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. Wild Hurricane

    Farve is a childs favorite. One day someone told a child that Farve was great (in his early days, too) and a child believe it- Now those children are adults. The history of football before Farve is where the reality of greatness in the NFL lies. Watch NFL Films about Slingin' Sammy Baugh- he was great. Bart Starr 5 time Champ. Joe Montana had a spinal disc replaced one season: many figured he was done- Joe Montana went on to win two more of his four SBs- all with no interceptions. And he was MVP 3 times. Dont forget Bradshaw- Pittsburgs 4 SB wins didnt occur without a QB. Yes, 4 SB victories is THE standard of greatness. I hope Brady and Roethlisberger will join that club. 5 for Roethlisberger!

    December 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wild Hurricane

    Farve has been more like a saturday morning cartoon character for the last 12 years, and, everyone loves a good cartoon, and has fond memories of our saturday morning cartoons.

    December 14, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wild Hurricane

    Back to Joe Montana: How can I say this? What is greatness? What is a standard of greatness that us mere morals can obtain? Is it all the best numbers? Or are they the numbers that designate the end result of success? When a successful player is consistant in winning games and resulting in SuperBowl Victories, doesnt that show the standards that are acceptable? The SuperBowl is the Highest Acheivement in this Sport! I've looked at Joe Montana's Stats week after week in his day, and therein you will find what the standards of greatest truly are- and it can be as simple as a 60 percent passing percentage. equaling 4 SBs, 0 interceptions and 3 time MVP. What any Joe Momtana fan will tell you as his greatest aspect of being a Joe Montana fan is they when Joe and the 49ers were behind and (sometimes) with only two mintues to play- Joe Montana gets the ball AND THE LEGEND IS THE LEGEND- Joe Montana #1

    December 14, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wild Hurricane

    And in all fairness, no conversation about the greatest of all time can be stated without adding John Elway of the Denver Broncos. It is highly debatable for John Elway to have his claim for greatest of all time. Here's why! Elway did not have a supporting cast! Five SB appearances with 2 being victories. But the whole world saw that Denver had NO other quality players. John Elway got them to three SBs in his first five years as a player! He could have had ten if he had a little help, but there was only one drafting genius one the planet- and that was Bill Walsh coach for the Forty-niners. If Elway had a supporting cast he WOULD have won all 5 of his SBs! And i can tell you! Mike Shanahan spent many nights copying Bill Walshs Playbook when Mike was the offensive coordinator for the Forty-niners. Yes! John Elway carry his team on his back for his whole career, and probably getting little credit from Dan Reeves. John carried the whole state of Colorado on his back! How much dirt is in the state of Colorado? That's how much John Elway carried on his back. It is really hard to declare the greatest of all time.

    December 15, 2010 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. Wild Hurricane

    And somehow we always forget Terry Bradshaw! 4 Super Bowl victories- oh, and within 6 years, and 2 MVP awards. and Terry never makes a fuss about it. Maybe he feels that BEING the greatest doesn't require all that song-and-dance! He's the greatest tv commentator, too, after John Madden, and overtaking Chris Berman. (Sorry! oh, great Swami!) A 6 year scan with 2 MVP awards. That kinda equals Joe Montana (but 3 mvps for Joe ices it). 4 SB victories is the Standard of the Highest Glory in Football. Until someone gets 5- maybe never. 4 is the Number. Terry Bradshaw has got that Number! And 4 rings!

    December 15, 2010 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Wild Hurricane

    Dan Marino? Someone in Miami is making Book for the Dolphins to win/lose! You can believe that! Sniff!

    December 15, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Wild Hurricane

    Recap post #174- i have no problem with John Elway getting his claim to #1.

    December 15, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Wild Hurricane

    But, now, in the End! What does it come down to? Johnny Unitas was my first favorite because someone said he was great- as he was that i could see! But there was Lamonica and Stabler. I saw Joe Montana up close and personal for his years and all debating is getting tiresome and all i have are the memories and feeling of what i saw my home town favor- Joe Montana do. And those are the memories that give me my remaining pleasure. I am an old man now. I can neither fight nor argue. Joe Montana, with a minute to go- to Win The Game, tears in my eyes, Go Forty-Niners!

    December 15, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Wild Hurricane

    Go Patriots! (Joe Montana was Tom Brady's favorite!) (i like Tom- good boy)

    December 15, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Wild Hurricane

    Ben Roethlisberger has John Elway as his favorite- Cool!

    December 15, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. wikisport

    Farve:s streak would still be going if wiki reported it had ended.

    December 15, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Wild Hurricane

    Some of these comments are ridiculous laughers. The comment about Steve Young being trained? Hahaha! Steve Young was born ready! Teams weren't paying very well back then and Bill Walsh was smart enough to get him on the team and paid him well enough to keep Steve Young on the team. There were plenty of jokes about that back then, i can tell you. The highest paid bench warmer. In typical 49er fashion, one actual example of a game- Joe Montana throws 2 TDs and gets hurt, Steve Young comes in- throws 2 TDs and gets hurt, 3rd-stringer QB Steve Bono comes in and throws 1 TD. Steve Young was getting paid as much money to be a back then alot of teams were paying starters, and Steve Young didn't want to leave the 49ers because they were winning Super Bowls and he wovld someday get the team. Steve Young had better stats then Farve but Steve Young was in the latter stages of his career. Trust me- if Steve Young and Brett Farve started their careers at the same time, we wouldn't euen be talking about Brett Farve.

    December 15, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Wild Hurricane

    Trust me, Brett Farve didn't get the party started- Brett Farve just benefited from the Football-Fan Base that had already been started from the great men that came right before him but needed somewhere to place their energy. Excluding Green Bay, of course. Great fan base, great football legacy. Isn't Aarom Rogers fanatastic? The guy is looking great! (as a QB)

    December 15, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. Wild Hurricane

    And a final statement of fact is that the Brett Farve legend is hype up to astral proportions solely BECAUSE Green Bay is a legendary Football Icon in itself. Meaning: if Farve had played somewhere else- only few would have noticed. And he would have hung up his Hollywood Act a long time ago. You can believe that!

    December 15, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Wild Hurricane

    Mike Holmgren kept Farve on the team solely because Holmgren believes that job securely is a higher priority that winning championships. The reason Farve has stayed around so long is to return the favor to Holmgren. Holmgren did the same thing in Seattle- instead of discarding luke-warm (or faded) players like pezz in a pezz dispenser, Holmgren provided job secvrity, at the expense of the fans and the owners. Open thine eyes!

    December 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
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