Herb Adderley Biography
Herb Adderley was drafted in the first round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. The 6’ 205 pound Adderley played his college ball at Michigan State as a running back, where he was a standout player. During his rookie year, he was inserted at cornerback by head coach Vince Lombardi because of injuries. After a game on September 26, 1965 against the Colts, Vince Lombardi said, “When I think of what Adderley is and what he does in our defensive backfield, it scares me to think I almost put him in the wrong position.” (1) Herb Adderley helped Bart Starr and the Packers win multiple championships to become a Dynasty and the team of the 1960’s.

Herb Adderley #26

Player Info

Height 6' 0"
Weight 205 lbs
DOB: 6/8/1939
Defensive Back

Herb Adderley Stats


NFL Draft

1961/Round 1/Pick 12

Herb Adderley Shop

Career Highlights

Pro Bowl 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
Honors NFL 1960's All-Decade Team
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Team(s) As A Player

Green Bay Packers 1961-1969
Dallas Cowboys 1970-1972

Herb Adderley - Kick Returner

Herb Adderley is known as one of the greatest defensive backs of all-time, but he also possessed great skill as a kick returner. During his first eight seasons in the NFL, Adderley returned 120 kicks for over 3000 yards and two touchdowns. His 25.7 average per return is a welcomed site in any era as it was for the Green Bay Packers. His greatest moment as a kick returner came in 1962 when he went 103 yards and scored a touchdown.

Herb Adderley All Pro

Herb Adderley was no stranger to his pears. His play on the football field was definitely noticed. Five times during his twelve year career, Adderley was voted to the Pro Bowl. It is no wonder when you consider his 48 interceptions, seven of which were returned for touchdowns. When Adderley picked off a pass, he did not rest on his laurels; instead he averaged more than 21 yards per return. When you combine his kick returns and interceptions, he scored nine touchdowns in his career. The Packers defensive backfield coach Norb Hecker said, "Herb Adderley has wonderful reactions, and he can play receivers as close as anyone in the league because he has so much speed. Some cornerbacks give receivers the short pass to make sure they don't have a long one competed over their head, but Adderley doesn't. He sticks tight because he can go back with the best in the league." (1)

Herb Adderley in Big Games

If players are judged by how many big games they win, then Herb Adderley would pass with flying colors. As a member of the Green Bay Packers (1961-69) and the Dallas Cowboys (1970-72) Adderley played in seven NFL or NFC Championship games, and his team came out on top every time. He also played in four Super Bowl’s, with his shining moment in Super Bowl II when he intercepted a pass in the 4th quarter and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown to help defeat the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

Adderley Shows Perseverance

During a September 28, 1969 game against the San Francisco 49ers, Herb Adderley was beaten for an eighty yard touchdown from John Brodie to Clifton McNeil. Adderley did not dwell on his mistakes, but was always ready to make a play. It was third down, 1 yard to go for the 49ers at the Packers 19 yard line. Brodie went back to throw and floated the ball towards the end zone when Herb Adderley picked it off to seal the victory. “It was a beautiful site to see the ball heading towards me,” Adderley said. “I was behind some people and the ball was well thrown.” Herb Adderley showed it is not how you start a game, but how you finish that matters most. (2)

Herb Adderley versus Johnny U

It was Sunday, September 26, 1965 and the Green Bay Packers were playing against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts. Herb Adderley had perhaps the best game of his Hall of Fame career. In the first quarter, he intercepted a Unitas pass and returned it 42 yards to the Colts 41 yard line. In the second quarter, Johnny Unitas dropped back and threw the ball to Jimmy Orr. Adderley once again picked off the pass and ran it back 44 yards for a Packers touchdown. Intercepting Johnny Unitas one time in a game would be a huge feat considering Unitas was only picked off 6 times the prior season. To put the icing on the cake, towards the end of the game, Adderley then recovered a fumble to secure the 20-17 victory 20-17. For his efforts, Herb Adderley was recognized by the Associated Press as the defensive Player of The Week in the National Football League. (1)

Adderley Traded to Dallas

On September 1, 1970, Herb Adderley was traded from the Green Bay Packers to the Dallas Cowboys for center Malcom Walker and defensive end Clarence Williams. The trade happened after Adderley had accused his coach of keeping off the Pro Bowl team the previous season.

Herb Adderley - Hall of Fame

Just eight short years after Herb Adderley retired, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was enshrined with the class of 1980 which included Deacon Jones, Bob Lilly, and Jim Otto. Adderley played on some great teams during his career, but now he is part of the greatest team of all, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here you will find Herb Adderley’s Hall of Fame page. We encourage you to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. It is an experience you will never forget.

By A. Goodin, 20Yardline.com
September 3, 2007

Herb Adderley Biography Sources:

(1)  Adderley: Packer on the Spot (1965, September 29) Frederick News-Post, pg. 8
Can the 49ers Be ‘Snakebit’? (1969, September 30) The Times of San Mateo, pg. 19