Do you remember Sterling Sharpe? An incredibly gifted Green Bay Packer Wide Receiver, who at the peak of his career was forced retire because of a neck injury.
During Sharpe’s seven seasons sporting the Green and Gold he was on a pace to shatter all of Green Bay’s receiving records.
When Sterling Sharpe’s career numbers are put beside Donald Drivers’ career numbers you can’t help but wonder what Sharpe would have done if he had Driver’s longevity. Not only that, Sharpe played with Don Majkowski and Brett Favre, when Favre was still rounding into form. Can you imagine what Sharpe would have done if he had Favre for another seven years?
|Sterling Sharpe||Donald Driver|
|Seasons||7 (1988-1994)||14 (1999-2012)|
|Career Receiving Yards||8,134||10,137|
|Career Receiving TD’s||65||61|
|Led NFC in Receptions||3x (’89,’92,’93)||-|
|Led NFL in Receiving TD’s||2x (’92,’94)||-|
|Super Bowl Champ||-||1 (’10)|
The intent of this comparison is not to undermine the achievements of Donald Driver on a day in which Packer nation is thanking him for his contributions.
Quite the opposite.
It is fixed on celebrating a man, Donald Driver, who went about his business as a Packer with class, dignity, and understanding that he was granted a gift. He was bestowed the athletic ability and body that enabled him to do things on the football field about which the common man could only marvel. He accepted this blessing with humbleness and a desire to use his clout to better those who celebrate him on Sundays.
Donald Driver’s career numbers and longevity are most impressive. They are however far from the greatest of all time. His career receiving stats most likely will not land him a spot in Canton, but sure to cement a spot in the Packers Hall of Fame.
When Sterling Sharpe retired from the Packers and the NFL he was not given a hero’s send off. There was not a Sterling Sharpe Day or a retirement ceremony in which fans braved the night through frigid temperatures to say one last goodbye. Sharpe did not take the time to make the connection with the fans and the community like Driver did. Maybe if he had more time or was a part of Super Bowl-winning teams things would have been different. It’s possible the ice around his persona would have thawed by the warmth of Packer victories.
Driver, by contrast, wholeheartedly embraced Packers Nation, Green Bay, and the state of Wisconsin. With a smile that could light up a coal mine he forged a connection with the community that will live on for generations. His work with Goodwill, a charity softball game, and time spent with kids at Children’s Hospital are among just a few ways he extended his presence outside the lines of the football field. Donald Driver’s legacy goes far beyond the numbers. He set the example of “The Packer Way.”
Nice job Donald Driver and thanks for the memories.