These 50 Brett Favre moments are the ones we remember most
The name "Brett Favre" instantly stirs up numerous memories for fans of the Green Bay Packers, and as the Gunslinger turns 50 on Thursday, it's as good a time as any to look back on a bunch of them.
These are 50 memorable Brett Favre moments, kept mostly to his tenure during the Packers (with at least one memorable exception) and mostly in the vein of positive moments for Packers fans (so, no, there's no mention of his struggles with addiction, the voicemails he left for Jenn Sterger or his six-interception game against the St. Louis Rams in the playoffs ... trust us, there were plenty of interceptions to cover).
50. The Strahan sack controversy
Jan. 6, 2002
The Packers were ahead late and time was running out for Giants defensive end Michael Strahan to secure the single-season NFL sacks record, set at 22 by Mark Gastineau of the Jets. But Brett Favre rolled out late in the game, seemingly right into the path of Strahan, then crumpled to the ground as Strahan fell on top of him to clinch the record at 22.5 sacks. Perhaps it was a well-intended flash of respect for Strahan, but it’s a highlight that’s been replayed a ton and served to discredit the record, with many believing Favre surrendered himself as a means of securing the record for Strahan.
49. A fan steals the ball
Oct. 30, 2005
Playing in Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium, Favre dropped back for a pass and had the ball stripped … by a fan. The 31-year-old Cincinnati native didn’t get off the field without taking a hit and was arrested, but the play came at a key moment, with the Packers trailing 21-14, inside Cincinnati territory with under a minute to go. Favre was sacked a couple of plays later and the Bengals held on.
48. Off the mat in Houston
Nov. 21, 2004
The Packers appeared to be in deep trouble, down 13-3 in the final seconds of the third quarter at Reliant Stadium in Houston. But back came the Packers, starting with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Donald Driver. Ryan Longwell authored two field goals thereafter, a 39-yarder with 7:55 to go and a 46-yarder as time expired to give the Packers a 16-13 win on "Sunday Night Football." Favre completed 33 of 50 passes for 383 yards and that score, and he also had a big 17-yard rush in the fourth quarter.
47. Favre can’t make up his mind … buying a TV
This 2009 Sears advertisement showcased Favre poking fun at himself. Notorious for being unable to definitively say if he was returning to football or not, Favre is shown in the commercial hemming and hawing over TV options, ultimately unable to make a call. Packers fans, of course, know that his indecision played a role in the team ultimately moving on and trading Favre to the Jets.
46. A frenzied fourth against the Chargers
Dec. 14, 2003
The Packers outscored the Chargers in the fourth quarter 21-15, with five touchdown passes between Brett Favre and the man who would eventually own the NFL all-time passing yardage record, Drew Brees. After the Chargers took a 21-17 lead, Favre found Robert Ferguson for a 40-yard go-ahead score, Ahman Green for a short touchdown and Ferguson again from 16 yards out to settle on a 38-21 win. Favre finished with 278 yards passing and four touchdowns overall.
45. A fourth-quarter surge against the 49ers
Nov. 1, 1998
Green Bay rallied for 17 points in the fourth quarter to beat San Francisco 36-22 at Lambeau Field in a battle between two of the NFC’s top teams. It included Favre’s 62-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman, followed shortly thereafter by a Steve Young fumble and a touchdown run by Travis Jervey. Favre threw three picks in the game but also three touchdowns and 279 yards passing. The 49ers got even in a memorable wild-card game in which Terrell Owens caught a game-winning touchdown (but Jerry Rice fumbled).
44. An 'NFL Honors' surprise
Feb. 1, 2013
Much had been made over the years about Favre’s frosty relationship with Aaron Rodgers and the polarizing way Favre left the Packers. But in 2013 at the third annual “NFL Honors” show commemorating the best in the NFL, Rodgers and Favre took the podium together and handed out the Comeback Player of the Year award to Peyton Manning. It was somewhat awkward but largely a symbol that Rodgers — and, perhaps, Packers nation at large — was ready to move on and welcome Favre back into the fold.
43. A rally in Jacksonville
Dec. 3, 2001
The 7-3 Packers were on the cusp of a bad loss against the Jaguars, down 21-7 late in the third quarter. But Favre threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Bill Schroeder and another to Bubba Franks to tie the game before the quarter was over. He then ran it in himself from 6 yards out with 1:30 to go for the winning points in the 28-21 victory. All told, Favre finished with 362 yards passing and three scores, plus the rushing touchdown.
