Brett Favre: The Man, The Myth, The Gunslinger
The man who almost never was. The myth who turned into a legend. “The Gunslinger” who rewrote the record books.
Brett Favre almost never was Brett Favre.
Favre grew up in Mississippi to two school teacher parents. He was a multisport athlete, football, and baseball, and was a star on the baseball field. On the football field, he was never truly given a chance to shine. His father, head coach at the time, started his son at quarterback in a run-heavy offense that would significantly limit the number of throws Favre would make each game. The lack of throwing from the quarterback, and the lack of tape for colleges to see, was the first time this legend was almost cost his legendary status. Fortunately for him, the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles saw potential. Unfortunately for him, it was not at quarterback.
Southern Miss wanted him to play safety, one of the many positions that Favre held while in high school as he was a true ironman playing offense, defense, and special teams. He refused, insisting that he play quarterback. Due to the limited amount of tape of him throwing the ball, he would be placed at the very bottom of the depth chart behind the likes of Ailrick Young and Simmie Carter. He would take over for Young against Tulane, and would lead Southern Miss to a come from behind win, and when healthy, he would never relinquish the starting position again.
However, for the third time in his life, he was almost never “The Gunslinger”. While home for summer break in 1990, Favre wrecked his car and almost died. In old Favre-fashion, however, he would return for the start of the season and lead the team in two upsets over the season, one in week two of #13 Alabama and in week eleven of #15 Auburn. He would finish his career at Southern Miss with over 7,500 yards, 52 touchdowns, and 34 interceptions.
The Atlanta Falcons front office would see something in Favre that head coach Jerry Glanville did not. Against Glanville’s wishes, the Falcons would take Favre in the second round. This would be a short-lived partnership, as Glanville would not give Favre a real opportunity to become the starter and at season’s end, he was traded to the Green Bay Packers. This trade would change the course of both teams over the next decade and a half, as the Packers would not suffer a losing season with Favre as their starting quarterback until 2005. In that same time frame, the Falcons would suffer nine losing seasons.
Favre’s time in Green Bay is what would define his legendary career and earn him the name as “The Gunslinger”. He would be known as an ironman, starting an NFL record 297 regular season games in a row before finally being forced to sit because of a shoulder injury in his final season with the Minnesota Vikings. Those 297 starts included three teams, a deadly Vicodin addiction that the NFL banned him from drinking any kind of alcohol in 1996, as well as starting against the Oakland Raiders the night after his father passed away.
He would be known as the quarterback that would not be afraid to throw any pass, having such faith in himself that if you put five defensive backs on one receiver and left one receiver running wide open, he would try and hit the quintuple-covered one. These two key factors were important roles in giving Favre a Super Bowl victory, three straight MVP awards, and various NFL records such as most wins, most completions, and infamously, most interceptions.
This past year, Favre was inducted into the NFL Hall-of-Fame and will forever be known as one of the most daring quarterbacks of all-time and in some’s mind, the greatest ever.