Brett Favre: Career retrospective

On Thursday, Brett Favre turns 50 years old. Here is a look back at his NFL career and life after football.

 

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Brett Favre: Career retrospective

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Here’s a look back at the NFL career and life after football for the Ol’ Gunslinger Brett Favre.

 

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Stars as running high school quarterback in father’s wishbone offense

Stars as running high school quarterback in father's wishbone offense

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Brett Favre attended Hancock North Central High School in Kiln, Mississippi, where he played baseball and football. His father, Irvin, was his high school football coach. Ironically in the three years he was on the team, Favre rarely threw the ball in his father’s wishbone offense.

 

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Records first college comeback at Southern Miss in 1987

Records first college comeback at Southern Miss in 1987

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In high school, a Southern Miss assistant coach loved how hard Favre threw the ball, so the program offered him a scholarship. It was the only scholarship the future Hall of Famer received. Favre began as the seventh-string quarterback his freshman year, but he earned his first playing time as a freshman against Tulane in September 1987. He led Southern Miss to a comeback victory.

 

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Beats Alabama six weeks after near-deadly car crash in 1990

Beats Alabama six weeks after near-deadly car crash in 1990

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As a junior, Favre led Southern Miss to a victory against No. 6 Florida State, but he outdid himself with a comeback win against Alabama in 1990 six weeks after a near-fatal car crash. Favre accumulated 7,695 passing yards, 52 touchdowns and 34 interceptions in his college career.

 

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Becomes the No. 33 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1991

Becomes the No. 33 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1991

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Despite the apparent disapproval from Falcons coach Jerry Glanville, Atlanta made Favre its second-round choice in 1991. Favre barely played in Atlanta, though, as he attempted four passes with the Falcons. Two of those throws were intercepted, and on his only other dropback, Favre took a sack.

 

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Makes first NFL start in 1992

Makes first NFL start in 1992

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Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf acquired Favre for a first-round pick in Feb. 1992. Favre entered the season as the backup quarterback to Don Majkowski, but coach Mike Holmgren benched Majkowski in favor of Favre in the second half of Week 2. In Week 3, Majkowski left with an injury and Favre led the Packers to a comeback victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. Favre made his first start against the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week, beginning the longest consecutive starts streak in NFL history.

 

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Earns first playoff berth in 1993

Earns first playoff berth in 1993

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In 1993, Favre led the Packers to their first playoff berth in 11 years. During his first full season as a starter in 1993, Favre posted a 9-7 record with 3,303 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. The Packers beat the Detroit Lions in the NFC wild-card round for their first playoff victory since 1982.

 

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Wins first MVP Award in 1995

Wins first MVP Award in 1995

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Favre guided the Packers to their first 11-win season since 1966 during 1995 by making his first All-Pro team. He led the NFL with 4,413 passing yards and 38 touchdowns on his way to winning the NFL MVP Award. Green Bay advanced to the NFC championship game in 1995, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. It was Green Bay’s third straight defeat to Dallas in the postseason.

 

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Checks himself into rehab for Vicodin abuse in 1996

Checks himself into rehab for Vicodin abuse in 1996

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By the spring of 1996, Favre had developed an addiction for pain killers. In May 1996, Favre, with the support of his wife and coach Holmgren, announced he would check himself into rehab. He received 46 days of treatment but was ready for the start of the 1996 season.

 

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Wins second MVP Award and takes Green Bay to first Super Bowl in 29 years

Wins second MVP Award and takes Green Bay to first Super Bowl in 29 years

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Favre was outstanding again in 1996, posting 3,899 passing yards with a league-leading 39 touchdowns. With those numbers, Favre won his second MVP Award and led Green Bay to 13 victories for the first time since 1962. In the playoffs, Favre led the Packers to victories against the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers to advance to the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 29 years.

 

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Leads Packers to Super Bowl XXXI championship

Leads Packers to Super Bowl XXXI championship

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In Super Bowl XXXI, Favre went 14 of 27 for 246 yards and two touchdowns. On the second play of the game, he tossed a 54-yard touchdown and then set a new Super Bowl record with an 81-yard touchdown toss. Favre also rushed for a touchdown. In any normal Super Bowl, he would have won MVP, but Desmond Howard won the game’s MVP trophy for his 99-yard kickoff return touchdown.

 

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Captures record-setting third straight MVP award in 1997

Captures record-setting third straight MVP award in 1997

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Favre set a new NFL record with his third straight MVP award in 1997. He shared the honor with Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders. Favre again led the NFL with 35 touchdown passes and recorded 3,867 passing yards in 1997.

 

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Leads Packers to second straight Super Bowl appearance

Leads Packers to second straight Super Bowl appearance

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For a second straight year, Favre took the Packers to the Super Bowl. Green Bay was a double-digit favorite against the Denver Broncos but lost Super Bowl XXXII, 31-24. Favre was 25-of-42 and threw for 256 yards, three touchdowns and an interception and lost a fumble in the defeat.

 

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Helps Michael Strahan set the single-season sack record in 2001

Helps Michael Strahan set the single-season sack record in 2001

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In 2001, Favre assisted Giants defensive end Michael Strahan in his chase at history. Strahan was a half a sack short of tying the NFL record for most sacks in a single season going into the season finale against Green Bay. With Strahan pressuring Favre, who was rolling out of the pocket, the Packers quarterback simply slid behind the line of scrimmage, where Strahan tapped him down for a sack. It was Strahan’s only sack of the game, but he finished the season with a record 22.5.

 

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Turns in all-time performance on “Monday Night Football” after father’s death in 2003

Turns in all-time performance on "Monday Night Football" after father's death in 2003

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The Packers quarterback posted an all-time inspiring performance on “Monday Night Football” one day after his father died.  Against the Raiders on Dec. 22, 2003, Favre completed 22 of 30 passes for 399 yards and four touchdowns. He had more than 250 passing yards by halftime.

