Green Bay Packers in the Hall of Fame: Henry Jordan

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

A look back at the career of former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Henry Jordan.

Defensive tackle Henry Wendell Jordan played for the two midwest teams with the most enthusiastic, die-hard fan base: the Cleveland Browns, for two years, and then the Green Bay Packers for his final 11 years in the NFL, from 1959-1969, inclusive.

Jordan was born in the small town of Emporia, Virginia* and played his college football at that State’s University.

*Emporia, Virginia is much smaller than the Kansas city of the same name. Emporia, Kansas counts almost 25,000 human souls as inhabitants, whereas the Emporia in Virginia, Jordan’s hometown, has approximately one-fifth of that tally.

Jordan (no (close) relation to basketball player Michael) was on Green Bay Packers teams that won five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls.

As befits a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, Jordan was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler multiple times, and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame, too.

Jordan was named the MVP of the 1962 Pro Bowl (following the 1961 season), a rare honor for a lineman.

As for stats, the chief one for a defensive tackle is sacks, but sacks were not recorded during Jordan’s career (they began to be recorded as a statistic in 1982).

Jordan was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1995.

It was Jordan who uttered the famous quip about what it was like to play for coach Vince Lombardi. Jordan gave the coach a back-handed compliment for his fairness by saying of Lombardi, “He treats us all the same – like dogs.”

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Jordan, who was Bart Starr’s roommate on the road, was known for his vivacity and wit, and his outgoing personality and charisma paved the way for him to relocate to Milwaukee from Green Bay following his retirement to become executive director of Summerfest, an annual gathering in that city that has spawned many spinoffs that take place on the Summerfest grounds, such as Irish Fest, Italian Fest, German Fest, Polish Fest, Klingon Fest, etc.

Henry Jordan died young, shortly after turning 42, in 1977. A heart attack took him as he was jogging.