The Green Bay Packers have had a long, storied history, particularly at the quarterback position. Sadly, one member of that Packers quarterback fraternity has passed away at 82 years old.
On Wednesday, November 30, the Packers announced via their team website that former quarterback John Hadl had passed away at the age of 82 years old.
“John Hadl, who played quarterback for the Packers for roughly one-and-a-half seasons after being acquired in what proved to be a blockbuster trade for the Los Angeles Rams, died this morning – Nov. 30, 2022 – at age 82,” Packers.com’s Cliff Christl shared. “The University of Kansas, where Hadl was considered one of the greatest football players in the school’s history, announced his death but gave no cause or other details.”
Hadl played under two different head coaches in his short time in Green Bay, playing quarterback for both Dan Devine and first-time head coach Bart Starr.
John Hadl’s Football Career
His time in Green Bay may not have been memorable, but Hadl’s football career spanned multiple decades in both college and the pros.
Hadl was a star player in the state of Kansas, both in high school and college at the University of Kansas. In three documented seasons as a quarterback/running back for the Jayhawks from 1959 through 1961, Hadl ran for 1,041 yards and 13 touchdowns while throwing for another 1,345 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. While those statistics don’t sound impressive in the modern era, Hadl finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting after the 1961 season.
The former Jayhawks quarterback played 18 seasons combined in the AFL and NFL, making six Pro Bowl and All-Star teams between the two leagues. After stints with both the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams, Hadl was traded to the Packers at 34 years old for a large haul of draft picks despite rumors of a throwing arm injury.
Hadl played in 22 games for the Packers over one and a half seasons, staring in 19 of them. He led the Packers to a 7-12 record as a starter, throwing nine touchdowns and 29 interceptions during two of the down years in the post-Vince Lombardi era.
The veteran was eventually traded by Starr to the Houston Oilers in exchange for quarterback Lynn Dickey. Hadl played his final two seasons with the franchise before retiring after the 1977 season. After his playing career was over, Hadl spent several years as a coach at his alma mater for the Jayhawks, along with brief stints in the NFL and USFL.
Latest Packers News
While the football community mourns the loss of a pioneer of the game, the Packers still have to prepare for a game against the Chicago Bears.
All eyes have been on Aaron Rodgers, who exited last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles with an oblique/rib injury. The back-to-back MVP made it clear that he expects to play on Sunday against the Bears, but he’s also been open about the possibility of backup QB Jordan Love playing once the team has been eliminated from playoff contention.
Meanwhile, the Bears are dealing with QB injuries of their own. With Justin Fields missing last week’s game with a shoulder injury and Trevor Siemian also hurt, the Bears signed former Packers QB Tim Boyle off of Detroit’s practice squad. Nathan Peterman would likely be Chicago’s starter if the top two QBs can’t go, with Boyle serving as an emergency backup.
Neither team is healthy at the quarterback position, but both the Packers and Bears will bring the intensity regardless due to the nature of the storied rivalry.