In July, Brett Favre will be inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame.
Three weeks later, Ron Wolf will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And surely, in the summer of 2016, Favre will join Wolf as a fellow enshrinee in Canton.
Favre and Wolf, of course, will be forever linked.
And it all started 23 years ago Wednesday.
On this day in 1992, Wolf traded a No. 1 pick to Atlanta for Favre, a 1991 second-round pick of the Falcons. (A hat tip to Jeff Ash of the Green Bay Press-Gazette for first bringing up this anniversary.)
Favre appeared in two regular season games as a rookie in ’91, both times in mop-up duty. In his first game, he handed off three times to close out a victory vs. the Los Angeles Rams on October 27. In his second appearance two weeks later, he relieved Billy Joe Tolliver during a blowout loss at Washington.
Favre’s first-ever NFL pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. His second and third passes fell incomplete. His fourth attempt was another pick as time expired.
That was it for his 1991 regular-season on-field play.
But Wolf had purportedly long been smitten with Favre, and given a chance to acquire him, he made a most bold trade, sending the No. 17 overall pick to Atlanta.
In a story published the day after the trade, the sage Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted it was “no coincidence” the Packers dealt for Favre after watching the 1992 draft-eligible quarterbacks perform at the Combine.
Ultimately, the Packers’ assessment of the passers available to them was spot-on.
The ’92 quarterback crop largely disappointed at the top. The first quarterback taken, David Klingler, never panned out, and second-rounders Matt Blundin and Tony Sacca also never established themselves in the league. Another first-rounder, Tommy Maddox, only found success years later during a most unlikely career revival with Pittsburgh. The most productive quarterbacks in the class were selected late: Jeff Blake (Round Six) and Brad Johnson (Round Nine).
And even when the Packers’ radar was a little off, they got a dose of needed luck.
McGinn observed that Notre Dame’s Rick Mirer “apparently was held in high esteem” by the Packers’ braintrust of Wolf and coach Mike Holmgren. Mirer had a chance to declare for the 1992 draft, but he passed.
“I think Rick Mirer not coming out affected a lot of people’s thinking, including ours,” Holmgren said after the Favre trade, according to the Journal Sentinel.
In addition to holding the No. 17 pick, the Packers had the No. 5 selection in the ’92 draft.
The next year, Mirer was the No. 2 overall pick by Seattle.
Would the Packers have used the No. 5 overall pick on Mirer in ’92? We’ll never know.
But we do know how the Favre trade worked out for Green Bay, and all because Wolf was willing to trade a first-round pick for a player selected one round later one year earlier.