Cards: Pro Set 1989, Pro Set 1990, Score Hot Gun 1990, Action Packed 1990, Fleer 1990, Fleer 1991, Stadium Club 1992
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 5/29 Received: 6/10 (12 days)
Failure: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Don Majkowski was the offensive signal flare that went up briefly in the night to herald the return of the long dormant Green Bay Packer franchise before its current era of consistent playoff and Superbowl dominance. A long suffering franchise ever since its two Super Bowl victories in the 60s, the Packers had been fighting for respect in the NFC Central against the Bears, Lions, Vikings, and Buccaneers. The Packers only made the playoffs twice from 1968-1992, illustrating how bad things were in Packerland, as they were the laughing stock of the NFC. Majkowski was the bridge from those years of struggle that transformed into years of stability under Favre, and recently into the current era of prominence under Aaron Rodgers.
Not really very many people paid attention by the 10th round of the 1987 draft, when the Virginia Cavaliers all time leading passer, Don Majkowski was selected by the Green Bay Packers. He immediately stepped into the backup job behind Randy Wright, and began to apply pressure to start. During his rookie season he threw for 323 yards in a 34-33 win over the Detroit Lions. Don would be the first Packers’ rookie QB to throw for over 300 yards in a game. He’d finish with 875 yards passing and 5 touchdowns that season. In 1988, Lindy Infante- an offensive mastermind, became head coach of the team. He’d give Majkowski more slack on the reins as the lead in the quarterback derby, and Don began to mature as a starter.
It’d be in 1989 that Majkowski put together an incredible run virtually out of nowhere, leading the NFL in passing yards (4,318) completions (353), and attempts (599). His 27 TD performance that season ranked second, and for his efforts Don was named to the Pro Bowl. He’d finish second to Joe Montana in the MVP balloting that year as well. Majkowski was a feared rusher as well that learned how to tear teams apart with his scrambling ability, buying needed time in the pocket for Sterling Sharpe and Perry Kemp to get open, or on the ground stumbling for 358 yards and 5 TDs. The team became known as the ‘Cardiac Pack’. Majkowski set an NFL record with 4 1 point victories, including a controversial one against the Bears. At 10-6 though, the team was left looking in on the playoffs- despite even beating the future NFL Champion 49ers. Still it appeared as though the sky was the limit for the team, and already people were crowning them the new kid on the block.
So 1990 came as a disappointment and shock to the Packer fan base. Disaster struck as Don held out missing the first game. and then later, a shoulder injury that was not diagnosed until later as a torn rotator cuff. This cost him the final 6 games of the season and the team collapsed down the stretch. After a 6-5 start, Green Bay lost their final 5 games to finish 6-10.
Don’s struggles continued in 1991 where he’d be replaced by free agent signee Mike Tomczak in the lineup. He finished with 3 TDs to 8 picks that year and 1,362 yards. At the end of the season, Infante was fired, and with a new regime in place with GM Ron Wolf, the team started looking at bringing in other options. New head coach Mike Holmgren gave Don the green light as starter for the 1992 season, but barely 3 games in, Majkowski tore a ligament in his lower leg. His backup, took the field and thus the Brett Favre era began in Green Bay. After the season, Don signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts and began the journeyman phase of his career.
Majik backed up Jeff George in Indianapolis in 1993, and then Jim Harbaugh in 1994. During the 1994 season he’d see his first meaningful playing time as a starter since he left the Packers finishing with a shade above 1000 yards and 6 TDs to 7 interceptions. He’d then depart for the Motor City. In Detroit, the Lions were rebuilding as usual. Majik backed up Scott Mitchell at quarterback for the next two seasons, -even providing some occasional flashes of brilliance, and again sparking controversy at the #1 spot, but in the end of the 1996 season Don retired.
With his trendy blond mullet and his incredible 1989 season, Majik is well regarded by Packer fans and was inducted into the Packers HoF in 2005, where he still ranks in the top 5 in many passer categories for the storied franchise. While injuries have taken their toll on Don over the years, he still manages to get to a game here and there for the Pack, and enjoys coaching kids football.
I had written Don a year or two ago, but had no luck, so I decided to give him another shot since I had a recent RTS from another player. I enclosed a few extra cards for him to keep, but was surprised to open the return envelope from him and see that he had signed everything and kept only 2 for himself, leaving me with a grand total of 7 signed Don Majkowski cards!
There were some great shots of Majkowski from back in the day. Again Pro Set delivers with their 1989 and 1990 releases while the 92 Stadium Club provides some amazing clarity near the end of Don’s Packer career. The Score Hot Gun set, -while admittedly, a humorous oddity at the time, has become one of my favorite card subsets of all time. Some great Photo montage is used with the clouds and player photo to really give an even more exciting shot. Nowadays, people tend to take things like Photoshop for granted, but back then, this was gold.
G/Gs 93/57 Att 1905 Comp 1056 Yds 12700 Td 66
Int 67 Rat 72.9 |
Rush 248 Yds 1114 Avg 3.5 Td 12 Lg 33