91 days until football: Brian Noble the best to wear #91 for the Green Bay Packers


With 91 days left until the start of the NFL season, our countdown to the big day, Thursday, Sept. 4, when the Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to take on the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks will focus on the the number that represents the number of days remaining … today it’s #91.

We highly recommend “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore Them,” by John Maxymuk. The book, which chronicles every Packers jersey number was published in 2003, so it may be a bit incomplete, but it provides a strong background of information about Packers players and their jersey numbers up to that point in time.

Unlike yesterday’s iconic number – 92 – there have been some not-so-memorable players to wear 91. You will see the list below, but do the names of Justin Harrell and Joe Johnson ring a bell? They should … Harrell was one of Ted Thompson‘s biggest draft busts and Johnson was Mike Sherman’s highly unsuccessful foray into free agency.

But there was one player – Brian Noble – who wore the number the longest and most successfully.

The first to wear #91 in the past 50 years, according to Maxymuk, was nose tackle Daryle Skaugstad who appeared in nine games in 1983, starting five. He never played again in the NFL. 

Probably one of the best known players to wear the number – and the player who wore it the longest – was Noble.

Maxymuk said that though there are some players on the #91 list who were didn’t pan out, like Harrell and Johnson, it was defensive end Jonathan Brown who is the player to forget.

Here is how he describes Brown:

"Although there’s not a lot to report in this group, DE Jonathan Brown was a third-round draft choice for whom there were some high hopes in the wake of Reggie White’s retirement. However, Brown’s pass rushing talents were never demonstrated on the field."

But it was Noble who should be considered the best player to wear #91 the past 50 years. He was the prototypical Packers linebacker: a tough, hard-nosed run-stopper who could disrupt the offensive backfield and get after quarterbacks.

Here’s how Maxumuk describes Noble:

"Brian Noble was part of a linebacking crew that caused serious problems for offenses.Photo courtesy of YouTuubeBrian Noble was a solid, active linebacker for the Packers until he blew out his knee early in 1993, just as the team was beginning to rise under Mike Holmgren.A fifth-round draft choice out of Arizona State, he led the team in tackles four times (averaging more than 100 per season for his career) and made the All-Madden tough-guy team in 1990, alhough he never made the Pro Bowl … One time, Brian single-handedly stoped the 30-pound “Refrigerator” Perry at the goal line."

Noble played on only two winning teams in the mid-1980s and early 1990s and could have played at least another couple of seasons if he had not had the devastating knee injury that killed his productive career.

That fact was most disappointing for Packers fans, such as myself, who would have loved to have seen him play for those Packers defenses under defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur.

Here are Noble’s statistics as provided by Pro Football Reference:

One of the best teams Noble played on was that 1989 Packers team. Here is a video to remind us all about that team:

Here is a list of all the players who have worn #91 for the Packers – it’s provided courtesy of Pro Football Reference – remember these guys?

Jonathan Brown199819980
Shannon Clavelle199519971
Lawrence Guy201120110
Justin Harrell200720082
Joe Johnson200220034
Jordan Miller201220120
Brian Noble1985199345
Daryle Skaugstad198319831
John Thierry2000200115
R-Kal Truluck200420042