The Five Best Packers Teams That Didn’t Win a Championship

We take a look at and rank the five best Packers team in history that never won an NFL title.

The Green Bay Packers have won 13 NFL titles, more than any other franchise in league history. But they have also had some outstanding teams that fell just short of a championship.

Here is a look at the five best Packers teams in history that did not win a Super Bowl or NFL title game. Teams are ranked based on their record, their talent level, their dominance during the season and their place in Packers history.

5. 2001 12-4-0  Head Coach: Mike Sherman

The Packers finished 12-4-0 in 2001 and had a strong team from top to bottom. The Packers featured three Pro Bowl players on offense in quarterback Brett Favre, running back Ahman Green and tight end Bubba Franks.

The Packers scored 390 points and allowed just 266 while going 7-1 at home and going 6-2 in the NFC Central Division.

Mike Sherman’s team lost only four games and three of them came by a combined total of 13 points.

In the playoffs, the Packers beat the 49ers 25-15 before getting crushed by the Rams in Favre’s worst playoff performance ever, a six-interception game that included three pick-sixes and put a sour ending to what was an otherwise outstanding season.

4. 1941 10-1-0 Head Coach: Curly Lambeau

The Packers 1941 squad is often overlooked in team history, but they were a dominant team from top to bottom. The Packers finished the season with a 10-1 record and their only loss came to the Bears who they also defeated in their rematch on November 2nd in Chicago.

Wide receiver Don Hutson was the league MVP and passer Cecil Isbell was also an All-Pro for Curly Lambeau’s squad.

Other outstanding players on the roster that season include Clarke Hinkle, Buckets Goldenberg, Tony Canadeo, Joe Laws and Larry Craig.

The Packers finished 1941 with eight straight victories despite playing five of their final six contests on the road.

Both the Packers and Bears finished with 10-1 records, so the two teams met in a Western Conference playoff tiebreaker game in Chicago on December 14, 1941, one week after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

A Clarke Hinkle touchdown run gave the Packers an early 7-0 lead, but they fell to the Bears 33-14 to end what was an otherwise very successful season.

3. 2011 15-1-0 Head Coach: Mike McCarthy

The Packers were the defending Super Bowl champions heading into the 2011 season and their strong play that year proved last year’s title was no fluke.

The Packers scored a franchise record 560 points and won their first 13 games before falling to the Chiefs in Kansas City on December 18.

Aaron Rodgers was named the league’s MVP after throwing for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns with just six interceptions.

Seven Packers made the Pro Bowl including Rodgers, FB John Kuhn, WR Greg Jennings, C Scott Wells, DT B.J. Raji, OLB Clay Matthews and CB Charles Woodson.

The defense was the big reason this team didn’t rank higher on this list. They were ranked dead last in the league in yards allowed and surrendered 359 points.

The Packers hit their peak a bit too early in the season and struggled a bit in December. They lost their only postseason game, a 37-20 decision to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants at Lambeau Field.

2. 1997 13-3-0 Head Coach: Mike Holmgren

The Packers went to their second consecutive Super Bowl in 1997 after finishing with their second straight 13-3 record. They accomplished this despite playing a tough schedule. Seven teams the Packers defeated that season went on to qualify for the playoffs.

Brett Favre won his third straight league MVP award after throwing 35 touchdown passes to lead the league.

In addition to Favre, halfback Dorsey Levens, tight end Mark Chmura, special teams ace Travis Jervey, defensive end Reggie White and safety LeRoy Butler all made the Pro Bowl for the Pack.

The Packers won their final five regular season games and finished with a perfect 8-0 record at home.

In the playoffs, the Pack defeated the Buccaneers in the divisional round before knocking off Steve Young and the 49ers in San Francisco in the NFL Championship Game 23-10.

The Packers were 11 ½-point favorites in Super Bowl XXXII against the Broncos but fell 31-24 after a last-minute drive fell short.

