March 10, 2023 12:00pm

The NFL and Franchise Quarterbacks

No franchise has been as blessed at the quarterback position as the Green Bay Packers.

Photo of Rick Gosselin
NFL Correspondent

No franchise has been as blessed at the quarterback position as the Green Bay Packers.

Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have taken the snaps in Green Bay for 43 of the last 63 seasons. They have combined to win seven NFL championships, eight NFL MVP awards and nine league passing titles. They also have combined for 25 Pro Bowls invites. Starr and Favre have busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Rodgers will join them there in the not too distant future.

So who ranks as QB1 in Green Bay lore? That was the first question of this week’s NFL Power Poll that we posed to our panel of former players, coaches, officials, talent evaluators, writers and broadcasters -- Starr, Favre or Rodgers? In our second question, we asked our voters to identify the best eligible quarterback not in the Hall of Fame.

But first things first – Starr got the nod as the best Green Bay quarterback, receiving 75 of the 197 votes cast. Rodgers was right behind him at 72 votes with Favre a distant third at 50.

Starr was a 17th-round pick out of Alabama in 1956 and didn’t take hold of the position until Vince Lombardi arrived in 1959. Starr then quarterbacked the Packers to six NFL championship games in a span of eight years years (1960-67), winning five of them. He added Super Bowl championships to his last two NFL titles in 1966-67.

“With five titles, Bart Starr is the championship GOAT when it comes to Packers’ QBs,” said Wayne Larrivee, the radio voice of the Packers. “But he had a great defense with him and two Hall of Fame backs around him in a running era. Favre always will be the beloved gunslinger who quarterbacked the return to glory in Green Bay. Rodgers is the most talented, complete package of the great Green Bay signal callers but the one time he got to win the Super Bowl he had a Top 5 defense with him.”

Favre went to two Super Bowls but won only one of them. Rodgers went to just the one Super Bowl.

“Super Bowls and championships tend to define quarterbacks,“ said Nick Pugliese, the sports editor of the Palm Beach Post. “That’s why I voted Starr.”

Starr was the NFL MVP in 1966. Favre was a three-time MVP and Rodgers a four-time MVP.

“You can make an argument for all three being the best Packer quarterback of all time,” said Gene Frenette, a columnist for the Florida Times Union. “But my slight edge goes to Rodgers as a four-time MVP and more than a 4-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.”

Favre won his three MVPs in succession from 1995-97 and ranks fourth-all-time in both passing yards and touchdowns.

“Starting in 1995, the Packers went 37-11 in the regular season and 7-2 in the post-season, including a Super Bowl championship,” said Ira Kaufman of “Favre’s bravado lifted the play of everyone around him.”

In our second question, we gave our voters eight options for the best-quarterback-not-in-Canton: Ken Anderson, John Brodie, Charlie Conerly, Roman Gabriel, Cecil Isbell, Jim Plunkett, Phil Simms and Joe

Theismann. Anderson, Brodie, Conerly, Gabriel and Theismann were all past NFL MVPs and Isbell was named to the 1930s NFL all-decade team. Plunkett, Simms and Theismann both won Super Bowls.

Anderson and Plunkett finished in a dead heat at the top with 63 votes apiece, followed by Simms with 22, Theismann 14, Isbell 13, Conerly 8, Gabriel 7 and Brodie 4.

“Surviving the Patriots and the 49ers early in his career should be enough to consider Plunkett for the Hall of Fame,” said Bob Socci, the radio voice of the New England Patriots. “But doing what he did as quarterback of the Raiders merits a bust in Canton.”

Added Pugliese, “Plunkett is the only quarterback to win two Super Bowls who isn’t in the Hall of Fame.”

“I don’t think any of those quarterbacks meet the Hall-of-Fame standard,” said Mark Gaughan, a long-time NFL writer for the Buffalo News. “Most are Hall of Great -- but not the Hall of Fame. Simms and Anderson were great quarterbacks overall and close to the Hall of Fame.”

All eight quarterbacks received votes, which tells you all had glimpses of greatness.

“The top of my list would be Conerly and Brodie,” said long-time Associated Press NFL writer Barry Wilner. “It’s very close, but I went with Conerly for having more consistency. But I don’t believe anyone on that list will make the Hall of Fame.”

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of significant key players in American sports today. It's member list draws on people from media, team management, and league management. It is not a scientific survey, but the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those who know most about the sport.

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