July 25, 1997, 25 years ago today: Six months after leading the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI, quarterback Brett Favre re-signs with the team for $50 million over seven years. Favre was in the middle of three consecutive NFL Most Valuable Player seasons, a league record. And he was coming off a season that saw the Packers win their first Super Bowl in 29 years. Favre passed for 246 yards, including touchdown throws of 54 and 81 yards, in a 35-21 win over the New England Patriots at the Superdome in New Orleans.
The first year of the new contract saw Favre lead Green Bay to the Super Bowl again, only to lose 31-24 to John Elway and the Denver Broncos. He would never play in the Super Bowl again, although he did get Green Bay to the NFC Championship Game again in 2007, his final year with the Pack. He retired after that season and unretired, playing for the New York Jets in 2008. Then he retired again and unretired again, getting the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC title game after the 2009 campaign before hanging it up for good following the 2010 season.
Favre’s legacy was not only in his improvisational playmaking, but also his durability. He holds the NFL record for consecutive starts—321 overall and 297 in the regular season. He was also the first quarterback ever to beat all 32 NFL teams (he defeated the Packers while with the Vikings at the end of his career).
It didn’t start out that way. Drafted in the second round by Atlanta in 1991 out of Southern Miss, Favre threw all of four passes as a rookie with the Falcons. The very first one was a pick-six, and one of the other three was intercepted, too. There were no completions. But Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf had always had his eye on Favre. Wolf wanted to draft Favre while he was with the Jets in 1991, but Atlanta had the previous pick. Wolf and the Packers traded for Favre in early 1992, and the rest, as they say…
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)