1971 Green Bay Packers

1971 Green Bay Packers

The 1971 Green Bay Packers had their share of lows. Although the team made the playoffs for the first time in seven years, they weren’t able to make it past the NFC Central. This is largely attributed to a bad injury to quarterback Bart Starr and an overaggressive defensive effort from rivals like the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. While they had a storied core of veterans to draw from, the team’s top-end talent was limited to a few stalwarts in the backfield.

For instance, Ron Johnson missed the first six games of the season while playing pickup basketball. There were only two wins during that span. Another notable occurrence was the number of points conceded. In the end, the Green Bay Packers were the NFL’s worst defenders. It would be a few seasons before a true turnaround. Despite this, the team had one of the most balanced scoring formats in league history.

The most exciting aspect of the 1971 season was the emergence of a new star, in the form of a young quarterback named Dan Devine. He had been an assistant coach for the Bears for the previous eight seasons. When the opportunity presented itself, Devine took the helm. His first season in the league was nothing short of successful. After a stout start, the Packers faltered in the second half, allowing a league-worst 382 points. At the same time, the team ranked fourth in the NFC Central, which was a respectable achievement. However, the Packers’ first-round exit was not as expected. Even so, the team compiled a 4-8-2 record.

A number of notable players were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including linebacker Dick Butkus, quarterback Bart Starr and receiver Marion Motley. Nonetheless, the Packers still had their share of superstars and underachievers. Among them was former Chicago Bears running back Doug Buffone. Known as the man with the iron fist, Buffone was a physical specimen who wowed the coaching staff with his playmaking ability.

Although the team’s record wasn’t the best in the league, they did manage to win a whopping 274 points. With Brockington in the fold and Bengston in the backfield, the Packers were a force to be reckoned with. Interestingly, this was only the second time in the team’s 37-year history that they won a playoff game.

The team also boasted a stellar line of talent in the receiving corps. Among other high-profile recipients, Carroll Dale and Rich McGeorge led the way. Despite a few hiccups, the pair had an all-time record of 66 receptions. Their other aces included quarterback Scott Hunter, who was a notch above the rest in terms of numbers. Other notable names were the two men in the trenches, wideout Mike Taylor and cornerback Richard Sherman. As was the case with most Packers’ teams of the era, the team had its ups and downs.

The team’s most impressive feat was their run at the NFL championship. However, the Green Bay Packers were not quite the juggernauts they were in the mid-70s. Several of the franchise’s best players were in the market for a trade and several key positions were up for grabs.

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