Green Bay Packers: Titletown's Top 10 Wide Receivers of All Time
The Green Bay Packers were blessed with the first true superstar wide receiver to bring his talents to the NFL and have also had many outstanding wideouts since the pioneer of pass catching Don Hutson had his number retired by the team.
Throughout the course of the team's history, the Pack have often been known as a passing team. This is likely a result of great quarterbacks like Brett Favre and now Aaron Rodgers making their mark on the franchise. However, they couldn't have had such amazing success if there weren't talented receivers to make plays for them.
It is interesting that quarterbacks are rewarded with the yards their wide receivers gain after they make the catch when all they have to do is stand and watch the remainder of the play.
Since these players who often make their QBs look good don't always get the credit they deserve, here is a tribute to the top ten Packers' pass catchers of all time.
Honorable Mention: Robert Brooks
Since Robert Brooks spent seven up and down seasons with the Packers in the 1990s, I felt that he deserved to be mentioned on this list.
Brooks had two 1,000 yard campaigns in his career including his outstanding 1995 season when he took over for the injured star Sterling Sharpe. He amassed an impressive 1,497 yards and 13 TDs that year.
In 1997, he won the Comeback Player of the Year Award after his 1996 season was cut short due to a devastating knee injury and he missed the Pack's Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
If for nothing else he accomplished, Robert Brooks should be recognized as the receiver with the longest reception in NFL history of 99 yards.
Although there could be much debate that Brooks should be higher on this list, his legacy was hindered by unfortunate injuries.
10. Greg Jennings
Greg Jennings is currently in his prime, but he has already put himself alongside the best wide receivers that Titletown has ever seen.
In five seasons in Green Bay, Jennings has already gathered 5,222 yards and 40 TDs, not including his two touchdowns in the Pack's victory of the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
After three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, he was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2010 and it appears he is only getting started.
Jennings will always be known as the receiver who caught the pass from Favre which broke Dan Marino's TD record, but he'll also have the opportunity to make more history and move up on this list with Aaron Rodgers tossing him the pigskin for the next few years.
9. Carroll Dale
Carroll Dale was a three time Pro Bowler and a five time World Champion.
Dale was a key contributor as a pass catcher when the Packers won the first two Super Bowls and he is now enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Over the course of eight seasons in Green Bay he proved he was a gifted receiver as he picked up 5,422 yards on only 275 receptions.
8. Billy Howton
Billy Howton was a speedy route runner who led the Packers in receiving for over six straight seasons during the 1950s and was selected to four Pro Bowls.
As a Packer, he caught 43 TDs and picked up 5,581 yards on his way to the Packers Hall of Fame.
When he retired after ending his career with the Cowboy and Browns, Howton had broken Don Hutson's all time records in receptions and yards.
7. Max McGee
Max McGee was the Packers' leading receiver for the majority of his twelve season NFL career in Green Bay.
McGee never quite attained a 1,000 yard season, but he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1961. His true claim to fame was his performance in Super Bowl I.
After Boyd Dowler was knocked out of the game with an injury, Bart Starr found McGee seven times for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
He is now a member of the Packers Hall of Fame after being a part of seven championship teams and retiring with 6,346 yards and 50 TDs.
6. Boyd Dowler
Boyd Dowler played twelve solid seasons for the Packers from 1959-1971 earning him a spot on the 1960s All Decade Team.
After winning the 1959 Rookie of the Year Award, Dowler was often Bart Starr's go to guy during the team's five championship runs of the 1960s.
A two time Pro Bowler, Dowler retired with 7,270 yards and 40 TDs.
5. Antonio Freeman
Antonio Freeman excited fans as both a punt returner and a TD machine during his eight season stay in Green Bay. But what really separates him from pack was his ability as a prime playoff performer.
Freeman played his best in the postseason, especially in Super Bowls. One of his best among many acrobatic catches was an 81-yard strike from Brett Favre in the Pack's Super Bowl XXXI defeat of New England.
However, his most amazing and best remembered reception came in a rainy November Monday Night Football matchup with Minnesota. I won't even try to describe what happened because it is simply indescribable. Many of you have seen it multiple times, but it's well worth watching over and over again.
Anyway, Freeman was the Packers leading receiver for four years including his 1998 Pro Bowl season in which he also led the league. With 6,651 yards and 57 TDs, he was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and rounds out the top five of Titletown's best pass catchers.
4. Donald Driver
The Packers selected Donald Driver out of Alcorn State with their seventh round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Twelve years later, he's proven to be quite the steal. His bright smile still shines in Green Bay and now he has a Super Bowl ring to show for it.
He's loved by the community and Packer backers everywhere, not only because he's given the Packers seven 1,000 yard seasons, but because he's a leader and a role model as well.
Driver has always been known for his toughness and durability, although it now seems like his career is winding down. Even if he didn't play another snap for the Pack, he already has three Pro Bowl selections to his name and he's the team's all-time leader in receptions.
With 9,615 career yards, Driver is roughly 40 shy of James Lofton's all time record, a milestone worth putting off retirement for another year.
3. James Lofton
James Lofton served as a speedy soft-handed deep threat for the Packers for nine seasons, making the Pro Bowl seven times over that span.
When he was traded to the Raiders, Lofton was and still remains Green Bay's all time receiving yardage leader with 9,656 yards.
Lofton often outran defenders for the 49 TDs he scored as a Packer and he became an obvious choice for the 1980s All Decade Team.
Lofton is enshrined in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Packers Hall of Fame as one of the top wideouts to ever play in Titletown.
2. Sterling Sharpe
As a first round draft pick by the Packers in 1988, Sterling Sharpe wasted no time in shaking up the league. In his debut season, Sharpe reeled in 55 receptions, more than any other rookie in team history.
He led the league in receptions in 1989,1992, and 1993, including his sophmore campaign in which he broke Don Hutson's single season records for receptions and yards.
In 1992, he achieved the NFL's version of the Triple Crown, as he led the NFL in yards, TDs, and receptions.
As most Packers fan know and would like to forget, Sharpe's outstanding seven year career was cut short in 1994 by a neck injury that it made it too dangerous for him to return to the game.
Had he been able to continue his domination at the wideout position, Sharpe could have been the one of the best receivers of all time.
In his limited career, he was still able to amass 8,134 yards and 65 TDs.
Sharpe was selected to five Pro Bowls and many believe he should have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1. Don Hutson
Don Hutson is undoubtedly the greatest receiver in Packers history and perhaps the best ever to play in the NFL.
Often known as the pioneer of pass catching, Hutson is credited with creating many of the modern routes used by receivers today. As a member of the 1930s All Decade Team, his No. 14 is now one of five ever to be retired in Green Bay.
With his speed and ability to outmaneuver defenders, Hutson was widely recognized as the first star receiver in the league. His first reception was wan 83 yard touchdown bomb from Arnie Herber.
Hutson led the NFL in receiving for seven of his eleven seasons and retired with an incredible 99 TDs, a Packers record that still stands.
In 1994, the team's brand new indoor practice facility was named the Don Hutson Center in his honor.