Happy 50th birthday, Brett Favre

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Ten years ago today, Brett Favre turned 40 during what would become one of the most memorable seasons of his career. He was five days removed from beating the Packers on Monday Night Football, and he was three months away from nearly getting back to the Super Bowl for a third time.

Favre turns 50 today. He recently sat with Peter King for a podcast interview, and Favre addressed the question of whether he regrets playing the game as long as he did. He dubbed it a good question, and then he reflected on his stubborn determination to play through injuries.

“The more I played hurt and played well, the more I dug my heels in,” Favre told King. “I loved to play the game but there was a part of me, numerous times. You covered me on numerous occasions where [the question was] ‘Will he or won’t he?’ Quite frankly, Monday I would’ve said there’s no way in hell I’m gonna play with a broken thumb on my throwing hand. Not only did I play, we beat the Vikings on Monday night in Minnesota and had one of the best games up to that point that I’d ever had. So I said, ‘I’m gonna do it again. And I’m gonna do it again.'”

Making it easier for Favre to play was the reality that, for the vast majority of his career, the NFL’s concussion protocol consisted of one step: “How many fingers?”

“At the time, concussions were not an issue,” Favre said. “If you had a concussion, you sat out for a little bit. Coach is like, ‘Where in the hell’s Favre? Get his ass back in there!’ That was it. Now, we know a lot more about concussions and the seriousness of it. I’ve been asked a lot in the last few years, ‘Knowing now what you know, go back, would you play any different? Would you play as long?’ Honestly, I don’t know. I really don’t know. But I do know this: I’m a lot more fearful now than I was at 35. [At] 35, I knew I was getting closer to the end. But I don’t think concussions were thought of when I was 35 near as serious, or the repercussions. You may live, but your quality of life may be terrible. It was more, as long as you make it through without bad knees, you can play golf, you can do whatever.”

The NFL didn’t wake up to concussions until Congress essentially forced it to do so, 10 years ago this month. Favre spent nearly a generation playing under the “how many fingers?” protocol, and he surely had multiple moments that would have had him removed from a game and/or that would have ended his incredible, and likely unbreakable given current rules, streak of 297 straight starts.

The price that Favre ultimately pays for years of head trauma remains to be seen. He’s fine for now, but he’s understandably fearful regarding what the future holds.

As he turns 50, we wish him continued good health. All football fans should appreciate what he gave to the game. Given the league’s unprecedented focus on health and safety, it’s safe to say no quarterback will ever give as much to the game as Favre did.

73 responses to “Happy 50th birthday, Brett Favre

  1. terrystown says:
    October 10, 2019 at 9:59 am
    Too bad the NFL knew all about concussions long before Favre ever played a game…

    ——————————————————————————–

    The “we didn’t know how serious concussions were” is the biggest lie in sports. I cringe whenever that myth is repeated by players and fans. It was known, it was just ignored. As is pointed out in this article: things weren’t done until the lawsuits came and congress got involved. I love old school football as much as anyone, but truth is truth.

  2. This has been discussed for years, but really … leather helmets are better. There’s a reason Halas, Lambeau, and all the players from the leather helmet era, never got CTE and they lived to be 80+ years old, with no real lingering issues … because they never lead with their heads or used their heads as a weapon. Helmets enable it. Just saying …

  3. “it’s safe to say no quarterback will ever give as much to the game as Favre did.”

    I think their is a quarterback in New England that might beg to differ with this statement.

  4. I don’t think discussing the concussion issue is needed in wishing Brett Favre a Happy 50th Birthday!🎉🎈🎊

    I hope he and I are both here to celebrate 50 more. I am close to 50 myself.

    Happy Birthday Brett.💌

    #Favre4everGreenAndGold!

  5. It’s unfortunate that his zealous retribution against Ted Thompson may turn out to be costly to his health. Just goes to show that nothing good ever good comes of it when a player puts on the lavender jersey!

  6. “This has been discussed for years, but really … leather helmets are better. There’s a reason Halas, Lambeau, and all the players from the leather helmet era, never got CTE and they lived to be 80+ years old, with no real lingering issues … because they never lead with their heads or used their heads as a weapon. Helmets enable it. Just saying”

    An amazingly uninformed comment on so many levels. First, “all of the players from the leather helmet era” did not live into their 80s. That is simply ludicrous. Second, you have no idea whether players from that era had “lingering issues” or not. Third, you never saw any of those games so you have no clue whether those players led with their heads or not.

  7. Happy Birthday, Bret. We share the same BD but we definitely do not share the same athletic ability 🙂 I was already in my second overseas tour when you were born so I’m somewhat older than you. Good Luck and I sincerely hope you do not suffer lasting consequences from your days playing football.

  8. Anybody else think the NFL is just a bit more boring after #4 retired?

    You never knew with him if you were going to see something so incredible you were momentarily slack-jawed or something so boneheaded you were grinding your teeth.

    Either way, you had to watch.

  9. Never mind the idiots, Brett. You gave me many years of joy, I loved watching you play and I wish you could’ve played forever

    Happy 50, enjoy.

