Ranking the Green Bay Packers Top Five Quarterbacks After Bart Starr and Before Brett Favre

The Green Bay Packers have won more NFL titles than any team in league history. They have also had some outstanding quarterbacks. Bart Starr led the team to five titles in the 1960s before retiring after the 1971 season. In 1992, Brett Favre became the starter. Since then, Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love have continued the team’s high level of quarterback play.

But between Starr’s retirement and the arrival of Favre, the team struggled to win football games. One reason was the inconsistent quarterback play the team received during that era. While the quarterback play during this era wasn’t usually elite, there were some good players with good seasons during this rough time. Here are the top five Packers quarterbacks from 1972-1991, the two decades between Starr’s retirement and Favre’s arrival.

Number Five: Randy Wright

Randy Wright started 32 games during his five seasons with the Packers. The former University of Wisconsin star took over as the starter in 1986 and started all 16 games. He split time as the starter with Don Majkowski in 1987 and 1988.

The 1986 season was Wright’s best when he threw for 3,247 yards and 17 touchdowns. His most memorable performance came on Thanksgiving Day in 1986 against Detroit when he threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-40 win over the Lions.

Number Four: Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter spent three seasons with the Packers from 1971 through 1973. While Hunter never completed more than 50 percent of his passes or threw more than seven touchdown passes in any season, he did finish with a winning record, going 15-11-3 as a starter in Green Bay.

Hunter also led the Packers to their only non-strike playoff appearance between 1968 and 1991 when he started all 14 games during the Packers 10-4 season in 1972.

Hunter had good leadership skills and managed to stay in the NFL primarily as a backup, through the 1979 season.

Number Three: David Whitehurst

The Packers selected David Whitehurst in the eighth round of the 1977 NFL Draft. The rookie was pressed into service in Week 10 when starter Lynn Dickey was lost for the season with a broken leg.

Whitehurst remained the starter from Week 11 of the 1977 season through Week 13 of the 1979 campaign when Dickey was healthy enough to return to the lineup.

Whitehurst led the Packers to an 8-7-1 record in 1978, one of two winning seasons the team had in the decade of the 70s.

Whitehurst was the quarterback during James Lofton’s rookie season and threw three touchdown passes to the future Hall of Famer in Week 2 in 1978.

After Dickey returned, Whitehurst remained a competent backup through the 1983 season.

Number Two: Dan Majkowski

Don Majkowski spent six seasons with the Packers from 1987-1992. After splitting time with Wright in his first two seasons, “The Majik Man” had a career year in 1989, throwing for an NFL-best 4,318 yards and 27 touchdowns while leading the Packers to a 10-6 record.

Majkowski was daring and exciting, often scrambling to avoid pressure and then making plays on the run.

He also came through in the clutch, leading the team to several last minute, comeback wins that season and earning Pro Bowl honors.

One of his most memorable games came in 1989 when he threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe to beat the Bears 14-13 in the “Instant Replay Game.”

In 1992, Majkowski was injured and replaced by Favre in Week 3. He never started another game for the Packers after that and finished his career with the Colts and Lions.

Number One: Lynn Dickey

The Packers traded for Lynn Dickey before the 1976 season. After some early struggles with injuries and inconsistent play, Dickey started to excel in the 1980 season.

From 1981-1984, he led a high-powered offense that featured elite receivers like Lofton, John Jefferson, and tight end Paul Coffman.

Dickey had a strong arm but lacked mobility after suffering so many injuries. If given time, he could pick apart even the best secondaries.

Dickey’s best season came in 1983 when he led the league with 32 touchdown passes and 4,458 yards. He also averaged a league-high 9.2-yards per attempt and 15.4-yards per completion.

Dickey led the Packers to their only playoff appearance of the 80s during the strike-shortened 1982 campaign.

Dickey’s career ended after the 1985 season. He was the team’s best quarterback during that difficult era between 1972 and 1991.

 

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Comments (23)

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 04, 2024 at 01:08 pm

What of dearth of talent for 20+ years minus Dickey and Majik. Randy Wright being 5th is all you need to know. So bad.

