Where is Favre's place in sports history?
December 14th, 2010
12:26 PM ET

Where is Favre's place in sports history?

Say what you will about Brett Favre - about his wavering on retirement or his inability to make decisions. But there's one thing no one can take away from him - his dedication to the game.

In a sport where players are battered and bruised nearly every week, Favre took the hits consecutively 297 times. 

"Now that it's over, and part of the history books instead of the NFL's week-to-week reality, Brett Favre's 297 consecutive starts streak deservedly will go down as one of the greatest individual accomplishments in sports. And nothing will ever change that, or lessen its impact," SI.com's Don Banks writes, noting the feat perhaps makes Favre the "toughest quarterback who ever suited up."

"To argue otherwise is folly. The beauty of a consecutive-games streak is that it has a quality of perfection to it - and you can't beat perfection," he said. "For almost 19 seasons, the man played every chance he had to play. Case closed. End of story."

The argument, perhaps, is over where that streak deserves to be placed in history. Where does it match up against say Cal Ripken playing 2,632 straight games for the Baltimore Orioles? Or what about Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak? Or "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky, who played 51 consecutive games with a point?

That depends on how you feel about the sports, the differing schedules, and whatever else you can bicker about, though most will argue Favre's streak most closely lines up with Ripken's.

As Time.com's Sean Gregory asks: "What's harder: standing on a baseball field for an hour or two, everyday, playing shortstop, or lining up under center once a week in football, where very large men are paid very large sums of money to knock you out of the game?"

That's a comparison you can't make, Banks argues.

"For the record, football and baseball are too widely divergent to truly compare. One game is far more physically demanding, but the other sport gets played almost every day for six months, with no six days to heal up between games. So there's no right or wrong answer as to which streak is pre-eminent."

Perhaps Favre's streak-ending moment doesn't rival that of Ripken's because of his indecisiveness. Perhaps some have filed him in the category of the peppered-haired man who is already retired instead of the way Ripken did it - on his own time.

"It was time," Ripken said of when he decided to stop playing and end his record. "Baseball has always been a team game. I talked to my wife [Kelly] and decided, 'Let's end it in the same place it started. In my home state. In front of friends and family. In front of the best fans in the world.' "

The celebration certainly wasn't the same. Favre wasn't passing a great like Lou Gehrig. His indecision may have given people qualms about whether he knew when it was time to stop playing. To some, the end of Favre's streak could be the conclusion of his career as well.

But that doesn't take anything away from all Favre has done on the field those 297 times he stood in between the hash marks, called a snap and tried to deliver a well-finessed ball to a receiver without being slammed into the ground (not that that didn't happen several times either).

And whether you like him or not, sports fans are talking about the streak Tuesday morning. And with some interesting facts as well, including that the Chicago Bears used 23 - that's right, 23 - quarterbacks in the time that Favre played back-to-back.

To put things in perspective, you only need to look at another number, the age of  Arthur Moats, who knocked Favre to the ground and eventually off the field. His Buffalo Bills jersey may have No. 52 emblazoned on it, but the number he's now known for is 4. That's how old he was when Favre's streak began in 1992.

soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Carl Clavadetscher

    The stories in the media talk about "297" but they often forget, that's REGULAR SEASON consecutive starts. His actual total is 321 TOTAL starts including POST SEASON play, where the best are going against the best. So the 321 is not only more accurate it means more because those extra games were tougher than the others.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      I think that information falls under the copyright laws of the US: its pretty much word for word from Don Bank's article from SI. Didn't your teachers back in high school and middle school inform you about plagarism?

      December 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shane

    CONGRATULATIONS on consecutively starting #321 regular and post season games – That Record is PRICELESS Brett

    December 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      But one we will all forget very quickly. Who cares...How many championships did he produce throughout his career?

      1! ROFLMAO

      December 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Natalie

      Sutler, what is your problem?? You are leaving comments all over this page that are just retarded and stupid! Obviously you think you know something about football, and your a shamefully wrong! If you cant see a player and athlete for what they have achieved whether you like their team or not, your not a fan, get lost and go watch bowling or nascar and let real football fans and people who appreciate the sport talk!

      December 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      So your saying that you can recall the greats who hold the following off the top of your head?

