Power Ranking the Top 50 Green Bay Packers in Franchise History

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIOctober 12, 2011

Power Ranking the Top 50 Green Bay Packers in Franchise History

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    Ranking the top 50 Green Bay Packers in franchise history is quite the task considering the greatness of the Packers' franchise. The majority of these players are household names and nearly half of them are currently members of the Hall of Fame.

    There are few franchises in professional sports that are as rich in history as the Green Bay Packers, so please enjoy the top 50 Green Bay Packers in franchise history.

50. Sean Jones, DE

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    Sean Jones only played in three seasons for the Green Bay Packers, but he made two Pro Bowls in those three years.

    He was a key member of the 1996 Super Bowl championship.

49. Bubba Franks, TE

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    As a first round draft pick, Bubba Franks never really lived up to the expectations that came with such a high pick.

    However, he was extremely effective during his career with the Green Bay Packers and was voted to three Pro Bowls. Injuries were a big reason for his quick drop-off in production which eventually led to him being released.

    Franks ended his career with the Miami Dolphins.

48. Bryce Paup, LB

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    It wasn't until Bryce Paup left the Green Bay Packers that he became the player that he is remembered as, but even in his early years, Paup was a force to be reckoned with.

    In his last season with Green Bay, Paup earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. The following year, he would go on to win Defensive Player of the Year for the Buffalo Bills.

    Paup was known as a pass rushing specialist, but he could also drop back and be effective in coverage.

47. Ryan Longwell, K

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    Ryan Longwell could have ranked a little higher on this list, but unfortunately for him, he is a traitor who goes and plays for the Minnesota Vikings.

    Yes, I was holding that against him when coming up with the rankings. However, even with his trader ways, Longwell is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history and one of the best the Green Bay Packers ever had.

    It's a shame he was lost, but who is laughing now? Me.

46. Nick Barnett, LB

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    For the early part of the 21st century, Nick Barnett was the leader of the Green Bay Packers' defense.

    From his very first game, Barnett showed the leadership and ability that the Packers had been missing on their defense for years. He didn't excel at any one area of the game, but he was very solid in every aspect of his play.

    Barnett was another player who suffered injuries during his last years with the team. This ultimately led to him being released and signing with the Buffalo Bills this offseason.

45. Mark Chmura, TE

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    There are few players that were as beloved as Mark Chmura was when he played with the Green Bay Packers.

    During his seven year career with the Packers, Chmura was voted to the Pro Bowl three times and was a two time All-Pro Team selection. He was never the quickest or most talented tight end in the league, but he constantly gave everything he had out on the field.

    He was inducted into Green Bay's Hall of Fame last year.

44. Chad Clifton, OT

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    Chad Clifton has been a staple on the Green Bay Packers' offensive line for the past decade.

    Although injuries have caused him to miss some time, Clifton has always been able to come back and perform at a high level. He took over the starting tackle job during his rookie season and has never let go of his grip.

    When healthy, he is one of the most consistent offensive tackles in the league.

43. Clay Matthews, LB

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    Even though Clay Matthews has only been with the Green Bay Packers for two full seasons, his impact has absolutely been felt in that short time.

    Matthews is already one of the most explosive defensive players in Green Bay's history. He has recorded double-digit sacks in each of his two seasons and if he continues on this pace, it is very likely that he will be the Packers all-time leader in sacks.

    As Matthews continues to play, he will continue to rise higher on this list.

42. Don Majkowski, QB

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    Don "The Majik Man" Majkowski is a major fan favorite for the Green Bay Packers.

    This 10th round draft pick went on to have a few very successful seasons with Green Bay including one of the best single season statistical performances in franchise history. During the 1989 season, Majkowski threw the ball a franchise record 599 times for 4,318 yards and 27 touchdowns.

    Majkowski is probably best known for getting injured and opening the door for Brett Favre to take his starting position.

41. Greg Jennings, WR

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    Only entering his sixth season with the Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings has the chance to shatter many of the franchise receiving records.

