Unlike many NFL franchises, the Packers have a rich history of MVP quarterbacks. However, for over 20 years, it appeared that Green Bay’s glory days were far behind them, never to return. Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf, though, took a chance on a young gunslinger and traded a second round pick for one of the greatest players to ever play the game. In this edition of MVP Spotlight, we will take a look at the NFL’s first three-time MVP: Brett Favre.
The Early Years
Brett Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft. He did not see much playing time with the Falcons, attempting just four passes with two interceptions. Even after the trade to the Packers, Favre was not named the starter. Don Majkowski, himself a one-time Pro Bowl quarterback, was injured in the third game of the 1992 season. Favre came in and recorded his first NFL completion: to himself. With Majkowski out the next week, Favre started in his place, and would end up starting 297 consecutive games before his streak ended (though not all those starts came as a Packer).
Brett Favre was named to the Pro Bowl in 1992 and 1993, despite leading the NFL with 24 interceptions (compared to 19 touchdowns) in ’93. In 1994, Favre had arguably his best season up to that point. That season, Favre threw for 3,882 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He would use this season’s success for one of the best three-year runs in NFL history.
The 1995 season saw the Packers win their division for the first time since 1972. Favre set a career-high with 4,413 passing yards to go with 38 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He led the NFL in both passing yards and touchdown passes that season en route to his first MVP Award. His 99.5 quarterback rating was the highest of his career until his magical 2007 season with the Minnesota Vikings. Brett led the Packers to victory in their first two playoff games that season, marking the first time since 1967 that the Packers won more than one playoff game in a single postseason. Green Bay was defeated by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC title game, but used the valuable playoff experience to launch them to bigger and better things.
Brett Favre and the 1995 Packers had given Packers’ fans something they had not had for decades: high expectations. Luckily for fans, Favre and the Packers would meet these expectations in the best ways possible. Favre threw for 3,899 yards with 39 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 39 touchdown passes, again, led the NFL. Favre and the Packers defeated the rival San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs before winning the NFC title game against the Carolina Panthers. In Super Bowl XXI, Brett threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for a third touchdown to help put the game away. The Super Bowl title he helped bring home to Green Bay was the franchise’s first title since 1967.
Fresh off of a Super Bowl victory, the Packers came into the ’97 season as favorites to win it again. Their two-time MVP quarterback would make it a trifecta by winning the MVP again in 1997, sharing the award with Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders. It was the first and, so far, only time there have been co-MVPs in a season. Favre again led the NFL in touchdown passes with 35. The Packers marched through the NFC playoffs, defeating the Buccaneers and 49ers en route to another Super Bowl appearance. Unfortunately, the Packers were upset in Super Bowl XXXII by the Denver Broncos. Brett threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns, but also had an interception and fumble.
A Storied Career
Brett Favre played a total of 16 years for the Green Bay Packers. He infamously was traded to the New York Jets, where he played for one season in 2008. Favre signed to play for the Minnesota Vikings in 2009 and he had one of the best seasons of his career, leading the Vikings to the NFC title game. During that campaign, he defeated the Packers becoming one of only two quarterbacks to defeat every NFL team. When he retired, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and quarterback wins. All three of these records have since been broken. He was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2016.
MVP Spotlight Series
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