On September 20, 1992, one Green Bay Packers quarterback with visions of finding a permanent place in Canton, Ohio, went down with a devastating injury. He was replaced by another who eventually got there. That’s the quick story of Don Majkowski and Brett Favre.
From 1979 to 1989, the Packers had one winning season, and that came during the strike-shortened year in 1982 when they went 5-3-1. In 1989, Majkowski, known as the “Majik Man,” led the Packers to their first 10-win season since 1972. Majkowski finished second in the MVP voting to Joe Montana that season.
Thirty years ago, Majkowski went down with an ankle injury and was replaced by a young Favre. Favre rallied the Packers to victory and started every game in Green Bay for the next 15 years.
Don Majkowski’s Green Bay Packers career was derailed by injuries
Majkowski was a 10th-round draft pick by the Packers in 1987. He made the team and made an immediate impact, starting five games and going 2-2-1.
Majkowski made nine starts in 1988, going 3-6, but then was named the full-time starter in ’89 after veteran Randy Wright was given his release. Majik guided the team to a 10-6 record by putting up some impressive numbers.
He started all 16 games and led the NFL in completions (353), attempts (599), and passing yards (4,318). Majkowski threw 27 touchdown passes and also was a threat with his legs. He rushed for 358 yards and added five touchdowns on the ground. He earned his nickname after leading the team to victories with last-minute heroics. Green Bay won seven of its last nine games in ’89, three of them by one point.
In 1990, Phoenix Cardinals linebacker Freddie Joe Nunn slammed Majkowski to the turf during Week 10. Majkowski tore his rotator cuff on the play and missed the rest of the season. He started eight games in ’91 and regained the full-time starting job in 1992.
Three games into the season, Majkowski got injured again. In a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he tore a ligament in his ankle, and Favre replaced him.
Favre rallied the Packers past the Bengals, beginning his Hall of Fame career
The Packers acquired Favre in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, who selected him in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft. Before the 1992 season, Green Bay sent a first-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for Favre.
Favre replaced Majkowski, who went down with an ankle injury early in the game. He engineered the first of his many come-from-behind wins when he began the final drive of the game from the Green Bay 8-yard line with 1:07 left and his team down 23-17.
Favre connected with Sterling Sharpe on a 42-yard play on second down to put the Packers in Bengals territory. After hitting Vince Workman with a pass that put them at the Cincinnati 35, Favre spiked the ball with 19 seconds to go. He then lofted a pass to Kitrick Taylor for a touchdown that helped the Packers pull out a 24-23 victory.
The late-game heroics began Favre’s illustrious NFL career. He then started 297 straight games. He led Green Bay to a Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 31. They returned to the Super Bowl the following season but fell to the Denver Broncos 31-24.
Favre, a three-time MVP, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. He finished his career with 508 touchdown passes.