Imagine being a fan of an NFL team that for the last 30 years has fielded a Hall of Fame quarterback. Three decades, two starters, 884 touchdown passes. That’s the reality for Green Bay Packers fanatics who will most likely witness Aaron Rodgers break Brett Favre’s team record for touchdown passes on Saturday against the Cleveland Browns. Rodgers tied Favre’s 442 touchdowns in Week 15 against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Packers’ run at quarterback is an almost unfathomable reality. The numbers alone provide incredible context. Rodgers and Favre’s combined 884 touchdowns mean Green Bay’s received an average of nearly 30 touchdown passes per season, every season, from their guy behind center for 30 years. Just remarkable.
But, is Favre the Packers’ quarterback king? Or is it Rodgers?
It’s a question no true Packers fan wants to address, but when Rodgers officially passes Favre for first place on Green Bay’s touchdown passes list, it’ll be a front-and-center talking point. And the answer isn’t clear. Go down the list of career accolades and the numbers remain remarkably close. So close, in fact, that it’s too close to call.
Most valuable player awards? Favre won three in a row from 1995-1997. Rodgers has three and is trending toward possibly winning a fourth this season, which would make it two years in a row for him. Playoff record? Favre owns a 12-10 postseason mark with the Packers while Rodgers is 11-8. Favre is 2-2 in NFC Championship games in the Green and Gold; Rodgers is 2-3. Favre’s taken the Packers to two Super Bowls, winning one, while Rodgers has a Lombardi Trophy following the one trip that he led Green Bay to the championship game. In total, Favre won 160 games as a Packers’ starter. Rodgers, through Week 15 this season, has 137 wins.
Both players are equally as brilliant on the field as they are in the stat sheet. Favre was the original Patrick Mahomes while Rodgers is and remains the only one of his kind. Favre would duck-and-chuck his way to magical big plays and victories; Rodgers is the ultimate surgeon with pinpoint accuracy and the coolest of demeanors. The vault at NFL Films is stuffed with classic Favre moments like these:
Rodgers, of course, isn’t far behind (if behind at all):
It’s funny how this all ended up for the pair of Packers greats. Favre, at one time, was just like Rodgers; the established MVP quarterback who Green Bay offended beyond repair by drafting his replacement (Rodgers) in the first round in a decision that appeared a few years too early. And with football being nothing but one giant circle, Rodgers is now the Packers quarterback whose ego was irreparably harmed by his team drafting his eventual replacement (Jordan Love) in the 2020 NFL Draft.
And while Favre’s tenure in Green Bay ended much like everyone is expecting Rodgers’ to, he’s become sort of a book of wisdom for Rodgers to thumb through during this next phase of his career and on the verge of setting a new franchise record.
"The one thing I will say that he mentioned,” Rodgers said of Favre’s advice this week, “which is one thing I've been really taking to heart the last couple of years, is he just said, 'Enjoy it because it goes by so fast and the next thing you know it's over.’”
"The human element and the observer and the gratitude is understanding that things happen the way they happened to allow me to get in this position," Rodgers said. "A lot of that is being able to sit behind Brett and watch one of the greatest players, competitors, quarterbacks of all time do it for three years, and then figure out how to do it on my own."
Favre and Rodgers respect each other. They respect not only what they’ve been able to do as quarterbacks, but that they’ve been able to do it as Packers. And that’s what every fan should do, too. It’s not about comparing them and trying to decide who is superior. Instead, it’s about appreciating what each has brought to the sport, how they’ve changed the position in their own way, and how it’ll be a very, very long time (if ever) until we see a franchise with this kind of quarterback run again.