    Jennings is already considered one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. As long as Aaron Rodgers is his quarterback, that likely won't be changing. He doesn't have elite speed or athleticism, but he has fantastic hands and is very fundamentally sound.

    Rodgers to Jennings will likely go down as the best quarterback-receiver duo in franchise history.

40. Dorsey Levens, HB

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    It was hard to decide between Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett for this list, but since Levens was with the team longer and was more productive, I gave him this spot.

    Levens is one of those players that you wonder what his career would have been like had he never been injured. During the 1998 season, Levens suffered a knee injury and was never as explosive or powerful during the rest of his career.

    Before the injury, Levens was a perennial Pro Bowl player. However, after the injury, he only gained 1,000 yards once more and spent more time as a reserve player than a starter.

    One can only wonder how great Levens would have been had he stayed healthy.

39. Desmond Howard, WR/KR

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    Even though Desmond Howard only played two seasons with the Green Bay Packers (1996 and 1999), his 1996 season was extremely impressive and well deserving of this list.

    Over the course of the year, Howard returned three punts for touchdowns and set the NFL record for punt return yards in a season. He capped off his terrific regular season performance with a Super Bowl MVP.

    Since Howard left the team, the Packers have struggled getting any playmakers in the return game. Hopefully Randall Cobb can continue to change that.

38 Tim Harris, LB

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    Tim Harris was a key player in turning around the Green Bay Packers' fortunes in the late 1980's.  Before Harris led this team to a 10-6 record in 1989, the Packers hadn't had a record that good since 1972.

    He finished the 1989 season with a ridiculous 19.5 sacks and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

37. Santana Dotson, DE

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    Having Santana Dotson on one side of the defensive line and Reggie White on the other was one major reason that the Green Bay Packers were able to make back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997.

    Dotson used his great quickness and power to disrupt the opponents backfield. He was one of the better pass rushers in Packers' history.

36. Darren Shaper, S

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    I would have ranked Darren Sharper higher on this list, but once again, he is a traitor.

    Throughout his career with the Green Bay Packers, Sharper was known for his ability to make plays once the ball was in his hands. In his rookie season, he returned his only two interceptions for touchdowns. 

    Over his eight years with Green Bay, Sharper made two Pro Bowls and two All-Pro Teams.

35. Clarke Hinkle, FB/RB/LB

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    During his time with the Green Bay Packers, Clarke Hinkle played a few different positions including fullback, running back and linebacker. By the end of his career, he was best known as a fullback and actually held the NFL record for most career rushing yards.

    He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964 and is a member of the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team.

34. Gilbert Brown, DT

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    I don't think there is a fan out there that doesn't love Gilbert Brown. I'm not sure if it was his jolly size, dominant play or gravedigger dance that made us love him, but whatever it was, Green Bay Packers' fans sure loved him.

    Brown was part of some of the most dominant defensive lines in NFL history when he teamed with Reggie White, Santana Dotson and Sean Jones. He was used mainly to take up space in the middle, something that for one reason or another came very naturally to him.

    The only player to play in more playoff games than Brown is Brett Favre, which is quite the accomplishment when you think about it.

33. Henry Jordan, DT

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    Henry Jordan was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but he only played for them for a year before moving on to the Green Bay Packers.

    At Green Bay, Jordan was a dominant defensive player for the Packers. He played in four Pro Bowls and was the leader of the defensive unit that won the first two Super Bowls.

32. Antonio Freeman, WR

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    There are two things that Antonio Freeman will always be remembered for as a Green Bay Packer.

    First, he will be remembered for his 81-yard touchdown pass during the 1996 Super Bowl. The other thing that Freeman will always be remembered for is his ridiculous catch on Monday Night Football. That catch has been called the greatest catch on MNF by numerous people because the ball hit every part of Freeman's body before he actually caught it and ran it in for a touchdown.

    For many years Freeman was the top target of Brett Favre and at the time of his retirement, he ranked sixth in Packers' history for receptions.

31. Charles Woodson, DB

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    If Charles Woodson had played his entire career with the Green Bay Packers, there is no doubt that he would rank much, much higher on this list.