42. Favre makes his own call
Nov. 29, 1992
Favre’s touchdown pass with just over 10 minutes to play to Jackie Harris helped the Packers top the Buccaneers 19-14 and move to 6-6 overall for the year with a third straight win. It was Favre’s play call after Mike Holmgren called something different, but Favre insisted on a play-action fake that set up Harris. It was one of three fourth-quarter comebacks in Favre’s first year in Green Bay.
41. 'There’s Something About Mary'
July 15, 1998
“I’m in town to the play the Dolphins, you dumb---.” Favre made a cameo in the popular 1998 comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller, delivering his famous line. He played Diaz’s ex-boyfriend (after Drew Bledsoe and Steve Young turned down the Farrelly brothers for the part?!).
40. The Wrangler commercials
Favre became a pitchman for Wrangler jeans during its “Real. Comfortable. Jeans.” campaign, although it became the subject of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch after Favre … uh, committed some misdeeds.
39. A Halloween trick
Oct. 31, 1994
The famous Halloween game against the Chicago Bears featured atrocious weather conditions and throwback uniforms. It was a hideous "Monday Night Football" battle at Soldier Field that the Packers dominated (33-6) despite just 82 yards passing on 6 of 15 completions from Favre. But he did deliver a 36-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and the Packers wound up taking a 27-0 lead.
38. His first and only Lambeau Leap
Oct. 29, 2006
It's hard to believe Brett Favre has only performed a singular Lambeau Leap in his career, jumping into the end-zone stands after a touchdown. That didn’t come until 2006, when he jumped in after a 1-yard run against the Arizona Cardinals. The Packers won the game 31-14.
37. Vintage Favre against the Vikings
Nov. 11, 2007
The 2007 season was a renaissance for Favre, who seemed to rediscover every ounce of his magic with a newfound efficiency. The Packers moved to 8-1 against the Vikings in a 34-0 evisceration, where Favre completed 33 of 46 passes for 351 yards and three scores. Aaron Rodgers also made an appearance in the game, going 2-for-2.
36. Longwell at the buzzer … twice
Nov. 14, 2004, and Dec. 24, 2004
A win over the Vikings is always sweet for the Packers, but two walk-off wins in the same season is pretty great. Ryan Longwell’s kick at the buzzer helped the Packers prevail 34-31 despite two fourth-quarter touchdowns by the Vikings in the final 3 minutes. Favre did not throw an interception and completed 20 of 29 passes for 236 yards and four scores, good for a 133 quarterback rating. In the rematch Dec. 24, Favre found Donald Driver for a touchdown with 3:34 left to tie it, and after the Packers forced a punt, Favre took the ball at the Green Bay 13 and drove to the Minnesota 7 over the course of 1 minute and 20 seconds. A 31-yard pass to Javon Walker was the biggest play that set up Longwell’s game winner in the 34-31 victory, a win ensured the Packers would finish ahead of the Vikings for the NFC North crown. Green Bay followed with a win over the Bears but lost to the Vikings in the wild-card round, 31-24.
35. Another thriller in 1999
Oct. 10, 1999
It was the third fourth-quarter comeback in a month when the Packers defeated the Buccaneers 26-23 at Lambeau Field with Favre’s huge day (22 of 40, 390 yards, two touchdowns) leading the way. Favre’s 21-yard completion for a touchdown to Antonio Freeman despite pass interference from Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber gave the Packers the lead with 1:10 to play, less than a minute after the Buccaneers took the lead on a Mike Alstott touchdown. Favre delivered a 42-yard pass to Bill Schroeder on the winning drive.
34. A San Francisco treat and on to St. Louis
Jan. 13, 2002
Favre was a succinct 22 of 29 for 269 yards and two touchdowns in a wild-card win over San Francisco at the end of the 2001 season, one game before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. Ahman Green’s touchdown rush with less than 2 minutes to go helped the Packers pull away, 25-15.
33. Meanwhile, in the desert …
Dec. 28, 2003
The day will be remembered for the Vikings' inexplicable loss to the Cardinals in Tempe, when Minnesota coughed up an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter and enabled the Packers to clinch a playoff spot. One week after Favre’s magnificent performance on "Monday Night Football" in the wake of his father’s death, the Packers rolled again over Denver, 31-3, to set the stage for the dramatic Vikings loss and squeaking out the NFC North title. It was far from Favre’s best game (12 of 21, 116 yards), but he did throw an early touchdown to Bubba Franks in a game that largely featured the running of Ahman Green (218 yards on 20 carries).