1. 1963 11-2-1 Head Coach: Vince Lombardi

In 1963, the Packers were looking for their third straight NFL title under Vince Lombardi. After finishing 13-1 in 1962, the Pack “only” finished 11-2-1 in 1963, but the Bears finished 11-1-2 and won the Western Division. Both Packers losses came to the Bears.

There were no wild cards back then, so the Packers had to settle for playing in “The Playoff Bowl”, a game pitting the two second place teams against each other and is now considered an exhibition game. The Packers crushed the Cleveland Browns 40-23 at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

This Packers team was loaded with talent. They finished second in the league with 369 points scored and had the second stingiest defense in the NFL, allowing just 206 points in 14 games.

Green Bay probably would have repeated as champions had not two crucial things occurred. First, future Hall of Fame halfback Paul Hornung was suspended for the entire season for betting on football, so the Packers were without his services.

Then, quarterback Bart Starr was injured midseason and missed four games. He was replaced by backup John Roach who won three of his four starts but completed only 45.2 percent of his passes for the season while throwing four touchdowns and eight interceptions. Roach’s poor performances encouraged the Packers to acquire Zeke Bratkowski who would serve as Starr’s backup for the rest of Lombardi’s tenure in Green Bay.

The 1963 Packers featured 11 future Hall of Famers including Starr, Jim Taylor, Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer, Jim Ringo, Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Willie Wood and Herb Adderley. They also had a Hall of Fame coach in Lombardi.

As good as this team was, they fell just short of a third straight title. That kind of history had to wait another four years before Lombardi’s club made history at the Ice Bowl.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (23)

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Jonathan Spader's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:01 pm

2014 Packers with the #1 ranked offense and #14 defense.

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GilMartin's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:07 pm

They narrowly missed this list and were right up there with some of these teams. Thanks for commenting.

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ricky's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:49 pm

Following up on JonathonSpader, the 2014 Packers were loaded, healthy and were beating Seattle like a drum until they collapsed in the final minutes. That loss is still really painful.

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GilMartin's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:57 pm

Very. I remember with 6 minutes left thinking about the Super Bowl. That collapse was so painful. I think it even affected the team the following season. Thanks for the comment.

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croatpackfan's picture

March 27, 2020 at 06:22 am

After that game Packers were down till the end of Mike McCarthy era. They never healed back. Even those 2 games (against Cardinals and NFCCG against Falcons looked like heavy digging with no result!). That was the last we saw from Mike McCarthy Packers. Rest was just acceptance of fate!

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:37 pm

Two Fails for Big Mac.

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GilMartin's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:45 pm

Yeah tough ones to watch no doubt.

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NickPerry's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:02 pm

I STILL can't watch the final minutes of that game.

I also still can't watch the that final drive in Mike Holmgren's last game as the Packers HC vs the 49ers. Terrell Owens caught a TD pass with seconds left, a pass that should have NEVER been allowed since Jerry Rice CLEARLY FUMBLED THE BALL a play or two before. THAT call was perhaps even more obvious than the PI call that wasn't called on the Rams vs the Saints 2 years ago. He DROPPED that F**KING BALL!!!

See I'm still upset!!!! LOL

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Since'61's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:33 pm

Nick that fumble by Rice was the play that brought Replay review back to the NFL. The owners had voted to suspend it for the '98 season and the Packers suffered as a result of it. The officials blew that call but it would have been overturned with Replay if they were using it during that season. HATE that call to this day. I still wonder if Holmgren would have remained in Green Bay if we won it all that year. It was also Reggie's last game with the Packers. Stay well. Thanks, Since '61

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Qoojo's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:58 pm

#3 - really bad defense, and they probably couldn't have stopped a peewee team's offense. I think the 2014 team was better because the 2011 defense was about as bad as it gets.

"The 2011 Packers defense didn't finish in any top 10 categories, but they had bottom-10 finishes in overall defense, pass defense and sacks."

#5 - Brett Favre and mediocre to bad defense. Once Favre started to feel the pressure to win it all by himself and force balls, it was all over.

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GilMartin's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:48 pm

The defense was not great, but it's hard not to include a team that went 15-1 on this list. Thanks for commenting.

