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Best Packers Plays of All Time Bracket, Day 1: Jordy v. Janis, Free v. Crabtree, & more

Join us as we vote on the greatest plays in Packers history and determine the champion of all Packers plays.

Syndication: PackersNews Tom Lynn/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

As we rapidly approach the 2021 NFL Season, we at Acme Packing Company thought it would be appropriate to decide on the Green Bay Packers’ greatest play of all time. It’s a daunting task, but one we think we’re up for. We’ve compiled a list of 29 plays spanning 6 decades, from the Ice Bowl all the way to Aaron Rodgers’ flurry of Hail Marys.

Here’s how it will work. We’ve designed a bracket where the top 3 seeds get byes, and the other 26 duke it out. We’ll open voting each day here and on Twitter for the next week as you painstakingly break down every matchup. At the end, we’ll have crowned a new best play of all time and I’m sure everyone will be happy and no arguments will break out! So without further ado, let’s take a look at the bracket and break down the opening matchups.

All-Time Best Packers Plays

Today, we’ll be focusing on the top left side of the bracket and working our way down. We start with Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown throw to Jordy Nelson that opened up scoring in Super Bowl XLV vs. Rodgers’ prayer to Jeff Janis in the 2015 Divisional Round game against the Arizona Cardinals.

#17: Rodgers to Nelson in Super Bowl XLV

It may be strange to remember, but coming into Super Bowl 45, Jordy Nelson had yet to truly break out. Behind Greg Jennings, James Jones, and Donald Driver, the 3rd year receiver had yet to blossom into the superstar we know and love today. Having never seen more than 10 targets in a game, Nelson erupted with 9 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets in a preview of what was to come for Aaron Rodgers’ right-hand man. You knew Nelson was in for a special day after he hauled in a 29-yard dart for the first points on the board and despite a few drops, he became an unlikely hero of the big game.

#16: Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary to Jeff Janis in the 2015 NFC Divisional Round

“We’ll always have Arizona.” Jeff Janis’ brief fling with greatness may not have lasted long, but for one night in the 2015 NFC Divisional Round, Janis was a hero. On the first miracle of the drive, Aaron Rodgers uncorked a ball to Janis on 4th and 20 from his own end zone. After a night where the Packers had seemingly lost every WR on the team to injury, Janis stepped up big. After the Packers ran two fruitless plays, 5 seconds remained. They needed 41 yards for a touchdown just to tie the game. Surely it couldn’t happen twice, right?? Rodgers rolled to his left and fading away, launched it downfield to Janis in the end zone. Somehow, someway, over two defenders, Janis secured the prayer. The Packers went on to another overtime heartbreak, but the memory of Janis’ unlikely heroics will live on for years to come.


Which is the better Packers play?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Rodgers to Nelson in Super Bowl XLV
    (488 votes)
  • 62%
    Rodgers to Janis vs. Arizona Cardinals
    (819 votes)
1307 votes total Vote Now

We now move on to our next matchup featuring the 9th seed squaring off against the 24th seed. Aaron Rodgers’ miraculous throw to Jared Cook against the Cowboys vs. Brett Favre’s 421st touchdown to break Dan Marino’s record.

#9: Aaron Rodgers to Jared Cook in the 2017 Divisional Round vs. the Dallas Cowboys

You know the drill by now. There are only so many ways to describe absurd heroics. As if ripped off the pages of a fantasy epic, Aaron Rodgers did it again against Dallas in the 2016 Divisional Round. After trading 50-yard field goals in the last 2 minutes, the Cowboys and Packers were tied at 31 with just 35 seconds left in the game. On 3rd and 20 at his own 32, Rodgers threw a rope to Cook down the left sideline, something they had practiced many times leading up to the game. Initially thought to be out of bounds on the broadcast, the play was ruled complete and upheld upon review. Rodgers ripped the Cowboys’ hearts out once more. After Jason Garrett attempted to freeze Mason Crosby for the game-winner, he drilled the 51 yarder, sending the Packers to Atlanta for the NFC title game.

