Aaron Rodgers has retired

Brett Favre: despised, adored, hated - and celebrated again in the end - quarterback legend of the Green Bay Packers and member of the Hall of Fame turns 50

"Who would have thought that one guy from Gulfport, Mississippi would hold all possible NFL passing records at a time?" Words that Brett Favre once said in the wake of his nearly 20-year professional career (1991-2010) in the National Football League. The answer: probably nobody at the beginning of his career. Just as little would the day-one-watchers have believed that Brett Favre would play an incredible series of games, was almost inviolable and would even make a big appearance despite a stroke of fate. And no Green Bay Packers fan would have thought that Brett Favre would stab the heart of the entire Cheesehead community in August 2010. But first things first, this story needs chronology.

1991: Favre is despised

In Hattiesburg at the University of Southern Mississippi, Favre, the son of two Hancock County School teachers (mother is French), is becoming an NFL candidate. The 1.88 meter tall playmaker drew attention to himself with 7,695 yards and 52 touchdowns, among other things - and in the 1991 draft of the Atlanta Falcons he was drawn 33rd in the 2nd round.

Every beginning is difficult: Brett Favre and the Falcons didn't go together, but things should go well afterwards. picture alliance

In Georgia, Favre receives a three-year contract, has to line up as a backup behind the injury-prone Chris Miller and generally does not enjoy a good reputation under head coach Jerry Glanville, who actually prefers Browning Nagle from Louisville (goes to the New York Jets) in the draft. And really not a good one at all. Glanville is said to have said once during training that it would take a plane crash for him to even consider Favre as starting quarterback. The disaster is inevitable - and the disaster follows: In total, Favre comes to four pass attempts for the Falcons, with the first being carried directly back to the touchdown as an interception. In the end, the horror balance looks like this: two incompletions, two interceptions (including the aforementioned pick-six) and another snap that ends in a sack for minus eleven yards. Unsurprisingly, the liaison ends.

Coach Glanville later says: "I've tried everything with Brett. He had to grow because he was so young - and I even flew to his parents to help him. But I couldn't get him to work . I would have had to work even harder with him in the end. " Conciliatory words, to which Favre reported later in 1995: "I didn't know him well, he didn't know me. We spent little time together. I also missed a lot, was late for meetings, wasn't present. That's why it has me surprised at all why it took them so long to trade me. "

1992: Favre finds accommodation in "Paradise"

Joined the Green Bay Packers in 1992: Brett Favre. Getty Images

The playmaker has qualities, as he finally demonstrated in college. He is tall (1.88), robust, less prone to injury and has a strong arm. So reasons enough to give Favre a second chance in the NFL. The player, whose full name is Brett Lorenzo Favre, receives this from the NFL record champion from Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers (meanwhile 13 titles, four Super Bowls). General Manager Ron Wolf, who previously wanted to get Favre as part of the New York Jets and received nothing in the draft due to the preferential rights of the Falcons, is now taking action. It is the right decision, although at the beginning doctors determine osteonecrosis (a kind of tissue destruction of the bone with death of the affected bone) after an examination. But manager Wolf trusts his feelings, rejects medical fears of a possible end to his career quickly and holds on to his protégé who has moved ashore.

In the second game of the 1992 regular season, Favre replaced regular Don Majkowski with a 17-0 half-time deficit against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Favre's first pass is - a small parallel to his time in Atlanta - blocked by a defender, but not carried back as an interception - but caught and secured directly by Favre himself. The game ends at 3:31. Favre can convince a game day later. His star rose for the first time when he was substituted on by Majkowski after an injury. The game against the Cincinnati Bengals is tough for the Packers, but the Käsestädter only have 1:07 minutes left on the clock to catch up with 17:23. 13 seconds before the end, Favre Kitrick finds Taylor with a touchdown pass, the Packers win the game with the extra point.

1997: The big hit

"A Star is born" is the motto from now on. Because from the third match day of the 1992 season until his retirement after the 2007 season, the difficult-to-get-to-ground quarterback, who repeatedly escapes from seemingly hopeless situations, puts precise arc lamps in the end zone or brute bullets over medium distances to his pass stations, Incredible 253 regular season games (excluding preseason and play-offs) in a row as the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. In addition, Favre, whose motto always prefers the furious action pass to the security solution, enters the stage on January 26, 1997 Super Bowl XXXI (31) - and after a concentrated performance (246 yards, two touchdowns, no interception) he won his first and ultimately only Super Bowl title with a 35:21 over the New England Patriots.

Pointing the finger: Brett Favre wins the 1997 Super Bowl against the New England Patriots at the Louisiana Superdome. Getty Images

In total, he played 297 games in a row from the start, which is a record in the NFL. Injuries? Not a negative result, but Favre overlooks it (even with painkillers). His successor and current star playmaker Aaron Rodgers, who, like Favre before him, is christened "Gunslinger", once stated that he learned an incredible amount from Favre's resilience and that he was able to ignore injuries as a result - and even know that you are in the NFL just can't give up.