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Qoojo's picture

March 26, 2020 at 06:24 pm

Yea, that offense was something else. They had to score almost every time, and they almost did.

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CAG123's picture

March 27, 2020 at 06:01 pm

You have to remember how the Packers offense was jumping on teams forcing them to play catch-up which also allowed the defense to be top 5 in TO. Yes they weren’t great but they were pretty good early in games and late in the few shootouts the Packers did have and very opportunistic.

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cheesehead1's picture

March 26, 2020 at 06:50 pm

Offense in football is exciting to say the least, but in most circumstances, defense always wins. Our D has been in disarray for years. Hope Gute can finally fix it.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:11 pm

Go back and watch the SB.

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GilMartin's picture

March 27, 2020 at 03:09 pm

We took a step forward last season. Hoping for more progress in 2020

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MarkLee22's picture

March 28, 2020 at 07:58 pm

No doubt. Back to back Hall of Fame QBs in a 28 year span and just 2 Super Bowl wins to show for it is a #[email protected]%ing crime. And its almost all because of the defense.

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Since'61's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:16 pm

Lombardi's '63 Packers were the best team to not win the NFL Championship. They had Lombardi and they had 11 HOFers on the team. They were repeat champions from '61 and '62 and they had lost only 3 games during the '62 and '63 seasons. They would have played the NY Giants for the 3rd consecutive time and they would have crushed them again in Green Bay. The Bears beat the Giants 14-10 in Chicago to win the championship in '63. The Giants were done. After that game the Giants went into NFL oblivion until the mid-80s when they hired Bill Parcells.

The 2011 team did not have a championship defense. Even if they beat the Giants I'm not sure they were good enough to win the SB with that defense. The 2001 team was the beginning of the Favre bone head period when he made numerous poor choices with passes and threw several interceptions at key points during the playoffs. That Rams game was the worst of the worst but I'm not sure that was a championship level team.

Didn't see the '41 team so I can't comment.

Holmgren's '97 team was good enough to win but not better than Lombardi's '63 team. The Packers went into the game against Denver with a beat up DL. Sean Jones was out and Reggie was playing hurt. If the team was 100% they could have stopped the Denver ground game and won that game. However, I would say that Holmgren did not have one of his better games as HC and Favre's game as QB could have been better as well.

What might have been? '63 and '97 teams had the best shots to win. After that not so much.

As for the 2014 Packers we'll never know, but if they folded against Seattle would they have held up against the Pats?
Everyone stay well. Thanks, Since '61

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Crazedcamel's picture

March 27, 2020 at 09:12 am

They held off the Pats at Lambeau in week 12 of 2014, 26-21. Great game, Jordy beat Revis on a crossing route for the clinching TD.

I would’ve liked the Packers chances in a rematch despite the coaching disadvantage.

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Since'61's picture

March 27, 2020 at 04:27 pm

They won against the Pats at Lambeau which was a factor in the victory. It was one of MMs best coached games.

If they made it past Seattle the key question would have been if AR was at 100% when they played the SB. I still firmly believe that if AR was 100% when they played Seattle in the NFCCG the Packers would have won the game. There were several times when he would have run for 1st downs if he had 2 good legs. He would have extended drives, used up more time and possibly have added more points which would have meant Seattle would not have enough time to comeback at the end of the game. Regrettably we’ll never know. Thanks, Since ‘61

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MarkLee22's picture

March 28, 2020 at 08:16 pm

I love it! "The Favre bone head period!" So many fans seem to forget he cost us a few playoff games with stupid interceptions. And did the same thing with the Jets with a chance at a playoff berth until Favre's last pick. And of course his infamous pick as a Viking. Run the ball kick a FG but he throws a pick. I loved The Gunslinger but I was more than ready for Aaron Rodgers to take the reins.

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Bearmeat's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:33 pm

2014 needs to be on this list. That team was better than the 01 team at the very least. I can't comment on the 60's or 40s lol.

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GilMartin's picture

March 27, 2020 at 03:10 pm

I don't remember them either but did my research. 2014 was darn good and was my sixth best team.

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