Most of the recent inductees into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame have been able to reflect on the Super Bowl XXXI championship as their most memorable accomplishment as a Packer.
But Robert Brooks, who will be inducted this summer along with LeRoy Butler, missed that Super Bowl because of a season-ending knee injury sustained midway through the 1996 schedule.
So, while in Green Bay last weekend for Fan Fest, when he reflected on his most meaningful accomplishment as a Packer, Brooks looked back one more year, to 1995.
"They were predicting us to win possibly four games, because we had lost Sterling Sharpe and some other players," Brooks said. "I was able to be a part of that great run we had."
Was he ever. Taking over as the team's No. 1 receiver after the sudden retirement of Sharpe due to injury, Brooks caught 102 passes for 1,497 yards, a Packers single-season yardage record that still stands, and 13 touchdowns.
He helped lead the team to an 11-5 mark and an NFC Central title as well as a playoff march to the NFC Championship game that served as the springboard to the Packers' back-to-back Super Bowl appearances following the '96 and '97 seasons under head coach Mike Holmgren.
"That year, that's what really kept us on track to reach our goal, which was the Super Bowl," Brooks said. "When Mike first came here in '92, that's one of the first things he said was, 'We're going to go to the Super Bowl. You don't have to mention it to the media, but that's our goal.' And our goal from '92 on was to go to the Super Bowl."
Brooks finished his impressive seven-year career with the Packers (1992-98) ranked 11th on the club's all-time receptions list. His 306 catches produced 4,225 yards and 32 touchdowns.
He's also known for popularizing what has become known as the "Lambeau Leap," jumping into the stands after scoring a touchdown. Fellow inductee Butler first performed the move in 1993, but Brooks often jokes with his former teammate about taking too much credit for it.
"We always tease about the Lambeau Leap because everybody gets the whole thing wrong," Brooks said. "I tell Leroy, 'Remember, there was a two-year gap before anybody ever named that jump into the stands the Lambeau Leap, so you're really not the Lambeau Leap guy.' But I like to give him a hard time about it."
Seriously, though, Brooks says he feels humbled by his upcoming induction into the team's Hall of Fame and truly appreciates the honor.
"It means a lot, just the guys that you're going down in history with, Don Hutson and Bart Starr and Nitschke, so many great players," he said. "Not to mention Reggie White, and Brett Favre, who will soon be in the Hall of Fame, and a lot of these guys are in Canton. Just to be in that category with these guys is awesome."