This week 28 years ago, the Green Bay Packers made quite possibly the biggest free agent signing in their storied history, signing DE Reggie White to a four-year contract.
He would go on to have an excellent stint with them.
Let’s take a look at what made him so great with Green Bay.
Reason #1: White revamped Green Bay’s defense
Prior to White’s arrival, Green Bay’s defense was relatively pedestrian as far as overall success and production went. Once he arrived, however, things drastically changed for the better. In six total seasons with the Packers, he tallied a then-franchise record 68.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, and 160 solo tackles.
White’s presence was felt tenfold on the field with Green Bay. Many say that had he not gotten signed, the Packers wouldn’t have gone on to make back-to-back Super Bowls (XXXI in 1996 and XXXII in 1997), winning one (SB XXXI). White tallied three sacks against New England in that game, securing Green Bay its first championship in nearly 30 years.
Reason #2: White was an amazing on-field leader
White’s nickname was the “Minister of Defense”, and for good reason. Anyone that lined up across from him knew exactly who he was right from the first offensive snap. He was a master of the ‘swim’ move and showed incredible athleticism for a man of his size (6-foot-5, 291 pounds).
Former Packers head coach Mike Holmgren spoke about the significance of the signing on an episode of “The Rich Eisen Show” back in 2019. White’s presence both as a player and leader with Green Bay was second to none and brought the Packers back to prominence in the early-to-mid 1990’s.
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Reason #3: White’s legacy as a Packer still resonates with the organization to this day
Overall, the signing of White sent shockwaves throughout the NFL as Green Bay wasn’t predominantly the best choice to play football, especially in the early 1990’s. In fact, prior to his arrival in 1993, the Packers had just six total winning seasons. He helped change the culture in Green Bay from dormant to dominant.
They were no longer looked at as the team that once was, they were looked at as the team that was THE team. From 1993-’98, Green Bay posted a 66-30 overall record, including two NFC championships (1996-’97 respectively), and one Super Bowl championship (SB XXXI, 1996).
Simply put, had former head coach Mike Holmgren along with general manager Ron Wolf not taken the chance on him, Green Bay most likely wouldn’t be in the position it is as an organization in today’s NFL. Along with Brett Favre, on the defensive side, White changed the game for Green Bay in more ways than one — and it’s definitely proven to be for the best.