Executive Vice President & General Manager: 1991-2001
Wolf was the architect of the remarkable and unlikely resurgence of the Packers following a 24-year famine. He turned what had been one of the most hapless teams in the NFL into one of the most successful. And he did it in the age of free agency, a development that even some Packers insiders believed might doom the franchise to perpetual failure or, worse yet, force it out of business. Wolf was named general manager on Nov. 27, 1991.
Within 45 days, he convinced Mike Holmgren, the NFL’s hottest commodity among young aspiring assistant coaches, to spurn other suitors and come to Green Bay. Within 75 days, Wolf dealt for an untested young quarterback named Brett Favre, a trade that now arguably ranks as the most one-sided in NFL history. A year later, when unfettered free agency came to the league, Wolf led the effort to bring the biggest name in the player pool, Reggie White, to Green Bay, shocking the football world.
In the 24 seasons prior to Wolf’s arrival, the Packers bettered .500 only four times and ranked 25th among 28 NFL teams in winning percentage. In Wolf’s nine seasons, the Packers won their first Super Bowl in 29 years, finished with a winning record eight times and made the playoffs six times. The Packers’ record during that period was 92-52, for a .639 winning percentage, tied for second best in the league.
“Ron Wolf is a person that is vitally important in the history of this franchise, a select few that includes Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi,” said Bob Harlan, former president of the Packers and the man who hired Wolf. “His name forever will be included with the all-time greats.”
Wolf was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Besides his transcendent moves when he first arrived in Green Bay, Wolf was considered one of the best in the business at finding talent in the mid to late rounds of the draft. In all, he selected eight players in rounds five through seven who were selected to a Pro Bowl.
Before coming to Green Bay, Wolf had spent 29 years in the NFL working in player personnel. He was a trusted aide for Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders from 1963 to 1975 and again from 1978 to 1990, including nine years when they were based in Los Angeles. In between, he served as Tampa Bay’s vice president of operations from 1975 to 1978. Wolf also spent short stints working in the American Football League office in 1966 and as director of player personnel for the New York Jets in 1990-91.
Born Dec. 30, 1938, in New Freedom, Pa. Given name Ronald Martin Wolf.
- By Cliff Christl