Former Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf was officially enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame last Saturday, making him the 23rd Packer to receive a bust in Canton.
Green Bay boasts one of the NFL’s most historic and successful franchises, as evidenced by the fact that its 23 hall of famers are the second most in the league. The Packers are likely to see that number increase to 24 next year, when Brett Favre becomes eligible for induction. Which other Packers, whether active or retired, have the best chance to join the ranks of football’s greatest players?
Brett Favre (GB 1992-2007)
As mentioned, Favre is pretty much a lock to enter the Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility. He led the Packers to their first Super Bowl in nearly 30 years in 1996, where the team defeated the Patriots to take home the NFL Championship. The next season, he returned to the Super Bowl but lost to the Denver Broncos. From 1995-1997, Favre won three straight MVP awards, making him the first player to win three in a row and just the third player (at the time) to accomplish the feat.
At the time of his retirement, Favre held nearly every NFL record that a quarterback could achieve in his career. He has since seen his touchdown record overtaken by Peyton Manning, but currently is still the all-time leader in yards, completions, attempts, interceptions, starts, and wins.
Perhaps the most impressive statistic that Favre has to offer is his record of 297 consecutive starts. He built an iron-man reputation during his time in the NFL, which has become Favre’s defining characteristic. He undeniably fits the definition of a first-ballot hall of famer, and should join Arnie Herber and Bart Starr as Green Bay’s hall of fame quarterbacks.
Jerry Kramer (GB 1958-1968)
Kramer has been a finalist to enter the hall of fame ten separate times since he became eligible in the 1970s, but has yet to make it into Canton. His only chance at induction now rests with the Seniors Committee, but it may be difficult for Kramer to enter the hall. Kramer would be the 12th Packer from the Vince Lombardi era to be named a hall of famer, and one theory is that voters are reluctant to induct that many players from the same dynasty.
But the numbers continue to show that Kramer deserves recognition. He was named a First-team All-Pro five times, and won five NFL championships with Green Bay. Kramer was an integral part of the Packers’ offensive line which often dominated opposing defenses, and the Packer Sweep relied on Kramer’s ability. He was named to the 1960s All-Decade Team and the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team. Kramer is the only member of that 50th Anniversary Team to not make the Hall of Fame, and if he is eventually inducted, he will definitely have deserved it.
Charles Woodson (GB 2006-2012)
Woodson is still active in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, but he is another player who is almost guaranteed a slot in Canton when he becomes eligible for induction. Woodson began his career in 1998 and asserted himself as one of the best defensive players of the 2000s over his 17-year (and counting) career.
Woodson was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1998 with Oakland and won Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 with the Packers. He has led the league in interceptions twice, been named to seven All-Pro teams, and is a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team.
Woodson remains one of the greatest free agent signings in Green Bay history, recording 38 of his 60 career interceptions with the Packers. He was a key part of the Super Bowl winning team in 2010, and was a leader both on and off the field for Green Bay. His eleven interception return touchdowns are also the second most in NFL history.
Aaron Rodgers (GB 2005-present)
Rodgers may not necessarily be a lock for the Hall of Fame if he retired today, but based on his career trajectory he will almost certainly be enshrined when his playing time does eventually end. Rodgers had high expectations when his career as a starter began, having to initially live out of Favre’s shadow. But over his seven years as a starter, Rodgers has definitely established himself as one of the top quarterbacks to ever play the game.
At age 31, Rodgers is already a Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl MVP, a two-time NFL MVP, and holds a number of Green Bay and NFL records. He has become perhaps the most efficient quarterback in NFL history, posting both the highest single-season passer rating (122.5) and career passer rating (106.4). Rodgers also boasts the lowest interception percentage (1.6%), highest touchdown to interception ratio (4.00), and had the fewest interceptions (by a wide margin) at the time of his 200th career touchdown pass.
Rodgers is already being lauded as having the potential to be finish his career as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. While he may still have a ways to go to be in that conversation, Rodgers does appear to be on the fast track for an eventual spot in Canton.
These four are the most likely candidates from Green Bay for eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Other players, such as Clay Matthews and Josh Sitton, could find themselves in the discussion of future hall of famers later in their careers, but they will need to continue to perform at a very high level over the remainder of their time in the NFL. Julius Peppers could also be a candidate for enshrinement, though he would not be remembered primarily for his contributions as a Packer. Overall, Green Bay’s tradition of seeing a number of players enter the Hall of Fame looks to continue to be the norm in the near future.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .