Background and college
Born October 10, 1969 in Gulfport, Mississippi, and raised in the small town of Kiln, Favre attended Hancock North Central High School where he played baseball and football. He started for the Hancock North Central baseball team as an eighth-grader and earned five varsity letters. He played quarterback, lineman, strong safety, placekicker and punter in a primarily option, run-oriented offense coached by his father, Irvin Favre. Irvin Favre said he knew his son had a great arm but also knew that the school was blessed with good running backs. As a result, in the three years Brett was on the team, his father ran a run-oriented offense. Favre rarely threw more than five passes in a game.
After high school, Southern Mississippi offered Favre a scholarship (the only one he received). Southern Miss wanted him to play defensive back but Favre wanted to play quarterback instead. Favre began his freshman year as the seventh-string quarterback and took over the starting position in the second half of the third game of the year against Tulane on September 19, 1987. Favre, despite suffering a hangover from the night before and vomiting during warm-ups, led the Golden Eagles to a come-from-behind victory with two touchdown passes. In his junior season, Favre led the Golden Eagles to an upset of Florida State (then ranked sixth in the nation) on September 2, 1989. Favre capped a six-and-a-half-minute drive with the game-winning touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining.
On July 14, 1990, before the start of Favre's senior year of college, he was involved in a near-fatal car accident. When going around a bend a few tenths of a mile from his parents' house, Favre lost control of his car, which flipped three times and came to rest against a tree. It was only after one of his brothers smashed a car window with a golf club that Favre could be evacuated to the hospital. In the ambulance, his mother was sitting with him. "All I kept asking [her] was 'Will I be able to play football again?'" Favre recalled later. Doctors would later remove 30 inches (760 mm) of Favre's small intestine. Six weeks after this incident, on September 8, Favre led Southern Miss to a comeback victory over Alabama. Alabama coach Gene Stallings said, "You can call it a miracle or a legend or whatever you want to. I just know that on that day, Brett Favre was larger than life."
Favre continues to hold various Southern Miss football records. As of the end of the 2007 season, he holds the career individual record in the following categories: most plays, most total yards gained, most passing yards gained, most completions made, and most passing attempts made. He had held the record for the most touchdowns scored (52), but it was later tied by quarterback Lee Roberts, who played for the school from 1995–98. Favre had 15 games over his career where he compiled more than 200 passing yards, making him the fourth all-time school leader in that category. Of those 15 games, 5 were 300-yard games, the most compiled by any of the school's quarterbacks. Additionally, he was the seasonal leader in total passing and total offense in all four of his seasons at Southern Miss. Favre earned a teaching degree with an emphasis in special education from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Before the Jets
With the Falcons
Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round, 33rd overall in the 1991 NFL Draft. Atlanta coach Jerry Glanville did not approve of the drafting of Favre, saying it would take a plane crash for him to put Favre into the game. Favre's first pass in an NFL regular season game resulted in an interception returned for a touchdown. He only attempted four passes in his career at Atlanta, completing none of them.
The Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf traded a first-round pick (19th overall, RB Tony Smith, Southern Miss) for Favre during the following offseason. Wolf, while an assistant to the general manager of the Jets, had intended to take Favre in the 1991 NFL draft, but Favre was taken by the Falcons on the previous pick. The Packers would eventually trade Favre to the Jets in 2008. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and other sources, during the physical after the trade, Favre was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, the same degenerative hip condition that ended Bo Jackson's career, and doctors recommended he be failed. Wolf overruled them.
With the Packers
Favre played 16 seasons in Green Bay. During his time in Green Bay, Favre has won three consecutive AP MVP awards, the first and only person in NFL history to do so. He helped the Packers appear in two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XXXI. Favre also started every Packers game from September 20, 1992 to January 20, 2008.
