In most NFL cities, going 13-3 and making the NFC Championship Game would guarantee a unique spot in franchise history, but not Green Bay. The Packers have historically defied convention. They are the only community-owned franchise in American professional sports and play in the smallest market of all four major leagues. And while other teams located in cities with extreme winters play their games indoors, the Packers still play outside at Lambeau Field.
Even with these "challenges," the Packers also defy convention by winning. Green Bay has won 13 titles that span across every era of its century-long history and has fielded many great teams. The 2020 team was shaping up to be one, entering the playoffs as the top seed in the NFC with home-field advantage as well as likely league MVP Aaron Rodgers (would be his third such award) leading the charge, but came up short in the NFC title game against Tampa Bay. So this season's disappointment aside, here are the 10 best teams in Green Bay's long history (Note: Since the Packers are the third-oldest NFL franchise, I also factored in the size and maturity of the league in determining which teams were the best.)
Finished: Beat New York Giants 14-7 in NFL Championship Game
Regular Season Record: 8-2
The Packers won their first six games and cruised to the Western Division title. In the NFL Championship Game, Green Bay held New York scoreless until the fourth quarter en route to winning the franchise’s sixth league title.
Finished: Beat New York Giants 27-0 in NFL Championship Game
Regular Season Record: 9-2
Green Bay end Don Hutson averaged 24.9 yards a catch as his team won its second straight division title. The Packers then recorded the first shutout in league championship game history with its beatdown of the Giants.
Finished: Beat Boston Redskins 21-6 in NFL Championship Game
Regular Season Record: 10-1-1
Hutson led the league in receiving and Green Bay quarterback Arnie Herber led in passing as the Packers posted the best record in the league. They then beat Boston Redskins at New York’s Polo Grounds in the only NFL Championship Game ever played at a neutral site (Boston owner George Preston Marshall requested that the game be moved to boost attendance).
Finished: Beat Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II
Regular Season Record: 9-4-1
The Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams handily and then won the "Ice Bowl" against the Dallas Cowboys to win their third straight NFL title. They then flew to sunny Miami, whipped the Oakland Raiders, and carried Vince Lombardi off the field for what turned out to be his final game as Green Bay's head coach.
Finished: Beat Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV
Regular Season Record: 10-6
Green Bay entered the playoffs as a No. 6 seed but was playing its best football. The Packers never trailed during the second half of the NFC playoffs, beating the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, and Chicago Bears. In Super Bowl XLV, the Packers faced the Steelers and MVP Aaron Rodgers threw for 304 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions to lead Green Bay to its fourth Super Bowl victory and 13th league championship overall.
Finished: Beat Cleveland Browns 23-12 in the NFL Championship Game
Regular Season Record: 10-3-1
Green Bay tied the San Francisco 49ers 24-24 in the final regular-season game and tied with the Baltimore Colts for the Western Conference title. So the two teams played for it on Dec. 26, with Green Bay winning 13-10. Then in the NFL Championship Game, Green Bay held the legendary Jim Brown to 50 yards in his last game ever as the Packers won the last league title of the pre-Super Bowl era.
Finished: Beat New York Giants 37-0 in NFL Championship Game
Regular Season Record: 11-3
The 1961 season marked the first in which the Packers wore the capital "G" logo on their helmets. It also ended with the first championship of the Vince Lombardi era.
Finished: Beat New England Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI
Regular Season Record: 13-3
Brett Favre emerged as a top-flight quarterback and the Packers set an NFL record for fewest touchdowns allowed in a 16-game season with 19. They also became the first team to lead the league in scoring offense and defense since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Finished: Beat Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in Super Bowl I
Regular Season Record: 12-2
The defending champion Packers won their division by three games and then beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Championship Game to win their fourth title in six seasons. Then they showed the NFL's dominance by blowing out the Chiefs in the first Super Bowl.
Finished: Beat New York Giants 16-7 in the NFL Championship Game
Regular Season Record: 13-1
Vince Lombardi’s finest team featured 11 eventual Hall of Famers and held opposing quarterbacks to a 43.5 passer rating while averaging 4.7 yards per rush. The 267-point differential (19.1 per game) between the Packers and their opponents is the best of any team of the '60s.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo courtesy of www.packers.com)