The Honorable Mention List

Today, I give a scenario in which the Packers have six or seven Super Bowl wins.

The Packers are a franchise blessed with incredible riches.  They have left a long-lasting mark on the NFL in three separate eras which have totaled in the franchise capturing 13 World Championships.  Many iconic names have run onto the field to represent the Packers and left their mark on the franchise.  These players have given us many magical plays, big wins, unbelievable comebacks, and iconic moments that will remain with us for the ends of time.  

This franchise is a vital part of the community.  What other franchise has their players ride a local neighborhood kids bike to training camp practices at the Don Hutson Center?  In the times that I have made the treck to Lambeau Field, locals have told me story after story of Packer players involvement in the community, legends gracing local establishments (I have an awesome Brett Favre story), I have seen alumni come back home to Lambeau for alumni weekend, playoff games, or just to retire as a Packer (This year TJ Lang and Josh Sitton ran into our group on more than one occasion).

This is what makes the Packers such a unique and special franchise; each player, past and present has a unique connection with the fan base.  When I was trying to come up with a list of 25 finalists to vote on for the ten greatest Packers players of all-time, I had to leave off some personal favorites like Jordy Nelson and Clay Matthews.  I think everyone thinking about their top ten list at some point, will have to leave off one of their personal favorites.

As I was thinking about the list of finalists we compiled, three names caused me to go back and give them a second look which is why I am writing about the list of the honorable mentions one week before naming the top ten Packers of all-time.

The first player I wanted to give a second look was Charles Woodson.  I guess for me, Woodson played the majority of his career with the Raiders and unfortunately finished his career there.  (Personal bias right? I think so).  I just had to suck it up and let the homecoming with the Raiders go and not let it cloud my judgement.  It's not like he pulled a Brett Favre move out of his hat and engineered a trade to the hated Minnesota Vikings. (I probably need to let that go as well, maybe next week).

Upon further review Woodson stats with the Packers are ridiculous.  Let's take a look at his four year peak: 2008-2011, Super Bowl Champion, 2009 Defensive Player of the Year, 2x All-Pro (3x for career), Average INT Per season: 6.25, Average Passes Defensed: 16.25, Average Forced Fumbles: 2.75, Average Turnovers Forced: 9, Average Defensive Touchdowns: 1.75, Great Punt Returner.  Woodson peak four seasons compare favorably with both Herb Adderly and Willie Wood so for that reason he deserves to be a finalist and quite frankly should have been from the beginning.

The second player I wanted to talk about was Woodson's teammate in the backfield, Nick "the pick" Collins.  I witnessed Nick's return to Lambeau against the 49ers in the home opener and it was just so sad to think about what could have been if he had remained healthy.  I think Nick Collins is one of two players whose biggest impact on the franchise was suffering a career ending injury (Sterling Sharpe is the other).  I have gone over time and time again in my head how a healthy Nick Collins would have changed the fate of the Packers in 2012, 14, and 16.  I think it is safe to say that the Packers would have won another 1-2 Super Bowls, Charles Woodson may have taken a home town discount and ended his career in Green Bay, and Mike McCarthy would have been a Packer for life.

Sound crazy? Let's look at Collins four year peak: Collins was a 6 year starter, started 16 games his rookie season, and was a three time pro-bowler during that time, his four peak was from 2006, 2008-10, Average INT Per Season: 5, Average Passes Defensed: 13.5, Average Forced Fumbles: 0.75, Average Tackles: 69.25, Average Touchdowns: 1 (Forced to Retire at age 28).  He could conservatively have had three to five more very productive seasons.

Finally, I wanted to talk about the second Packer great to have his career cut short by injury, Sterling Sharpe.  Sharpe's case is very similar to Nick Collins in that his career ended in its prime and Packer fans are left wondering what if Sharpe had five more peak years with the Packers.  If you look at the entirety of Sharpe's career you could make the case that he is already on the cusp of the Hall of Fame.  His peak four seasons (1989, 1992-1994, 3x All-Pro) were absolutely incredible averaging 101 receptions, 13.5 yards per reception, 1,319.25 receiving yards per season, and 13.5 Touchdowns per season.  Imagine Brett Favre armed with Sharpe for the two Super Bowl runs and the years that followed.  

When you compare Sharpe's peak four seasons with James Lofton's, Sharpe beats him in every category except average yards per reception (19.975 vs. 13.5).  I think Sharpe definitely can hold his own with Lofton's career especially because Lofton was fortunate enough to play more NFL seasons.  

In terms of impact on the organization; I think the argument can be made that two healthy careers from Nick Collins and Sterling Sharpe could have monumentally shifted the Packers position in the modern era because their injuries could have realistically cost the Packers an additional two to three Super Bowls.  With these two to three additional Super Bowls, the Packers would have been considered the most successful NFL franchise of all-time with 15 or 16 World Championships (Nine NFL Championships and Six or Seven Super Bowls).  That translates into the best NFL franchise of all-time without an argument.  