    Unfortunately, the Packers have only had the service of Woodson since 2006. However, many would argue that he is playing the best football of his career since being picked up by Green Bay.

    He has been the best player on Green Bay's defense for the past few seasons and his play was crucial to the Super Bowl run last year.

30. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, DE

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    Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, or "KGB," was one of the best pure pass rushers in the NFL in the early 2000s.

    He was the first player in the history of the Green Bay Packers to record at least 10 sacks in three consecutive seasons. KGB was only voted to one Pro Bowl, but should have been voted to at least two more.

    At the time of his retirement, and to this day, he still holds the career sacks record for the Packers with 74.5.

29. Frank Winters, C

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    For 10 seasons, Frank Winters was the glue that held the offensive line together for the Green Bay Packers.

    Good old "Frankie Baggadonuts" was as steady as they come at the center position. He wasn't flashy or athletically gifted, but he knew how to protect the quarterback and open up running lanes.

    Winters became a member of the Packers' Hall of Fame in 2008.

28. Mike Michalske, OG

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    Mike Michalske was the first offensive guard ever voted into the Hall of Fame.

    A converted fullback, Michalske had a rare combination of strength and speed for the era he played in. Many consider him to be the first great guard and he is certainly the best known guard of the 1920s and 1930s.

27. Sterling Sharpe, WR

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    Just imagine how incredible Sterling Sharpe's numbers would have been had he not suffered a career-ending neck injury. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have been one of the all-time best at his position had he played longer.

    Over the course of his seven-year career with the Green Bay Packers, Sharpe led the league in receptions three times and receiving touchdowns twice. He was voted to five Pro Bowls and five All-Pro Teams.

26. Arnie Herber, QB

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    Arnie Herber's trip to NFL stardom wasn't a normal one. Herber grew up in Green Bay and after a few years of college (he didn't play football there), he came back and worked as a handyman for the Green Bay Packers.

    The coach at that time, Curly Lambeau, gave Herber a tryout to make the team and the rest is history. Herber would go on to win four championships for the Packers and earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.

25. Johnny McNally, RB

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    Johnny "Blood" McNally played for five different teams from 1925-1939, but he spent the most time with the Green Bay Packers.

    With Green Bay, McNally was the starting running back for four championship teams. He is a member of the Hall of Fame and the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team.

24. Cal Hubbard, OT

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    Very few offensive tackles were as dominant as Cal Hubbard was.

    He loved the small town feel that the Green Bay Packers offered him and demanded to be traded there from the New York Giants. Once he arrived in Green Bay, he was a force to be reckoned with and won three straight championships with the team.

23. Max McGee, WR

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    Throughout his entire career, Max McGee was a fantastic wide receiver. However, he is probably best known for his final two seasons even though he didn't see much playing time.

    His best game came during Super Bowl I, when McGee, who had barely seen the field all season long, stepped in for an injured player and had an outstanding game. Supposedly, McGee was a little hungover from partying the night before because he thought he wouldn't be seeing the field.

    McGee was also a fantastic punt returner and is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

22. Paul Coffman, TE

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    Over the course of his 10-year career with the Green Bay Packers, Paul Coffman was a three-time Pro Bowl attendee and one of the better all-around tight ends in the league.

    Coffman wasn't just a pass catching tight end or a blocker. He could do both very well, which is why he is the best tight end in team history.

    He is also very good at making athletic children as all four of his kids are fantastic at sports.

21. Fred Thurston, OG

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    The duo of Jerry Kramer and Fred Thurston is one of the best offensive guard duos of all-time. Both Kramer and Thurston were vital in the success of the Green Bay Packers' offense in the early 1960s.

    Kramer is a little better known than Thurston, but Thurston was still very talented in his own right. He is probably best known for saying he drank 10 vodkas before the Ice Bowl.

20. Aaron Rodgers, QB

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    Why is Aaron Rodgers ranked this high even though he is only entering his fourth year as a starter?

    Well, he has already won a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP, and he is currently the best quarterback in the NFL. It was hard to rank him this low, but I guarantee that with each year he plays the players ranked above him will get less and less.