32. ‘We’ll take the ball, and we’re gonna score’
Jan. 4, 2004
It’s a game that will be remembered for the pass thrown by Favre’s former protégé, Matt Hasselbeck, into the arms of Al Harris for a game-winning pick-six in overtime. The 2003 wild-card game against the Seahawks capped a series of dramatic weeks for the Packers that included a memorable "Monday Night Football" game for Favre in Oakland and remarkable choke job by the Minnesota Vikings in Arizona one week later. In the playoffs, the Packers prevailed 33-27 one week before “fourth-and-26” became part of our permanent vocabulary. But Favre was also excellent in this game, completing 26 of 38 for 319 yards and a touchdown.
31. The Warren Sapp rivalry
Favre had a playful and professional rivalry with Warren Sapp, the Tampa Bay defensive lineman who frequently made life miserable for quarterbacks. The rivalry between the two foes was perhaps at its best in 1998, when Favre beat Sapp in September, 23-15 (though Sapp had two sacks). In December, Sapp and his Buccaneers got even with a 24-22 win, even though Favre made it interesting at the end by driving the Packers into Tampa Bay territory, only to be sacked by Sapp for the final down of the game.
30. A dash of Schadenfreude
Jan. 24, 2010
We did promise that this list would feature moments that are exclusively Packers-friendly and not include any of the lowlights. But we can’t not mention this one. Favre’s wishes to play for the divisional rival Vikings rubbed a lot of Packers fans the wrong way, especially when he led the Vikings to two wins over the Packers in 2009 and put them one step away from the Super Bowl. But an overtime interception in the NFC championship game from inside Saints territory took away a potential game-winning scoring opportunity, and the Saints won 31-28. "This is not Detroit, man, this is the Super Bowl."
29. The best beating the best
Oct. 14, 2001
One of Favre’s best games came against the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens, when they paid a visit to Lambeau Field in October 2001. Favre completed 27 of 34 passes for 337 yards, three scores and no interceptions as the Packers knocked off Baltimore 31-23.
28. Super Bowl XXXII
Jan. 25, 1998
Sure, it was a rough ending, when the Broncos stunned the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, 31-24. But it’s easy to forget that Favre still threw for three touchdowns, pulling the Packers into a tie early in the fourth quarter on a touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman and quickly engineering a drive that started on the Packers’ 15-yard line. All told, Favre completed 25 of 42 passes, though he did lose a fumble and throw an interception.
27. The OTHER Raiders game
Sept. 12, 1999
Nursing a badly injured thumb, Favre nonetheless found a way to lead the Packers to a thrilling comeback against the Oakland Raiders in the 1999 season opener, completing 28 of 47 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns. The Packers fell behind 24-14 with 11:27 to go, but Favre’s touchdown pass to Corey Bradford came just more than 30 seconds later, and his game-winning pass to Jeff Thomason tipped the scales with 15 seconds to go.
26. The Packers are for real in 1996
Oct. 14, 1996
The 1996 Packers looked awfully real when they took down the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, 23-20, following up an affirming playoff win over the 49ers just months earlier. Favre’s 59-yard touchdown pass to Don Beebe pulled the Packers to within 3 points, and he drove the Packers down the field to set up a game-tying field goal with 8 seconds left, plus the game-winning points in overtime from Chris Jacke. Favre finished 28-for- 61 with 395 yards passing.
25. Driver for 90 yards
Jan. 20, 2008
In the brutal cold of Brett Favre’s final game wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey, Donald Driver caught a pass and went 90 yards for a touchdown in the NFC championship battle with the Giants, briefly putting the Packers ahead 7-6. The game went back and forth from there and had an unhappy ending most people remember, when Favre’s interception to Corey Webster in overtime helped seal Green Bay’s fate. Lawrence Tynes kicked a game-winning field goal to send the Giants to the Super Bowl.
24. The draft photo
April 21, 1991
He wasn’t a member of the Packers yet, but a draft-day photograph of Favre in 1991 essentially became an iconic visual in Packers culture, with numerous trinkets of awesomeness buried within the image. It was pretty great when now-Browns quarterback (and Christian Yelich enthusiast) Baker Mayfield re-created the photo when he was taken No. 1 overall in 2018.
23. The ascent begins in earnest with playoff win over 49ers
Jan. 6, 1996
Facing San Francisco on Jan. 6, 1996 after a strong 1995 season, the Packers showed that they could contend to reach the Super Bowl by toppling the host 49ers 27-17. The 49ers were a 10-point favorite, but Favre threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, with scores to Keith Jackson and Mark Chmura that helped the Packers grab a 21-0 lead.
