Brett Favre. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

4 days to Packers football: Brett Favre

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 All photographs by Raymond T. Rivard

 

 

With 4 days left until the start of the NFL season, our countdown to the big day continues.

Thursday, Sept. 4, is the day when the Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to take on the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.  

Over the  course of the next 4 days we focus on the number that represents the days remaining … and for today we take a look number 4.

Yesterday we took at #5 Paul Hornung, the “Golden Boy” who helped lead  the Green Bay Packers to a number of championships in the 1960s. His versatility was what made him such a perfect fit in head coach Vince Lombardi’s system in the 1960s.

But today we get to move on to #4, the most loved and hated Packer of all time. We loved Brett Favre for his gunslinging swagger, his confidence and toughness; we hated Brett Favre for his mental lapses, his interceptions, and his late-career antics of retiring, unretiring, retiring and unretiring; and most of all we hated Brett Favre because it was that competitive streak in him that eventually landed him him in Minnesota playing for the hated Vikings.

Clearly he wanted to stick it to his old team and mostly Ted Thompson who wouldn’t take him back after he retired the first time.

He did just that, beating the Packers twice in 2009. But he also got his comeuppance when the Packers beat him and the Vikings in 2010, then went on to win  Super Bowl under his heir, Aaron Rodgers.

All of this resulted in a messy divorce between Favre and the Packers, a rift that has divided Packers Nation even to this day.

But despite all that, Brett Favre is considered one of the best ever to have worn a Packers jersey. One can’t argue with that fact, even if you are on the hating side.

However, things have softened the past year and it has now been finalized that the Packers will retire his number 4 during the 2015 season and he will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in July 2015.

And for good reasons. Yes, he holds the record for the most interceptions thrown by a quarterback in league history, but it’s his other passing records and mostly his consecutive start records that stand out most when we talk about Brett Favre. Yes, he made some really bad decisions throughout his career, and they always seemed to come at the worst possible moment in games, but if there was anyone who you wanted to have the ball when it came to crunch time it was Favre.

You always knew something was going to happen. Much of the time it was good. He was the electricity that ran through the Green Bay Packers for 16 incredible seasons. He was the Green Bay Packers and the face of the franchise for an entire generation. He revived a slumping franchise and carried it single-handedly to two straight Super Bowl appearances, one championship and a a whole gob of division championships and wins.


He ushered in an era that has brought the Green Bay Packers back to prominence in the NFL. Without Brett Favre, the Packers organization may have muddled through season after season of losing, much like they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Instead, he made Green Bay the place to be. If it hadn’t been for Brett Favre, there would have been no Reggie White. In addition to being told by God that he should sign with the Packers, the number one reason Reggie mentioned at the time was Brett Favre. Reggie knew Brett was a winner and wanted to be a part of what was happening with the Packers back in the 1990s.

And that is what they did … with personnel and coaching decisions in the capable hands of Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren, the Packers stuck with Favre through thick and thin, with results that the ages have deemed as superior.

Many say that Favre’s final decade with the team was a disappointment because he failed to take the team once again to the greatest heights of another Super Bowl title. He came close, but couldn’t ever get the Packers back to the top of the mountain.

But that shouldn’t discredit his accomplishments through the years. What he did for the Packers and the game might never be accomplished again. While Aaron Rodgers is considered the best in the game today and has picked up and carried on for the Packers after Favre, he, too, only has one title to date.

However, we’re talking about #4 here …

Writing a decade ago before the Favre divorce, John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore them,” tells us about the ol’ gunslinger’s career with the franchise:

Brett who?

It’s spelled how?

Packers ans had to scratch their heads and wonder what the new GM Ron Wolf was thinking win he traded one of his two number one draft choices for third string Atlanta quarterback Brett Favre on Feb. 10, 1992.

Favr hd been a high second round pick of the Falcons in 1991, but had spent his rookie year in coach Jerry Glanville’s doghouse for being out of shape, not knowing the plays, partying too heartily, and generally being unprofessional in all aspects of his football carer. And now the Packers were giving up the 17th pick in the draft for this good old boy whom “Prime Time: Deion Sanders had pegged “Country Time” usually shortened to “Country.”

Wolf had to be crazy.

Wolf, however, had always liked Favre a lot s a player and would have drafted him number one for the Jets in 1991 had a number one choice that year. When the Packers hired Wolf in November 1991, fortuitously their next game was against the Falcons. Atlanta GM Ken Herrock was an old friend of Ron’s and indicated that Favre was available. Although Denver and Kansas City reportedly were interested as well, it’s doubtful that they were offering a number one pick.