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Spock's picture

July 04, 2024 at 01:37 pm

Those were long, long, seasons for the fans. I think Gil should have mentioned one of my favorite Packer games of all time: when Lynn Dickey led the Packers against Washington in the one of the highest scoring games of all time the famous night game where both teams had great offenses and lousy defenses and the final was, I think, 44-40 (Packers win) or something like that.
Unrelated, but I posted this story on Nagler's latest Daily chat and since it's the 4th of July I thought I'd post it here too:

I will never forget the July 4th where my dad had "inside information" from a co-worker on how to get "ahead of the crowd" for an "up close" view of the city fireworks. It was a moonless night and got dark really, really, fast. The "secret" path for this alleged amazing view had us (mom & dad and we three young kids) parking on the other side of a cement plant and cutting through their inventory lot. The lot was a maze of fully cast concrete pillars, culverts, cement ornaments, etc. and it took us quite a while to work our way through to the field where the fireworks were to be shown. By the time we'd clambered to this spot you could barely see more than a few feet in the dark. My mom asked dad why the crowd (which had passed easily through the gate from the other direction) was so far away and dad just proudly said something like we were going to have "the best seats" of anyone and would be "right where all the fireworks would be." The whole hike had taken so long that it was literally moments before the Fireworks were to start. Suddenly, a man came running out of the dark and nearly screams at us, "What are you doing here?!" My dad starts to explain about how he'd learned about this "great place to see the fireworks close up." when the man cuts him off. "LOOK UP! Do you see those wires?" Turns out dad's co-worker's "hot tip" on the seating had brought us DIRECTLY UNDER the wires of a fireworks set-up with hundreds of flares & assorted twirling fire type display. It was only a few feet above our heads in the darkness and the man had been doing a last-minute safety check of the area because the display was scheduled to be the opening fireworks display of the night -which was to start in about 3 minutes! We ended up sitting (safely) way at the back of the crowd. I think the biggest "fireworks" of the night was when mom lit into dad about "endangering her children", LOL.

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GregC's picture

July 04, 2024 at 03:09 pm

That win against the Redskins in 1983 was 48-47. Lynn Dickey threw for 387 yards and 3 TDs, and Redskins kicker Mark Mosely (who was the best kicker in the league) missed a 39-yard field goal attempt as time expired. It was the highest scoring game in NFL history until 2018. I was a teenager at the time, and I watched the whole thing on TV. Stayed up late on a school night.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 04, 2024 at 07:41 pm

I remember one of my favorite Packers from that era, Mike Douglass, had a good game but the rest of the defense floundered. I think Douglass was listed at 220 but I doubt his actual playing weight was 215. That LB corps of Douglass, Cumby, Anderson and Wingo wasn't bad but they were all pretty light except Wingo and he was slow.

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dark41's picture

July 06, 2024 at 01:00 pm

That game started with 2 Eddie Garcia kickoffs going out of bounds (a record?). In the Monday Night Football booth, Dandy Don and Gifford were joined by OJ. 3rd down on Redskins' first possession, Mike Douglas caused and took a screen play fumble to the end zone. On their 2nd possession, 2nd and goal from the 3, Riggins fumbles and recovered in end zone for Redskins TD. Just a few of the strange things during this game.

Lofton, Jefferson, and Coffman were a great receiving corps. Stenerud was the highest active scorer in the NFL.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

July 04, 2024 at 09:53 pm

Lynn Dickey had an amazing ability to hit players in stride, far downfield.
Additionally, the Lynn Dickey Coffee Cake from the Packer Cookbook is excellent! It’s a family favorite I’ve made dozens of times!

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:10 am

I guess the coffee cake cements Lynns position as the best Packer QB of the 70's and 80's!

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Vachio's picture

July 05, 2024 at 06:46 am

Man, watching Dickey at QB was a wild ride! You held your breath every time he dropped back. Seemed like it was going to be a TD or an INT with every throw...and possibly both. If I recall, one season he led the league in both TDs and INTs.

Loved Majik. I was so mad when Favre took over. Wanted the team to bench him and put Majik back in all the way up until the 1993 playoff game against the Lions. After the way he ended that game, I thought, "Maybe the kid is OK after all."

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cheezyone's picture

July 05, 2024 at 08:10 am

I remember that game when Majik got hurt, and they put Favre in. I said who the hell is that? It turned out pretty good.

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HawkPacker's picture

July 05, 2024 at 09:05 am

Cheez, surprised you did not know who he was and he was traded by Atlanta to GB for one of their two first round picks.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:28 am

I was on the road driving to a meeting with a customer and when I heard on the radio Wolf had traded a #1 for a 3rd stringer from Atlanta, almost drove off the Interstate.

Favre failed his post trade physical (hip necropsis) but Wolf overruled the medical team and the legend began.

He played poorly in his first game after replacing a benched Majik vs Tampa...but did complete a pass to himself during the losing effort.

Being a season ticket holder, I was in Lambeau the following week when Majik again got injured. Favre came in and played poorly again....fumbled 4 times...and the crowd was actually chanting for Ty Detmer!

But the Gunslinger finally found his aim, clawed back, and threw the game ending, game winning TD to Kittrick Taylor. Taylor only caught 2 passes in Green Bay and that TD was the only one he had during his NFL career. Favre meanwhile, never came off the field again.

