Green Bay Packers countdown to NFL football season 2017 – #85, Max McGee

Photo Credit: Fanatics
Photo Credit: Fanatics /
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Max McGee: One of the best

When Vince Lombardi landed in Green Bay as the team’s head coach, Max McGee was already one of the wide receivers in place on the roster.

McGee was steady at wide receiver and was a star throughout the 1960s, growing with a franchise that, under Lombardi, he became the best in the business.

But it was that first AFL vs. NFL Championship (otherwise known as Super Bowl I) when he burst onto the national scene – even though it was his final game.

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His early-game insertion was a thing of lore, but when he made those juggling catches, they became very real at the time.

Bart Starr won the MVP award in that game, but it could have easily been McGee who walked away with that award. Everyone should remember that.

McGee caught 345 passes for 6,346 yards (18.4-yard average per catch), and 50 touchdowns over his 12-year career – all in Green Bay.

With that in mind, we look to John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore Them.”

Here is how Maxymuk describes McGee:

"“Cool in the clutch was Max McGee. The bigger the game, the more tense the situation, the better he played. He had a remarkable ability to relax in any environment and to enjoy himself both on and off the field. He grew up in Texas and enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he not only led the team in rushing for three years while also lettering in baseball and basketball, but also took full advantage of the extracurricular advantages offered by the Big Esy. And he earned a useful degree in business, as well. He was the Packers fifth round draft choice in 1954 and wen on to catch nine scring passes as a rookie, in addition to holding the job as the team’s punter. After two years in the Air Foce where he served with future teammate ad roomate Zeke Bratkowski, Max returned to Green Bay in 1957. Over the next few years, he esablished himself as the struggling team’s deep threat. In Lombardi’s first year, 1959, McGee led the league with an average of 23.2 yards per catch. In the 1966 championship game against Dallas, Starr threw the last of his four touchdown passes 28 yards to McGee, wide open on a corner route for what would be the clinching score. Two weeks later came the game for which he is remembered, Super Bowl I against Kansas City."

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

McGee died in a freak fall from a ladder at his home several years back, but Packers fans will never forget what he brought to the franchise.

RIP, Max.

Packers players who wore #85 since 1950:

Player From To AV
Karsten Bailey 2002 2003 0
Emery Barnes 1956 1956 0
Elmo Boyd 1978 1978 0
Corey Bradford 1998 2001 12
Phil Epps 1982 1988 26
Dick Gordon 1973 1973 0
Greg Jennings 2006 2012 54
Jim Jennings 1955 1955 0
Bobby Kimball 1979 1980 0
Ron Lewis 1992 1994 2
Max McGee 1954 1967 57
Sean McHugh 2004 2004 0
Terry Mickens 1995 1997 3
Anthony Morgan 1996 1996 0
Terrence Murphy 2005 2005 0
Ken Payne 1974 1977 13
Jeff Query 1989 1991 7
Jay Rhodemyre 1951 1951 0
Beau Sandland 2017 2017
John Spilis 1969 1971 6
Paul Staroba 1973 1973 0
Jake Stoneburner 2013 2013 0
Kitrick Taylor 1992 1992 1
Wesley Walls 2003 2003 2
Ab Wimberly 1952 1952 0