It didn’t take long for Packers fans to se what Wolf had seen. New coach Mike Holmgren had planned on bringing Favre along slowly in his complex offensive system, but fate intervened again.

The oft-injured starting quarterback Don Majkowski went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter of the third game of the 1992 season against the Cincinnati Bengals, and Favre was forced to grow up fast.

For the first three quarters, Favre moved the Packers sporadically, but they trailed 17-3 in the fourth quarter. Brett led the tam to two touchdowns, but they still trailed 23-17 with the ball at their own eight with 1:07 to play and no time out left.

In four plays, he advanced the team to the Cincinnati 35.

On the fifth play of the drive with 13 seconds remaining, acre hit receiver Kitrick Taylor down the sideline for a 35-yard touchdown.

Amidst the ensuing celebration, Favre almost forgot that he had to hold the ball for the game-winning extra point and he had to be dragged back on the field.

The Packers won 24-23 and had found a quarterback and leader.

His early success, though, was followed by rough times. The ten stood at 3-6 that first year before Favre really got his legs under him and led the ten to six straight victories. Then they lost the last game to the Vikings and missed the playoffs. After an inconsistent second season in Green Bay, Favre was close to losing his starting job in his third year in Green Bay when coach Mike Holmgren decided he was fully committed to Brett and told him they would sink or swim together.

What then ensued is  familiar story. Eleven straight years with more than 3,000 yards passing, including three seasons with more than 4,000 yards. Five straight seasons and six altogether with more than 30 touchdown passes. Three straight MVP awards. Two Super Bowl appearances and one championship.

With Brett Favre, the Packers always had a chance to win and were always a contender for the post-season. He overcame a Vicodin addiction in 1996, a bad thumb in 1999, and tendonitis o the elbow in 2000 to continue firing the football harder than anyone else.

He was naturally enthusiastic, spontaneous and excitable; there was never anything artificial about him. The boyish euphoria he showed running to the wrong sideline in his exhilaration after completing that 54-yard touchdown to andre Rison to open Super Bowl XXXI was Favre at his most captivating. His motto was always high risk, high reward, and he always kept the game in perspective by saying he never had any regrets even when things didn’t go right.

What ensured Brett Favre’s success was Mike Holmgren’s coaching, direction and faith. Holmgren and Favre hard a symbiotic relationship. Holmgren taught Favre how to play quarterback in the NFL; Favre’s acceptance of that teaching made the team and the coach successful.

When Favre goes into the Packers and Pro Football halls of fame, perhaps he’ll think back to how lucky he was that his gift was not lost. If he had stayed in Atlanta, he could had been buried on the depth chart of a bad team with a questionable offense for several seasons. He could have continued to be blinded by the lights of the big city and never progress.

Or maybe he would surface years later on another team as a gritty veteran of some rusty skills who despite some late success never would live up to his full potential like a Vinnie Testaverde.

However, Favre came to Green Bay to play on the steadily improving Packers with a high-powered offense coached by Mike Holmgren, and his place in football history was secure. His time has been the Favre era in Packers history just as 1935-45 was the Hutson era, and he just may have supplanted Hutson as the greatest Packer of them all.

At the very least, his excellence allowed Packers fans embrace his career with as much vigor as the team’s rich past.

 

 

Brett Favre’s career statistics:

All-Pro Teams
Year Team Level Voters
1995 1st Team All-Conf. Pro Football Weekly
1995 1st Team All-Conf. UPI
1995 1st Team All-NFL Associated Press
1995 1st Team All-NFL Pro Football Writers
1995 1st Team All-NFL Sporting News
1996 1st Team All-Conf. Pro Football Weekly
1996 1st Team All-Conf. UPI
1996 1st Team All-NFL Associated Press
1996 1st Team All-NFL Pro Football Writers
1996 1st Team All-NFL Sporting News
1997 1st Team All-Conf. Pro Football Weekly
1997 1st Team All-NFL Associated Press
1997 1st Team All-NFL Pro Football Writers
1997 1st Team All-NFL Sporting News
2001 2nd Team All-NFL Associated Press
2002 1st Team All-Conf. Pro Football Weekly
2002 2nd Team All-NFL Associated Press
2003 1st Team All-Conf. Pro Football Weekly
2007 2nd Team All-NFL Associated Press