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (13)

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mrtundra's picture

April 05, 2020 at 08:15 am

If there was a vote for Best Football Player Ever, my vote would be for Charles Woodson. And also, tell me again, why would anybody want to play for the vikings?

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stockholder's picture

April 05, 2020 at 11:25 am

IN 1971 The packers drafted John Brockington RB Ohio St. and Virgil Robinson Rb Grambling St. 1 and 2. I think John Brockington could have been an Honorable mention had he not gotten hurt.

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PeteK's picture

April 05, 2020 at 01:19 pm

There was a debate in 1995 that Sharpe's injury improved the Packer. The ball was spread out more which made them a much harder team to defend. As a result, new stars emerged , Brooks, Chimura, and Levens. It always amazes me how many great QBs and WRs we had in the most unlikely setting for a passing attack.

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GBPDAN1's picture

April 05, 2020 at 01:44 pm

"Today, I give a scenario in which the Packers have six or seven Super Bowl wins."

Replacing TT five years earlier would have helped add a few more SBs. Ted did great to get us one SB. But it should have been more. His dismal draft record the last several years of his tenure and not supplementing the roster in FA when he would strike out in the draft cost the team and Rodgers prime

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Since'61's picture

April 05, 2020 at 02:00 pm

Injuiries have been and will remain a factor in every NFL team's results every season. I'm confident that every NFL team can point to a season or seasons where key players were injured and claim that they could have won the SB that year.

Often times the teams that do win the SB are the teams that were able to overcome their injuries for that season, such as the 2010 Packers team. IIRC the Packers had 14 or 15 players on IR that season, many of them starting players. Even Woodson was injured during the SB.

Speaking for myself all-time greatness requires being on the field to play and to contribute. Woodson played less than half his NFL career in Green Bay and he played great as a Packer. But the all-time Packers played 10+ years in Green Bay at HOF levels. Many played their entire careers in Green Bay.

For me Sharpe was the biggest loss because at the point he was injured he was playing with Favre in Mike Holmgren’s offense. Who knows what they may have accomplished? But that is why part of greatness is staying on the field. A player can’t be great if he isn’t there regardless of his level of talent.

As for injuries hurting a team’s chances to win, they are a factor but they can’t be an excuse. Thanks, Since ‘61

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 05, 2020 at 03:20 pm

Geezus, now we're down to honorable mention rankings. At some point, hopefully this "author" might move on from his stale top ten articles.

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ramart103's picture

April 05, 2020 at 03:45 pm

This "author"is giving us a Packer fix. He's providing content for a hungry fan base. I don't agree with everything Michalski says, but I appreciate the effort to entertain. I would recommend that you practice social distancing from your keypad.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 05, 2020 at 05:16 pm

Yeah, well his last five or six articles are just slightly different variations of the same topic. Lazy journalism at it's finest. Name me one other CHTV contributor that does that. Most at least make an effort to keep it interesting. Looking forward to his top ten condiments to add to your bratwurst. Should be quite riveting.

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Lphill's picture

April 05, 2020 at 06:16 pm

My scenerio would be if you have a HOF QB surround him with talent , wasn’t done with Favre and not being done with Rodgers , it was done with Brady and look at the results. Pretty simple . But let’s surround Rodgers with a bunch of undrafted free agents maybe that will work.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 05, 2020 at 07:16 pm

What undrafted free agents are you talking about?

LT Bakhtiari...drafted
LG Jenkins...drafted
C Linsley...drafted
RG Turner...drafted
RT Wagner...drafted
RB1 Jones...drafted
RB2 Williams...drafted
WR Adams...drafted
WR Funchess...drafted
WR Lazard...UDFA
WR MVS...drafted
TE Sternberger...drafted
PK Crosby...drafted

One undrafted FA in the bunch. Of course you won't respond to dispute this. Just keep throwing sh*t up against the wall and hope it sticks.

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Lphill's picture

April 05, 2020 at 07:24 pm

Is that his entire career or last year only? Exactly

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 06, 2020 at 09:36 am

I'm not going to go through every roster every year Rodgers has played to disprove your idiotic statement. My point is neither Rodgers nor Favre have ever been surrounded by a "bunch" of undrafted free agents. But facts obviously mean nothing to you.

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Grimm's picture

April 06, 2020 at 01:19 pm

I just watched highlights from the 2011 opener

Rodgers had alot of talent around him

Greg Jennings
Donald Driver
Jordy Nelson
Randall Cobb
Jermichael Finley
Ryan Grant
James Starks

7 Guys that were all very talented.

I have to compare that with our last Roster
Devonte Adams
Alan Lazzard
MVS
Other guys
Graham TE on last legs
Arron Jones
Jamal Williams

2-3 guys on that level.

Its not all on Rodgers, He is lacking playmaking talent around him. At least in my opinion.

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