There have been so many great players in team history that we at packershistory.com wanted to share what we deem the definitive Green Bay Packers Pantheon.
The Green Bay Packers Pantheon is a 13-man list of the greatest Packers in franchise history. Greatest meaning, these are the names that absolutely have to be uttered when recounting this team’s rise from playing in small-town Green Bay to playing in Titletown — as well as keeping it Titletown.
There are 13 names for the 13 World Championships this franchise has amassed. When Green Bay wins it’s next championship, a 14th member shall be added — and on and on as the decades pass.
This elite group of men, the Green Bay Packers Pantheon, was chosen in a very specific manner. These 13 men have, above all others, helped keep the Green Bay Packers from being just another NFL franchise to being the most renowned, successful and unique franchise in league history.
No, this isn’t a list of the 13 most talented, accomplished or statistically-dominant players in team history. Instead, it’s a list of the true cornerstones of this team’s unrelenting history.
The three definitions of a Pantheon:
I. The gods of a particular country or group of people .
II. A group of people who are famous or important .
III. A temple that is built to honor all the gods of a particular country or group of people.
Before you scoff at the thought of a Pantheon for football players, consider the following questions.
Are the Green Bay Packers religion to some? Are the fabled names of the team’s past somehow more than human? Are they mythical? Is history honored in Green Bay at a higher level than most places in America? Is there another football stadium on earth so greatly regarded or treated as a similarly to a museum of precious memories?
Because the answers to those questions are quite evident, we figured the Packers deserve a Pantheon — a group of names held slightly higher in regard than the rest.
You will not find a list like this anywhere on the internet and this is the first published Packers Pantheon of greats (first unveiled in August, 2016).
I would challenge any NFL franchise to come up with a more historic 13-man list. Although it isn’t the names that made the list which is impressive — it’s the names that didn’t make it which is truly astounding.
Without further ado, we present to you…
The Green Bay Packers Pantheon
(In Alphabetical Order)
Let those 13 names resonate.
Think about the football culture in Green Bay they may have built, resurrected, protected or passed on. You celebrate it each Sunday; with each kickoff you celebrate this franchise’s legacy. It wouldn’t be nearly the same without these 13 names.
Each name in the Pantheon is there for a reason, with some inextinguishable connection to Packers history, the franchise’s overall success and it’s unprecedented relationship with the fans.
Before you ask, “Where are Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau?”
For one, the Packers’ stadium is named after Lambeau and the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy is named for Lombardi. Those names are above any list. They transcend football history. And both are immortalized with 14-foot statues outside the Packers’ home stadium. They don’t belong in the pantheon — they are already held above the rest in team history.
They, obviously, would be on this list if they didn’t already occupy the ultimate thrones of Packers lore. But they will never be forgotten in Green Bay. Ever. Their names will be synonymous with Green Bay and the NFL even after the game is no longer played. Many of the names on this list may not seem likely to be forgotten, but as time passes, people’s memories change. Few that saw Hutson play are still alive today.
This Pantheon was assembled to ensure that these names, above all others, live on together forever.
Anyone, and we mean anyone, that knows anything about the NFL knows the names Lambeau and Lombardi. But not everyone fan knows about Forrest Gregg or Tony Canadeo. In fifty years, casual NFL fans, outside of Wisconsin, might not even remember Donald Driver — unless they check this Pantheon out.
What is most impressive about this list is the names that were left off. Numerous legendary names did not make this list. Paul Hornung, Clarke Hinkle, Johnny Blood, Ron Wolf, Jerry Kramer, Mike Michalske, Sterling Sharpe, Dave Robinson, Willie Wood, James Lofton, Herb Adderley, LeRoy Butler, Ahman Green, Cal Hubbard, Jim Ringo, Clay Matthews, Mike Holmgren, Henry Jordan, Mike McCarthy and the list goes on and on.
The names that didn’t make the this Pantheon are more impressive than many of the “Ring of Honor” collections various NFL teams celebrate.
That’s what separates this franchise from so many others.
Who will be the next player added to this pantheon when the Packers win their next NFL Championship? That list above has some strong contenders, but maybe it’ll be a newer player on the Packers’ roster now.
It’s a fun thing to ponder.