19. Donald Driver, WR

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    There aren't many seventh-round draft picks that turn into franchise leaders. However, Donald Driver beat all the odds and is currently the Green Bay Packers all-time leader in receptions.

    One thing that Driver has been throughout his entire career is consistent. He has always had fantastic hands and runs great routes.

    Not only that, but Driver is also a vocal leader in the locker room and a player that any team would want around.

18. Jim Ringo, C

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    What made Jim Ringo such a great center is the NFL wasn't his massive size. In fact, Ringo was considered way too small to play offensive line in the league.

    The thing that made him great was his incredible speed, quickness and technique. His mobility made him dominant in the offense that the Green Bay Packers played.

    He was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and was a member of nine All-Pro Teams.

17. LeRoy Butler, S

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    If it wasn't for LeRoy Butler, it would be very likely that we wouldn't have the Lambeau Leap. However, that isn't all Butler was known for during his time with the Green Bay packers.

    Butler is considered one of the best safeties of the 1990s. Not only was he great at open field tackling, but Butler could also cover wide receivers and he was effective at blitzing the quarterback. He was the first defensive back to be part of the 20 sack/20 interception club.

    An injury cut his career short, but he is still one of the greatest defensive players in Packers' history.

16. Tony Canadeo, HB

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    There are only five players who have their number retired by the Green Bay Packers and one of them is Tony Canadeo and his No. 3.

    It is unfortunate that Canadeo never played for a quality team during his time with the Packers, but even without great players around him, he was able to succeed on the field.

    He was the third player in NFL history to ever rush for 1,000 yards and the first in Green Bay history.

15. Herb Adderley, CB

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    Herb Adderley actually started his career as a running back, but after being drafted by the Green Bay Packers, he made the switch to defensive back because of the depth at running back already on the team.

    In hindsight, it was a very good switch for Adderley as he became one of the best cornerbacks during the 1960s. He had a knack for finding the end zone after interceptions and is still the all-time leader in this category for the franchise.

    He won three Super Bowls, two with the Packers and one with the Dallas Cowboys.

14. Ahman Green, HB

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    There was a four year stretch during the 2000s where no running back in the league gained more yards from scrimmage or rushing yards than Ahman Green. That is how good he used to be.

    Even with Brett Favre, Green was the focal point of the offense during his time with the Green Bay Packers. He was a workhorse who had good speed and vision. The only knock on him was his fumbles, a problem that he had his entire career.

    Green is still the all-time leader in rushing yards in franchise history for Green Bay.

13. Curly Lambeau, HB

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    There were very few things that Curly Lambeau couldn't do. Not only was he vital in the initial formation of the Green Bay Packers, but he was also the first player to throw a pass, throw a touchdown and kick a field goal in team history.

    On top of that, Lambeau also acted as the coach while he was a player. As coach, he led the Packers to six NFL championships.

12. Jerry Kramer, OG/K

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    It isn't too often that you see an offensive lineman also act as the kicker for a team, but that is exactly what Jerry Kramer did for the Green Bay Packers back in the 1960s.

    Kramer was a jack-of-all-trades as he excelled at both positions on the field. He was known as being injury prone as he suffered a wide variety of injuries both on and off the field.

    He is the only member of the NFL's 50th Anniversary Team that is not in the Hall of Fame.

11. Willie Wood, S

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    I originally had Willie Wood much lower in this ranking, but after going through his long list of accomplishments, it was hard to not keep bumping him up.

    Eight Pro Bowls, seven All-Pro Teams, two Super Bowl championships and a trip to the Hall of Fame is a nice set of achievements. By looking at that list, you would think that Wood was a first-round draft pick, but he actually didn't get drafted in the 1980 NFL Draft and had to tryout to make the team.

10. James Lofton, WR

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    Before Donald Driver came along, James Lofton held the franchise record for most receiving yards. To say that he was productive from the first time he stepped on the field would be quite accurate.

    Lofton was the sixth overall pick of the 1978 NFL Draft and coming out of college he was known for his great speed and hands. He had big play ability and led the league in receiving yards per attempt twice while with the Green Bay Packers.

