Team historian Cliff Christl has been writing the official biographies of the members of the Packers Hall of Fame. Those bios will be posted periodically on packers.com.
- Inducted: 2013
- Kicker: 1989-96
- Height: 6-0; Weight: 205
- College: Texas-El Paso, 1984-86, '88
- Associated Press All-Pro Team (chosen since 1940): 1993
- Press-Gazette All-Century Team: 1999
Starting with when they drafted Chester Marcol as their first soccer-style kicker in 1972 and over 17 seasons, the Packers benefited from stretches where their placekickers were reliable at the very least. Marcol was exceptional over his first three years. Jan Stenerud, the first pure kicker to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was in the twilight of his career when he played for the Packers from 1980-83, but he was still consistent. So was Al Del Greco in 1984 and '85, his first two seasons.
But Chris Jacke was the Packers' first soccer-style kicker to pass the test of time. One statistic provides all the necessary proof to substantiate that. In his eight seasons with the Packers, Jacke scored 820 points and fell just three short of breaking Don Hutson's club record for career scoring.
Drafted in the sixth round in 1989, following a season in which four different Packers kickers made only 13 of 25 field goal attempts and missed six extra points, Jacke had an immediate impact. He also enjoyed one of the most memorable seasons of any kicker in Packers history.
In his rookie year, the Packers went 10-6 and won six games by three points or less, including four one-pointers. Jacke, in turn, settled three games with a field goal in the final 102 seconds and provided the difference in two others with late extra points. Overall, he led the Packers in scoring with 108 points, made 22 of 28 field goal tries and all 42 of his extra point attempts.
Blair Bush, Jacke's long snapper over his first three seasons and considered one of the best in the league over a 17-year career, said during Jacke's second season, "Nobody's automatic, but very rarely have I seen him hit a bad one – maybe once a month."
Jacke's first game-winning field goal came in his fourth NFL game when he booted a 22-yarder with 1 minute, 42 seconds remaining to beat Atlanta, 23-21. Four weeks later, he connected from 38 yards to edge Detroit, 23-20, in overtime. His most dramatic kick was a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the game to climax a 17-16, come-from-behind victory at Tampa Bay in early December. Jacke kicked his decisive extra points with 1 minute, 26 seconds remaining in a 35-34 victory over New Orleans and with 32 seconds left in a 14-13 triumph over Chicago.
The Chicago game was the memorable "Instant Replay Game," the Packers' first victory over the Bears after eight straight defeats and all but decided by a controversial Don Majkowski-to-Sterling Sharpe touchdown pass. "Last year, I would have been on the ground praying against Chicago," Packers special teams coach Howard Tippett said days after Jacke's extra point had assured victory. "You never take an extra point for granted, but I was already getting the kickoff team ready to go."
In 1991, Jacke booted a 22-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining to beat Tampa Bay, 15-13. A year later, he connected from 41 yards out as time expired to beat Philadelphia, 27-24. In 1993, he added yet another clutch kick to his resume by lifting the Packers over New Orleans, 19-17, with a 36-yard field goal with three seconds showing on the clock.
Jacke's biggest field goal was his 53-yarder in overtime that beat San Francisco, 23-20, in a 1996, midseason game at Lambeau Field that eventually determined homefield advantage for the playoffs and set the Packers up for a postseason rematch with the 49ers, which was followed by their first Super Bowl triumph in 29 years. Another highlight of that season for Jacke was kicking three field goals against Carolina in the NFC Championship played in 3-degree weather at Lambeau Field.
During the 1994 postseason, Pro Football Weekly had polled 11 NFL special teams coaches and had them rank the best bad-weather kickers in the league. Jacke ranked No. 1. "Tremendously consistent field goal kicker on grass in Green Bay," said one coach. Another said, "(Has) kicked in bad weather, bad fields, a lot of wind."
Nevertheless, Jacke had lost his kickoff duties to punter Craig Hentrich in 1995, finished no higher than 19th in field-goal percentage over the 1994-96 seasons and fell out of favor with the Packers. When Jacke's contract demands exceeded what the team wanted to pay him at the end of his final season in Green Bay, general manager Ron Wolf said, "If you want to be paid like a CEO, you'd better perform like a CEO."
As a result, less than a month after Super Bowl XXXI, Jacke was granted unconditional free agency. He signed with Pittsburgh in early July but suffered a hip injury in training camp and was released in mid-October without ever kicking for the Steelers in a regular-season game. Signed by Washington two months later, Jacke kicked in one game and was released again after the season. He finished his career with Arizona, appearing in 20 games over the 1998 and '99 seasons.
In his years with the Packers, Jacke made 173 of 224 field-goal attempts (77.2%) and all but five of 306 extra point tries. In the process, he set Packers records for most field goals in a career and also a game with five. Additionally, he held team records for longest field goal with a 54-yarder against Detroit on Jan. 2, 1994, and most career field goals of more than 50 yards with 17. Previously, Marcol held the record with three.
Born March 12, 1966. Given name Christopher Lee Jacke.