2003: a difficult moment

That is what Favre does, who at a press conference in May 1996 confesses his dependence on the painkiller Vicodin or hydrocodone and then goes on a 46-day rehab, namely never. The boy from Gulfport, Mississippi even appears on the court on December 22, 2003 during the Monday Night Game against the Oakland Raiders, although the day before his father Irvin Ernest Favre, who was his high school coach and lifelong advisor, dies. Favre plays "because my dad would have wanted it, he's been in every game since fifth grade" - and throws four touchdown passes in the first half alone and 399 yards throughout the game. He then wins the title of best offensive player of the week in the NFC. And after the funeral of the father, he returns in time to secure the profit of the NFC North with another victory.

2008: at the end?

On March 4, 2008, Favre announced that he had made the play-offs eleven times with the team, won the Super Bowl once and lost once (24:31 v Denver on January 25, 1998), finally his career end - especially since the organization from Wisconsin has chosen the Favre apprentice Aaron Rodgers, who has been on the team since 2005 (later Super Bowl champion with a 31:25 against the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 6, 2011) as the new guide. Although there is a bit of a squabble, Favre reports discrepancies with the management, feels fit for the new season and wants to play, after a conversation with Head Coach Mike McCarthy and General Manager Ted Thompson in August 2008 the end in Green Bay is sealed. "The Pack" then announced that the shirt number 4 should no longer be awarded - and suddenly withheld the plans as Favre, who threw passes for 61,655 yards and 442 touchdowns by the end of the 2007 season (NFL records at that time ), announced its comeback in the National Football League.

2008 and 2009: surprise - and horror

So Favre reversed his decision ("I know I could still play and I'll miss the boys and the game - but I'm mentally tired") to leave the NFL. A surprise for packers, fans and the media. But it is exactly the same: on August 7, 2008, the marathon man, who had been suffering from an injury to the thumb of his throwing hand for eight years and whose thumb joint once swelled to the size of a chicken egg, signed a one-year contract with the New York Jets. There he shows himself to be present at the beginning, for example he achieved six TD passes (personal best) in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals. After starting with 8: 3 wins, N.Y. in the end, however, the play-offs, also because of Favre injuries - and so the quarterback announced again on February 11, 2009 that he would now finish after 18 NFL seasons.

From the perspective of Packers fans unfortunately no joke: Brett Favre suddenly appears in the Vikings jersey and plays against his former apprentice and "Gunslinger" successor Aaron Rodgers. picture alliance

But it shouldn't have been that either. And fans of the Green Bay Packers know what is happening now: Suddenly it is said again that Favre is returning - and you can see pictures of a plane in Minneapolis, where the now 40-year-old playmaker disembarks to sign a two-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings . So, of all things, with a direct and not particularly valued competitor of NFC North, which drives the cheeseheads to white heat. The supporters then smash cars with Favre labels all over the city, express their contempt in front of the cameras, burn the jerseys of their long-loved number 4 and even organize a macabre hearse that carries Favre's ego to the grave, among other things.

In sporting terms, Favre then leads the unloved rival with sometimes outstanding performances up to the NFC final (defeat against the New Orleans Saints), and also beats his former Packers in a Monday Night Game with a 30:23 under whistles - and thus rises to the first quarterback in history to win a game against all 32 teams. At the time, 21.84 million Americans watched this game (a record at that time) - and in sports bars fans of the Packers and Vikings sit next to each other, sometimes wearing Favre jerseys with the 4 on them. There are bizarre pictures that are still topped: On November 1, 2009, Favre returns as a Vikes playmaker in his old living room Lambeau Field and wins there too (38:26, four touchdowns).

2011: The end - and the reconciliation

Incidentally, during his 19-year NFL career (1991-2010), Favre holds all relevant records, throws for 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns, reached 6,300 completions, started a regular season game 297 times in a row (with play-offs there were even 321), achieved 186 quarterback wins and eleven Pro Bowl nominations - and finally said goodbye on January 17, 2011 to American football. Also with the certainty of having thrown by far the most interceptions in history (336, George Blanda follows in second place with 277).

The great reconciliation: In November 2015 during a game against the Chicago Bears, Brett Favre is honored at Lambeau Field. Getty Images

Time goes by, Favre shows up every now and then, for example on the NFL Network - and enjoys life. During this time, grass also grows over his "betrayal", so that in July 2015 the certainly more than deserved induction into the Hall of Fame of the Green Bay Packers still follows and his number 4 is hung in Lambeau Field. He himself stands in the stadium on a rainy evening, bows, waves to the fans - and gets applause. On top of that, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the NFL (2016) - and will now celebrate his 50th birthday on October 10, 2019. Brett Favre is allowed to do this with the knowledge that he has significantly shaped NFL history. Also with sentences like these: "Maybe I deal with difficult situations differently than other people. I have always said to myself: I will win this game - or die trying."

"That is shocking"

He doesn't regret his decision to have broken out from Gulfport / Mississippi in the direction of the big, colorful and tough National Football League: "I wouldn't want to trade that." And yet shortly before his milestone birthday he gave deep insights in an interview with "NBC Sports" and also clearly addressed the recurring downsides of this sport: "I can no longer focus on some of the stories that keep coming up these days remember. And there has been a point in my life where I've always remembered everything. That plagues me. That amazes me. They say when you hear a ringing in your ears and see stars, it's a concussion If that's true, then I've had hundreds or maybe thousands in my career.