All-Time Green Bay Packers Part II: Offense
Offensive Tackle: Forrest Gregg, 1956-1970
Gregg was undersized for an offensive lineman weighing in at only 250 pounds, but he helped the Packers to five championships during his tenure with the team. He was selected to nine consecutive Pro Bowls from 1959 to 1968.
Vince Lombardi was quoted in Jerry Kramer's book, Run to Daylight, as saying "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!" If he was good enough to be Lombardi's best, why shouldn't he be mine?
Offensive Tackle: Cal Hubbard, 1929-1933, 1935
Hubbard barely made the five-year minimum to be considered on this list, but it's a good thing he did. In Hubbard's first three years with the Packers, the Curly Lambeau-led team won three consecutive NFL Championships.
In 1969, Hubbard was voted the greatest offensive tackle of the NFL's first 50 years.
After his football career, Hubbard became a baseball umpire and devised a system for positioning umpires that is still the basis for umpire positioning in the game today. For this and his great play on the football field, he is the only person enshrined in both the Baseball Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Guard: Jerry Kramer, 1958-1968
Kramer was an important part of the Packers' signature Packer Sweep of the 1960's. He and fellow guard Fuzzy Thurston would pull out to lead block for the running back coming around the end. This tactic helped the Packers to their five NFL Championships and two Super Bowl victories during the '60's.
Despite Kramer's success--five All-Pro selections, his inclusion on the 50th anniversary all-time NFL team, and ten appearances on the final ballot--Kramer has not been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Guard: Fuzzy Thurston, 1959-1967
Thurston was the second half of the Packers' Sweep to Daylight that allowed Green Bay to win five championships in the 1960's. Thurston didn't receive the accolades that Kramer or Gregg got, but his importance on the Packers' offensive lines of the 1960's cannot be overstated.
Center: Jim Ringo, 1953-1963
At only 211 pounds, many teams shied away from selecting Ringo in the 1953 NFL Draft. The Packers selected him in the seventh round, and the investment paid off in a Brady-esque way.
In Ringo's first five seasons, the Packers went 20-50-2. Despite the flounderings of his team, Ringo made the first two of seven consecutive Pro Bowl teams in 1957 and 1958 before the arrival of Vince Lombardi.
The implementation of the power sweep was suited perfectly for Ringo's skill set. Jim Taylor was certainly pleased with Ringo, as four of his five 1,000-yard rushing seasons came behind Ringo's blocking.
Wide Receiver: Don Hutson, 1935-1945
In his first play as a Packer, Hutson caught an 83-yard touchdown pass. It was the first of 99 he would catch for the team, and it stood as an NFL record for 44 seasons.
In addition, Hutson played safety on defense and kicked field goals and extra points. He intercepted 30 passes over his last six seasons, and he totaled 823 points with the addition of his placekicking points.
In many ways, Hutson and the Packers changed the game by implementing a quick-strike passing attack. When he retired, Hutson held 18 records, many of which stood for decades after his retirement.
Accordingly, Hutson is enshrined in the Pro Football and Green Bay Packers Halls of Fame. He was ranked sixth overall in The Sporting News list of 100 greatest football players in 1999. He was also the league MVP in 1941 and 1942.
Wide Receiver: Sterling Sharpe, 1988-1994
Sharpe was the first receiver to have consecutive 100-catch seasons. Not Jerry Rice. Not Art Monk. Who knows how prolific the Packers could've been in the mid-90's had Sharpe not injured his neck?
He is one of only seven players to win receiving's triple crown (yards, touchdowns, and receptions), in 1992. Sharpe caught 18 touchdowns in 1994, the season in which he injured his neck and had to end his career. This number was the second highest total in a season up to that point behind Jerry Rice's incomparable 22 in only 12 games in the shortened 1987 season.
Wide Receiver: James Lofton, 1978-1986
Lofton was a Pro Bowler seven times during his nine years with the Packers. He is the franchise leader in receiving yards with 9,656. He's a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and scored touchdowns in the '70's, '80's, and '90's.
Halfback: Paul Hornung, 1957-1966
Hornung, who also was a placekicker, led the NFL in scoring from 1959 to 1961. In 1960, Hornung scored 176 points in 12 games. This was an NFL record for total points until LaDainian Tomlinson scored 180 points in 16 games.
Hornung still holds the record for most points per game in a season, a record that is not likely to be broken. Hornung also scored 19 points in the 1961 NFL Championship game. In a game in 1965, Hornung scored five touchdowns in a victory only to be outdone later that day by Gale Sayers, who scored six touchdowns in one game.
A two-time Pro Bowler and a league MVP, Hornung is one of only five players to win the Heisman Trophy and the NFL's MVP award.
Fullback: Jim Taylor, 1958-1966
Taylor holds many of the Packers' franchise records for running backs, including career yards, career touchdowns, and single-season touchdowns. In 1962, Taylor won the rushing title. This was the only season in which Jim Brown didn't take the honor in his nine-year career.
He also scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history against the Kansas City Chiefs. In 1962, Taylor was named NFL MVP and he appeared in five Pro Bowls. In 2,173 touches, Taylor only fumbled 34 times for a 1.5 fumble percentage.
Quarterback: Brett Favre, 1992-2007
Finally, the position that will probably generate the most disagreement amongst readers. It's tough to make a call between pages and pages of records Favre occupies and the five championships Bart Starr won, but my call is for Favre.
His longevity is undeniable. He's started 253 consecutive games (275 counting postseason), and that streak is still continuing, albeit with a different team.
His production is unmatched. He has 442 career touchdown passes, all for Green Bay, making him the all-time leader. He also leads in passing yards with 61,655. His 63 games with at least three touchdown passes is the best in that category as well.
His record is spectacular. He has a career record of 160-93, making him the quarterback with the most wins in history. With Favre at the helm, the Packers only had one losing season and the Packers are the best team during his tenure in terms of win-loss record.
His accolades are staggering: a nine-time Pro Bowler, the only three-time MVP (the last one was shared with Barry Sanders), and a Super Bowl champion.
His mistakes are sometimes incomprehensible. He's the career leader in interceptions thrown with 288.
He may not be simply the best quarterback in the history of the NFL's best franchise, but he may be the best quarterback of all-time. But that discussion will be saved, perhaps, for another day.
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