In 1991, Brett Favre entered the NFL. Over the next two decades, he forged a career as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Favre was an 11-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro player, three-time MVP, one-time Super Bowl champion, and a Hall of Famer.
With this came many triumphs, tears, and memorable moments. One moment, in particular, continues to inspire fans years after Favre threw his final football, but it came at the expense of a major personal tragedy.
Brett Favre’s prolific career
Favre’s career has been covered in great detail. Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991, he spent a season mostly on the bench before heading to Green Bay. Favre became the starting quarterback, and over the next 16 years, he was the face of the franchise. The Mississippi native was known for his killer arm and ability to show up when it mattered.
In the late ’90s, Favre dominated football. While he never relived the same success he saw during this decade, his career wasn’t even half over. Favre continued to reinvent himself time and time again.
After a few off-years, he saw a resurgence in 2001 that lasted three years. Then, after a swan song in Green Bay and an ousting via Aaron Rodgers, Favre found himself elsewhere. His lone year with the Jets following his unretirement was forgettable, but his first season in Minnesota, Green Bay’s rival, saw him throwing like an MVP at 40 years of age.
Favre retired in 2010 with 6,300 completions, 71,838 yards thrown, and 508 interceptions. What he did on December 22, 2003, however, may define him more than any specific moment in his career.
Triumph over tragedy
Favre’s father, Irvin Favre, suffered a fatal heart attack on December 21, 2003, the day before Brett was going to play in a Week 16 Monday Night Football game. Irvin had been by his son’s side since the beginning, and many wondered if Brett would be able to play, let alone concentrate.
But when the game against the Oakland Raiders began, Favre played some of the best football of his career. At the time, the Packers stood at 8-6 with unconfirmed playoff hopes. While nobody would have blamed Favre for taking the night off, this wasn’t a choice for him.
“I knew that my dad would have wanted me to play,” Favre said after the game. “I love him so much, and I love this game.”
The quarterback took the field to cheers from even Raiders fans — not a small task for a notoriously hostile crowd. The game was also notable for being Favre’s record 205th consecutive start, a record he would build on for several more years.
Brett Favre’s performance
Favre was firing on all cylinders, wasting no time to make his presence known to the Raiders’ defense. The Packers scored their first touchdown on a pass to Wesley Walls, then scored again four minutes later on a pass to Javon Walker.
The quarterback continued his dominance, throwing two more touchdowns in the first half and leading the Packers to a 31-7 lead over the Raiders. When all was said and done, the Packers won the game 41-7.
Favre threw 22 completions on 30 attempts for 399 yards. His four touchdowns did not come at the expense of any interceptions. It is still brought up in terms of athletes overcoming adversity. It also gives fans a look into the mind of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.