Here's the best Green Bay Packers play of each season since the Super Bowl XLV run

JR Radcliffe
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Each year since 2011, fans and staff of Packer Plus magazine and were asked to vote for their favorite Green Bay Packers play from a given football season.

This month, Packer Plus will publish its final print issue on Thursday. The magazine, in its 32nd year, debuted Oct. 17, 1991, the same day as a 10-0 loss to the Chicago Bears. 

As the physical publication of Packer Plus comes to an end, take a look back at the winner of each year's voting, starting with an epic play that helped the Packers get to a Super Bowl.

2010 season: B.J. Raji's pick-six (Jan. 23, 2011)

Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji scores a touchdown on a interception in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 23, 2011. The victory put the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

The words from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Lori Nickel perfectly described 337-pound defensive tackle B.J. Raji: "He's about as inconspicuous as someone wearing a 3XL hunter orange vest at a piano recital."

But when Raji dropped into coverage ... yes, into coverage ... he was still able to make one of the greatest plays in Packers history. Raji intercepted Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie in the NFC championship game, returned it 18 yards and delivered a divinely awkward touchdown celebration as the Packers took a 21-7 lead with just 6:04 left in the game. 

Green Bay held on for a 21-14 win against their ages-old rival, in the first playoff meeting between the two squads since 1941 and with a Super Bowl on the line, no less.

The Packers, of course, went on to win Super Bowl XLV over the Steelers and bring the Lombardi Trophy home.

2011: Cobb's 108-yard return (Sept. 8)

Randall Cobb returns a kickoff 108 yards to score a touchdown for the Green Bay Packers during a game against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 8, 2011, at Lambeau Field.

It's hard to imagine a better start to the follow-up season after winning a Super Bowl.

Opening up at Lambeau Field on Thursday Night Football, the Packers got a jolt from a player who wasn't on the previous year's title-winner: rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb. Facing the New Orleans Saints, another of the top teams in the NFC, Cobb had already caught a touchdown pass to help the Packers take a 21-7 lead, but the Saints were back within 28-20 in the third quarter.

But with 8:26 left on the clock, Cobb took a kickoff, spun out of what appeared to be a sure tackle and went an NFL record-tying 108 yards to the house (a mark since surpassed), an electrifying highlight as the Packers prevailed, 42-38. It set Green Bay on a course for 13 consecutive victories to open the year, although the season ended in disappointment when the 15-1 Packers fell to the Giants in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs.

2012: Masthay to Crabtree (Sept. 13)

Green Bay Packers tight end Tom Crabtree scores a touchdown on a fake field-goal attempt during the second quarter of their game against the Chicago Bears Thursday, September 13, 2012 at Lambeau Field.

Another early-season Thursday Night Football game at Lambeau, this one against the rival Bears, featured another unforgettable special teams play. Punter Tim Masthay took the snap for what looked like a 45-yard field goal attempt and found tight end Tom Crabtree inside for a trick-play, 27-yard touchdown that spotted the Packers a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Green Bay went on to win, 23-10, en route to another NFC North Division title.

2013: Randall Cobb is wide open (Dec. 29)

Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb scores the game-winning touchdown on a 48-yard touchdown reception during the fourth quarter Dec. 29, 2013, at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Packers beat the Bears, 33-28, to win the NFC North Division. Covering Cobb was Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman.

The season won't be remembered the way deeper postseason runs will; the Packers were defeated in the wild-card round at home against San Francisco. But making the playoffs in 2013 is truly one of the most remarkable Packers stories in recent memory.

After Aaron Rodgers left a game against the Bears with a broken collarbone, Green Bay endured a stretch of 0-4-1, then rebounded for two crucial, thrilling wins against Atlanta and Dallas behind backup Matt Flynn. After a loss to the Steelers, the stage was set for a winner-take-all battle for the NFC North against the Bears at Soldier Field in the regular-season finale. The loser wasn't going to the playoffs. 

And Aaron Rodgers was returning from his injury.

Not only did Green Bay prevail, they did so in the most dramatic way possible. On fourth and 8 with a blitz coming, Cobb worked his way free in the backfield, allowing Rodgers to find him for a 48-yard touchdown pass, and the Packers took a 33-28 lead with 46 seconds left.

It was also Cobb's first game back since suffering a broken leg in Week 6, and the winning drive began at Green Bay's 13-yard line and featured two other fourth-down conversions.

2014: Jordy cooks Patriots just before halftime (Nov. 30)

Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson scores a touchdown on a 45-yard reception against the New England Patriots on Nov. 30, 2014, at Lambeau Field.

It's hard to script a more exciting regular-season clash than this, with two powerhouses meeting at Lambeau Field. The 9-2 Patriots and 8-3 Packers were locked up in a good one, with the Packers holding a 16-14 lead in the final minute of the first half, when Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for a 45-yard touchdown on a snap with 23 seconds left.

Nelson had been matched one-on-one with one of the game's elite defensive backs, Darrelle Revis, and the Packers star just plain beat him, then angled across the field to the corner of the end zone. The stadium went nuts.

The Packers prevailed, 26-21, and it was looking likely that Green Bay would rematch with New England in the Super Bowl in Phoenix but ... well, we still don't talk about it.

2015: The Hail Mary (Dec. 3)

Packers tight end Richard Rodgers, right, catches a 61-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass thrown by Aaron Rodgers with no time remaining to beat the Lions, 27-23, in Detroit on Dec. 3, 2015.

The Miracle in Motown doesn't even happen if not for a controversial Lions facemask penalty on the preceding play, nor does it happen without a couple strange decisions on defense, including allowing tight end Richard Rodgers to roam free down the middle of the field. The other Rodgers leaped into the air in front of a litany of Lions defenders and came down with a 61-yard pass on an untimed down that helped the Packers win a 27-23 shocker and fully complete the comeback from a 20-0 deficit. 

