as an All-Pro five times, but he struggled constantly with injuries.
I never saw him play; it was before my time. The reason he's first on the list is that he wrote a book.
Yep. It's called "Instant Replay," and it's about his time with Lombardi in Green Bay. If you're a Packers fan, or just a fan of football, I'd suggest reading it; it's amazing. Really, truly, a great book.
I read it when I was 11-years-old and it made me a Packers fan before I had ever seen them play. I don't know what team I'd be rooting for today if I hadn't had that huge stroke of luck. It might have been the Dolphins. Thank you Mr. Kramer, I owe you a lot.
And thanks to you, the three or four people who've stuck with it until the bitter end. I hope you'll join me soon for a much more concise Top 10, in which we'll look at my 10 least favorite Packers.
That's going to require some digging. Right now, I can only think of two...