Brett Favre is a name that will forever be associated with the Packers. He led Green Bay for 16 seasons (1992-2007) in which he won three-consecutive AP MVP awards, two NFC Championships, and one Super Bowl. Although Packers fans remember Favre for much, much more than his accomplishments, wins, or his gaudy statistics.
We remember the type of competitor that Favre was and we remember how no stage or moment ever intimidated him — he played ball like a kid simply for the love of the game. However, his unmatched confidence came with a few side effects. Favre’s heroic fearlessness brought Green Bay numerous huge victories, but it also brought just as many absolutely brutal defeats.
Along with being remembered as a winner, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee is remembered for throwing the most interceptions in NFL history (286 while wearing green and gold).
As most of you remember, some of those interceptions ended seasons. Although I am quite certain that Favre never would have been the player he was if he didn’t take chances. Proof? For every interception he threw he threw just about two touchdowns. With the Packers, the nine-time Pro Bowler led the league in touchdown passes four times and interceptions twice — I rest my case.
All of that said, Favre may be best remembered for his unmatched toughness, his guts, and his 297 consecutive starts (a streak that was soiled in Minnesota as a Viking… makes sense). Between him playing injured and celebrating wildly with teammates, sometimes a decade younger than him or more, Packer Nation fondly remembers Old No. 4. Ah yes, the old scars have healed. So it’s as good of a time as any to sit back and reflect.
There are so many memories to choose from that we couldn’t include many good–and not so good–memories from the Favre era in Green Bay. Below are the ten most vivid memories of Favre that will live with us forever.
10. Trouble With the Cowboys:
Favre’s early postseason performances were not all great, but they were still memorable. For three consecutive years a dominant Dallas Cowboys team defeated the Pack in the playoffs in Texas. However some believe that it was the Cowboy’s playing field that defeated Favre and the Pack back then. Cowboys Field had an unusually high crown on it and for years Brett could not adjust to the way the field sloped down toward the sidelines. Pass after pass sailed high over receivers heads game after game in Dallas. It was brutal to watch, but it helped build him into the leader he would become.
9. Breaking the Lions’ Heart:
The Wild Card playoff game in 1993 was on the road in Detroit and the Lions were on the verge of ending the Packers’ season. That is, of course, until Favre rolled to the left and inexplicably stopped, turned to his right and fired a pass down the right sideline to a wide open Sterling Sharpe to win the game. It was unorthodox and exciting, pretty much a microcosm of his career. This was kind of the moment when he really arrived as a star in Green Bay and something we’ll never forget.
8. Becoming a Legend:
Favre finally made it to the Super Bowl in 1996 after multiple playoff defeats. Packers fans every where sat nervously, as I did, as we waited to see Favre build new memories — whether or not they’d be good was the mystery. We didn’t have to wait long as Favre motioned to Rison to run a fly route, changed the play, and then fired an absolutely perfect touchdown pass to open the scoring. Favre then ran and jumped his way to the end zone to celebrate. A seriously amazing to a start a Super Bowl.
Brett Favre as MVP, not once, not twice, but three times. As a lifelong Packers fan, watching the way Brett played while wearing the Packers uniform was very special. It was almost like a gift that he gave to all of us each and every week. I knew it was a gift when it was happening and I still think of it as such today. I didn’t take it for granted. The three AP MVP awards confirmed that the NFL and its fans nationwide appreciated that gift, too. It’s quite amazing that he’s still the only player to win the award in three consecutive seasons and that’s one of many records he may forever hold. I can’t see anyone else accomplishing it anytime soon.
6. The Iron Man:
The most-lasting memory of Brett Favre that I have is simply that he was always there. He always played. Always. Of course concussion protocol will never allow another player to play every game year after year like Favre did, but once he became a starter No. 4 never missed a start as a Packer — which amounted to a whopping 253 in a row. Everyone knows about his consecutive start streak, but it’s still amazing to think about his toughness and consistency while playing such a violent sport. Cal Ripken Jr.’s streak is impressive, but it’s not nearly as impressive as Favre’s.
5. Overtime Thrillers:
This one is a tie between two memories. The first OT memory occurred in 2000 when Favre completed an improbable game-winning pass to Antonio Freeman in the rain to defeat the Vikings on Monday Night Football after midnight. My Dad let me stay up to watch until the end, even though I had school the next day (I was 10 years old, okay). The second OT memory happened in 2007–Favre’s last year with the Packers–when he launched an 82-yard bomb to Greg Jennings for the incredible road win in Denver. That was also on Monday Night Football — he had a flair for the dramatic.
4. Playing With a Broken Thumb:
Favre played nearly the entire 2003 season with a broken thumb on his throwing hand; of all the times he played injured this might have been the most impressive. Not only did he play, but he led the NFL with 32 touchdown passes that year, finished second in AP MVP voting, and led the Packers to the playoffs after beginning the year with a sub-par 4-5 season. My “No. 1 memory” on this list also happened during incredibly fun season. Too bad this season ended with the dreaded “4th and 26” fiasco. Yuck.
3. Iconic Super Bowl Moment:
Perhaps nothing encompasses the essence of Favre better than his running down the field after throwing a 54-yard touchdown pass for the first score of Super Bowl XXXI (alluded to above). He called an audible and hit Andre Rison for a memorable score, but his celebration of running down the field with his helmet above his head is even more memorable. That video clip will run during “Super Bowl Week” until the end of time. Although my favorite moment of the game was his diving toward the pylon for a rushing touchdown — one of 14 in his career with the Packers.
2. Winning in the Snow:
Of course this applies to many wins in Favre’s career, I am specifically talking about the 2007 home playoff win against the Seattle Seahawks (his last playoff win with the Packers). The one play that I can’t forget is when he spun out of a sack and stumbled to his right, but kept his balance just long enough to complete an insane underhand pass to Donald Lee on third and eight before falling to the ground. Ryan Grant would run the ball in on the next play and the Packers would go on, as you know, to win the game. Lambeau in the snow, just beautiful.
1. The Game the Day After his Dad Died:
This was an emotional one. When the Packers played the Oakland Raiders the day after Favre’s dad passed away and the ‘Black Hole’ actively cheered for him prior to the start of the game, I think we all knew it was going to be a special night. You know the story, he went to throw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in one of the more incredible games of the Favre era. I just remember him throwing bomb after bomb and pointing to the sky to salute his dad. How many times did our jaws drop as his receivers made unbelievable catches? His play transcended sports that night; it doesn’t get much better than that game did.
And again, it was on Monday Night Football with all eyes on him — just the way he liked it.
Favre has been inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his No. 4 will never be worn in Green Bay again. Time has already healed all wounds and the good memories are the only ones we are reliving-and cherishing-today.
He will be remembered forever as a Green Bay Packer (not a Viking, Jet, or Falcon) and Packer Nation is incredibly lucky to have had him. He helped restore and build upon the greatness of this historic franchise; without him who knows where the team would be today… literally.
What are some of your favorite memories of the Old Gunslinger, Packer Nation?