It lives on as one of the great moments in the Hall of Fame career of Aaron Rodgers, though it was just the first in a series of Hail Marys — he'd throw one (arguably two) more in a narrow playoff loss to Arizona during this season and another before halftime against the Giants in the playoffs the following year.

2016: Jordy breaks the Bears (Dec. 18)

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson reels in 60-yard pass while being covered by Chicago Bears cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc during the fourth quarter Dec. 18, 2016, at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Packers beat the Bears, 30-27. The reception set up a 32-yard field goal by kicker Mason Crosby to win the game.

The Packers finished the season in the NFC championship game, but when they started 4-6, it wasn't clear they'd make the playoffs at all. To get there, it would help if they could "run the table," as Aaron Rodgers famously proclaimed they could with six games to play.

The Packers won all six, then two more in the playoffs before bowing out.

Against a struggling Chicago team at frigid Soldier Field, the Packers lost a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, and Connor Barth's field goal tied it up at 27 with 1:19 to go. Two plays into the last-gasp Packers drive, Green Bay had lost a yard and faced 3rd and 11 from its own 27 with 31 seconds left.

It's no trouble for the dynamic Rodgers-to-Nelson combination.

Rodgers effortlessly tossed the ball down the middle of the field, where Nelson hauled it in ahead of Bears cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc for a 60-yard reception. After a hurried effort to snap and spike the ball, leaving 4 seconds on the clock, Mason Crosby drilled the game winner for a 30-27 victory.

2017: 'They celebrating with 1:13 left in the fourth' (Oct. 8)

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams scores a fourth quarter touchdown against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis on Oct 8, 2017.

Just about any time left on the clock is too much time when Aaron Rodgers is involved.

As it turned out, a Rodgers injury the following week would torpedo the 2017 season, but he was healthy to the chagrin of the Dallas Cowboys, whose go-ahead touchdown with 1:13 to go to take a 31-28 lead would have been safe against most opposing quarterbacks.

But with just one timeout at his disposal, Rodgers orchestrated a nine-play drive that ended with a smooth 12-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Davante Adams with 11 seconds left, giving Green Bay a 35-31 win. An Oshkosh man's Snapchat post became a perfect Packers meme and further cemented the game's legend.

The win came less than 10 months after Rodgers had generated another Dallas heartbreak at AT&T Stadium, this time in the playoffs.

2018: An Aaron Rodgers resurrection (Sept. 9)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates a 24-23 victory against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

The season ended badly, with the firing of coach Mike McCarthy among the fallout, but it opened with a bang.

Aaron Rodgers left the first half of the season-opener on Sunday Night Football against the Bears at Lambeau Field with what looked like a terrible knee injury. Packers fans were forced to confront what looked like a second straight season with their star quarterback sidelined, and during the shock, the Bears took a 20-0 lead after a lengthy opening drive in the third quarter.

But then, Rodgers was back on the field, seemingly miraculously healed. He threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull Green Bay within 20-17, and when Cody Parkey's field goal gave the Bears a 23-17 edge with 2:42 to go, Rodgers found Randall Cobb on a short pass that turned into a 75-yard go-ahead score. Cobb weaved his way past the final would-be tacklers for the Lambeau-igniting score.

The Packers defense took it from there, and the uplifting 24-23 win was unquestionably the highlight of the season.

2019: An impossible dime (Oct. 27)

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (30) scores a touchdown off a throw by quarterback Aaron Rodgers against Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Ben Niemann (56) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.

In a Sunday Night Football clash between two of the NFL's best teams, the Chiefs and Packers, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Rodgers threw what might be his most difficult touchdown pass ever.

Slinging a shot toward the far corner of the end zone as he was being tackled. Rodgers was able to put a ball exactly where only running back Jamaal Williams could snare it as he fell out of bounds, a touchdown pass so perfect that announcers couldn't immediately identify it as a successful conversion.

The score gave the Packers a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, and Green Bay went on to win, 31-24, in a thriller. The Packers wound up losing to San Francisco in the NFC title game and the Chiefs went on to win the Super Bowl.

2020: Aaron Jones can't be tackled (Dec. 6)

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Jones runs for a 77-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

The strange 2020 season, played mostly in front of empty stands, ended at the hands of Tampa Bay, but the Packers were pretty unstoppable during a stretch when they played 10 games and suffered just one overtime loss. 

Included in that bunch was a 30-16 win at Lambeau over Philadelphia, a one-score game in the final minutes until Aaron Jones delivered a 77-yard touchdown run that featured a litany of dodged tackles. It was reminiscent of the famous Marshawn Lynch "Beastquake" of the 2010 postseason.

Jones had a breakout season and the Packers came achingly close to another Super Bowl appearance.

2021: Look what I found (Oct. 28)

Green Bay Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas makes a game-winning interception on a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green.

The battle between 7-0 Arizona and 6-1 Green Bay in the desert offered a rare marquee matchup for Thursday Night Football, and it came down to a player who'd spent time with both franchises that season.

Rasul Douglas, a cornerback plucked off the Cardinals practice squad who went on to become a difference-maker for the Packers, made the play of the game with 12 seconds left, corralling a Kyler Murray pass for an end-zone interception when receiver A.J. Green mistakenly broke off his route. The Packers were nursing a delicate 24-21 lead and appeared fated for, at best, overtime, when the 2nd and goal snap inexplicably marked the end of the game.

The Packers went on to finish 13-4, falling to San Francisco in the divisional round of the playoffs.

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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