Green Bay Packers: Potential Hall of Famers

The Green Bay Packers have 21 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Packers have the second most individuals in Canton only behind the Chicago Bears, who have 27. With so many quality Green Bay teams over the past decade, there is no doubt some of those players will be inducted into the Hall of Fame when their time comes.

There are some players who have already accomplished enough in their career to be considered worthy of the Hall of Fame while others will have to do a little more before calling it quits if they want to be enshrined forever.

No-brainer: These players are guaranteed to have a bronze bust in Canton once they decide to retire from the NFL. Note: Some of these players may have already retired.

Brett Favre

Brett Favre is the ultimate first-ballot Hall of Famer and I could go on for days with the reasons why he deserves to be inducted.  Favre holds 164 NFL records, an abundance of Packer records and was the first player to accomplish a feat in the NFL 11 times. There have been only eight occasions when Favre was unable to finish a game as the starting quarterback for the Packers. Favre owns the longest consecutive starts streak with 297, a record that will never be broken. During this incredible span 238 other quarterbacks made a start in the NFL, including 14 quarterbacks that served as a backup to Favre. He is a Super Bowl champion, an 11-time Pro Bowler, a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team and won three-consecutive NFL MVP awards, among several other accomplishments. Favre threw for 71,838 yards, 508 touchdowns, 336 interceptions, 10,169 attempts, 6,300 completions and completed 62.0 percent of his passes with a quarterback rating of 86.0 in his 20-year career.

Jerry Kramer

Jerry Kramer has been retired from the NFL since 1968 and has achieved everything a Hall of Famer can accomplish in his career. For whatever reason Kramer has still not been inducted, even though he has been a finalist ten times. This is a crime on behalf of the NFL Seniors committee as there is no other person I can think of that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame more than Kramer. With him suiting up at right guard, the Packers went on to win five NFL championships as well as Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. Kramer’s most famous moment came in the “Ice Bowl” when he was the lead blocker who paved the way for Bart Starr to score the iconic touchdown. Kramer was selected to the Pro Bowl three times, the First-Team All-Pro five times, a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team and the NFL 50th anniversary team.

Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson is one of the greatest and most versatile defensive backs to ever play in the NFL. The Packers signed him as a free agent in 2006, making him the second greatest free agent signing in franchise history after the legendary Reggie White.  Woodson has 881 tackles, 28 forced fumbles, 15.5 sacks and 54 interceptions for 895 yards with 11 returned for touchdowns in his career. His 11 interceptions returned for a touchdown is one shy of Rod Woodson’s NFL record of 12.  Since coming to Green Bay in 2006 he has 37 interceptions, nine touchdowns, 10 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. Woodson is the only player to ever intercept another fellow winner of the Heisman Trophy, which he has done four times (Cam Newton, Vinny Testaverde, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart). Woodson has won Defensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, is a Super Bowl champion, a seven-time All-Pro and an eight-time Pro Bowler.

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers had the difficult role of following a legend when he became the full-time starter for the Packers in 2008. In his short career, he has already accomplished feats that no other quarterback has ever done. Rodgers holds the NFL record for single season quarterback rating with 122.5, he is the only player in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in each of the first two seasons as a starting quarterback, he is the only player in NFL history to throw for 45 or more touchdowns and six or less interceptions in a single season and he is a NFL MVP. Rodgers is also a Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP. He has thrown for 17,366 yards, 132 touchdowns and 38 interceptions while completing 65.4 percent of his passes with a 104.1 quarterback rating in his career.  Rodgers still has a long career ahead of him but there is no doubt he is well on his way to the Hall of Fame.

On the fence: These players hope to accomplish a little more in their careers in order to join the other Packer greats.

Donald Driver

Donald Driver has spent his entire career with the Packers since being drafted in 1999. He has been lucky enough to play with two of the greatest quarterbacks in franchise history and is a Super Bowl champion. Driver holds Green Bay franchise records for career receptions (735), career receiving yards (10,060) and most 1,000 yard seasons (7). His 59 career touchdowns is currently 40 behind Don Hutson’s 99. Driver is one of the greatest receivers in Packers history and has arguably accomplished enough to earn him a Hall of Fame bid. Wide receiver Tim Brown told Driver, “If you win a Super Bowl, they will have to look at you as a candidate for the Hall of Fame.” If Driver plays a couple more seasons and improves his already incredible numbers, while also winning a second Super Bowl, he should have enough to garner a Hall of Fame induction. At the very least, the Packers Hall of Fame will be waiting for him.

Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings has been a phenomenal wide receiver for the Packers since being drafted in 2006. He has 389 receptions for 6,171 yards and 49 touchdowns with an average of 15.9 yards per reception in his career. Jennings is on pace to break Driver’s franchise receiving records in yards and receptions. Of course, it will be easier to catch him once Driver retires from football. Jennings’ most notable NFL accomplishment is catching four passes for 64 yards and hauling in two touchdowns in Green Bay’s victory in Super Bowl XLV. He has also been selected to the NFL All Rookie Team and two Pro Bowls. Obviously, Jennings has a long ways to go before calling his career Hall of Fame worthy, however, there is no doubt he is well on his way.

Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson has made a big name for himself since being drafted by the Packers in 2008. He has 168 receptions for 2,531 yards and 21 touchdowns with an average of 15.1 yards per catch in his young career. Nelson’s biggest NFL accomplishment is hauling in nine receptions for 140 yards (both Green Bay postseason franchise records) and a touchdown in Super Bowl XLV. Nelson has only gotten better in recent years as he posted career highs in touchdowns (15), touchdowns in a game (3) and receiving yards (1,263) last season. He has slowly emerged himself as Rodgers’ favorite target which will benefit both of their careers over the next decade. Nelson has a long road ahead of him before Canton comes knocking, however, continuing his strong statistical seasons and a couple more rings should improve his odds.

Nick Collins

Green Bay selected Nick Collins in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He has had a very productive career with the Packers thus far and hopefully it will only continue to get better. Collins suffered a neck injury in Week 2 of last season and has undergone spinal fusion surgery to give him a chance to play again. His career is still up in the air but it seems there is a good chance he will be in a Packers uniform at the start of the 2012 season.  Collins has 405 total tackles, one sack, 21 interceptions, 507 interception return yards, four defensive touchdowns and five forced fumbles. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, a three-time Second-Team All-Pro, NFC interceptions leader (2008) and a Super Bowl champion. His biggest NFL accomplishment was picking off a pass in Super Bowl XLV and returning it for a touchdown to help propel the Packers to victory. Assuming Collins will continue to play, he needs to pad his stats and get another Super Bowl ring if he wants to be enshrined in Canton. Other than that, he has played a solid career.

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  • Lou

    Favre and Woodson are “locks”, I never thought I would see a Packer corner as good as Herb Adderly but Woodson is even better. Kramer’s odds are not good even though he is deserving and don’t overlook Bobby Dillon as good a safety as their was in the NFL during the 1950′s (poor team records in that decade are the only reason he was not selected). Driver’s numbers although leading the Packers over time do not measure up to others in the “passing era” he played in. Too bad Sharpe had the neck injury, outside of Hutson who may have been the greatest of all time considering the difference between he and the 2nd best receivers numbers during the 30′-40′s would have also been a “lock”, everyone knew Sharpe was their only option but he still made the plays. Rodgers needs to stay healthy and add another Super Bowl trophy, what a QB and class act he has become.

  • Michael Terrill

    Favre and Woodson are not only locks, they are first-ballot easily. I agree with you that if Sterling Sharpe would have stayed healthy there is a good chance he is in the Hall of Fame. Driver is riding the fence as his chances will depend on what else he can accomplish for the last remaining years of his career. Jennings, Nelson, Rodgers I am under the assumption they will get a least one more Super Bowl ring while playing together. That should be enough to lock Rodgers in, assuming he continues to put up solid numbers. Jennings and Nelson will all depend on what kind of numbers they can put up over the next decade.

  • Shavager

    There’s been a tendency for HOF writers to overlook Packers stars from the Lombardi era because “enough Packers” have been selected with the names Taylor, Hornung, Starr, Thurston, Gregg, Nitschke, Davis, Wood, Adderley but no one I can think of deserves to be selected as much as Jerry Kramer. And don’t overlook LB Dave Robinson, a dominant player from the Lombardi years who also deserves to be selected. HOF, it’s time for players to be selected for THEIR performance, THEIR contributions to the game and not overlooked simply because the team was stacked with HOF stars. Favre, Woodson are definite first ballot HOF stars, the other players listed above, excluding Aaron Rodgers, have not necessarily established HOF credentials at this point in their careers. Driver will garner consideration, while his career guarantees him a spot in Packers HOF and Packers fans will support him for the NFL HOF, it remains to be seen if HOF voters will agree.

    • Michael Terrill

      I agree with you that Kramer has been overlooked because so many players have been inducted from the Lombardi-era. However, Kramer still deserves to be inducted, as you said. Favre and Woodson are first-ballot Hall of Famers while Rodgers, assuming he stays on his current path, will be there one day as well. Driver needs at least one more ring and even then it is up in the air while the other three players need to pad their stats and get a couple more rings. All of the players have a solid chance of getting into the Packers HOF.

  • Rossco

    Wow! I think before we consider these guys and Favre we need to take a serious look at some of the Lombardi era players that still aren’t in. Remember championships are the results of many players not just one.

    • Michael Terrill

      You have to realize that the Lombardi-era players do not have a good chance of getting into the Hall of Fame at this point. It has been almost 50 years since they were winning championships. If they are not in by now there is a good chance they never will be. It is an unfortunate thing to say but true. The NFL feels they have acknowledged enough of those players and of course, as Packers fans, we disagree. I could go on and on about players that should be in the HoF but simply won’t be. That is why I focused the article on more recent players because they have the better chance of getting in.