#24: Brett Favre to Greg Jennings for his 421st TD

It’s fitting that Brett Favre’s 421st TD that broke Dan Marino’s TD record came against the Vikings. It is also somewhat humorous looking back that both Favre and Jennings would don the purple and gold later in their careers. All eyes were on the Packers in this one, as it was widely expected that Favre would break the record. A taped message from Marino, a Hall of Fame official ready to whisk the ball to Canton, and a long, standing ovation from a hostile crowd made this a special one for all who saw it.


Which is the better Packers play?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Rodgers to Cook vs. the Cowboys
    (1116 votes)
  • 11%
    Favre to Jennings to break Marino’s record
    (152 votes)
1268 votes total Vote Now

The next matchup of the day is between Brett Favre’s 99 yard TD to Robert Brooks vs. the Bears in 1995 and Max McGee’s one handed catch vs the Chiefs in Super Bowl I.

25: Brett Favre’s 99 yard touchdown to Robert Brooks vs. the Bears

The Bears make the list yet again! This will not be the last time. Poor Donnell Woolford. Proof that even the greatest Bears of all time can have lowlights against the Pack. While this doesn’t come with any dramatics, (it gave the Packers a 21-0 lead in the 2nd quarter), only thirteen 99-yard pass plays have occurred in NFL history. Favre pumps once to freeze Woolford in this play, allowing Brooks to break off his route and run 68 yards after the throw for a historic TD.

8: Max McGee One-handed touchdown catch vs. the Chiefs in Super Bowl I

Hangover remedies. We all have them. A giant plate of cheese fries, a Bloody Mary, or maybe just a nice, hot shower. After a long night of drinking, somehow I don’t think any of us consider catching 6 passes for 138 yards and a TD in football’s biggest game, but I suppose Max McGee was just built differently. By the time Super Bowl I vs the Chiefs rolled around, McGee was in the twilight of his career, content with backing up starting wideout Boyd Dowler and not expecting to play in the game after a night of debauchery. Of course that all changed when Dowler re-injured his shoulder early in the game and was unable to return. McGee entered, caught the first TD in Super Bowl history, and the rest was, well… history.


Which is the better Packers play?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Brett Favre’s 99 yard touchdown to Robert Brooks vs. the Bears
    (360 votes)
  • 70%
    Max McGee One-handed touchdown catch vs the Chiefs in Super Bowl I
    (855 votes)
1215 votes total Vote Now

And for our final matchup of the day, we have Antonio Freeman’s miraculous catch against the Vikings on Monday Night Football vs. Tom Crabtree’s fake field goal TD vs. the Bears in 2012.

5: Antonio Freeman’s Monday Night Miracle

“He did WHAT?!” Al Michaels spoke for all of us in that moment. To this day, the catch makes no sense. And like so many of these moments, it’s made so much sweeter by being in overtime and against a hated rival. Not to mention the Packers shouldn’t have even been in overtime. The Vikings botched the snap on a game winning field goal, followed by their punter, Mitch Berger, throwing an interception to send the game into OT. It still stands as one of the greatest plays in Monday Night Football history and one that will leave us flabbergasted for ages.

28: Tom Crabtree Fake Field Goal TD

Tom Crabtree. Wearer of jorts. Devoted fan of Nickelback, Hinder, and Alter Bridge (according to Aaron Rodgers). But his greatest claim to fame is a fake field goal against the Bears in 2012. With 1:50 left in the first half, the Packers looked to go into halftime up 6-0 on the Bears. However, the Bears had no one deep to recover the kick, giving the Packers a perfect opportunity for a fake. Mason Crosby sprinted left as the ball was snapped, freeing up space for Crabtree to take the pitch and run untouched to the end zone. And because Jay Cutler was on the other side, the Packers’ 10-0 lead held as they won the game 23-10.


Which is the better Packers play?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Antonio Freeman’s Monday Night Miracle
    (1125 votes)
  • 8%
    Tom Crabtree Fake Field Goal TD
    (106 votes)
1231 votes total Vote Now

Will we see a major upset in the first day of voting? Or will chalk rule the day? Tomorrow we’ll be moving down the bracket as we vote for the next 4 matchups to see who moves on to round 2. Be sure to cast your vote here and on Twitter @acmepackingco to see your play move on!