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. CHRIS FAHRENKRUG

    he was a fan favorite until he tried to tell Detroit about Green Bays game plans acouple of years ago..Brett is all about Brett

    December 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tatum Moss

    One of the roughest, toughest gunslingers to ever do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Number 4 all day.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4 Favre

      I agree!!!!!

      December 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Overby

    His true self has been discovered, a sleaze that screws around on his wife. It doesn't matter how he played a game, it's how he played life. It's shameful and disgusting that the NFL is just letting all this slip by and not punishing/suspending him from the sport as would happen to a 'normal' player.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alan Kurpaska

    They said the same about Lou Gehrig's consecutive game record and Walter Johnson's strikeout record....

    December 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. some guy with an opinion

    Just because he didn't win as many Super Bowls as some QB's doesn't take away from the fact that he's won more games than any other QB... Ever. Thrown more TD's than any other QB... Ever. Started in more games than any QB.. Ever. AND has more yards (by almost 8,000) than any other QB... Ever. So.. You know.. Some respect is deserved when talking about him, and calling him the "Greatest Ever" isn't exactly an exaggeration.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • some guy with an opinion

      Just because you didn't like him on a personal level, doesn't change the fact that he (arguably) is the greatest QB to ever play the game.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      You are so very right. He was the best. With all of the injuries this year though he really does need to retire.
      I think that if Chilly had thought to actually figure out a way to protect him this year and to find him some actual recievers to throw to that he would have had a great year.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KM

    Just too bad he couldn't have shown a little class and shaved and dressed more appropriately knowing he was going to constantly be featured on national TV last night. Looks like someone picked him up outside a soup kitchen on the streets of Detroit, instead of a guy who made $20 million for playing half a season. That's Brett, classless to the end.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Is it legal to actually use Favre and "class" in the same sentence?

      December 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Toddyboom

    A good QB. Not great. Not Unitas, Not Montana, Not Elway, Not Aikman. Probably around # 10 all time.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toddyboom

      but wait..I guess around 10th all time is pretty great.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      +1
      Though I think you might be giving him a bit too much credit at #10.

      Unitas, Montana, Elway, Marino, Graham, Tarkintun, Moon, Young, Bledsoe, P. Manning, T!ttle, S. Baugh...to name a few and in no particular order.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sutler

    Sorry for all the Favre hating everyone, guess I need to step back and realize that I am in reality an idiot running off at the mouth just to get some attention..

    December 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      And I also beg for attention due to a lack of love at home. My parents abandoned me as a child. I was stuffed into a basket and sent down the sewer where I now reside. Trolling the boards of the ethernet in an attempt to pull in numerous unwitting victims who dare cross my web of binary coding. Seen and read by all but caught by none....

      December 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred finkel

      Sutler,
      Get a job so you have less time to spend on this Favre hating thing!

      December 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      I had one, but I got fired because all I can do is run off at the mouth. See, I had to move back home with my mommy because my girl left me, my dog left me, and I have no friends. I asked someone earlier if they would be my friend if I paid them enough money, now I am asking you.. Please, somebody be my friend so that I can stop being a hater!

      December 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. buck cameron

    OK, Cal Ripkin was one tough dude, but let's face it, he didn't get smacked down by rampaging 250 lb linebackers on a regular basis. If I ever got hit once by those charging rhinos I'd be out forever. I don't know – or really care – where Favre stands in any other category of life, but I'd want to see the macho bone fides of any guy that wants to dis his qb career. (btw, I say guy because I think he probably has to rank behind any women with more than 1 natural child births.)

    December 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toddyboom

      One thing in Ripkin's favor is that in baseball you don't get many days if any between games to recuperate. If you pull a muscle or get smacked in the thigh by a 100 mph fastball you have to go right back out the next day and do it again.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Just ask that dove that felt the wrath of Randy Johnson. 🙂

      December 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. meeee

    Say what u want he doesnt have to work til he's 70 then drop dead 5 months after retirement like you sadsacks

    December 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      I can live with that. For one, I will be able to remember who my kids are at that age, I will be coherent, and I won't have to have constant medical attention due to all those "old football injuries." I think I can handle that. Besides, with all your negativity, I don't f0rsee you making it to 70. Statistics show that people with a negative att!tude such as yours, meeee, have a shorter lifespan that those with a bright outlook on life such as myself and many other posters on this blog. 😀

      December 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Who am I kidding? Me being positive? There is only 1 thing that I am positive about and that is that I am a 100% bonafied moron, lol..

      December 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JG

    Not the greatest, but close. I'd put him up there right behind Montana, Elway, Unitas, Marino, Manning and Brady. He threw too many interceptions to be the greatest. However, if by "greatest" you really mean "toughest" he is top of the heap in that category, definitely.

    December 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Ok Sulter, you claim he threw 300 picks in his career. So 297 starts in 19 years. That comes out to 15.7 per year, if you play a 16 game schedule we are now down to an average of .98 per game. Is that a crime?

    December 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Yes it is a crime! See all this attention that Favre is getting is taking away from the attention that I should be getting!
      I am sorry for being a Favre hater, I actually like the guy and have for some time. It is just way easier to post garbage here and get you guys riled so that I can pretend that I have friends here.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      335 to be exact, but who's counting 🙂 Which is a little over 1 pick a game. Add into that equation that he funbled an additional 165 times in his career. Thats a total of almost 2 turnovers a game accountable to Favre. Not very impressive for a "STAR" player in the NFL.

      December 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Don't forget though that no matter what records any of the so called NFL stars have, that I could do better. That is why I am here sitting in front of my computer in my moms basement.. Because I can do better.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. boocat

    What's the matter Sutler? Did Brett Favre steal your girlfriend or something? You're an idiot. I had the opportunity to see Brett Favre play at Lambeau Field many times and I enjoyed every minute of it. He made football fun to watch as opposed to a guy like Peyton Manning who looks like he never has fun. I, for one, am gonna miss him and he's my personal favorite of all time. And as far as all of the haters saying he should have retired years ago, how do you respond to the fact that his playing last year (at the age of 40) was the best in his career?

    December 14, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      1 sentence....

      No one had AP figured out yet.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • boocat

      Who or what is AP?

      December 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • boocat

      If you mean Adrian Peterson, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. So you attribute Favre's success to Adrian Peterson. You're pathetic in that you won't give Favre any credit. You poor pathetic loser.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Well, actually you are 100% correct about me.. You are also correct about Favre and the Vikings last year. Just wish I had some friends is all..

      December 14, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    OK JG, if Manning starts every game from nor untill then he will match Favres 297 starts in 2016. you going to hold up Favres entering the hall of fame untill then?

    December 14, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JG

      No, Favre is fully deserving of the Hall of Fame, if only for this one record. He has lots of other records that also warrant his being put in the Hall of Fame. Is he the best ever? No way. Manning is better than Favre ever was in my opinion, because he manages the game better. Favre could lose a game almost as easily as he could win one.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RJ

    Ah, Favre. The last few years have been interesting for you. Long time Packer fan, long time up-and-down Favre fan, I think he's done well. He just can't seem to decide when to let go. We'll be here, big guy, when you're ready. ❤

    Oh, and Sutler's a troll. Everybody knows we don't feed them, right? Good.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Yes, oh yes I am a troll.. Please forgive me, I do not have any friends and I really wish that I had some. Favre really is a HOF QB in my opinion, I am just here talking trash because nobody likes me.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
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