Souhan: Sorry, Packer Nation, it's back to the QB Dark Ages

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 23, 2013 - 9:26 PM
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Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien hasn’t won as an NFL starter, but he hit on some deep throws against the Giants.

Photo: Tom Lynn, Associated Press

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Time for a little trivia about Packers quarterbacks.

• The Packers once employed a guy whose last name started with “Brat,’’ and it wasn’t a marketing gimmick dreamed up by a Wisconsin sausage company. Zeke Bratkowski backed up Bart Starr during the Packers’ glory years.

• The Pack once employed a guy whose first name was “Bullet.’’ Bullet Baker played for the Packers in the ’20s, in an obvious homage to Wisconsin’s hunting heritage.

• There have been Packers quarterbacks named Pid, Red, Curly, Adolph, Tobin, Babe and Jug.

•  These facts and many historical documents prove something that may shock Vikings and Packers fans whose first memories of the rivalry involved Randy Moss and lewd acts with goalposts:

Not all Packers starting quarterbacks were named Starr, Favre or Rodgers. You could look it up.

There was a time, children, when Packer Nation not only wasn’t called Packer Nation, because nobody back then conferred statehood on people because they wore the same-colored hoodies, but also because it was embarrassing to admit you followed a team that called Randy Wright its starting quarterback for an entire season.

Bart Starr started at least one game at quarterback every season for the Packers from 1956 through 1971. Favre became the NFL’s most admirable iron man from 1992 through 2007 before beginning his Sojourn of Revenge. Aaron Rodgers pried Favre’s cold, live digits off the baton in 2008 and, until suffering an injury on Nov. 4, didn’t require a backup, much like Starr and Favre.

In the three weeks since Rodgers’ injury, the Packers have been reminded what it’s like to hold open tryouts at the most important position in sports. They have learned what it’s like to be the modern Vikings — and the Packers of 1971-1992.

This is how shoddy the Packers’ quarterback play was in their Dark Years: In 1989, Packer Province believed a mullet-headed unknown named Don Majkowski was a savior.

The Pack won the Super Bowl following the 1967 season. They would not win another postseason game until Favre took them to the conference title game in 1995. Between the tenures of Starr and Favre, the Packers would win 10 games in a season only twice.

Scott Hunter quarterbacked them to a 10-4 record in 1972. Majkowski led them to a 10-6 record in 1989.

Before Majkowski arrived, the Packers existed only as a vehicle through which to celebrate the ghost of Vince Lombardi. Lambeau Field, now a manicured shrine, was nothing but a dump. The team actually played some of its regular-season games at decrepit Milwaukee County Stadium.

Majkowski wasn’t particularly accurate. He completed 59 percent of his passes that season, 55 percent for his career. He threw 20 interceptions. He did run around wildly, lead improbable comebacks, earn a cool moniker (Majik Man!) and do so with blond locks flowing or freezing in the wind.

For a franchise wearying of watching Lynn Dickey, Majkowski earned a playing-field promotion to football hero.

His mojo lasted about one season, and then he became one of the 19 quarterbacks the Packers tried out as starters between the tenures of Starr and Favre.

If, at the end of the 1990 season, you had offered the Packers a quarterbacking future involving Rich Gannon, Jim McMahon, Warren Moon, Brad Johnson, Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, Daunte Culpepper and Favre, they would have eagerly taken it.

Then Ron Wolf took over, hired Mike Holmgren and traded for the Atlanta Falcons’ wild-man backup quarterback. Once Favre arrived, the Packers became what they are today: a franchise elevated by its quarterback play.

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Los Angeles 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 11
San Francisco 4 Top 9th Inning
Philadelphia 5
Texas 0 Bottom 11th Inning
NY Yankees 0
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 7
Miami - WP: J. Turner 6 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 5
San Diego 0 Top 9th Inning
Chicago Cubs 6
Cincinnati 3 Top 8th Inning
Milwaukee 3
Cleveland 4 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 2
Kansas City 5 Top 7th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Tampa Bay 6 Bottom 6th Inning
St. Louis 2
Washington 3 Top 6th Inning
Colorado 4
Detroit 2 Bottom 3rd Inning
Arizona 1
Houston 0 Top 2nd Inning
Oakland 0
Baltimore 0 Top 2nd Inning
LA Angels 0
NY Mets 0 Top 2nd Inning
Seattle 0
Calgary 7/24/14 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Tulsa 93 FINAL
San Antonio 95
Atlanta 108 2nd OT 0:06
Minnesota 111
Indiana 57 FINAL
Chicago 60
Phoenix 24 2nd Qtr 9:33
Seattle 21
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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