In the second game of the 1992 season, the Packers played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers were leading 17-0 at half time when head coach Mike Holmgren benched starting quarterback Don Majkowski and Favre played the second half. On his first regular season play as a Packer, Favre threw a pass that was deflected and caught by himself. Favre was tackled and the completion went for -7 yards. The Packers lost the game 31-3, chalking up only 106 yards passing. The following week, Favre replaced the injured Majkowski and led the Packers to a comeback victory. The week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers began the longest consecutive starts streak for a quarterback in NFL history. The game ended in a 17-3 victory and his passer rating was 144.6. During the season, Favre helped put together a six-game winning streak for the Packers, the longest winning streak for the club since 1965. Favre finished his first season as a Packer with 3,227 yards and a quarterback rating of 85.3, helping him to his first Pro Bowl. The following season Favre helped the Packers to their first playoff berth since 1982 and was named to his second pro bowl. After the season Favre became a free agent. General manager Ron Wolf negotiated Favre into a five-year, $19 million contract. The Packers finished the 1994 season 9-7, advancing them to the playoffs in back to back years, a feat the they had not accomplished since the Vince Lombardi era. In 1995, Favre won the first of his three AP MVP awards, while passing for a career high of 4,413 yards, 38 touchdowns, and recorded a quarterback rating of 99.5, the highest of his career. The Packers would lose the NFC Championship game to the Dallas Cowboys, marking the third year in a row the Packers season was ended by the Cowboys in the playoffs.
While being treated for various injuries, Brett Favre developed an addiction to vicodin, which became publicly known when he suffered a seizure during a hospital visit. Amid an NFL investigation, he went public to avoid any rumors about his condition. In May 1996 he went into treatment and remained in rehabilitation for 46 days. Had he chosen not to go, the NFL would have imposed a $900,000 fine. Favre led the Packers to Super Bowl XXXI, winning his second consecutive MVP award in the process. In Super Bowl XXXI, Favre completed 14 of 27 passes for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the second play of the game, Favre threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to receiver Andre Rison. Favre also completed an 81-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman in the second quarter (then a Super Bowl record). Favre rushed for 12 yards and another touchdown, as the Packers defeated the New England Patriots, 35-21.
The following season, 1997 Favre was named AP co-MVP of the league along with Detroit Lions' running back Barry Sanders, his third straight award. Also, Green Bay advanced to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. After being heavily favored, the Packers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII by the score of 31-24 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Favre completed 25 of 42 passes for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 1 interception in the losing effort. On March 1, 2001, Favre signed a "lifetime" contract extension, which technically was a 10–year contract extension worth around $100 million dollars. However, in the regular season finale of 2001, Favre was the target of controversy when, in a game against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium, he was sacked by the Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. It was Strahan's lone sack of the game and gave him the NFL's single-season sack record of 22.5, which topped Mark Gastineau's record of 22 set in 1984. Many analysts, such as Mike Freeman of The New York Times, expressed opinion that Favre allowed himself to be sacked in order to allow Strahan to set the record.2005 Green Bay Packers season, despite throwing for over 3,000 yards for a record 14th consecutive time, Favre had a below average season with only 20 touchdown passes and a league-leading 29 interceptions. Despite earlier comments that the 2006 season would be his last, Favre announced in a press conference on May 6, 2006 that he had not ruled out the possibility of returning beyond the 2006 season. During the season, he would become the first person to complete 5,000 passes in his career.
On September 16, 2007 Favre and the Packers defeated the New York Giants to give Favre his record setting 149th win, passing John Elway. On September 30, Favre threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in a game against the Vikings. This was his 421st NFL touchdown pass, and set a new all time record, surpassing Dan Marino's 420. Favre led the Packers to a 13-3 regular season record, the NFC North championship, and the second seed in the NFC playoffs. Prior to the Packers' playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Favre stated his desire to continue playing football for another season. The Packers' season ended the following week when they suffered a 23-20 overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game to the New York Giants. Favre amassed 236 passing yards and two touchdowns, but also threw an interception in overtime that set up the Giants' game-winning field goal. Favre's milestone 2007 season culminated with his selection to the 2008 Pro Bowl as the starting quarterback for the NFC, but an ankle injury forced him to withdraw.
