Just when it seemed that No. 4 was going to change his uniform number to an infinity symbol, Brett Favre has called it a career.
It’s apparently official. The Green Bay Gunslinger has told his agent, the team and ESPN that he’s hung up his pads and his yellow helmet with the white G in the green circle for the last time.
Many think Favre toward the end of his career had grown whiny about whether or not he wanted to play on or retire, whether the Packers still wanted him, and the quality of the players he was being surrounded with.
But legions of Cheeseheads and just plain NFL fans love him for the quarterback he was throughout the Nineties all the way through to his final game this past season. Favre seemed reborn in ’07 and, if not for a bad overtime interception vs. the Giants in the NFC Championship Game, might have led Green Bay to one more Super Bowl appearance.
Favre won three league MVP awards, surpassed Dan Marino’s career records for touchdown passes and yardage, and leaves the game with a mind-boggling streak of 275 consecutive starts (253 regular-season, 22 postseason).
The Jets were involved in a sidebar to the start of Favre’s career, of course. As recently as January, Newsday revisited the 1991 draft in declaring that this year’s Packers-Giants title tilt was "another painful reminder of what might have been" for Green & White fans.
In the 1991 draft, Jets general manager Dick Steinberg, backed up by then-assistant Ron Wolf, had a trade in place with the then Phoenix Cardinals to leapfrog over Atlanta from the seventh pick of the second round to the fifth with the intention of selecting Favre.
"But when it came time for the Cardinals’ pick, they told us the guy they wanted was on the board, so they didn’t do the deal," Wolf recalled. "They picked their guy [DE Mike Jones], the Falcons picked Brett Favre, and that was it." The Jets selected Browning Nagle.
Then Wolf became Green Bay’s GM and traded with the Falcons for Favre. The rest is history.
Despite the fact that the Jets have started 15 different QBs to Green Bay’s one since ’92, the Green & White got some small revenge in their limited exposure to Favre. They played him four times, each time fared a little better, and won the last three.
I was fortunate to see all four games, three of them in Favre’s Lambeau Field shrine, and I was happy that the ineffective Favre we saw in the Jets’ 2006 rout was not the memory that we will be left with.
Here are capsules of the Jets’ meetings with No. 4:
Nov. 13, 1994 — Packers 17, Jets 10, Lambeau Field
Favre, in his best game vs. the Jets, threw red-zone touchdown passes to Robert Brooks and Anthony Morgan and completed 20 of 28, no completion longer than 17 yards, in defeating Boomer Esiason. Snow began falling late as the Jets fell to 5-5. They won at Minnesota the next week, then lost their last five to finish 6-10 and coach Pete Carroll was dismissed.
Sept. 3, 2000 — Jets 20, Packers 16, Lambeau Field
Opening day, and Vinny Testaverde, in his first game back after rehabbing his torn Achilles’ from the ’99 opener, outdueled Favre. Testaverde went 23-for-44 for 261 yards and led the visitors on a 74-yard drive to Curtis Martin’s 3-yard TD catch with 3:28 to play. Then Favre (14-for-34, 152 yards) got the Pack to the Jets 35 before throwing a deal-sealing pick to S Victor Green.
Dec. 29, 2002 — Jets 42, Packers 17, Meadowlands
The regular-season finale, and who can forget the buzz that went through the crowd and into the home team when news of the Patriots’ OT win over Miami flashed and the Jets knew that a win over Green Bay put them in the playoffs? The Pack, an NFC berth already clinched, were crushed as Chad Pennington (17-for-24, 196 yards, four TD passes) eclipsed Favre (16-for-33, 172).
Dec. 3, 2006 — Jets 38, Packers 10, Lambeau Field
The wind-chill was 2 degrees but the Jets were hotter than they were in ’02 in rolling to an inexplicable 31-0 halftime lead on the Frozen Tundra. Pennington, who produced scores on all five first-half drives, finished 25-for-35 for 263 yards while Favre lost a fumble on Bryan Thomas’ strip sack on his opening drive, threw two INTs and had to battle back to finish 24-for-47 for 214.
Tags: Boomer Esiason, Brett Favre, Chad Pennington, Dan Marino, Green Bay, Ron Wolf, Vinny Testaverde
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