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. Rollstone7

    He makes the list of all time elite quarterbacks. He is on the bottom of the list with all those interceptions and only one SB, but on the elite list for sure.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boocat

    ESPN did a little math last night before the game. They said that in his career Brett Favre threw the ball (this is completions, only) more than 44 miles.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shmootball

    A quarterback is only as good as his line. Vikings line has been garbage for years.

    Haters will always hate – the couchball players on this forum would not last beyond 1 hit from an NFL player.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. joe

    Sure Brett belongs in the HOF, but I don't think he can be considered in the top 10 QBs. Favre got his record not from having great seasons, but by sticking around for such a long time, minimize his years to the likes of Marino or Elway, and his stats pale in comparison. Favre will make it, and he rightfully deserves it, but he is not a top 10

    December 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • boocat

      Not true....Favre broke Marino's records....and as far as championships, Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl but that does not take away from how great he was when he played. You stupid men commeting on this article just love your stupid trophies probably because your lacking elsewhere....if you get my meaning..

      December 14, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Favre broke Marino's record because of how long he played, not how well he played. I could care less about trophies, I'm just saying, Brett while his dedication is great, he was not a top 10. I'm not downplaying his achievements, I think what he has accomplished rightfully puts him in the HOF, he's just not a top 10 in my mind. You women need to stop being so sensitive about everything, voicing an opinion doesn't make me an egotistical man who's lacking in other places

      December 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • kbmarquette

      By not having great seasons? He was the first three-time MVP.

      December 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. American X

    Brett is a FNG stud! enough said !!-

    December 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • steeve-o

      Apparently Jenn Sterger didn't think so... did you see when he showed her his little Viking?

      December 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ted

    I simply could care less.

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

    Top 15 QB of all time.
    He just made too many mistakes to be consider in the top 10. Too much of a gambler on the field. Thats why he's only won one SB and the playoff records for a 20 year career is not that all impressive.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      maybe so, but it should be considered impressive that he was able to play QB at some fuctional level for 20 years.. how many qb's can you name that have done that? and no, I am not talking about the concusion qb's that were knocked out of the game..

      December 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    He definitely deserves a place in history. After all he is the only quarterback to record his own sack. 🙂

    December 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. steeve-o

    What excites me most about Favre's record is that Peyton has 205 consecutive starts. No way will Peyton trump Favre's record, that means his days are numbered too! Yee-hah!

    December 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Holdupaminute

    Peyton will surpass 297 in 2016. I like Favre but I think that the only reason he kept playing was because he wanted to create as much as a buffer between his final number and the better, younger quarterbacks in the league that have a chance to break it.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • steeve-o

      I agree with that definitely, but I don't see Manning playing for 18 total years. That's about when Favre should've stopped.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • enielsen

      News flash...Peyton will most likely be watching football from the TV or eating popcorn in the stands by 2016.

      December 14, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jen

    he played well on the field, but never measured up.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      what is your number, I am sure I can work your field. I hope it is trimmed.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ironduke

    novella faurve

    Isn't he the one that allowed Mike S to get his record?
    Maybe his starts weren't the best thing for the team

    How many would you say"playing hurt" bt keeping his record going

    December 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ozzi

    Favre may be suffering from head injuries which is interfering with his decision-making. The Vikings need to get that man to a brain-specialist before he really gets hurt.

    Geez, people. Get a grip.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lisa

    Brett Favre has tarnished his own image. When you retire, you retire. Not change your mind three times and hide your lazy butt from Training Camp. He could have gone out in a blaze of glory, instead he is going out on one of the worst seasons ever. Not to mention the embarrassing scandal that looms of which he is certainly guilty. I expect Deanna Favre will make the news next with divorce papers if she has a brain in her head. Peyton Manning is a true hero!! He doesn't throw his team and players under the bus like Brett. GOOD RIDDANCE to a has been. 🙁

    December 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • notafavrefan

      He's probably only still playing because of the money, he was guaranteed 16 million just for this season alone. Brett will probably never be an announcer for television and he's certainly not good at commercials. Once he's done with football what else will he have to rely on for money ? a whole lot of nothing.

      December 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      when you retire, you retire? Like V. Lombadi, M. Jordan, Emmit Smith... I can go on all day long about greatness not being able to give it up. It is a passion and love for the game that brings them back. This is something you will never know about. #4 certainly isn't the best qb to ever play the game but he is top 5. 5-10 yrs from now people will remember him as a Packer legend.

      December 14, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cowboysfan4life

    I wonder if his wife (Diana) has left him yet over his infidelities with that jets chick.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
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