Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers are the three greatest quarterbacks in Green Bay Packers history. Two of them are already in the Hall of Fame and Rodgers will be as soon as he’s eligible. All three of them led the Packers to championships and won NFL MVP Awards. But one other thing they all have in common is that none of them had an outstanding final game with the Packers.
Starr spent 16 seasons with the Packers and led them to five championships in seven years between 1961 and 1967. He went to four Pro Bowls and was NFL MVP in 1966. He was also the MVP of the first two Super Bowls.
But by 1971, injuries and age had slowed Starr down. His final NFL game came in Week 14 of the 1971 season at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Dolphins crushed the Packers 27-6 to win the AFC East while the Packers finished Dan Devine’s first season as coach with a 4-8-2 mark.
The Packers didn’t manage a touchdown in the game as two Tim Webster field goals provided the only points the Pack scored in this game.
Starr completed 13-of-22 passes for 126 yards. He was sacked four times by the Dolphins. His longest pass of the day was a 31-yard toss to Donny Anderson who was also playing in his final game with the Packers.
The game was tied 6-6 in the third quarter when the Dolphins pulled away on touchdown runs by Jim Kiick and Larry Csonka. The final points came on a 47-yard blocked field goal return by Curtis Johnson.
Starr’s sore arm forced him to retire during training camp the following year so nobody knew at the time this would be his final game in the NFL. He became an assistant coach for the Packers the following season and helped the Packers win the NFC Central Division title while mentoring Scott Hunter.
Favre’s final game with the Packers came in the 2007 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants. It was a blustery and cold day in Green Bay with the temperature at minus-one degrees and a wind chill of minus-23.
The Packers had trouble moving the football all game, picking up only 13 first downs and gaining 264 net yards all game. Ninety of those yards came on one play, a touchdown pass to Donald Driver early in the second quarter that put the Packers ahead 7-6.
Favre completed 19-of-35 passes in the game for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions.
The Packers tied the game early in the fourth quarter on a 37-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. The Giants missed two field goals after that including a 36-yard try on the final play of regulation by Lawrence Tynes.
The Packers won the toss in overtime and took over at their own 26. After a two-yard run by Ryan Grant, Favre dropped back to pass and looked for Driver in the right flat. His pass was underthrown and picked off by Corey Webster of the Giants who returned it to the Green Bay 34. Three plays later, Tynes hit a 47-yard field goal that sent the Giants to the Super Bowl.
“It’s disappointing my last pass of this game was in interception,” Favre said. “It gave them a chance to win.”
He later added, “I thought we would put it away earlier than that. That situation presented itself, I didn’t rise up to the occasion. I have in the past, so [my thoughts] are not good. I expected more of myself.”
The interception was the last pass Favre threw as a Packer. He retired after the season, tried to unretire and was then traded to the New York Jets to allow Rodgers to become the starting quarterback.
Rodgers served as the Packers starting quarterback from 2008 until 2022. He is still on the roster officially although he has indicated he wants to continue his career next season with the New York Jets since the Packers are ready to move on to Jordan Love as their starter.
Assuming a trade gets done, Rodgers final game with the Pack came in Week 18 of the 2022 season which was a must-win game for the Packers at home against the Detroit Lions. If the Packers won, they’d make the playoffs, if they lost, they were eliminated.
Rodgers did not play exceptionally well and completed 17-of-27 passes for 205 yards. His final touchdown for the team was a 13-yard toss to Allen Lazard late in the third quarter that put the Packers ahead 16-13.
The Lions took the lead with 5:55 left in regulation on a one yard run by former Packer Jamaal Williams. The Packers got the ball back on the ensuring kickoff and picked up one first down. On 3rd-and-10 from their own 33, Rodgers looked for Christian Watson deep down the right side. His pass was intercepted by Lions DB Kirby Joseph. The Lions held onto the ball for the final 3:27 to run out the clock.
Rodgers threw only 105 interceptions in 7,660 attempts during his 18 seasons in Green Bay but ironically his final throw with the team was in interception.
Rodgers, Favre and Starr all enjoyed Hall of Fame careers in Green Bay. But all of them finished with disappointing performances in their final game with the team.
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