Favre’s Streak: The Most Amazing Record?
By LARRY CANALE
It’s that time of year again: a new football season. And for the 20th year in a row, Brett Favre will be part of it. Think about that: The National Football League has been around for 90 seasons, and Favre is starting his 20th. That means he has been active in 22 percent of the N.F.L.’s seasons.
Favre has set records by the dozen…. Most TDs (497). Most yards (69,329). Most completions (6,083). Most attempts (9,811). Yes, most interceptions, too (317).
Most games with one TD pass (241), two TD passes (157), three TD passes (71), and four TD passes (23). Most touchdown passes of 80-plus yards (nine) and 70-plus yards (15). Most seasons with at least 20 TD passes (15). Most seasons with 3,000 passing yards (18). Most career games with 200 yards passing (202). (He needs two more 300-yard games to pass Dan Marino’s record of 63).
There are countless other records Favre holds, but let’s get right to his most important — and then his most amazing.
Most important: Favre’s won/lost record as a starting QB. He has come out on top in 181 of his starts, versus 104 losses. That’s a .635 winning percentage — an impressive figure considering that he played with less-than-stellar talent in a few of his seasons in Green Bay. Yet over all, in his 16 years with the Packers, the team missed the playoffs only five times and had a losing record once.
Furthermore, Favre’s .635 winning percentage compares favorably with contemporaries like Jim Kelly (.631), Dan Marino (.613) and Troy Aikman (.570). And his .635 mark isn’t terribly far off the percentages of John Elway (.643) and Steve Young (.657). (Going back in time, we have Bart Starr at .623, Bob Griese at .622 and Fran Tarkenton at .532. The exclusive .700-plus club includes Roger Staubach at .746 and Joe Montana at .713.)
The point: The bulk of Favre’s records have a lot to do with his durability, yes, but his winning ways prove that his stats haven’t been “empty.”
Finally, we come to Favre’s most amazing record — perhaps the most amazing record in sports history. Heading into his 20th season, his consecutive-games streak had reached 286, or 310 if you count playoffs.
Think about that for a moment: The last time Favre didn’t start his team’s game was on the week of Sept. 20, 1992. That was also the game that put #4 on the map and gave long-suffering Packers fans a glimpse of a brighter future.
The Magic Man, Don Majkowski, the incumbent QB at the time, started on Sept. 20, 1992, for the 0-2 Packers but was injured early in the game, never to return. Enter Favre, 22 years old and with a mere 18 pass attempts in his N.F.L. career. All he did was throw for 289 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns to give Green Bay a 24-23 come-from-behind victory. Now that was Magic.
In September 1992, George H.W Bush was president, Aaron Rodgers wasn’t quite 9 years old and relatively few of us knew what the Internet was (never mind used it). Back then, who could have predicted that Brett Favre would still be under center in 2010, without having missed a game?
With all due respect to the estimable iron-man records of A.C. Green (1,192 straight N.B.A. games between 1986 and 2001), Doug Jarvis (964 straight N.H.L. games between 1975 and 1987), and even Cal Ripken (2,632 straight baseball games between 1982 and 1998), Favre’s mark is one that we’ll probably never see in sports again. Football is simply too violent a game for one man to last 20 years without missing a start.
No matter what happens in 2010 — whether he plays one game or 16 — Favre’s streak is an unfathomable accomplishment. In football, the quarterback has a constant bull’s-eye on his back, not to mention the pressure of leading — and of succeeding. After all, you can’t be a losing quarterback and last 310 starts in a row.
So enjoy Favre in what most likely will be his final season. And pay no mind to those detractors who call him a diva, drama queen and money-grubber. The man just wants to play football, still.