The Pro Bowl is this Sunday, and a few familiar faces will be attending. Davante Adams, Kenny Clark and Za’Darius Smith will all represent the Green Bay Packers on the NFC side of the ball.
Za’Darius Smith made the Pro Bowl after being one of the best defensive players during the regular season. He was a major factor in the upgrade of the defense, and in his first season as a Green Bay Packer he made the Pro Bowl. Za’Darius Smith joins a list of former Players who made the Pro Bowl in their first season as a Packer. Below is the list of them, going all the way back to the first game in 1950.
Billy Grimes ‘50
Grimes was a running back for the Packers who came over from the All-America Football Conference. In his first year as a Packer, he started 12 games where he rushed for 480 yards and 5 touchdowns. He played for the Packers for 3 seasons.
Deral Teatek ‘52
Deral Teatek was a Wisconsinite who played for the Badgers and then was drafted by the Packers. In his first season as a linebacker in Green Bay he started all 12 games. He played 5 seasons with the Packers and is now in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Billy Howton ‘52
Billy Howton was drafted by the Packers in 1952, and ended up making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He has the Packers record for most receiving yards as a rookie with 1,231. Over his dominant career as a wide out, he led the league in yards twice, and ended up getting inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.
Emlen Tunnell ‘59
When Vince Lombardi left the New York Giants for the Packers, he paid the Giants for Emlen Tunnell to play for the Packers. Tunnell was instrumental in molding some of the early defenses for Lombardi. He was a former member of the Coast Guard, and he now has a Coast Guard ship named after him. He was also the first African-American to be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame.
John Brockington ‘71
Brockington was drafted in 1971 by the Packers to play running back, and would go on to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and make the Pro Bowl, thanks to his combination of speed and power.
That year he rushed for 1,105 yards and 4 touchdowns. In his career, he was the first Packer to rush for 1,000 or more yards in each of his first three seasons. He is now in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Chester Marcol ‘72
Czesław Bolesław “Chester” Marcol was drafted by the Packers as a place kicker, and went on the win the NFC Rookie of the year, get All-Pro honors and represent the Packers in the Pro Bowl. He is best known for a play where he had his kick blocked, and ended up catching the ball and scoring a game winning touchdown.
There is a video that you can watch below:
Ted Hendricks ‘74
Hendricks was traded to the Packers by the Baltimore Colts, and only played one season for the Packers, but he made the most out of that season. He had five interceptions, seven blocked kicks, a safety and two sacks. He was going to play in the World Football League, but when it went bankrupt he was traded to the Raiders.
James Lofton ‘78
Lofton was drafted by the Packers with the 6th overall pick in the 1978 draft, and went on to have a great rookie season. He is the first player in NFL history to record 14,000 receiving yards. In his career with the Packers he made 7 Pro Bowls and 4 All-Pro teams. He is now in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Brett Favre ‘92
Brett Favre came to the Packers after a trade with the Atlanta Falcons. In his first season with the Packers, the Gunslinger threw for 3,227 yards and 18 touchdowns. Not to mention the 13 interceptions. Brett Favre would win multiple MVP awards, and win the Super Bowl.
The Gunslinger name was well earned, because there was not a passing lane Brett Favre didn't like. His NFL records include:
- Most career pass attempts
- Most career interceptions
- Most consecutive starts
- Most times sacked
- Most fumbles
- NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback wins (all broken)
Favre is considered among many members of the sports media as one of the greatest QBs of all time. Brett Favre had his #4 retired by the Packers and is in the Packers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Reggie White ‘93
Reggie White made the change from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Green Bay Packers in one of the biggest off-season moves in Packer history. Known as the “Minister of Defense” his impact was immediately felt, and he made the Pro Bowl with the Packers after making it the last 5 years with the Eagles.
Reggie White had the game-clinching sack in Super Bowl XXXI and made sure the Lombardi Trophy came home. He was a 13× Pro Bowler, 8× First-team All-Pro and a 5× Second-team All-Pro. Reggie White was one of the players who helped usher the Packers back into the glory days they had not experienced in decades.
His List of NFL Accolades include:
- 2x Defensive Player of the Year
- Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
- Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame
- First-team NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
- First-team NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
- Philadelphia Eagles No. 92 retired
- Green Bay Packers No. 92 retired
Clay Matthews ‘09
The Claymaker was drafted by the Packers from USC in the first round after a string of trades that included Brett Favre to the New York Jets. that year he was named the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year and set the Packer record for most sacks in a season by a rookie, with 10.
Matthews made the Pro Bowl in his first four seasons as a Packer, and was instrumental in winning the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers thanks to a timely forced fumble.
Clay Matthews is the Packers all-time team leader in sacks, and although he now plays for the Rams, is still a fan favorite among the Packers faithful.
Jeff Saturday ‘12
Jeff Saturday played his last season in the NFL with the Packers, in hopes that he could help them get back to the Super Bowl. His season was riddled with inconsistency, and was ultimately benched. He did however, make the Pro Bowl as the back up center. He retired after the season.
Eddie Lacy ‘13
Eddie Lacy was selected by the Packers in 2nd round from Alabama. In his rookie season, he rushed for a thousand yards and was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl.
He ended up playing 4 seasons for the Packers, after that he went on to the Seattle Seahawks.
Za’Darius Smith ‘19
Za’Darius Smith was one of the biggest offseason additions for the Packers after a rough 6-9-1 season. He came over to Green Bay from the Baltimore Ravens. He helped usher in a change of culture for the Packers, and his play on defense was one of the many bright spots of a 13-3 season.
All season he was one of the best defensive players, and ultimately made the Pro Bowl after Khalil Mack backed out. Za’Dariius Smith will be the most important player on the defensive side of the ball for years to come.