22. The streak
Nov. 7, 1999
Favre started for the 117th time, in a loss to the Chicago Bears, passing Ron Jaworski for the most consecutive starts. The streak lasted throughout his tenure in Green Bay and ultimately finished at 297 (321 if you count the playoffs), a mark that may never be broken. It officially ran from Sept. 27, 1992, to Dec. 5, 2010.
21. The Hall of Fame speech
Aug. 6, 2016
It was a lengthy sit, more than 36 minutes, but Brett Favre was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton in 2016. Favre, whose streak of consecutive games played set an NFL record, set another record for speech length with his unscripted thoughts.
20. The snow globe game
Jan. 12, 2008
The 2007 divisional-round playoff battle with Seattle was remembered for a ridiculous snowstorm that made the TV broadcast almost unwatchable. The Packers crushed the Seahawks 42-20 as Favre threw for three touchdowns and completed 18 of 23 passes (173 yards). Perhaps most memorable was a falling shovel pass to Donald Lee for 10 yards on third-and-8 for a big first down before the end of the half.
19. Carolina on the mind
Jan. 12, 1997
Including a long scoring pass to Dorsey Levens and a beautiful back-shoulder touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman that would later be immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Favre led the Packers to a landslide win over Carolina in the 1996 NFC championship game to reach Super Bowl XXXI. Favre finished with 292 yards passing and two scores.
18. Yancey Thigpen dropped it
Dec. 24, 1995
What everyone remembers from the final game of 1995 was Pittsburgh receiver Yancey Thigpen dropping a surefire touchdown that sealed a win for the Packers and granted them their first divisional title since 1972. But Favre was excellent as well, completing 23 of 32 passes for 301 yards and two scores, enabling the Packers to prevail 24-19 on Christmas Eve. He took a massive hit before re-entering the game to sling a huge touchdown to Mark Chmura.
17. Sprained ankle can’t stop the Gunslinger
Nov. 12, 1995
Though he was battling a sprained left ankle at the time (one that would need surgery after the season), Favre tossed five touchdown passes at Lambeau Field, racked up 336 yards and helped the Packers beat the Bears 35-28 in a battle for first in the NFC Central. His game-winning pass to Edgar Bennett for 16 yards gave the Packers the lead for good at the 9:17 mark. Favre finished with a 147.2 passer rating for the game.
16. The Family Night scrimmage
Aug. 3, 2008
Emotions were mixed and the scene was crazy when Favre was traded to the Jets in 2008, consummating what was essentially an acrimonious divorce between Favre and the Packers. Five days before he was traded, more than 56,000 people attended the annual Family Night Scrimmage at Lambeau shortly after it was clear Favre had decided to play in the 2008 season and not retire. Other fans waited at nearby Austin Straubel Airport when Favre’s plane landed at 7 p.m. His plane’s taxi to the gate was broadcast on live television, and his Cadillac Escalade ride was followed by news helicopters. He wound up at the game and sitting in one of the luxury boxes, with nobody clear on whether the Packers would welcome him back or move on.
15. Return to Lambeau
Nov. 26, 2015
On Thanksgiving in 2015, the weather was brutal but the moment was still special for Packers fans, as Brett Favre, Bart Starr and Aaron Rodgers all appeared at the same time during a Packers loss to the Bears. Favre’s acrimonious departure from the organization left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, but this was a moment when it finally appeared that wounds had fully healed.
14. A trade that will live forever
Feb. 11, 1992
Ron Wolf pulled the strings on a deal that few Packers fans will forget. The Packers general manager sent a first-round draft pick to Atlanta for the 22-year-old Favre, even though Favre had been a second-round draft choice just the year before and had yet to see NFL action. One often forgotten nugget: Wolf entertained the idea of trading for 30-year-old Steve Young from the 49ers but opted instead to go for the unproven Favre.
13. A record that will never be broken
Sept. 11, 1995
Facing the Chicago Bears in Week 2 of 1995 on "Monday Night Football," Favre threw three touchdown passes in the first half, and the third was a 99-yard bomb to Robert Brooks that gave the Packers a 21-0 lead. Green Bay held on at Soldier Field, 27-24.
12. Corey Bradford tops the Vikings
Sept. 26, 1999
In Week 3 of 1999, the Packers fell behind will less than 2 minutes to go, 20-16, against the Vikings at Lambeau Field. But that’s way too much time for Favre. It took him seven plays to respond, capping the drive on fourth-and-1 with a perfect 23-yard pass to Corey Bradford with 16 seconds left, helping the Packers prevail 23-20.
