The Green Bay Packers have had a long, storied, and glorious history. Throughout the course of this history, they have been led by several great quarterbacks. In fact, and as most NFL fans know, the team has had a Hall of Fame or future Hall of Fame quarterback for the better part of 30 years. Here, we tackle the question, “Which of the Packers’ quarterbacks were the greatest?”
Note, the question is not who is the “best,” but rather who is greatest. This means that the quarterbacks are not ranked by their stats as football players. Rather, they are ranked by their legacies and what they meant to the Packers’ franchise.
#5- Lynn Dickey
After the Lombardi era ended in Green Bay, the Packers entered a two-decade-long age of mediocre and bad football. After Bart Starr hung up his cleats, 11 different quarterbacks started for the Packers in a five-year span before Lynn Dickey took over as the starter. The Dickey era of Green Bay was not successful for the Packers as a whole, as was referenced earlier. In fact, in his nine seasons as the Packers’ quarterback, the team went just 45-63-3 in his starts.
In his career with Green Bay, Dickey threw just 133 touchdowns and 151 interceptions. His quarterback rating, too, was just 73.8. However, it must be remembered that this list measures greatness in how these quarterbacks impacted the franchise. In the darkest days of Packers’ history, fans at least had the exciting Dickey to James Lofton pass-catch plays to look forward to.
To be fair, Dickey’s presence on this list just goes to show how large of a gap there is between himself and the other four quarterbacks here.
#4- Arnie Herber
Whenever anyone talks about the Packers’ Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they are always referring to the three quarterbacks ahead of Arnie Herber on this list. Undoubtedly, those three are, indeed, great. However, the fact that Herber, who is himself a Hall of Fame quarterback, is not included in those discussions is unfortunate.
Perhaps it is because Herber played so long ago. He took the starting job in 1932, his third season in the league, and immediately was an All-Pro. The Packers won three NFL Championships with Herber as the quarterback. Their first one came in 1933, followed by titles in 1936 and 1939.
Before these, the Packers won league titles under the best overall record in 1930 and 1931 (Herber was on the team, but not the starting quarterback at the time). After he left Green Bay, Herber won another title with the New York Giants in 1944.
For his accomplishments, Arnie Herber was elected to the Football Hall of Fame in 1966. He is also a member of the Hall of Fame’s All-1930’s Team. He led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns three times each. This is something very few quarterbacks, from any era, can claim. His era of football might have been different from any other, but his greatness cannot be denied.
#3- Brett Favre
Some Packers fans may have Favre higher on this list, even perhaps at the top. There is no denying that he was, indeed, one of the greatest to ever play the game. In his career as a Packer, he threw 442 touchdowns (still the team record for now), and 286 interceptions. He won three straight MVP Awards, and led the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI, snapping an almost three-decade-long championship drought.
After leading the Packers to Super Bowl XXXII, Favre went on to play nine more seasons with the Packers. Due to Favre’s indecision about retirement every year, the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers as the heir apparent. At the time, the move was widely criticized by fans and analysts alike.
Favre played his final game for the Packers in 2007, when he lost the NFC Championship Game at home to the New York Giants. He was traded to the New York Jets, for whom he played in 2008. After signing with the Vikings in 2009, Favre enjoyed one more brilliant season before injuries and age caught up to him.
After his retirement, he made amends with the Packers’ organization. Since then, the Packers have retired his number, an honor is only given to a handful of past Packers’ legends.
#2- Aaron Rodgers
The Packers’ current quarterback (at least on paper at the moment) is also a three-time NFL MVP and will someday join his predecessor in Canton. Aaron Rodgers, after taking the helm from Favre, also led the Packers to Super Bowl glory, winning Super Bowl XLV and winning Game MVP honors.
Over the past 16 seasons, Rodgers has proven to be one of the best players to ever play the game. He has put up the two highest passer rating seasons in NFL history. Amazingly, these two seasons occurred ten years apart. The first coming in 2011 (his first MVP season), and the second coming in 2020 (his third MVP season). Unfortunately, Rodgers has not been able to win in any of the other NFC Championship Games in which he played.
At this point, no one knows how Rodgers’ tenure in Green Bay will end. Regardless, there is no doubt that Rodgers has left a profound effect on the organization and will sport the Green and Gold in the Hall of Fame someday.
#1- Bart Starr
Despite not having the flashy stats of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, Bart Starr has something that eluded both of them: multiple championships. Starr, the legendary quarterback of the Vince Lombardi teams, won an astounding five NFL titles in a seven-year span.
Like Favre, Starr earned the honor of having his number officially retired by the Packers. Up until his death just a couple of years ago, Starr was a common fixture at Lambeau Field, making appearances in various celebrations and ceremonies. He even had his own private luxury box at the stadium.
Whether it was winning championships as a player, or in his days as a head coach, Bart Starr was the embodiment of what it means to Carry the G. Not only did he leave his mark on the field, he and his charity, the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch, has helped thousands of young men and families since he started it. There was no greater champion, no greater leader, and no greater Green Bay Packer than Bart Starr.