John Hadl, a former quarterback for the Green Bay Packers who was the unfortunate focal point of an enormously unsuccessful trade in 1974, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 82, according to his alma mater, the University of Kansas.
Six Pro Bowl selections were made during Hadl’s career, but Green Bay fans will always remember him as the player who Packers coach Dan Devine traded away for a sizable amount of draft picks in what is arguably the worst trade in team history.
John Hadl, who was coming off an All-Pro season in which he guided the Los Angeles Rams to a 12-2 record and won the NFC player of the year award, was acquired by Devine in October 1974 in exchange for the team’s first-, second-, and third-round draft picks in 1975 as well as first- and second-round picks in 1976.
“Devine gave up so much to get me,” Hadl once said. “He was in trouble and trying to save his job.”
It was a failure. Hadl, 34, replaced veteran starter Jack Concannon and guided the Packers to three straight victories, but the magic only lasted so long. Hadl threw eight interceptions to just three touchdowns in his six games with the Packers, which caused them to lose their final three games and lose their chance at the playoffs. Just 48.4% of his passes were completed by him.
However, one of those victories—a 19-7 upset of the Minnesota Vikings and star quarterback Fran Tarkenton—was especially satisfying because it came after Hadl connected with running back MacArthur Lane for a late touchdown of 68 yards to thwart a Minnesota comeback.
However, things worsened the following year after Devine left to take the position of head coach at Notre Dame. For the 13 games Hadl started under new head coach Bart Starr, the Packers had a 4-9 record. He completed 54% of his passes but had a startling 21 interceptions to just six touchdowns.
Hadl, defensive back Kenny Ellis, and two more draft picks were traded by Starr to Houston after the 1975 campaign in exchange for quarterback Lynn Dickey.
“When I initially came to Green Bay, people didn’t like me simply because of all that Devine had given up,” Hadl said. “They weren’t happy about it, but it got better. I didn’t ask for the trade and I didn’t give away the draft choices.
“The Packers played hard, but there were some older players on the roster and we just weren’t physically up to par. We just didn’t have enough talent on the team.”
Hadl’s career wasn’t terrible overall, and his six Pro Bowl appearances and one All-Pro selection stand out. He was first selected by Detroit with the 10th overall pick in the 1962 NFL Draft, and he started his career and played for 11 seasons with the San Diego Chargers in the AFL. Before the merger, he guided the Chargers to three AFL championship games.
John Hadl Biography
John Hadl was born on February 15, 1940, in Lawrence, Kansas. He was 82 years old. Hadl came from a very ordinary family living a normal life. His dad worked in mechanics. Hadl was an all-state halfback while attending Lawrence High School.
John Hadl was married to his wife, Diana who was originally from Texas. The couple has 2 children who are named John and Jackie.
John Hadl was an excellent footballer who had a great name and made the demand in the football industry. He apparently had a net worth ranging from $1 million to $5 million.