Wolf Truly believed in Favre.

So did Holmgren. At one point (I think 1993), as Favre was throwing too many interceptions, all the O coaches were in favor of benching Favre and playing the talented Mark Brunell. But this time Holmgren overruled....and kept Brett as starter and the future HOF induction.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 05, 2024 at 02:52 pm

"So did Holmgren. At one point (I think 1993), as Favre was throwing too many interceptions, all the O coaches were in favor of benching Favre and playing the talented Mark Brunell."

You have that backwards. Holmgren thought of benching him a few times but Mariucci and Reid talked him out of it. There's a famous clip of him saying to sit him and then changing his mind a minute later. Reid has said his main job the 1st couple years in Green Bay was to be a buffer between Holmgren and Favre.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:13 am

I can remember wanting to see much more of Mark Brunell when Favre would go into his duck and chuck episodes.

I knew Favre from his engineering a Southern Miss win over my favorite home state football team from Tallahassee. He was a real stud in that game and when the Packers got him, I thought the price was high, but I already knew and liked the player.

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HawkPacker's picture

July 05, 2024 at 09:11 am

Yes, I certainly do agree with the #2 and #1 QB's. Numbers 3 - 5, who knows. I do remember the packers acquiring Jim Del Gazo and he did provide a spark for awhile. I remember the announcers saying that since he was a left hander, the receivers were having a somewhat difficult time holding on to his passes as the ball rotated backwards from what they were used to. Don't remember if that made any sense or not but for whatever reason, I remember that. I don't remember what I had for breakfast this morning so go figure!

Scott Hunter was only good at handing off to the RB's-Brockington and Lane. I remember when they made the playoffs against Washington. Washington played a five man defensive front against the pack as they were daring them to pass. Smart move as we lost that game. The Washington coach? None other than George Allen.

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:15 am

George Allen... The same George Allen who took over the Redskins after Lombardi passed away and took Vinces team to the SB only to lose a very close game to the undefeated Dolphins.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 05, 2024 at 09:41 am

We had good and bad quarterbacking during the Long Dry Spell, but we also only had ONE 1000yard rusher during that time, and we only had ONE pro bowl offensive lineman during that stretch.

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Johnblood27's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:16 am

ah, so you remember the Terd...

Terdell Middleton!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Terdell Middleton
No. 34, 39, 43
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: April 8, 1955
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Died: April 3, 2015 (aged 59)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 198 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school: South Side
College: Memphis
NFL draft: 1977 / Round: 3 / Pick: 80
Career history
Green Bay Packers (1977–1981)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1982–1983)
Memphis Showboats (1984)
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowl (1978)
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts: 561
Rushing yards: 2,048
Rushing TDs: 15
Player stats at PFR
Terdell Middleton (April 8, 1955 – April 3, 2015) was an American professional football player who was a running back for seven seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Born in Memphis, Tennessee, he was originally a third round pick in the 1977 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Middleton was traded to the Green Bay Packers in the preseason. He went to the Pro Bowl after the 1978 season, when he ran for 1,116 yards, sixth best in the NFL. He also played in the USFL for the Memphis Showboats in 1984.[1]

Middleton died in Memphis on April 3, 2015, five days short of his 60th birthday.

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justjan's picture

July 05, 2024 at 10:05 am

Dead zone of the off season, obviously.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:50 am

I truly enjoyed the Lynn Dickey and his Air Force with Loften, Jefferson, Coffman. However the Defense, too often uncomplementary in Green Bay, was poor and team was mediocre overall during his time.

But Lynn had a great NFL arm...unfortunately he also had a great injury resume.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 05, 2024 at 11:55 am

Loved that Dickey to Lofton connection. That game the Packers played against the Broncos during a snowstorm was a classic to see just how well Lynn Dickey could throw a football.

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dark41's picture

July 06, 2024 at 01:02 pm

I'm a huge Lynn Dickey fan. He could make every throw. His only weakness was mobility. Too bad that he never had a good defense in GB.

Also a huge fan of Magic Man. Tragic injury led to the end of his career and life long struggle. Can only imagine what might have been.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 06, 2024 at 04:34 pm

I think if Dickey had played in the era of the protected QB he'd have had a much better career.

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Spanky65's picture

July 06, 2024 at 01:24 pm

With the exception of Lynn Dickey and The Majik Man the QB play was so
pathetic during the specified period that one of of the starting QB's during
that time frame was a QB named Carlos Brown, who later became more famous
as Alan Autry who played Lt. Bubba Skinner in the TV Hit series IN THE HEAT OF
THE Night.

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