Appearances on Leader Boards, Awards, and Honors Stats are Year Lg Value (Rank/All-Time)
Awards

1995 NFL AP MVP
1995 NFL PFWA MVP
1995 NFL Newspaper Ent. Assoc. MVP
1995 NFL Bert Bell Award (Player of the Year)
1995 NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year
1996 NFL AP MVP
1996 NFL PFWA MVP
1996 NFL Newspaper Ent. Assoc. MVP
1996 NFL Bert Bell Award (Player of the Year)
1997 NFL AP MVP
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2nd team All-1990s Team
Pro Football Reference 2nd team All-2000s Team

Pro Bowls

1992
1993
1995
1996
1997
2001
2002
2003
2007
2008
2009

First-Team All-Pro

1995
1996
1997

Approximate Value

1995 NFL 18 (4)
1996 NFL 17 (8)
1997 NFL 17 (5)
Career 254 (1)

Approximate Value (Weighted)

Career 155 (5)

Passes Completed

1992 NFL 302 (2)
1993 NFL 318 (2)
1994 NFL 363 (4/50)
1995 NFL 359 (2/62)
1996 NFL 325 (3)
1997 NFL 304 (4)
1998 NFL 347 (1/83)
1999 NFL 341 (2)
2000 NFL 338 (3)
2001 NFL 314 (7)
2002 NFL 341 (5)
2003 NFL 308 (9)
2004 NFL 346 (3/87)
2005 NFL 372 (1/39)
2006 NFL 343 (5/99)
2007 NFL 356 (4/67)
2008 NFL 343 (6/99)
2009 NFL 363 (4/50)
Career 6300 (1)

Pass Attempts

1992 NFL 471 (5)
1993 NFL 522 (2)
1994 NFL 582 (4/57)
1995 NFL 570 (4/73)
1996 NFL 543 (5)
1997 NFL 513 (6)
1998 NFL 551 (2)
1999 NFL 595 (1/41)
2000 NFL 580 (2/60)
2002 NFL 551 (5)
2004 NFL 540 (4)
2005 NFL 607 (1/31)
2006 NFL 613 (1/27)
2007 NFL 535 (6)
2008 NFL 522 (8)
2009 NFL 531 (8)
Career 10169 (1)

Passing Yds

1992 NFL 3227 (9)
1993 NFL 3303 (6)
1994 NFL 3882 (5)
1995 NFL 4413 (1/48)
1996 NFL 3899 (4)
1997 NFL 3867 (2)
1998 NFL 4212 (1/74)
1999 NFL 4091 (4/94)
2000 NFL 3812 (5)
2001 NFL 3921 (3)
2002 NFL 3658 (8)
2004 NFL 4088 (5/96)
2005 NFL 3881 (3)
2006 NFL 3885 (6)
2007 NFL 4155 (4/84)
2009 NFL 4202 (9/77)
Career 71838 (1)

Passing TD

1992 NFL 18 (8)
1993 NFL 19 (5)
1994 NFL 33 (2/33)
1995 NFL 38 (1/16)
1996 NFL 39 (1/11)
1997 NFL 35 (1/25)
1998 NFL 31 (3/59)
1999 NFL 22 (8)
2000 NFL 20 (10)
2001 NFL 32 (2/47)
2002 NFL 27 (2)
2003 NFL 32 (1/47)
2004 NFL 30 (4/72)
2005 NFL 20 (10)
2007 NFL 28 (6)
2008 NFL 22 (9)
2009 NFL 33 (2/33)
Career 508 (1)

Passer Rating

1992 NFL 85.3 (6)
1994 NFL 90.7 (2)
1995 NFL 99.5 (2/69)
1996 NFL 95.8 (2)
1997 NFL 92.6 (3)
1998 NFL 87.8 (10)
2001 NFL 94.1 (4)
2003 NFL 90.4 (6)
2004 NFL 92.4 (10)
2007 NFL 95.7 (6)
2009 NFL 107.2 (2/19)
Career 86.0 (18)

Long Pass

1995 NFL 99 (1/1)
1996 NFL 80 (6)
1998 NFL 84 (5)
2002 NFL 85 (2)
2004 NFL 79 (6)
2006 NFL 82 (8)
2007 NFL 82 (4)

Passes Intercepted

1993 NFL 24 (1/59)
1994 NFL 14 (10)
1997 NFL 16 (3)
1998 NFL 23 (2/87)
1999 NFL 23 (2/87)
2000 NFL 16 (7)
2002 NFL 16 (5)
2003 NFL 21 (3)
2004 NFL 17 (5)
2005 NFL 29 (1/12)
2006 NFL 18 (4)
2007 NFL 15 (9)
2008 NFL 22 (1)
2010 NFL 19 (4)
Career 336 (1)

