Packers Who Have Intercepted the Same QB Six Times
In the parlance of today’s NFL, ‘pick six’ means an interception returned for a touchdown.
For the sake of this discussion, ‘pick six’ means something far rarer — a collection of six or more interceptions made by one Green Bay Packers player against just one quarterback.
Arriving at this pick six isn’t as easy as it might seem. To get one, a player must have had a relatively long career and face a quarterback often, likely a divisional opponent who comes around twice a season.
Since 1940, Green Bay has had 11 players intercept 25 or more passes in their career. Over that time, just three have gotten to a particular quarterback six or more times.
Not surprisingly, all three have been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame. Two of those have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Here are the six-time pocket pickers for the green and gold.
The Packers all-time leader in career interceptions (52) had not just one, but two pick sixes. He’s the only player in team history to have double-dipped.
Dillon, who played eight seasons (1952-59), often was matched against the opposition’s top receiver. His battles with the Bears’ Harlon Hill were memorable.
The safety from Texas also matched wits with a number of top-flight quarterbacks. Those he encountered most often were Y.A. Tittle (14 meetings), Bobby Layne (13), Norm Van Brocklin (10), Bill Wade (10) and Ed Brown (10).
Dillon intercepted each of those men at least twice. But he had his most success against Layne of the Lions and Brown of the Bears.
In 1953, Dillon picked off Layne four times: twice in Green Bay and twice in Detroit. Unfortunately for the Packers, their offense was only able to turn the picks into three points and the team lost 14-7 and 34-15.
Dillon intercepted Layne three other times, none bigger than the turkey day theft of 1956. With his team clinging to a 24-20 lead and Detroit poised at the Packers’ 32-yard line, the wily veteran waylaid a pass intended for Dave Middleton with 38 seconds to go. Two carries by quarterback Tobin Rote ate up the remaining time and Green Bay secured its first win over the Lions on Thanksgiving.
Brown was the other quarterback Dillon loved to victimize, especially in Green Bay. Six of the defensive back’s seven picks against Brown came in four consecutive meetings (1955-58) on the Packers’ home turf.
Dillon might as well have been a Bears receiver for as often as Brown connected with him in Green Bay. The only Bears receivers to wind up with as many of Brown’s passes as Dillon in those four games were Hill (9 catches) and Bill McColl (6).
On Sept. 29, 1957, the Packers played their first game at New City Stadium (now Lambeau Field). With Chicago as the opponent, Dillon had two second-half interceptions including one with 3:59 left that helped clinch a 21-17 victory for Green Bay.
Dillon’s only interception of Brown in Chicago came six weeks later at Wrigley Field. Despite a return of 43 yards that placed the ball in Bears territory early in the fourth quarter, the Packers failed to capitalize and lost 21-14.
Willie Wood was a thorn in Fran Tarkenton’s side early in the quarterback’s career, coming up with five picks in the first five meetings between the Packers and Vikings. Wood then waited until the master scrambler joined the Giants to come up with interception number six.
Minnesota was a first-year expansion team when the Packers traveled to Metropolitan Stadium to square off with the Vikings on October 22, 1961. Tarkenton, a rookie, opened at quarterback.
Tarkenton accounted for the Vikings’ only points in a 33-7 loss on 1-yard plunge in the second quarter. When he went to the air he was intercepted three times with Wood snaring the last, a turnover that led to a Jim Taylor touchdown, a 26-7 Packers lead and a quarterback change (to George Shaw) for the Vikings.
In 1962, the two teams opened their seasons at City Stadium. Wood waylaid two of Tarkenton’s first six passes as Green Bay went up 17-0 en route to a 34-7 triumph.
Wood was there in the rematch as well, a 48-21 Green Bay victory. He again got to Tarkenton early (the quarterback’s eighth throw) and Green Bay cashed in eight plays later on a TD pass from Bart Starr to Max McGee.
Wood’s fifth pick of Tarkenton came in the first meeting between the teams in 1963. The hard-hitting safety pilfered Tarkenton’s third throw, which Starr and the offense then converted into a TD and a 17-0 edge. Green Bay won 37-28.
Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants prior to the start of the 1967 season. When the Giants and Packers met on October 22 of that year, Wood was there corralling Tarkenton’s third pass attempt to set up Green Bay’s first touchdown in a 48-21 Packers win.
With Tarkenton no longer playing for a division rival, Wood saw him just two more times in his career. The durable defensive back came up empty on both those occasions (in 1969 and 1971).
Johnny Unitas was one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Not so great, however, that Herb Adderley couldn’t make him pay as he did seven times with interceptions during the 1960s.
Drafted in 1961 to be an offensive end, Adderley made the switch to defensive back. So capable was he in his new surroundings, that by the start of the 1962 season he was the Packers starting left cornerback.
On October 18 of that year, he made history becoming the only player in team history to record an interception and return a kickoff for a touchdown in the same game. His 103-yard kickoff return gave Green Bay a 7-3 edge, and his interception of Unitas set up a Jerry Kramer field goal as Green Bay shaded the Colts 17-13.
In 1963, Unitas threw four interceptions in games against the Packers. Adderley was responsible for three of them as Green Bay swept Baltimore for a second year in a row.
Unitas was interception free in two meetings with Green Bay in 1964. But when the two teams renewed the rivalry in September 1965, Adderley snagged two and returned one 44 yards for a score.
In 1969, Adderley got to Unitas one last time. It was Adderley’s last pick as a Packer, and it set up the team’s first three points in its 14-6 loss to the Colts.
Bobby Dillon vs. Bobby Layne
Date — Int(s) — Final Score
Nov. 15, 1953 — 2 — GB 7, Lions 14
Nov. 26, 1953 — 2 — GB 15, Lions 34
Nov. 22, 1956 — 1 — GB 24, Lions 20
Oct. 6, 1957 — 1 — GB 14, Lions 24
Nov. 28, 1957 — 1 — GB 6, Lions 18
Bobby Dillon vs. Ed Brown
Date — Int(s) — Final Score
Oct. 2, 1955 — 1 — GB 24, Bears 3
Oct. 7, 1956 — 1 — GB 21, Bears 37
Sept. 29, 1957 — 2 — GB 21, Bears 17
Nov. 10, 1957 — 1 — GB 14, Bears 21
Sept. 28, 1958 — 2 — GB 20, Bears 34
Willie Wood vs. Fran Tarkenton
Date — Int(s) — Final Score
Oct. 22, 1961 — 1 – GB 33, Vikings 7
Sept. 16, 1962 – 2 – GB 34, Vikings 7
Oct. 14, 1962 – 1 – GB 48, Vikings 21
Oct. 13, 1963 – 1 – GB 37, Vikings 28
Oct. 22, 1967 – 1 – GB 48, Giants 21
Herb Adderley vs. Johnny Unitas
Date Int(s) Final Score
Nov. 18, 1962 – 1 – GB 17, Colts 13
Sept. 29, 1963 – 1 – GB 31, Colts 20
Oct. 27, 1963 – 2 – GB 34, Colts 20
Sept. 26, 1965 – 2 – GB 20, Colts 17
Nov. 9, 1969 – 1 – GB 6, Colts 14
Eric Goska is a freelance writer and statistics fanatic, who writes a “By the numbers” column for the Green Bay Press-Gazette about the Packers. Three editions of his book, Packer Legends in Facts, were published in the 1990s. In 2002 and 2003 the statistical encyclopedia was reworked and released under the title A Measure of Greatness.