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. Lisa

    Go Peyton!

    December 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. enielsen

    My husband introduced me to the world of football 15 years ago. Brett was his favorite player (other than Bart Starr) and we collected his memorabilia together over the years. Even when Brett left the Packers we still followed him to his next team and collected more Brett. My husband passed away this year and I was hoping Brett would retire so to avoid the pain of watching him alone. I LOVE BRETT for being such a big part of our lives. Brett is human and deserves forgiveness for his stupid acts, but so do alot of people. Brett Favre is unpredictable and a gunslinger but I see him as one of the toughest, most enjoyable players to watch. There isn't one hater out there that can compare to what Brett has acheived and they should be ashamed at how disrespectable they sound. THANK-YOU AGAIN BRETT FOR ALL YOU GAVE TO US – love to you and your family....Always know you are appreciated by those who know you always give 100%. THANKS AGAIN AND AGAIN...

    December 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alaska

      I used to like to watch brett for a couple of things, to see how many interceptions he would throw per game and his tissy fit tantrums when he would lose.

      December 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • enielsen

      You are obviously full of "you know what". He played to win. He didn't always have a great team around him and he throws harder than you and most men. You can put him down but you can't hold a candle to him.....just another hater with nothing better to do than put down other people who actually hold a record or two or many. Who are you again to judge? I'd be curious as to whether you can throw a football yourself? Or did I see you at the Superbowl and just didn't know it?

      December 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Art

    I'm surprised the article doesn't mention Doug Jarvis's 964 consecutive HOCKEY games... way more impressive than Ripken or Favre. Hockey has the intensity of football (getting hit, hitting others, fighting), but you're playing 3 to 4 times a week for 6months.

    December 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David Jones

    Favre didn't shine under pressure, he choked under pressure. He single handedly cost his teams at least 2 games a season. For every game he won for the Packers he cost them 2. A lot of media and fans ignored that because they liked watching when he did get lucky with his throws into double coverage at the end of games while trailing. This writer says, "And nothing will ever change that, or lessen its impact," What did it "impact"? And as far as him being the "toughest quarterback who ever suited up." He's not the toughest, he was durable however. Kurt Warner was a better QB, I agree. Just as Neil Lomax was better than Roger Staubach during his day. But Staubach had the better team, so he is in the hall of fame. When you talk all these different records you have to consider that they are (team) records. Football is NOT an individual sport. Look at Earl Campbell, he did more for his team than almost any player in football. Favre was a good durable QB. Yes, he should go in the Hall of Fame. He was never a truely great QB or player.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • enielsen

      And what makes you the expert on great QB's?

      December 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • intruder1400

      enielsen: apparently his knowledge of football. :>)

      December 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • enielsen

      What you call knowledge sounds more like opinion..........

      December 15, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. kbmarquette

    People call Favre a turnover machine, but Elway's TD to interception ratio was much worse than Favre's.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lolFavre

    The article failed to mention that in the middle of that streak, Mr. Favre had a nagging Vicodin addiction. The man is an arrogant toilet only concerned with his own name... had he cared about "team" or "sportsmanship", he would have retired a Packer, after getting Aaron Rodgers ready to replace his legacy. IMO, he threw out that legacy the second he became a Jet.... which was all part of his plan to get to Minnesota so he could add yet another pointless stat to his "achievements".

    December 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kbmarquette

    Kurt Warner only excelled when he had incredible talent around him. He was worse than mediocre when he did not.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David Jones

    Art, very good point. I'm not a hockey fan, but those guys are frickin tough. I'd say 964 games in a row is more amazing than Bret or Cal.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David Jones

    Aaron Rodgers beat Favre's single season total yards in his first year after Favre left (was let go) GB. What's that tell you?

    December 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • enielsen

      It tells me that Rogers played one good year.....let's see his records in 15 yrs...

      December 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David Jones

    Aaron Rodgers first 2 seasons, 58 TD's 20 ints. Over 4000 yards each year.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • lolFavre

      ...and had Favre been Rodgers' mentor, instead of resisting the fact that 40 year olds should not be NFL quarterbacks, we would all remember Favre the same way we do Joe Montana. Yes, Montana left San Francisco, but only after his replacement was trained and ready. The end result? 2 Hall of Fame QB's that we all remember fondly.

      December 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barney

    He surely has the records, not only for football but for hanging three franchises out to dry. I respect him for his work on the football field, but not for his character. Besides that, he can't even pronounce his own name. If he didn't learn to do at least that much in college, no wonder he didn't learn to be a man.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • enielsen

      The Packers locked him out remember??? After they flew him to Green Bay.............everyone is judging and not one individual judging is remotely qualified in anyway...Do any of you have anything to compare to what he's accomplished????? SERIOUSLY?? NO NOT ONE OF YOU – Someday you all will be judged on your merits and I bet you will have plenty to be ashamed of. So many haters...it's sickening

      December 15, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. Remford

    Baloney. His "dedication to the game" has only been outstripped by his dedication to himself – and his ego.

    December 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Truth

    He holds virtually every major record a QB should hold. Until some surpasses his stats he's the best. So hating is a preference not a statistic. And so on and so forth. This place sounds like a stupid sports chat room where everyone knows everything but in reality knows nothing. My dog is bigger than your dog. Please.

    December 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Truth Hurts

    A very selfish, uneducated guy who was once a great football player. Basically the Pete Rose of football

    December 14, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ProtoMan

    I guess you'd have to compare with stats from other greats in the same amount of time. Favre played nearly 300 consecutive games. Being pass happy assures him the yardage and completions but his td/int ratio is kinda bad. If Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or Peyton Manning continue on pace would they beat favre? That's how I would judge him. He's been playing for 20 years so his stats are padded by the length of time in the field.

    December 14, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
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