11. The MVP times three
In 1996, Favre won his second NFL MVP, becoming just the third player in league history to win the award twice (along with Earl Campbell and Steve Young). Then, in 1997, he won it a third time to become the first NFL player accomplishing the feat. The feat has since been matched by Tom Brady and surpassed by Peyton Manning, but no player has won the award three consecutive years as Favre did from 1995-97.
10. Favre’s strange first pass
Sept. 13, 1992
The trivia question is often posed: who caught Brett Favre’s first NFL completion? The answer, as many of us know by now, is himself. Facing the Buccaneers in Week 2, Favre checked in with the Packers well behind in what ultimately became a 31-3 loss. Rolling to his right, Favre released a pass deflected into the air by Ray Seals and right back to Favre, who was then tackled for a loss. It got better from there.
9. Passing Dan Marino the second time
Dec. 16, 2007
A 44-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in the third quarter at St. Louis pulled Favre to within 1 yard of Dan Marino’s all-time career passing yardage record of 61,361 yards. A 7-yard pass to Donald Driver to kick off the next series gave the record to Favre alone. He finished with 71,838 passing yards, still fourth all time in 2019.
8. Tying and then passing Dan Marino the first time
Sept. 23 and Sept. 30, 2007
With his 16-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in the first quarter Sept. 3, 2007, Favre completed his 421st touchdown pass, officially passing Dan Marino for most in NFL history. He finished his career with 508, the fourth-most in NFL history. But tying the record was the more dramatic note with a 57-yard strike to Greg Jennings with 2:03 to go to help the Packers beat San Diego, 31-24. Favre finished that game with 369 yards passing and three scores.
7. The walk-off bomb on Monday night
Oct. 29, 2007
In 2007 — perhaps Favre’s most memorable year (for better and worse) — he took the first snap of overtime and aired out a long pass to Greg Jennings for a walk-off winner in overtime on "Monday Night Football." The 82-yard bomb gave the Packers a 19-13 win over host Denver and moved Green Bay to 6-1 on the season (they’d eventually go 10-1 and finish 13-3).
6. Favre takes it himself in the County Stadium finale
Dec. 18, 1994
Badly needing a win in the penultimate game of the season, the Packers played their final game at Milwaukee County Stadium and won a thriller over the Falcons, 21-17. Favre dropped back on third down in the final 20 seconds and ran the final 9 yards, diving across the goal line for the winning points with 3 seconds to play. The Packers wound up beating the Lions in the playoffs for a second straight year, famously holding Barry Sanders to negative-1 yard rushing before falling to the Cowboys.
5. The introduction
Sept. 20, 1992
With Don Majkowski injured, Favre checked into the Week 3 battle against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1992 and finished 22 of 39 for 289 yards and two touchdowns in his first game at Lambeau Field. His 35-yard pass to Kitrick Taylor with 14 seconds left capped a 92-yard drive and helped the Packers rally all the way back from a 17-3 deficit to win 24-23. The Packers scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns for the thrilling birth of Brett Favre’s legend.
4. The Antonio Freeman pass
Nov. 6, 2000
On a rainy Monday night at Lambeau in November of 2000 against the Vikings, Favre’s pass to Antonio Freeman on third-and-4 appeared to fall incomplete, defended by Vikings defensive back Cris Dishman. But Freeman corralled the ball and ran for the game-winning touchdown in overtime, and replays showed what he knew immediately — the ball never touched the ground. It might be the single most memorable pass Favre threw.
3. The playoff drought is over
Jan. 8, 1994
The Packers hadn’t won a playoff game in over a decade when Brett Favre found Sterling Sharpe with 55 seconds left in the 1993 wild-card game against Detroit at the Pontiac Silverdome. The 40-yard bomb across his body was enough to tip the scales and give the Packers a 28-24 win that somewhat ushered in a new era of Packers football.
2. Running down a dream
Jan. 26, 1997
With his helmet in his hand, the iconic visual of Brett Favre was photographed on Jan. 26, 1997, as he raced down the field following a 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison that gave the Packers an early lead in Super Bowl XXXI. Favre threw another touchdown pass and two-point conversion in the game, finished with 246 passing yards and also ran for a score in the 35-21 triumph.
1. A win for dad
Dec. 22, 2003
Sure, the Super Bowl win will resonate for a long time, but can anything top his "Monday Night Football" performance in 2003, a 41-7 win over the Oakland Raiders? One day after the death of his father, Irv, he threw for 399 yards with four touchdowns in what will forever be remembered as his signature performance. By quarterback rating (154.9), it was the greatest performance of his career.
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.