What If Brett Favre Wasn’t Traded to the Green Bay Packers?

Brett Favre was one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks to ever play. The gunslinger was an 11-time Pro Bowl Selection, a three-time first-team All-Pro selection, and a three-time league MVP as he is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For most of his career, Favre wore the Green Bay Packers’ green. However, if the Atlanta Falcons had not traded him to Green Bay in 1992, things could have been a lot different.

Atlanta Falcons drafted Brett Favre against their head coach’s wishes

Packers legend Brett Favre gets a call from the Atlanta Falcons when they select him in the NFL draft.
Brett Favre talks to the Atlanta Falcons from his bedroom on NFL draft day April 21, 1991. | Tim Isbell/Biloxi Sun Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons drafted Brett Favre out of Southern Mississippi in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft. However, Falcons head coach Jerry Glanville didn’t agree with the choice. Glanville wanted Browning Nagle from Louisville, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nagle was out of the NFL by 1997 as he threw only eight career touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

Favre only threw four passes as a Falcon as Glanville at one point even said it would, “take a plane crash for him to put Favre into the game,” according to Bleacher Report. Favre’s first pass with the Falcons was a pick-six. Additionally, in those four overall attempts, he did not complete a pass and threw two picks.

After that season, the Falcons traded Favre to the Green Bay Packers for a first-round NFL draft pick. 

Favre made the Falcons pay after being traded

Almost immediately, Favre found success in Green Bay. The Packers went 4-12 the year before they acquired Favre and then went 9-7 in 1992. Favre ended up throwing for 3,227 yards in 1992 to go with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He earned Pro Bowl honors that season and in 1993.

Then in 1995, he ended up becoming a first-team All-Pro and the NFL MVP. He threw for 4,413 yards in 1995 to go with 38 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also won the MVP in 1996 and 1997. During the 1996 season, the Packers won the Super Bowl.

Favre finished his career with the New York Jets in 2008 and the Minnesota Vikings in 2009 and 2010, however, he ended up having a Hall of Fame career. His 6,300 career completions rank third all-time in the NFL and his 10,169 career pass attempts rank first. His 71,838 passing yards and 508 passing touchdowns are both fourth all-time.

Atlanta struggled after the Favre trade

The Falcons went 6-10 the season after trading Favre. They only had a winning record once over the next six seasons and three times over the next 12 seasons. They did reach the Super Bowl during the 1998 season, but they lost 34-19 to the Denver Broncos and then went 5-11 the next season.

From 1992 through 2010, which is from the season they traded Favre through his last season in the NFL, the Falcons only reached the playoffs six times. They also did not have a consistently successful quarterback until Michael Vick but that still, unfortunately, did not work out and they had to move on from him after only six seasons.

Favre could have made the Falcons consistent contenders

Favre and the Packers only had one losing season together and only two other seasons where they went 8-8. All of the other seasons Favre was in Green Bay, the Packers had a winning record. This proves that Favre was a winner. If Atlanta had not traded him, they could have been Super Bowl contenders in the NFL year after year. Instead, they lost a lot more than they won.

Additionally, the Falcons’ quarterback the year they reached the Super Bowl in 1998 was Chris Chandler. In the Super Bowl, he threw for 219 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. With Favre, they could have won that Super Bowl. The Falcons have still yet to win a Super Bowl.

This, however, means the Falcons probably would have never drafted one of the most electric quarterbacks of all-time in Michael Vick, and they probably would not have Matt Ryan right now. 

For the Packers, it probably would have taken time for them to find a quarterback. They probably would have taken a QB in the first round of the 1992 NFL draft. The Packers had the fifth overall pick that year and the first quarterback selected went sixth. That quarterback was David Klingler who finished his career with a 4-20 record as a starter to go with 16 passing touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

It’s safe to say the Packers made the right choice with Favre.

Had the Atlanta Falcons not traded Brett Favre, they probably would have been consistent winners in the NFL through the years and maybe would have at least one Super Bowl title. The Packers, on the other hand, probably would have continued to struggle at least for the next few years. Brett Favre was one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time and the Falcons made a horrible decision by choosing to trade him.