  10. “Nearly made it to his third Super Bowl” pretty much describes his career. Exhilarating highlights mixed in with some head scratching, and soul crushing decisions that led to defeat.

    But because he was fan and media friendly, he largely gets a pass. The guy won one Super Bowl. And yes, that’s impressive. But how many did he lose? Many more than that.

    But just saying that causes his fans to go ballistic, as if nothing critical could ever be said about him. Maybe some of us are capable of having a nuanced conversation about it, and can admire and respect his game regardless of that.

  11. Happy Birthday!
    It’ll be nice for you to enjoy a piece of birthday cake after years of retirement waffles.

  12. Not a fan of this guy. Been a Packer fan since 59. So one of his most memorable games was as a viking, Negative, 5 days after beating my Packers on Monday night, Negative. Takes the viking on a Super Bowl run, Negative. His wife wore a purple dress in GB when was our QB during home viking games. Negative. Lets not forget, womanizing, alcoholism, drug addiction. Good thing he didn’t play back in the day, he’d look even worse than he does now. My opinion. Oh yeah, happy birthday.

  13. Why does the media continue to suck up to Brett Favre?
    =====

    For the overwhelming majority of his career, there was no one like him.

    Then, when he turned heel, he was an even BIGGER story.

    He sold papers and clicks. Arguably, better than anyone in history.

  14. There is a reason why they never replay that Saints game. There WAS a bounty, and it was the most brutal game in NFL history! Farve would not go down be wouldn’t quit.
    Toughest man ever to play the game.

  15. You can’t deny that Favre was one of the toughest guys to ever play the position,and he was fun to watch. Most guys today would never be able to get up from some of the hits he took,and yes,Brady is definitely one of them.

  16. Still probably better than several of the starting QB’s in the League today. Have a great day Brett

  17. Happy birthday, Brett. It’s a shame you liked Minnesota better. But I can’t blame you. No one wants to be in Green Bay. Even with two Applebee’s.

  18. Bob says:
    October 10, 2019 at 11:23 am
    Why does the media continue to suck up to Brett Favre?
    =====

    Because they know he’s thinking of un-retiring. Again.

  19. Not only was he a talented QB and an entertaining guy, but he had that ability to play through injuries. While that may not be good for the player’s health in the long run, in the NFL, that’s an underappreciated talent.

  20. But because he was fan and media friendly, he largely gets a pass. The guy won one Super Bowl. And yes, that’s impressive. But how many did he lose? Many more than that.

    1

  21. terrystown says:
    October 10, 2019 at 9:59 am
    Too bad the NFL knew all about concussions long before Favre ever played a game…
    _________________________________________

    What’s really too bad is that now that there’s been years of research/studies done what they’re finding out is that most of the damage that’s done by these concussions is done at a lot younger age than when these players are/were in the NFL. They’re finding that because the brain isn’t fully developed at those younger ages more damage is caused to the brain in those years when the brain is still growing and developing, in other words in the Pop Warner, Jr high, high school and college years. By the time these players get into the NFL the brain is fully developed and less likely to be susceptible to these CTE’s that come from concussions.

    The really sad part is that even though they’re now finding this out the players and lawyers are still pursuing damages from the NFL, WHY?

    Its very simple, because they’re the ONLY one that has the money to pay!

  22. The Greatest Gunslinger of All Time

    Brett we will all miss watching you play. He may not be THE GOAT, but he is one of the GOATS in his own right. The man was a blast to watch, what a fun career.

    Love him or hate him, give him his respect. Prime Favre was about as dominant a QB you can get, if you take 1996 Favre and drop him in today’s league, I don’t see why he wouldn’t do the same or better than what Mahomes is doing now.

  23. Was he tougher than Otto Graham, or Johnny Unitas. There were no rules back then to protect anyone, and the equipment was near useless. The things that happened on every play would get a player thrown out of the game today, and sat down for a few weeks. Literally. Clotheslining, OK, cut back blocks, fine, play away, driving players into the ground and landing on top of them, no problem, tackling with the crown of the helmet, is there any other way. And so on.

  24. LandOf10000MethLabs says:
    October 10, 2019 at 12:02 pm
    Favre at 50 is a better QB than Kirk Cousins at 31.
    ______________________________

    One thing that can’t be argued, Favre was sure a lot better at throwing INTs than ANY QB in the history of the NFL!

    An NFL INT record that’ll never be touched, 336 of them!

  25. cheeseisfattening says:
    October 10, 2019 at 11:47 am
    Happy Birthday Brett! Than you or the gift of coming to the Vikings so I could watch Packer fans lose their minds and burn your jersey.
    _____________________________________________

    Actually, we were given the gift called Tracy Porter, causing us to run out of bars and do several victory laps around them. Then, one year later, you and we were given the gift of watching Aaron Rodgers hold up the Lombardi trophy. Hilarious, and I couldn’t make it up if I tried, SKOLOLOLOL.

  26. There is a reason why they never replay that Saints game. There WAS a bounty, and it was the most brutal game in NFL history! Farve would not go down be wouldn’t quit.
    Toughest man ever to play the game.
    =====

    NFL Net re-ran it no less than 6 months ago.

