Among the notable things Aaron Rodgers said in Wednesday’s hour-long interview, one of the more interesting things was when he called himself “debatably the best player” in Packers history. Rodgers, who during his interview with Pat McAfee confirmed his desire to continue his career with the Jets, is certainly among the best players to ever wear the green and gold.
As good as Rodgers was, however, he is only in the conversation as the greatest player in franchise history. The Packers, after all, are one of the more storied franchises in all of professional sports. Green Bay’s 13 championships are the most by any NFL team. They are also the proud owners of the first two Lombardi Trophies that are appropriately named after their legendary coach.
With Rodgers’ time in Green Bay now in the rearview mirror, here’s where he ranks among the greatest players in Packers history. The rankings were based upon three pieces of criteria: impact on the franchise, individual accolades and championships won with the team.
Honorable mention: Charles Woodson (2006-12)
Woodson brought a similar energy to what Reggie White brought to the Packers over a decade earlier (more on that later). Woodson, who arrived in Green Bay in 2006 after a solid eight-year run with the Raiders, enjoyed a career rebirth with the Packers that included winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. Woodson then played an integral role in Green Bay’s Super Bowl championship team a year later. Woodson earned his fourth straight Pro Bowl nod in 2011 after leading the NFL in interceptions for a second time in three years.
10. OT Cal Hubbard (1927-36)
Hubbard is one of five players who were named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team who played the majority of their careers with the Packers. Hubbard, who played several other positions in Green Bay other than tackle, was a four-time All-Pro who played an integral role in the franchise’s first five league championships.
9. RB Jim Taylor (1958-66)
The engine behind the legendary Packers Power Sweep, Taylor helped the Packers win four championships during the 1960s. A Pro Bowler each year from 1960-64, Taylor led the NFL in rushing in 1962 (becoming the only player besides Jim Brown to do so from 1957-65) and led the league in rushing touchdowns on two occasions. He scored two touchdowns in Green Bay’s win over Kansas City in Super Bowl I.
8. DB Willie Wood (1960-71)
A member of the NFL 100 All-Time Team, Wood was a nine-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro during his time with the Packers. A five-time world champion, Wood led the NFL with nine interceptions in 1962 and retired with 48 interceptions. Wood, who still owns the NFL record for most consecutive games played by a safety, had a critical interception that turned Super Bowl I from a tight game into a Packers blowout.
7. Ray Nitschke (1958-72)
Few players are more synonymous with the Packers than Nitschke, a menacing player who struck fear into opposing offenses. While he was only named to two Pro Bowls, Nitschke is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1960s who was a finalist for the NFL 100 All-Time Team. A fierce tackler and solid pass defender, Nitschke was a key member on each of the Packers’ five title teams during the ’60s.
6. OT Forrest Gregg (1956, 1958-1970)
Gregg was the leading of Green Bay’s dominant offensive line during the 1960s, a unit that also included Fuzzy Thurston and fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer. A six-time All-Pro, Gregg was a Pro Bowler each year from 1959-68. He is also a member of the NFL 100 All-Time Team.
5. Aaron Rodgers (2005-22)
While this might be a tad too low, Rodgers is dinged for “only” playing in one Super Bowl. He and the Packers’ recent shortcomings (losing consecutive playoff games at home before losing a win or go home game against visiting Detroit this past season) also didn’t help his cause.
There is no debating Rodgers’ greatness during his time in Green Bay. A four-time league MVP, Rodgers has the greatest career touchdown/interception ratio in league history. He won MVP honors after throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns in Green Bay’s Super Bowl win over Pittsburgh. Rodgers is either first or second in every franchise passing record along with the next player on the list.
4. QB Brett Favre (1992-07)
Unlike Rodgers, Favre is a member of the NFL 100 All-Time Team. The first player to win three straight league MVP awards, Favre also won as many Super Bowls as Rodgers while appearing in twice as many Super Bowls. Favre’s ironman streak of 297 consecutive games played (with the majority of those coming with the Packers) also helped give him a slight edge over Rodgers.
Favre, despite some temporary hard feelings after ending his career with the rival Vikings, is deeply beloved by Packers fans. Favre, after all, instilled life into the franchise as soon as he became the team’s starting quarterback. Favre’s throwback playing style also helped endear himself to Packers fans.
3. DE Reggie White (1993-98)
Favre opened the door in 1992, and White kicked the door down after signing with the Packers in 1993. The first big free agent signing in league history, White, who had already carved out a Hall of Fame worthy career with the Eagles, immediately raised the level of expectations in Green Bay.
While Favre led the offense, White spearheaded a Packers defense that was one of the league’s best units during his time in Green Bay. A Pro Bowler each of his six seasons in green and gold, White won his elusive championship after recording three sacks in the Packers’ win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, the franchise’s first title in 29 years. White won his second Defensive Player of the Year award during his final season with the club.
2. WR Don Hutson (1935-45)
Unanimously regarded as the best receiver during the league’s first half-century, Hutson re-defined the position during his time in Green Bay. An eight-time All-Pro, Hutson was to receivers during his era what Jim Brown was for running backs during his era. Hudson led the NFL in touchdown catches nine times, receptions eight times, and receiving yards on seven occasions. His 1,211 receiving yards in 1942 was 640 more yards than the league’s second-leading receiver that season. Hutson’s 17 touchdown receptions that season is tied for the sixth-highest total in league history.
A three-time world champion with the Packers, Hutson is also a member of the NFL 100 All-Time Team.
1. QB Bart Starr (1956-71)
His stats and accomplishments may not compare to Rodgers and Favre, but Starr won twice as many Super Bowls and five times more titles. The last quarterback to lead his team to three consecutive NFL titles, Starr is also the owner of the first two Super Bowl MVP awards.
Starr brilliantly executed Lombardi’s offense while often making big plays that determined the outcome of championship games. His greatest moment came against the Cowboys in the 1967 “Ice Bowl,” when he punctuated Green Bay’s historic, fourth quarter drive with the game-winning touchdown run to clinch the Packers’ fifth NFL title of the decade.
Along with winning championships, Starr was also NFL MVP in 1966. He also led the league in completion percentage four times. Simply put, the Packers’ dynasty of the 1960s wouldn’t have happened without him, which is why he is the greatest Packer of all-time.