Retirement, and comeback
On March 4, 2008, Favre formally announced his retirement. Favre's agent, Bus Cook, stated "Nobody pushed Brett Favre out the door but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door either. I don't think he had a lot of encouragement to stay, but nobody told him to leave either." Cook also believed that Favre had not gotten the impression from the Packers that they wanted him back. Although Favre stated that he had been willing to play another year, he felt that another season would only be successful if he led his team to another Super Bowl victory. He added the chances for a Super Bowl win are small, and that he wasn't up for the challenge. At his press conference, Favre openly wept about leaving the NFL. He stated that his decision, regardless of what was being said in the media, had nothing to do with what the Packers did or didn't do. He said, seemingly contradictory to Cook's statements, that his decision to retire was based on the fact that he didn't want to play anymore. He said during the conference, "I know I can play, but I don't think I want to. And that's really what it comes down to."
On July 2, 2008, it was reported that Favre was in contact with the Packers about a possible return to the team. On July 11, 2008, Favre sent a letter to the Packers asking for his unconditional release to allow him to play for another NFL team. Packers general manager Ted Thompson announced he would not grant Favre an unconditional release and reaffirmed the organization's commitment to Aaron Rodgers as its new quarterback. Complicating matters is Favre's unique contract giving him the leverage to void any potential trade by not reporting to the camp of the team he might be traded to if the Packers elect to go that route. Favre spoke publicly for the first time about his potential comeback in a July 14, 2008 interview with Greta Van Susteren on the Fox News Channel's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. In the interview, Favre said he was "guilty of retiring early," that he was "never fully committed" to retirement, and that he was pressured by the Packers to make a decision before the NFL Draft and the start of the free agent signing period. Favre disputed the notion that he doesn't want to play for Green Bay and said that while he understands the organization has decided to move on, they should now allow him to do the same. He made clear that he would not return to the Packers as a backup and reiterated his desire to be released rather than traded, which would allow him the freedom to play for a competitive team. Favre also accused the Packers of being dishonest, wishing the team would have been straightforward with him and the public.
Favre formally filed for reinstatement with the NFL on July 29, 2008, and his petition was granted by Commissioner Goodell, effective August 4, 2008. Favre then flew to Green Bay to report to Packers training camp. After a lengthy meeting with head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson, however, both sides agreed it was time for Favre and the organization to part ways. McCarthy sensed Favre wasn't in "the right mind-set" to resume playing for the Packers, while Favre felt that his relationship with Packer management had deteriorated to the point that a return to the team would be untenable.
As a Jet
After negotiations with both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jets, the Packers traded Favre to the Jets on August 7, 2008 in exchange for a conditional 4th round pick in the 2009 draft that could escalate into a first round if Favre takes 80% of the snaps and the Jets reach the Super Bowl.September 28, 2008, Favre threw a personal best 6 touchdown passes, equalling a Jets record set by Joe Namath in a 56-35 win over the Arizona Cardinals. In December, Favre was named to his 10th Pro Bowl, his first as a Jet.
Brett Favre married Deanna Tynes on July 14, 1996. Together they have two daughters, Brittany (born February 6, 1989) and Breleigh (born July 13, 1999). They are members of the Roman Catholic Church. His parents, Bonita & Irvin Favre, helped manage his holdings in agriculture and real estate, handled his endorsements and appearances and oversaw his charity work. Brett and Bonita Favre released a book in 2004 titled Favre (ISBN 978-1590710364) which discusses their personal family and Green Bay Packers family, including the Monday Night Football game that followed the death of Brett's father Irvin Favre.
He established the 'Brett Favre Fourward Foundation’ in 1996; in conjunction with his annual golf tournament, celebrity softball game and fundraising dinners, the foundation has donated more than $2 million to charities in his home state of Mississippi as well as to those in his adopted state of Wisconsin. The Favre family also owns and operates the Brett Favre's Steakhouse, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin.