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Looking back at Brett Favre’s good, bad, and totally obscure NFL records

Some say Favre is still out there, to this day, starting games and throwing interceptions.

New York Jets v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

When it comes to career accomplishments and records, there are few who can match the sheer volume of former Packers, Vikings, and Jets quarterback Brett Favre. Considered one of the best of all time, Favre also played so long that he acquired just about every record — good and bad — there is for a quarterback in the NFL.

Routinely referred to as a “gunslinger,” Favre was a mobile quarterback for his day, one who frequently took chances and was often burned by them. But he also earned a Super Bowl ring, a few NFL MVP awards, and a lot of wins, so he wound up doing pretty well for himself overall.

But we’re here to talk about records, and we’re going to do so by breaking them out into three distinct categories.

The Good

To start, Favre once held a few records that have since been broken. He had owned the record for most regular-season touchdown passes over the course of a career with 508, until Peyton Manning took over the top spot in 2014. He also used to have the most career passing yards at 71,838, but that too was topped by Manning, in 2015. Favre’s 199 victories — regular season plus postseason — had been the most by any quarterback, but both Tom Brady and Manning passed him.

There are still some records that remain Favre’s, though. He has the most career pass completions (6,300) and attempts (10,169), as well as the most consecutive seasons of 300-plus pass completions (18). His 290 career games of 100-plus passing yards is another record. He is also tied for the most seasons leading the league in touchdown passes (4).

For a quarterback over the age of 40, Favre has the most career passing yards (5,874) and is tied with Brady for most regular season games with 300-plus yards (6). In addition, he has the most passing touchdowns in the regular season for a QB in that age range (36), though Brady just needs four more to tie him.

As far as wins go, he has the most regular-season home wins by a starting quarterback (113), and is tied with Manning as the only other quarterback to face and defeat all 32 NFL teams over the course of a career.

Finally, the one that’s most talked about: Favre has the most consecutive starts by a player with 297 — a number jumps to 321 if you include the postseason.

Here are the top 15 quarterbacks on that list, playoffs included:

Consecutive Starts By A Quarterback

Rank Quarterback Streak start Streak end Teams Games
Rank Quarterback Streak start Streak end Teams Games
1 Brett Favre 9/27/1992 12/5/2010 Packers/Jets/Vikings 321
2 Peyton Manning 9/6/1998 1/8/2011 Colts 227
3 Eli Manning 11/21/2004 11/23/2017 Giants 222
4 Philip Rivers 9/11/2006 Active Chargers 201
5 Matt Ryan 12/20/2009 Active Falcons 140
6 Joe Flacco 9/7/2008 11/22/2015 Ravens 137
7 Tom Brady 9/30/2001 9/7/2008 Patriots 128
8 Tom Brady 9/14/2009 1/24/2016 Patriots 126
9 Ron Jaworski 9/18/1977 11/25/1984 Eagles 123
10 Matthew Stafford 9/11/2011 Active Lions 115
11 Joe Ferguson 9/18/1977 9/23/1984 Bills 110
12 Russell Wilson 09/09/2012 Active Seahawks 108
13 Dan Marino 10/25/1987 10/10/1993 Dolphins 99
T-14 Roman Gabriel 11/28/1965 9/17/1972 Rams 91
T-14 Johnny Unitas 9/27/1959 11/7/1965 Colts 91

Favre’s streak earned him the “ironman” title, and he has stated in the past that he considered it his best achievement. He has the most seasons starting all 16 games at 17, tied with offensive lineman Bruce Matthews.

The Bad

And now let’s get into the good stuff. And by good stuff, I mean the real bad stuff. In addition to having the most completions and pass attempts, Favre also has the most career interceptions over the course of a career (336). He has a record 14 seasons of 15 or more interceptions, and his 31 pick-sixes in the regular season are also an NFL high (he has four more in the postseason, a playoff record he shares with Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger).

In addition to all the interception records, Favre holds the record for most career fumbles with 166 fumbles. He’s been sacked 525 times, more than any other quarterback.

As an aside, that also includes the sack many believe he gave to Michael Strahan to allow Strahan to take the NFL single-season sack record, so we’ll go ahead and count that among his bad records, too.

Favre also has the honor of having the most postseason road losses as a starting quarterback, with a whopping seven.

The Obscure

Don’t ask why, but Favre really had it in for the NFC West and in particular, my San Francisco 49ers. Including the playoffs, he beat the 49ers 12 times out of 14 games played against them, and finished his career 36-14 against the NFC West.

Against the NFC North (and previously the NFC Central), he boasts an 84-45 record. He beat the Detroit Lions 28 times out of 37 games. He owns the most regular-season wins by a starting quarterback against a single opponent at home, with 18 wins over the Lions in that scenario. He also beat the Bears 11 straight times on the road, which is another record.

Favre also has the most home game-winning drives with 32, and the most home fourth quarter/overtime comebacks with 23. He has the most consecutive wins, regular and postseason, by a starting quarterback in one stadium, with 29 straight wins at Lambeau Field.

Favre was the first NFL player to have 500 career touchdown passes, 70,000 career passing yards, 5,000 and 6,000 career pass completions, 300 interceptions, and three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards.

There are records for the largest touchdown pass differential over several different multi-year periods, as well. In fact, this handy Wikipedia page lists, citing the always-helpful Pro Football Reference, over 60 records related to touchdowns alone. It also lists dozens of records revolving around Favre accomplishing things past the age of 40. Brady is currently eating into those records, but there’s a ton of ‘em.

There is also a list of 238 (!) quarterbacks who started during Favre’s consecutive starts streak, which according to a December 2010 ESPN article, was confirmed by the Elias Sports Bureau. It also states that 117 different coaches led NFL teams during the streak.

Here’s a random one: Favre has the record for most games played by a starting quarterback against the same team in a calendar year when he faced the Lions in the 1993 regular season and playoffs, and played them twice in the 1994 regular season, and then again in the playoffs. So five games against one team in a calendar year.

Let’s go even deeper though. Favre has the longest gap between receptions in NFL history, at 17 years and 4 weeks, or 275 games. He was also part of a game featuring the oldest starting quarterbacks, when Vinny Testaverde was 44 and Favre was just a spring chicken at 38.

There are even more that we’re not going to go over here. There are just so many of them. Favre isn’t the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, but he was great at a lot of things and bad at very few. Longevity plays a role in his accomplishments, but it’s not like they should be discounted. If it were easy, every quarterback would play until he’s 95 or whatever age Favre was when he finally retired.