Hutson is credited with creating many of the modern pass routes used in the NFL today. He was the dominant receiver of his day and is widely considered to be one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, holding almost all important receiving records at the time of his retirement. As of the end of the 2007 NFL season, Hutson still holds the following records: Most seasons leading league in pass receptions (8), Most consecutive seasons leading league in pass receptions (5), Most seasons leading league in pass receiving yards gained (7), Most consecutive seasons leading league in pass receiving yards gained (4), Most seasons leading league in pass receiving touchdowns (9), Most consecutive seasons leading league in pass receiving touchdowns (5), Most seasons leading league in scoring (5), and Most consecutive seasons leading league in scoring (5) (Source: NFL Record and fact book).
Before the draft came to be, college players would sign with any team they wanted to play with, and while Hutson did sign a contract with Green Bay, he had also signed a contract with Brooklyn, and both contracts come to the NFL office at the same time. NFL president Joe Carr declared that Hutson would go to Green Bay, as the Green Bay contract had an earlier date of signing.
Fans of the Packers received a preview of things to come in Hutson's first game. On his first-ever play, Hutson caught an 83-yard touchdown pass from Arnie Herber. It was the first of 99 receiving touchdowns, an NFL record that would stand for 44 years after his retirement.
Hutson became the key component to the Packers lethal offensive attack, as the Packers won the NFL title in only Hutson's second year, 1936, beating the Boston Redskins 21-6. The Packers would go on to win two more titles during Hutson's career, in 1939 and 1944. Hutson shocked the fans of Green Bay in 1945 when he announced his retirement after playing 11 seasons. He would stay with the Packers as an assistant coach in 1946, but then left the organization for good.
In an era when successful passing attacks were virtually unheard of, Don Hutson and the Green Bay Packers flourished via the air. Hutson held 18 major NFL records at the time of his retirement. Several of these records stood for decades.
Twice, in 1941 and 1942, he was named the league’s MVP. In 1941 Hutson became the first receiver to catch more than 50 passes in a season, and the next year he became the first with over 1,000 receiving yards in a season. In all, Hutson caught 488 passes for 7,991 yards. He rushed for three touchdowns and returned three interceptions for touchdowns for a career total of 105. Hutson led the NFL in receptions eight times in his 11 seasons, including five consecutive times (1941-1945). He led the NFL in receiving yards seven times, including four straight times from 1941-44. He led the NFL in scoring five times (1941-45). Hutson still holds the highest career average TDs per game (0.85) for a wide receiver.
As did almost all players in his day, Hutson played both offense and defense. On defense, Hutson was a very good safety who intercepted 30 passes over the final six years of his career. Hutson's highest season total was in 1943, when Hutson intercepted eight passes in only 10 games.
In 2005, the Flagstad family of Green Bay donated to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame an authentic Packers #14 jersey worn by Hutson. The jersey was found in a trunk of old uniforms in 1946 at the Rockwood Lodge, the Packers’ summer training camp from 1946 to 1949, owned by Melvin and Helen Flagstad. The jersey, a rare NFL artifact valued at over $17,000, was donated by son Daniel Flagstad in memory of his parents.
Most consider Jerry Rice the best receiver [and best player] ever, but a few critics believe Hutson could have been as good as Rice if he'd played in the same era. You take Rice, we'll take Hutson Hutson played in an era where the run dominated the game, the pass interference rule favored defenses, and players played both offense and defense. However, Hutson rarely saw the double and triple team coverages that Rice did.
Don Hutson also tossed the ceremonial coin at Super Bowl 22. The Redskins won the toss.