Sacked

1992 NFL 34 (5)
1994 NFL 31 (8)
1995 NFL 33 (9)
1996 NFL 40 (5)
1998 NFL 38 (7)
1999 NFL 35 (7)
2009 NFL 34 (9)
Career 525 (1)

Sacked Yds Lost

1992 NFL 208 (10)
1995 NFL 217 (9)
1996 NFL 241 (7)
1998 NFL 223 (8)
1999 NFL 223 (7)
2000 NFL 236 (10)
2008 NFL 213 (8)
2009 NFL 247 (5)
Career 3487 (4)

Passing Yds/Game

1992 NFL 215.1 (7)
1993 NFL 206.4 (9)
1994 NFL 242.6 (6)
1995 NFL 275.8 (2/71)
1996 NFL 243.7 (4)
1997 NFL 241.7 (3)
1998 NFL 263.3 (2)
1999 NFL 255.7 (4)
2000 NFL 238.3 (8)
2001 NFL 245.1 (3)
2004 NFL 255.5 (7)
2005 NFL 242.6 (7)
2006 NFL 242.8 (7)
2007 NFL 259.7 (4)
2009 NFL 262.6 (9)
Career 237.9 (12)

Yds/Pass Att

1995 NFL 7.7 (2)
1996 NFL 7.2 (9)
1997 NFL 7.5 (3)
1998 NFL 7.6 (7)
2001 NFL 7.7 (4)
2003 NFL 7.1 (10)
2007 NFL 7.8 (3)
2009 NFL 7.9 (8)
Career 7.1 (60)

Yds/Pass Cmp

1995 NFL 12.3 (7)
1997 NFL 12.7 (8)
2001 NFL 12.5 (5)
2007 NFL 11.7 (10)
Career 11.4 (148)

Pass Attempts/Game

1992 NFL 31.4 (4)
1993 NFL 32.6 (4)
1994 NFL 36.4 (4/72)
1995 NFL 35.6 (5)
1996 NFL 33.9 (6)
1997 NFL 32.1 (8)
1998 NFL 34.4 (3)
1999 NFL 37.2 (1/55)
2000 NFL 36.3 (3/77)
2002 NFL 34.4 (7)
2004 NFL 33.8 (9)
2005 NFL 37.9 (2/42)
2006 NFL 38.3 (1/37)
2007 NFL 33.4 (8)
2008 NFL 32.6 (10)
Career 33.7 (11)

Adj Yds/Pass Att

1994 NFL 6.72 (6)
1995 NFL 8.05 (2/89)
1996 NFL 7.54 (2)
1997 NFL 7.50 (5)
2001 NFL 7.62 (2)
2003 NFL 6.49 (10)
2004 NFL 7.26 (10)
2007 NFL 7.55 (7)
2009 NFL 8.56 (4/44)
Career 6.58 (39)

Net Yds/Pass Att

1995 NFL 6.96 (4)
1996 NFL 6.27 (10)
1997 NFL 6.86 (2)
1998 NFL 6.77 (8)
2001 NFL 7.09 (2)
2003 NFL 6.58 (6)
2004 NFL 7.24 (7/86)
2007 NFL 7.39 (3/65)
2009 NFL 7.00 (9)
Career 6.39 (24)

Adj Net Yds/Pass Att

1992 NFL 5.53 (10)
1994 NFL 6.08 (6)
1995 NFL 7.25 (1/85)
1996 NFL 6.61 (2)
1997 NFL 6.82 (2)
1998 NFL 6.07 (10)
2001 NFL 7.02 (2)
2003 NFL 5.96 (8)
2004 NFL 6.94 (6)
2007 NFL 7.18 (4/94)
2009 NFL 7.61 (3/44)
Career 5.93 (21)