    He finished his career as the first player to reach 14,000 receiving yards and is a member of the Hall of Fame.

9. Forrest Gregg, OT

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    Many consider Forrest Gregg the first great offensive tackle, and I absolutely agree with them.

    Gregg was an intimidating force on the line who possessed incredible strength and quickness. For a long time he held the record for most consecutive starts with 188 over the course of his career.

    He is a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team and the Hall of Fame.

8. Willie Davis, DE

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    Few pass rushers are ever as feared as Willie Davis was during his time on the field.

    Davis spent 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers and was a part of every championship team that Vince Lombardi coached. Since statistics like sacks or tackles weren't recorded back in the day, it is hard to gauge just how dominant Davis was, but anyone who played with or against Davis will tell you how good he was.

    However, statistics haven't stopped him from being voted into the Hall of Fame or being a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.

7. Jim Taylor, FB

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    At the time of his retirement, Jim Taylor held numerous records for the Green Bay Packers franchise. In fact, he still holds some of those records over 40 years after his retirement.

    Taylor was a powerful runner even though he was considered undersized by many. Few running backs in the history of the NFL were as good at not fumbling as Taylor was considering he only fumbled 34 times over the course of his entire career.

    He teamed with Paul Hornung (we'll see more of him later) to create one of the most potent and talented backfields in NFL history.

6. Reggie White, DE

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    Had Reggie White played his entire career with the Green Bay Packers, it would have been tough to keep him out of the top spot in this ranking.

    However, even with only playing six seasons for the Packers, White's impact was absolutely felt forever. At the time of his arrival in Green Bay, he was already the best defensive player in the league and he would continue that trend with the team. No pass rusher has ever been as feared or respected as White was.

    He finished his career with 198 sacks, 13 Pro Bowls, 13 All-Pro Teams and two Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

5. Paul Hornung, HB/S/K

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    As a Heisman Trophy winner from Notre Dame, Paul Hornung was the first overall pick of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

    Over the course of his career, Hornung was fantastic at each position he played on the field. He often led the league in points because of his skill as a kicker. He was also a great defensive player.

    On top of that, he was one of the best running backs of his time, winning two MVP Awards. He is one of only five players to ever win the MVP Award and Heisman Trophy.

4. Don Hutson, WR/S/K

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    Don Hutson was the first great wide receiver in the NFL.

    At the time of his retirement, he held 18 NFL records and many of them would stand for decades upon decades before being broken. He excelled at wide receiver during a time when teams were very hesitant to pass the ball.

    Hutson is a member of the Hall of Fame and has been ranked as the ninth greatest player of all-time by the NFL.

3. Ray Nitschke, LB

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    When talking about the best linebackers of all-time, it is hard to not mention Ray Nitschke.

    Known for his punishing hits, Nitschke was a defensive force of nature. Not only could he lay opposing players out, he was also very good in coverage, recording 25 interceptions in his career.

    He was the anchor of the Green Bay Packers defense for 15 years and the No. 66 has been retired by the Packers. He was one of the greatest football players to ever play the game.

2. Brett Favre, QB

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    When Brett Favre stepped in for an injured Don Majkowski during the 1992 season, I don't think there was a soul on Earth who thought that he would have the type of career that he did.

    There are very few players who truly enjoyed the game of football like Favre did. We are all familiar with him running up and down the field and jumping in the air with excitement. For years and years, he was the most exciting football player in the NFL.

    Favre holds nearly every passing record in the books and at the time of his first retirement, he was extremely beloved by Green Bay Packers' fans.

1. Bart Starr, QB

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    It is hard to even talk about the Green Bay Packers without mentioning Bart Starr. It isn't because of his great statistics that Starr is so well known, but because of his ability to win.

    Few quarterbacks are as clutch as Starr was and that ability led him to winning the first two Super Bowls. At the time of his retirement, he had the second best career quarterback rating (80.5) and the most Super Bowl MVPs (two).

    His impact was felt for generations after he played the game and he is still the benchmark for quarterbacks who play for Green Bay.