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Are the Packers as good offensively as Manning and the 2004 Colts?

The Green Bay Packers offense looks like a juggernaut going into the 2010 season.

The possibilities of this season got me thinking about some of the greatest individual seasons by teammates in NFL history. The Packers had two 1,000-yard receivers, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 4,000-yard passer in 2009. Those numbers came courtesy of Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Ryan Grant and Aaron Rodgers, of course.

That’s pretty damn good, but there isn’t any reason why Jermichael Finley couldn’t be a 1,000-yard receiver this season. If the other players maintain their production, the Packers would have three 1,000-yard receivers, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 4,000-yard passer, which would put them in elite company.

Only six teams in NFL history have had three 1,000-yard receivers. Those teams and players are as follows.

2008 Arizona Cardinals (Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston)
2004 Indianapolis Colts (Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley)
1995 Atlanta Falcons (Eric Metcalf, Terance Mathis, Bert Emanuel)
1989 Washington Redskins (Art Monk, Ricky Sanders, Gary Clark)
1981 San Diego Chargers (Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, Wes Chandler*)
1980 San Diego Chargers (Winslow, Joiner, John Jefferson)

*Chandler was traded to the Chargers, but totaled 1,000 between San Diego and New Orleans

Throw a 4,000-yard passer into the mix and the list gets smaller. The teams and quarterbacks with three 1,000-yard receivers and a 4,000-yard passer are as follows.

2008 Arizona Cardinals (Kurt Warner)
2004 Indianapolis Colts (Peyton Manning)
1995 Atlanta Falcons (Jeff George)
1981 San Diego Chargers (Dan Fouts)
1980 San Diego Chargers (Fouts)

Only three teams in NFL history have had three 1,000-yard receivers, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 4,000-yard passer. Those teams, along with their 1,000-yard rusher, are as follows.

2004 Indianapolis Colts (Edgerrin James)
1995 Atlanta Falcons (Craig Heyward)
1981 San Diego Chargers (Chuck Muncie)

Simply put, it’s one of the rarest feats in NFL history and the group of Jennings, Driver, Finley, Grant and Rodgers seems to have a legitimate shot to join the club.

Barring injury, perhaps the only question mark of the group is Driver, whose production dropped off last season after Finley’s picked up.

There’s also the question of whether there are enough balls to go around.

The Packers third and fourth receivers, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, are going to gain their share of yards, as well. If you’re a stat junkie, get ready to wet your pants.

The presence of Nelson and Jones made me think Rodgers would probably have to throw for 5,000 yards to have a legitimate shot at three 1,000-yard receivers.

Three 1,000-yard receivers, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 5,000-yard passer has never happened in NFL history. The closest was the 1981 Chargers. Fouts threw for 4,802 yards.

On the negative side of all this offensive firepower and statistical masturbation is the fact that none of the three teams that achieved the feat went further than the conference championship game.

The Chargers lost 27-7 to the Bengals in the AFC Championship game. The Colts lost 20-3 to the Patriots in the divisional round and the Falcons lost 37-20 to the Packers in the wild card round.

In other words, all that offense didn’t do them much good when they met more complete all-around teams. If the Packers are going to do any better, their defense better be nearly as good as the offense.


Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.