    Such a shame he threw that INT. That may have been a career-defining for the RIGHT reason.

  27. As a fan since 58, I can only think of a couple players (2 Sanders, a Rice…????) that were as entertaining to watch and none more frustrating to watch. He broke my wife’s heart in his last game as we sat in that terrible cold on her birthday…..he made her day many, many years before when he recovered from his truck wreck and led Southern Miss to an upset over Alabama. Tough, stupid, gritty, often too confidant, never a quitter. Yeah, a drug/alcohol issue that he addressed openly. Give the man some credit for honesty. I hope he fares well. If not, partly his own fault because they did take his helmet a few times on the sideline and he found it and went back in games he probably should not have. I do believe he has two records that will never be broken and they exemplify his career…..starts and interceptions. Happy Birthday Brett.

  28. But because he was fan and media friendly, he largely gets a pass. The guy won one Super Bowl. And yes, that’s impressive. But how many did he lose? Many more than that.
    =====

    Brett Favre post-season passer rating – 86.3

    Tom Brady post-season passer rating – 90.5

  29. This Bears fan loved to watch him play. A real football player.

    However, I think he’s tarnishing his rep with all this Copper Fit BS. Total scam.

  30. All of my friends and colleagues who are packers fans long for Brett Favre. One of the last greats who wasn’t a diva.

    Aaron Rodgers: I want to be on game of thrones! Here’s a selfie on the red carpet!

    Favre: Game of what?

  31. He threw some bad interceptions in the playoffs. Had a great game his 1st SuperBowl, didn’t play so well in the 2nd one.
    But in the opinion of Bob Harlan, he’s the person most responsible for getting Lambeau Field remodeled, and now it’s a cash cow for the team.

  32. joetoronto says:
    October 10, 2019 at 10:52 am
    Never mind the idiots, Brett.
    ______________________________________

    Waiting to see if aaron is going to pop out of favre’s cake tonight. Free would absolutely go nuts and maybe have lasagna twice in one week while hitting rewind over and over again.

    packer fans gushing like brett is actually going to read this thread.

    HBD brett, Mr. QB – you were the bestest, while you played for us, until you weren’t, then you were again once you retired

  33. He threw some bad interceptions in the playoffs. Had a great game his 1st SuperBowl, didn’t play so well in the 2nd one.
    =====

    59.5%, 256 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT – 91 rating

    Horrid run D cost them that game, not #4.

    Davis ran for 157, despite missing almost all of the 2nd Q.

  34. milkcan44 says:
    October 10, 2019 at 2:07 pm
    He threw some bad interceptions in the playoffs. Had a great game his 1st SuperBowl, didn’t play so well in the 2nd one.
    But in the opinion of Bob Harlan, he’s the person most responsible for getting Lambeau Field remodeled, and now it’s a cash cow for the team.
    _____________________________________________

    True, but that wasn’t all Favre. Until Reggie White got there, most African-American players did not want to play in Green Bay. He changed all that, no question. Bob Harlan was the guy who hired Wolf and was the brains behind the remodel. So, in order, that credit goes to Harlan, Wolf, Favre, and Reggie White.

  35. Brett Favre was one of those rare talents who not only was a great player, but he made every game he ever played in more fun to watch because he was playing in it.
    Happy Birthday Brett and thanks for the memories.

  36. I always find it comical seeing Vikings fans crying about the Saints in 2009. Even if you won that game, the Colts would’ve obliterated the Vikings by 35 points minimum. Colts got equally screwed but you don’t see Colts fans whining about it on every article for 10 plus years. Give it a rest

  37. Brett. Happy Birthday Sir. You turned a franchise around by making it a destination star players would come to…. and played football like a kid who just got out of school for the summer – Thank you for the memories.

    Despite the two dozen mind-numbing interceptions, my thanks for 16 years of mostly meaningful football. Best wishes for your health, be an advocate for players healthcare….. they need several.

  38. aarons444 says:
    October 10, 2019 at 2:39 pm
    So, in order, that credit goes to Harlan, Wolf, Favre, and Reggie White.
    =====

    Mike Holmgren had a WHOLE lot to do with Favre’s success..
    ___________________________________________

    Well, yes, of course. But Wolf hired him and traded for Favre, so I’m just giving Wolf the name-drop on that point.

  39. Had his best statistical season every playing for the heidi’s and it still wasn’t enough. It was amazing watching Vikings fans go from hating him to loving him and they be crushed by his mistake. Classic. You have been Favred!

  40. —boiler72 says:
    October 10, 2019 at 10:13 am
    This has been discussed for years, but really … leather helmets are better. There’s a reason Halas, Lambeau, and all the players from the leather helmet era, never got CTE and they lived to be 80+ years old, with no real lingering issues … because they never lead with their heads or used their heads as a weapon. Helmets enable it. Just saying …

    —————————————-

    Do you have any idea how many on-field deaths there were in football before the modern helmet became standard? There’s 180 recorded across all levels of football. Actual number is probably much higher. Most of the deaths were due to cracked skulls. The idea that players were safer then is ludicrous.

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