Last year's ceremony was a bit of a media circus because QB Brett Favre was in attendance when C Frank Winters was inducted. This year, it's WR Antonio Freeman and RB Dorsey Levens turn as both of them have been inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
The news made me wonder whether those two really deserved to be in the hall of fame, but when I scanned the list of players inducted (Here's the complete list) it's obvious there are a bunch of feel good stories inducted. It's not all about stats.
Here's the list of players who have been inducted over the last 10 years:
- LB Johnny Holland. As a middle linebacker in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was a bright spot on what was usually a poor defense. Often he led the team in tackles and he was a fan favorite, so it's easy to see why he was inducted.
- WR Sterling Sharpe. His career lasted from 1988 to 1994 and he was easily the best player on the team during that time, until Favre and DE Reggie White came on board. An easy choice.
- LB Mike Douglass. He was probably the star player on defense in the early 1980s. He was an undersized guy who had no business playing in the NFL, it's probably generous to list him on Pro Football Reference at 6'0" and 220 lbs. But he succeeded anyway. And the Packer organization owed him something too; his Packer career was cut a little short when he was caught up in the roster purge by then new head coach Forrest Gregg.
- RB Edgar Bennett. I'll admit that I was never much of a fan. He played hard and was a good receiver, but he never did anything as a runner. But he started on a winning Super Bowl team, so I understand why he was inducted.
- QB Don Majkowski. Let's face it; overall he was a lousy QB. But 1989 was magic. It was the first season with double digits in wins since 1972, and that didn't happen again until 1995. A glimmer of hope, a true feel good story, at the end of a disappointing and depressing decade.
- DE Reggie White. Of course. He made it in the Packer Hall of Fame the same year as the NFL Hall of Fame, unfortunately posthumosly in 2006.
- SS LeRoy Butler. He had an amazing career; 4 time All-Pro (1993, 1996-1998). He wasn't quite as good in 1999-2001, but it was only a slight decline until a severe shoulder injury ended his career on one play.
- WR Robert Brooks. His 1995 season was brilliant (102 rec., 1497 yards, 13 TDs) but it was the only year he was the true No. 1 receiver; Sharpe before then and Freeman after. I can see why that great season alone would get him inducted.
- NT Gilbert Brown. The stats don't show it, it's hard to use statistics to rank a nose tackle, but he was a force during the 1996 Super Bowl winning season. Then the injuries and Gilbert Burgers took that dominant player away. From 1997-1999, 2001-2003 (he didn't play in 2000), he never dominated again but managed to provide a wide load in the middle of the field. I could see his induction as either a fan favorite (which led Burger King to name a burger after him) or in the Robert Brooks wing for having one great season.
- C Frank Winters. An obvious choice for induction. Either as a fan favorite for being Ol Bag of Donuts, starting over 140 games as a Packer, or making the Pro Bowl as a starter on the winning 1996 Super Bowl team.
- WR Antonio Freeman. He was one of the best in the NFL in 1997 and 1998, and productive the rest of the time (1995, 1999-2001). Although his speed was gone by 2001, he was a very productive receiver overall and deserved induction.
- RB Dorsey Levens. Another induction into the Robert Brooks wing for having one great season in 1997, so I understand why he made it.