With exactly 6,300 completed passes in his NFL career, Brett Favre is a football legend. There’s no denying his Pro Football Hall of Fame stats, but his first completed pass isn’t exactly what many fans would expect.
After failing to complete a pass as a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons, Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers and made his debut in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In many ways, it was the perfect start, but it was certainly different.
Favre’s first NFL pass was a pick-six interception and his first completion was to himself.
Brett Favre’s Pass to Himself
Brett Favre was a second round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft by the Falcons, but attempted just four passes as a rookie and didn’t complete any of them. When he was traded to the Green Bay Packers before his second season, he would be the backup to Don Majkowski.
In Week 2, Majkowski got pulled in a blowout against the Buccaneers, and Favre would finally complete a pass for the first time of his Hall-of-Fame quarterback career. After rolling out on a play-action to the running back, the ball would be batted right back into his hands and he would be tackled for a seven-yard loss.
This was the perfect start to his career for a few reasons.
The main reason is because, throughout his career, Favre was known as a gunslinger who made things happen whether they were good or bad.
Favre also wanted the ball in his hands. He was capable of making plays if he had the ball, so getting it back after throwing is spot on. He also is the NFL’s all-time leader in interceptions thrown, so it nearly being picked off is a solid precursor to his up-and-down career.
The problem with this play, and the best comparison to his career, is that he wanted to do too much. So many things can go wrong with catching the pass instead of swatting it down for an incompletion. Instead of making a smart play and living to fight another day, Favre took a huge risk, but thankfully didn’t cost him or his team much.
His time playing in Lambeau Field was a story of Favre making the craziest of plays, but then forcing the ball into tight windows and killing his team. The people of Wisconsin loved him for it all, though it could be frustrating at times.
Of his 19 regular seasons in the NFL, Favre threw at least 20 interceptions six times and finished in single digits just once.
Even though he threw the most touchdown passes in NFL history before Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady all surpassed him, Favre wouldn’t get his team in the end zone this game, but would throw two touchdowns the following week in a comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
And even though his first completion was to himself, the rest of the season went pretty well for Favre. He finished 1992 with 3,227 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 64.1 completion percentage. This would be good enough for him to be selected to the Pro Bowl, his first of 11.
Favre’s first completion and catch was a perfect precursor to later in his career, too.
Fast-forward to his second to last season and first year with a new team, and Favre would do it again. This time as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, Favre caught a pass for a loss of two yards.
Tom Brady is the only other quarterback who was at least 40 years old to catch a pass in the NFL. He did so last year in 2018 when the Patriots called a trick play against the Tennessee Titans, having wide receiver Julian Edelman pass to Brady for six yards.
After being traded to the New York Jets during training camp and playing there for a season and failing to make the playoffs in the AFC, Favre went to Minnesota in hopes of winning the second Super Bowl of his career, but came up short in the postseason when he threw an interception in the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints.
With 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter of the playoff game and the team in field-goal range, all Favre would have needed to do was play it safe and not take a sack. Instead, he forced it to Sidney Rice late down the middle and threw an interception to Tracy Porter, allowing the game to go to overtime, where they would lose.
He had also thrown an interception to linebacker Jonathan Vilma earlier in the game. During the play, he was hit in the legs and torso by two Saints defenders. This was the same defense that was getting incentives from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Throughout his career, Favre had a lot of rough plays just like his seven-yard loss on his first completion, though a lot came in more meaningful games. In his final game as a Packer in the 2007 NFC Championship against the New York Giants, he threw an interception in overtime to allow the Giants a shot at a Super Bowl.
Although a harmless, seven-yard loss in a blowout in the second game of the season really didn’t mean much, it was a solid representation of the weirdness of Favre’s career of hundreds of touchdowns, interceptions, and crazy plays.
This article was originally published July 29, 2019.