Passes Completed/Game

1992 NFL 20.1 (3)
1993 NFL 19.9 (3)
1994 NFL 22.7 (4/68)
1995 NFL 22.4 (3/82)
1996 NFL 20.3 (4)
1997 NFL 19.0 (6)
1998 NFL 21.7 (1)
1999 NFL 21.3 (2)
2000 NFL 21.1 (6)
2001 NFL 19.6 (9)
2002 NFL 21.3 (7)
2003 NFL 19.3 (10)
2004 NFL 21.6 (6)
2005 NFL 23.3 (4/47)
2006 NFL 21.4 (5)
2007 NFL 22.3 (4/86)
2008 NFL 21.4 (7)
2009 NFL 22.7 (5/68)
Career 20.9 (9)

Pass Completion %

1992 NFL 64.1% (4)
1993 NFL 60.9% (10)
1994 NFL 62.4% (6)
1995 NFL 63.0% (6)
1996 NFL 59.9% (8)
1997 NFL 59.3% (6)
1998 NFL 63.0% (1)
2001 NFL 61.6% (7)
2003 NFL 65.4% (2/76)
2004 NFL 64.1% (9)
2007 NFL 66.5% (4/50)
2008 NFL 65.7% (5/64)
2009 NFL 68.4% (3/18)
Career 62.0% (18)

Pass Intercept. %

1992 NFL 2.8% (3)
1994 NFL 2.4% (6)
1995 NFL 2.3% (10)
1996 NFL 2.4% (3)
2009 NFL 1.3% (1/16)
Career 3.3% (55)

Passing TD %

1994 NFL 5.7% (2)
1995 NFL 6.7% (1)
1996 NFL 7.2% (1/79)
1997 NFL 6.8% (1)
1998 NFL 5.6% (6)
2001 NFL 6.3% (2)
2002 NFL 4.9% (5)
2003 NFL 6.8% (1)
2004 NFL 5.6% (8)
2007 NFL 5.2% (9)
2009 NFL 6.2% (2)
Career 5.0% (42)

Sack %

1993 NFL 5.43% (8)
1997 NFL 4.65% (4)
2001 NFL 4.14% (4)
2002 NFL 4.51% (10)
2003 NFL 3.88% (5)
2004 NFL 2.17% (1/18)
2005 NFL 3.80% (3)
2006 NFL 3.31% (4/71)
2007 NFL 2.73% (4/36)
Career 4.91% (15)

Game-Winning Drives

1992 NFL 3 (4)
1993 NFL 4 (2/81)
1998 NFL 2 (9)
1999 NFL 3 (4)
2000 NFL 4 (2/81)
2001 NFL 3 (10)
2003 NFL 3 (6)
2004 NFL 4 (4/81)
2007 NFL 4 (2/81)
Career 45 (4)

Comebacks

1992 NFL 3 (2)
1993 NFL 4 (1/34)
1999 NFL 3 (2)
2002 NFL 3 (5)
2003 NFL 2 (7)
2004 NFL 3 (4)
2007 NFL 2 (4)
2009 NFL 2 (9)
Career 30 (6)

Total Offense

1992 NFL 3217 (7)
1993 NFL 3320 (5)
1994 NFL 3896 (5)
1995 NFL 4377 (1/49)
1996 NFL 3794 (4)
1997 NFL 3878 (1)
1998 NFL 4122 (2/75)
1999 NFL 4010 (4/96)
2000 NFL 3684 (8)
2001 NFL 3826 (5)
2004 NFL 4031 (5/91)
2005 NFL 3773 (3)
2006 NFL 3780 (6)
2007 NFL 4074 (4/84)
2009 NFL 3962 (9)
Career 70195 (1)

Games

Career 302 (9)

Games Started

Career 298 (1)

Playoff Games

Career 24 (7)

Playoff Games Started

Career 24 (3)

Fumbles

1992 NFL 12 (2)
1993 NFL 14 (2/42)
1996 NFL 11 (4)
1999 NFL 9 (10)
2000 NFL 9 (6)
2001 NFL 16 (2/14)
2002 NFL 10 (9)
2007 NFL 9 (10)
2008 NFL 10 (8)
Career 166 (1)

Fumbles Recovered

1996 NFL 5 (1)
2001 NFL 6 (5/45)
2002 NFL 5 (4)
2007 NFL 4 (6)
Career 42 (7)
Packers players who have worn #4 over the past 50 years:

 

From To AV
Dale Dawson 1988 1988 0
Brett Favre 1992 2007 140
Chuck Fusina 1986 1986 0
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

Next Packers Game Full schedule »
Thursday, Oct 22 Oct7:25Minnesota VikingsBuy Tickets

Tags: Brett Favre Green Bay Packers

comments powered by Disqus