Brett Favre bust the Hall of Fame wide open.
A first-ballot selection, Brett Lorenzo Favre, 46, retired — finally — in 2010 after 20 seasons. Sixteen of those came in Green Bay, where he helped resurrect a franchise that was without a title since the Lombardi era until Favre & Co. won Super Bowl XXXI. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame last summer and his retired No. 4 was unveiled on the Lambeau Field façade on Thanksgiving night last year, with one of his idols, Bart Starr, in the house.
In an inspiring, motivating, rousing, off-the-cuff speech, just as he’d predicted, Favre spoke just over 36 minutes (the longest speech in Hall of Fame history) and devoted nearly nine minutes to honor his father, Irv, who died in 2003 on the eve of one of his greatest performances: a 399-yard, four-touchdown game against the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. It was a game in which he almost did not play.
Brett shared this about his preparation for his HOF speech:
With my dad, I think what I want to get across, and it’s no big secret, is about [how] important he was to my life and my career, which was extremely important. There’s a lot of people who are important to my career and my success, but none more important than my dad, and I want to make sure I get that across.
The NFL’s iron-man quarterback started a record 297 consecutive regular-season games. It began when he replaced Don Majkowski in the Packers’ starting lineup on Sept. 27, 1992, and ended on Dec. 13, 2010, when the Vikings turned in their pregame inactive list with No. 4 on it.
Along the way, the free-wheeling Favre threw for an NFL-record 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns, marks that were later eclipsed by Peyton Manning. He still holds the record for most career interceptions (336). Favre won all three of his Most Valuable Player awards in succession (1995-97) with the Packers.
He closed with some advice:
Work as hard as you possibly can, lay it all on the line, and whatever happens, happens,” Favre said. “But you won’t look back and regret.
I don’t regret anything. That’s not to say it was perfect. I don’t regret anything, and that’s what I’m most proud of.
And that’s how we should live our lives; with verve and vigor and gumption and gusto . . . and no regrets. So thanks Brett. Thanks for the memories. You went out like you came in, and we’ll forever hold you in high esteem for your love for your dad, and your love of the game.