Last week on The Pack Recap, we discussed the coach of the 90’s Packers, Mike Holmgren. It was one of two moves Ron Wolf made in his first couple of months on the job. The other move he made was to trade a first round pick for a third string quarterback. That player was Brett Favre.
To say Favre came from humble beginnings would be an understatement. The son of a high school football coach, Favre played in multiple sports as a high schooler. Football was one of them, and Favre quarterbacked Hancock North Central High School under his father. He wasn’t asked to throw much, leading to him not being highly recruited. Favre was offered one scholarship. It was from Southern Mississippi, and it was for cornerback. Favre was only recruited because a new scout for Southern Miss, Mark McHale, had heard from others about Favre. After watching him basically hand off for two straight games, McHale was about to leave when he finally saw Favre throw, saying it was captivating to see. He described it later as the ball “having smoke and flames coming off it.”
Favre pushed to play QB for the Golden Eagles, and started his freshmen year as the seventh string quarterback. He took over in the second half of the third game that season against Tulane, leading the Golden Eagles from behind to win the game with two TD passes. Favre continued to ascend the following two seasons, with perhaps his finest collegiate accomplishment coming in his junior season. That year, Favre led an upset victory over the 6th ranked Florida state, throwing the game winning touchdown with 23 seconds left.
Favre’s career almost ended before the following season. In July of 1990, he was involved in a near fatal car accident. 30 inches of his intestines was removed, and he wondered if he would ever play football again. Six weeks after the accident, Favre suited up and played for the Golden Eagles against Alabama, leading them to a comeback victory. Gene Stallings, the head coach of Alabama, said, “You can call it a miracle or a legend or whatever you want to. I just know that on that day, Brett Favre was larger than life.”
Favre was drafted by the Falcons in the second round of the 1991 draft. Attempting just four passes that season, two resulting in interceptions, Favre basically drank his way out of Atlanta. It also didn’t help that Jerry Glanville did not want Favre drafted. He would often belittle Favre, telling him it would take a plane crash for the quarterback to get into the game. Favre rebelled, sleeping through team meetings and even missing the team photo. When Ron Wolf offered a first round pick for Favre, Atlanta pulled the trigger. Despite Favre failing his physical, Wolf overruled the doctors and made the trade.
The result of that trade was 16 years of mostly competitive football for the Packers. Favre quarterbacked the team to eleven postseasons, seven division championships, four NFC Championships, two Super Bowls, and one World Championship. He would win 3 straight MVP’s, set a plethora of league records, have his jersey retired, and be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Despite everything that happened at the end of his Packers and NFL career, there is no name more synonymous with the Packers renaissance than Favre.
Contributions from Wikipedia, the Green Bay Press Gazette, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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