From 1991 until he retired after the 2010 season, NFL quarterback Brett Favre slung the ball all around the field better than 99% of the rest of the gunslingers in the league’s history. While completing too many passes to the other team, Favre’s legacy is far reaching and his name, while etched in some of the wrong places in the record books, is synonymous with the greatest players to have ever done it.
Starting out as a 2nd-round selection of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1991 Draft, the former Southern Miss QB saw the field for two games in his rookie season, attempting four passes. While he completed two, those two actually ended up in the hands of the other team, an unceremonious start to his career.
The general manager at the time for the Green Bay Packers, Ron Wolf, was toeing a very fine line at the time in talks with Atlanta, as Favre was unhealthy and had character issues. But, the newly-hired GM moved forward with the deal for the third-string backup and sent a first-round selection to the Falcons for a player that Wolf had listed as his best overall player in the draft the year prior, high praise for a guy that was selected with the sixth pick in the second round.
After having over 30 inches of intestines removed before his senior year of college due to a car accident, Favre also suffered a substantial hip injury in the East-West Shrine Bowl game that was essentially what ruined Bo Jackson’s career. The team physician didn’t give Wolf the OK on Favre’s medicals, even going as far to say that his hip injury would only allow him to play three seasons in the NFL, but Wolf waved the customary passed-physical designation written into every contract and moved forward with what he thought was his QB of the future.
The trade went through. Brett Favre eventually took over for Don Majkowski after he tore up his ankle against Cincinnati in September 1992, and the rest, as they say, is history. Favre’s career in a Packer uniform took off, and he remained the guy for Cheesehead Nation until he retired and unretired and was traded to the New York Jets before the 2008 season.
The best of times and the worst of times made Favre who he was as a player and what he was remembered for, and he made a name for himself the first time he stepped onto the field for Green Bay. His first completed NFL pass ended up being to himself on a deflection, a tell-tale sign of things to come.
He had a ton of low moments, but he made a living with his high moments, winning games, leading comebacks, and making the throws no other QB dreamed of making, fitting the ball into tight windows and turning receivers’ hands numb with his fastball of a throw.
Favre’s career in Titletown has way too many statistical feats to mention, so here are five of the most dominant and memorable games in his career.
Favre shows the league who he really is
As was previously mentioned, Favre received his first test in the third game of the regular season in ‘92 against the Bengals, and the second he had appeared in for GB. As Majkowski was forced to the sidelines with ligament damage in his ankle, Favre came in and proceeded to force the fans to call for third-stringer Ty Detmer to come in instead, as Favre managed to fumble four times in the game.
After settling down for the second half, Favre led the team on a comeback, putting up 21 points in the fourth quarter to earn the team’s first win of the season and handed Cincy its first defeat. GB managed only a measly field goal before half time and trailed 10-3 going into the locker room.
Heading into the fourth, the Pack were down 17-3 but scored three TDs in the quarter, two of which on passes from Brett Favre, one each to Sterling Sharpe and Kitrick Taylor. Favre’s line of 22/39, 289 yards, 2 TDs, and a 97.1 QBR was a sign of things to come for the gunslinger, and his first extended action in the league was a whirlwind ever since he stepped on the field.
GB arrived – and for good
Going into San Francisco to play the 49ers in the 90s was a death wish. Just don’t tell that to Favre.
The year prior to the team’s SB XXXI win, GB went into SF and knocked off the defending champs in the Divisional Round, 27-17. Brett Favre had seven of his 28 passes fall incomplete, completing 21 for 299 yards and 2 TDs.
While GB did lose to the Cowboys the next week, they were on the map again, and for good.
The 29-year wait that was no more
Before GB was able to make it to the 1996 Super Bowl, they had to get past the Carolina Panthers. Thankfully, this ended up being their first time hosting an NFC Championship Game since the Ice Bowl in ‘67, so it’s safe to say fans were more than happy to cheer on their team.
Favre and company led the Pack to a 30-13 romp over the Panthers, and Wolf noted that, “That was the game that showed we had arrived.”
Dorsey Levens and Antonio Freeman both caught scores from Favre, and the team continued on their magical jaunt to a championship. This game is important in its own right, even if it is overshadowed by the next game in that season.
Bringing the trophy back home
After they easily handled Carolina at home, GB faced the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots in the ‘96 Super Bowl (XXXI) in the Louisiana Superdome, which was a bit of a homecoming for the Miss. native. Having also waited 29 years between SB appearances, the team got off to a hot start, thanks to Favre.
His second-play-of-the-game TD to Andre Rison for 54 yards set the tone early, especially with how Brett Favre ran down the field with his helmet off. At that point, the game was already over.
Desmond Howard’s kickoff return score is a huge Kodak moment for this game, but Favre’s then-record 81-yard TD to Antonio Freeman helped push GB to a 35-21 win and brought the Lombardi trophy back to its rightful owners.
Tragedy turned into a fitting remembrance
One of the most memorable games of his career only happened because tragedy had struck earlier that week.
Favre’s father, Irv, had passed away the day prior, and Favre still went out and competed, helping the Packers get even closer to solidifying a playoff spot. But his stat line is what is the most important facet, with everything considered.
Setting team records of 311 passing yards in the first half and a 154.9 passer rating, Brett Favre went 22/30 for 399 and 4 TDs, leading GB to a 41-7 blowout of the Oakland Raiders in the Black Hole, a very difficult place to play.
Helping channel all of his emotions and feelings on what had transpired the day before, Favre’s gutsy performance is remembered for all of the right things that night – his heart, his determination, and his appreciation of everything that had happened that still had presented him with that opportunity to show his father how much he meant to him.