Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Let's Keep Things In Perspective

Accolades will pour in for Donald Driver today when he holds his retirement announcement at the Lambeau Field Atrium this morning.  Double D certainly deserves much of that praise, as he was always accommodating to fans, was involved in the community and never got into any kind of off the field trouble.  He raised a lot of money for charity after picking up the Brett Favre softball game in Appleton.  His wife was also committed to literacy programs in the Green Bay area as well.

But can we please refrain from calling Driver the "Greatest Packers Receiver Ever"?  I know modern fans don't think anything happened before they were born, but Donald Driver is not even close to being the best pass catcher in franchise history.  That title continues to be held by Don Hutson.

Hutson is widely considered the first "moden" wide receiver in NFL history.  His main role wasn't to block on the end of the line for running plays--but rather to get downfield for long passes and big plays.  He was big for time and fast as well.  Defenses were completely unprepared to handle him--as most cornerbacks and safeties were smaller, slower and trained to tackle ball carriers more than defend deep pass routes.  His first ever play in the NFL was an 83-yard touchdown reception.

Hutson once scored 4 touchdowns IN A SINGLE QUARTER--still an NFL record (he also kicked all four extra points and one more as well for another single quarter record of 29-points).  He was the first 1,000 yard receiver--in a ten game season.  And most of his career and season receiving records lasted well into the 1980's and 90's--even after the game became more pass-happy and seasons expanded to 16-games.  When Jerry Rice and Steve Largent and Art Monk were breaking all of those records--they were all Don Hutson records.  And despite the offensive explosion in the game, Hutson still holds 13 NFL Records:

  • Most seasons led league, scoring: 5
  • Most consecutive seasons led league, scoring: 5
  • Most points scored in a quarter: 29
  • Most touchdowns scored in a quarter: 4
  • Most touchdown receptions in a quarter: 4
  • Most seasons led league, touchdowns: 8
  • Most consecutive seasons led league, touchdowns: 4
  • Most seasons led league, receiving touchdowns: 9
  • Most consecutive seasons led league, receiving touchdowns: 5
  • Most seasons led league, receptions: 8
  • Most consecutive seasons led league, receptions: 5
  • Most seasons led league, receiving yards: 7
  • Most consecutive seasons led league, receiving yards: 4
So please, when speaking about Donald Driver today, let's not get too carried away with estimations of his place in the history of the game and of the Green Bay Packers.  I get the feeling that despite all of the love, his name will never appear on the side of any buildings 70 years after his retirement today.

PS--James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe would also like to debate all-time Packer receiver rankings as well--and they have some pretty good arguments.

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