      Record for most seasons in the NFL
      The most seasons with one club
      Most games played in a career
      Most consecutive games played (and no – its not Favre)

      Love you too.

      December 14, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      He does have 1 more championship than I will ever have.. Why? Because all I do is troll and nothing else.. Anybody know if there is a championship for that?

      December 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sunnybrook

    Your story was filled with a lot of useless words about an old geezer with a storied (I've heard from reporters) past. You should have reported on the game–you know, the real reason you were there. As a retired sports reporter, your story was a re-write of previous articles.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Yeah, so what is your excuse you sorry old wind bag? Trying to steal my attention by hopping on here and stirring trouble? Go find your own boards to troll, these are mine!

      December 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    Not the BEST to ever play, but he was the best at playing every game and not giving up even when his dad died or was injured. So because of that he's a hall a famer not because he was the best one on the field. I like the coach idea, put the football down and start coaching.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rob P.

    Not sure about all the Favre haters, but an amazing run. Lets throw a bone to the offensive lines over the years who protected him as well. Comparing longevity is hard to do, Ripken is also truly amazing, but didn't have to contend with people trying to kill him every play. But keeping healthy for two decades, and starting, is a signature of great athleticism no matter the sport.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. taxfly

    Amateur photoshop job. No way he can be behind the viking player on the left and in front of the one on the right.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      Nope, its called focus!! I have multiple pics I have taken that have this effect to them! read a basic photography manual!

      December 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Actually, it is a photoshopped picture. Just look at the image very caredully. Explain to me how Favre is standing on the field with no uniform on while the offense is on the field as well?

      December 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      And.. I would know this because I am a self proclaimed expert, just like I am an expert on all things Favre.
      You see, I don't have a life and have to troll the forums because I do not have anybody else to talk to.
      If I pay you enough money, would you be my friend?

      December 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. daleok

    Now maybe he will finally retire.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scott

    I never understood the argument that he "should have retired long ago" Nobody is signing this guy out of charity. They sign him because he'd be the best quarterback on their roster. If he's good enough to make a team, why not play if he loves the game?

    December 14, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ani

    he is the ebst QB ever...no one take that away from him. sure he didn't know when to stop, but when you love something the way he loves to play fotball its hard to just stop and get out...Long Live Brett Favre!!!

    December 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. noel

    good qb, not an aikman or a staubach though... took too many risks and usually got burned!!!

    December 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Scott

    The great majority of players don't "retire" from sports. They play until they can't make a team anymore. That's all Favre has ever done... gone out every season and made the team. And not only made the team, but was the starter. What could possibly be wrong with that?

    December 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Look at the Vikings this year and you will have your answer. Still not convinced, look at Favres record in the playoffs. How many times has he given the game away to the opponent with his arm? 😀

      December 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. freeman

    That's only regular season games. If you add playoffs, its 321 consecutive games. I doubt anyone will ever top that record.

    December 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Tim Tebow claimed the record this morning, and he hasn't had a start yet!

      December 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pops

    he no git star cause he only pay 10.00 just like estwood.....

    December 14, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scott


    Yeah, bad season and I agree completely on that point. But last season was fantastic. That's why he was invited back for 2010. So why not play? Few retire at the top of their game. And why should they. I suspect if he wanted to, he could compete well for a starting position with 10 different teams next year. Would probably be second string on 15 more. That's impressive for anyone. It means he's still an elite quarterback. There is still demand for his skill. And he loves it. I get your point about this season, but I don't understand all the Favre hate. He's not forcing any team to take him or start him.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tatum Moss


      December 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      There is a BIG difference between being a "veteran" quarterback and an elite quarterback. I would not place Favre in the later. Funny how the playoff runs involving Brett always seem to end in a fanfare of picks. Coincidence? I think not.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      But the team makes the playoffs.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      As does an additional 11 teams. your point?

      December 14, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Well, thought about it and guess I have to agree after all. Favre would have to be classified in the "Elite".
      I'll try and relax my panties a little bit so that I quit foaming at the mouth all the time.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    Long time viking fan and I would take him another year! Go Brett!

    December 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      How's that kool-aid tasing?

      December 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
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