When we look back at NFL history, we know one of the greatest teams was the Green Bay Packers of the 1960’s. Lombardi’s teams were tough teams that played simple football on offense. Defensively they ran the traditional 4-3 and may have had the best set of cornerbacks in Bob Jeter and Herb Adderley. The Packers were always ahead in games and pressure was on the secondary to shut down an opponents passing attack and along with Hall of Fame safety Willie Wood, they performed that task perfectly.
Adderley was one of the best athletes of his era and could blanket receivers and was an aggressive tackler. At 6’0 205 lbs he could run in the open field with the tallest and fastest receivers and compete for the ball. He was the Deion Sanders, the Hanford Dixon, or the Lester Hayes of his day. Or we could call him the Charles Haley of his day. Do you realize he played on 6 NFL championship teams?? Had Jim O’Brien missed a late game field goal in Super Bowl V, it could have been 7!!
In the 1960s, cornerbacks played a more physical game than they do now. Not only were they able to hit or chuck a receiver all over the field before the ball was thrown, they had to be better tacklers in a run oriented NFL. As you’ll see in the video, Adderley was a hitter. Yet when Packers opponents took to the air Adderley was ready. In his second season (1962) he exploded onto the scene with 7 interceptions in which he returned 132 yards and 1TD. It was the first of his four All Pro selections for his career. However he had an even better season in 1965. He picked off 6 passes returning them for 175 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Packers dethroned the Cleveland Browns to become NFL Champions…again. His 3 touchdowns on interception returns was a league record that stood until 1972.
After the Packers championship years the team had aged and Adderley was traded to the Dallas Cowboys and helped that team get over the hump. They lost Super Bowl V yet came back the following year and won it all. For his career he intercepted 48 passes and returned 7 for touchdowns, the most famous, being a 60 yard interception return in Super Bowl II against the Oakland Raiders. He played in 4 of the first 6 Super Bowls. He was a member of the 60’s All Decade team and made the Pro Bowl 5 times. If ever there was a Hall of Fame resume for a career, it was Adderley’s. For all his championships even in his last season in Dallas, they made it to the 1972 NFC Championship Game.
With his speed, instincts, and physicality, Adderley is the one corner that could have played in any era in NFL history.
Herb Adderley was a 6 time world champion. Hall of Fame cornerback who could have played in any era. What would he have looked like in the modern NFL with today’s training methods and equipment??
Prologue: One spoil of war that sits in the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame inside Lambeau Field is this football.
During the first 4 Super Bowls each team used footballs from their league when on offense. Wilson NFL footballs for Green Bay and Spalding AFL footballs for the Chiefs and Raiders in I & II. When Adderley returned a pass intended for Fred Biletnikoff 60 yards for the 1st defensive touchdown in Super Bowl history, he carried an AFL football with him. It made it to Green Bay where it is on display forever.
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