Max McGee – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Max McGee was a standout football player for Tulane University who continued his success in the NFL before becoming a legend with an MVP performance in Super Bowl I for the Green Bay Packers.
At Tulane, McGee averaged 4.4 yards per carry as a running back while also returning kickoffs and punts. He led the Green Wave in rushing in each year with 543 yards in 1951, 428 in 1952 and 430 in 1953. His best day running the ball came against The Citadel when he galloped for 132 yards on only nine carries on September 19, 1953. He also had 34 career receptions for 437 yards and four touchdowns and was a weapon on special teams where he saw time as a punt and kickoff return man, as well as serving as the team’s primary punter. McGee averaged 13.3 yards on 12 career punt returns, 21.3 yards on 36 career kickoff returns and 36.4 yards on 142 career punting attempts. An All-SEC selection in 1952, was selected to play in the 1953 Blue-Gray All-Star Game.
Following his Green Wave career, he was selected in the fifth round (51st overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Packers. After hauling in 36 passes for 614 yards and a career-best nine touchdowns as a rookie, McGee missed the next two seasons while serving as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Upon his return to the team, McGee led the Packers in receiving from 1958-62. The Tulane graduate hauled in at least 30 passes eight times, had at least 600 receiving yards on seven occasions and averaged at least 15.0 yards per grab in all but his final season in the NFL. In 1961, he was named to the Pro Bowl after posting career high-water marks in receptions (51) and receiving yards (883) while scoring seven touchdowns. For his career, he caught 342 passes for 6,410 yards and 41 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons. He also served as the team’s punter during his first few seasons, leading the NFL in punting yards as a rookie.
McGee helped the Packers to six NFL championship appearances, five NFL championship wins and two Super Bowl titles. His career highlight came near the end of his career in 1966 in Super Bowl I. After tallying just four receptions during the entire regular season, he was called into action due to an injury and finished with seven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a highlight-reel, one-handed reception from Bart Starr for a 37-yard touchdown, in the Packers’ 35-10 win over Kansas City as he was named the game’s MVP. To add to the legend, the well-known partier and curfew-breaker was terribly hungover for the game and had hoped he wouldn’t even be called on to play.
After his retirement, McGee remained part of the Packers’ program as the radio team’s color commentator where he was named Wisconsin “Sportscaster of the Year” an unprecedented 10 times from 1979-98.
McGee added to his legacy in 1999 when he founded the Max McGee National Research Center for Juvenile Diabetes at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to raise money for diabetes research. Together, the Max McGee Research Center and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin have committed to establishing an internationally recognized center for diabetes research.
Born July 16, 1932, McGee came to Tulane from White Oak High School in Longview, Texas. He was also inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (1984), the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame (1999) and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. He died on October 20, 2007 at the age of 75.