 

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Wife Deanna diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004

Wife Deanna diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004

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In 2004, the Favre family continued to go through adversity away from the field when Favre’s wife, Deanna, received a breast cancer diagnosis. She recovered and created The Deanna Favre Hope Foundation to support breast cancer education. A year later, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Favre family home in Mississippi. 

 

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Sets all-time touchdown and wins records in 2007

Sets all-time touchdown and wins records in 2007

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On Sept. 16, 2007, the Packers defeated the Giants to give Favre his record-setting 149th victory. The win helped Favre pass John Elway on the all-time quarterback wins list. Two weeks later, Favre threw his 421st career touchdown pass, which moved him ahead of Dan Marino for the most touchdown passes in NFL history.

 

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Throws interception in overtime of 2007 NFC championship game

Throws interception in overtime of 2007 NFC championship game

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In one of the coldest games in NFL history, the Packers hosted the Giants in the NFC championship game in January 2008. The upset-minded Giants forced overtime, and then in the extra session Favre threw an interception, which set up New York in field goal position. The Giants robbed Favre of his third Super Bowl appearance with a 23-20 loss.

 

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First retirement and comeback, traded to New York Jets in 2008

First retirement and comeback, traded to New York Jets in 2008

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Favre retired in March 2008 in an emotional press conference, but by the summertime, Favre had the itch to return. However, the Packers already had their minds set on starting Aaron Rodgers. This set up a messy divorce. Favre asked to be released, but the Packers didn’t want one of their greatest players in franchise history to sign with the quarterback-needy Minnesota Vikings. Eventually, the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets, and he led them to an 8-3 start to begin the 2008 season. But Favre played through an arm injury in December, and the Jets limped to a 9-7 finish.

 

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Signs as free agent with Minnesota Vikings in 2009

Signs as free agent with Minnesota Vikings in 2009

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Favre again retired in May 2009, but once again, the Vikings convinced him to leave retirement. He signed with Minnesota on Aug. 18, 2009. At 40 years old, Favre turned in one of his best seasons, throwing for 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. The Vikings went 12-4 and earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

 

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Becomes first quarterback to beat all 32 NFL teams

Becomes first quarterback to beat all 32 NFL teams

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On Oct. 5, 2009, Favre faced the Packers for the first time in his career and defeated Green Bay, 30-23. Then on Nov. 1, Favre returned to Lambeau Field and knocked off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers again, 38-26. With these two victories, Favre became the first quarterback to beat all 32 teams in the NFL.

 

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Throws interception at end of regulation in 2009 NFC championship game

Throws interception at end of regulation in 2009 NFC championship game

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Favre made his fifth NFC championship game appearance in his first season with the Vikings. Toward the end of regulation against the New Orleans Saints, the Vikings were driving into field-goal range to advance to the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 33 years. But Favre made the same mistake he did two years earlier. Throwing across his body, Favre tossed an interception at the Saints 38-yard line with 19 seconds remaining in regulation. Minnesota never possessed the ball again, as New Orleans kicked the game-winning field goal on the first drive of overtime. 

 

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Reaches 500-touchdown, 70,000-passing yards plateaus in 2010

Reaches 500-touchdown, 70,000-passing yards plateaus in 2010

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Favre re-signed with the Vikings on Aug. 3, 2010 but with the condition that it would be his final season. His second year in Minnesota was nowhere near as successful as the first, as he threw 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in 2010. But against the Jets on Oct. 11, Favre became the first quarterback to reach 500 touchdowns and 70,000 passing yards. He finished his career with 508 touchdowns and 71,838 passing yards.

 

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Consecutive starts streak ends at 297 in 2010

Consecutive starts streak ends at 297 in 2010

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On Dec. 5, Favre suffered a right shoulder injury against the Bills, and as a result he was inactive the following week, breaking his consecutive starts streak at 297. Including the playoffs, the streak reached 321 starts.

 

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Plays final game in December 2010

Plays final game in December 2010

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Because of the collapsed roof on the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the Vikings were forced to play their final home game of the 2010 season at TCF Bank Stadium. It was the first outdoor home game for the Vikings since 1981. Probably reminding him of his playing days at Green Bay, Favre played but suffered a terrible concussion and was forced to leave. It was the last time Favre played in the NFL.

 

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Accused of inappropriate text messages to media member in 2010

Accused of inappropriate text messages to media member in 2010

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During the 2010 season, Jets “Gameday” host Jenn Sterger accused Favre of leaving inappropriate text and voice messages while he was with the Jets in 2008. The NFL investigated but found no evidence for Sterger’s claims. However, Favre was fined $50,000 for failing to cooperate with the league’s investigation.

 

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Reveals health issues after turning down return to NFL in 2013

Reveals health issues after turning down return to NFL in 2013

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In 2013, the then St. Louis Rams asked Favre if he would return to replace injured quarterback Sam Bradford. He declined.  Around the same time, Favre began opening up about his concussion past. In an interview during 2013, he shared that he can’t remember moments of his daughters’ childhoods because of the concussions he suffered during his career. Since his retirement, Favre has coached some high school football in Mississippi.

 

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Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016

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Favre became a first-ballot member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Even with inflated passing statistics in today’s league, Favre is still fourth in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is also still tied for second with 186 career wins. His 160 wins with the Packers are second only to Tom Brady for the most with one team.

Dave Holcomb began working as a sports writer in 2013 after graduating from Syracuse University. Over the past six years, he has covered the NFL, NHL, MLB, fantasy sports, college football and basketball, and New Jersey high school sports for numerous print and online publications. Follow Holcomb on Twitter at @dmholcomb.



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