A continuation of the Packer Receivers of History series. To read the articles you missed, go to the Packer Receivers of History category page.
Sterling Sharpe’s career with the Packers is a classic example of a super star career that ended too early.
The Packers made Sharpe the seventh pick of the 1988 draft and he made an impact almost immediately.Sterling caught 55 passes for 791 yards his rookie season and then exploded onto the scene his sophomore season.
Following his rookie season, Sterling only had a single season in which he was not a 1,000 yard receiver (1991), and he only had two seasons where the number of TDs he scored didn’t reach double digits (1991 and 1992). Year after year Sterling posted 1,000 yard season and scored more than 10 TDs a season in a Packer aerial attack that was just at the beginning of it’s rise to dominance.
Sharpe entered the league just as the mediocre Packer quarterbacks were disappearing into the green and gold mist of Packer history, and dynamic, mobile quarterbacks were stepping onto the stage. In his first two season, Sterling joined forces with Don Majkowski and the breath-taking Cardiac Pack. In a string of several nailbiters, Sterling caught a three yard TD pass against the Saints to win the game and would also be on the receiving end of the famous 14-13 replay win over the Bears.
Then on September 20, 1992 Sterling began receiving passes from a young gunslinger named Brett Favre and his numbers soared. In 1992, he caught 108 passes for 1461 yards and broke Art Monk’s record of 106 catches in a season. The following year, Sterling broke is own record catching 112 passes for 1274 yards receiving.
Sharpe played in two post season games and was outstanding. In a win over the Detroit Lions and and a loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys, Sharpe caught 11 passes for 229 yards and scored four touchdowns. That’s an average of 20.8 yards a catch versus playoff caliber teams!
Sadly, Sterling would never get a chance to raise the Lombardi trophy. In 1994, a neck injury would end the career of a man who had many more seasons of greatness left in him. We will never know the impact Sterling may have had eventually, but we know the impact he did have in his abbreviated time with the Packers and it was huge. He was a part of a watershed team that brought the Packers out of infamy and back to dominance.