The MMQB presents NFL 95, a special project—unveiled every Wednesday from May through July—detailing 95 artifacts that tell the story of the NFL, as the league prepares to enter its 95th season. See the entire series here.
You might consider it fitting that Brett Favre’s career ended at the hands of another man because, well, who really believed Favre would walk away of his own accord?
On Dec. 5, 2010, more than 19 years after he made his NFL debut with the Atlanta Falcons and 18 years after he became a starter for the Green Bay Packers, Favre was looking to avoid an opening three-and-out during a Vikings home game against the Bills. On 3rd-and-5 he rolled right, stepped back inside and then re-set to throw. As he did, linebacker Arthur Moats hit him from behind. Favre landed on his throwing shoulder, spraining his sternoclavicular joint. The pass landed in the arms of defensive back Drayton Florence. It was Favre's last throw of the game.
One week later the Vikings “hosted” the New York Giants for a Monday-nighter at Detroit’s Ford Field (due to the bizarre roof collapse at the Metrodome). Favre was listed amongst Minnesota’s inactives, ending a record streak of 297 consecutive regular-season starts (321 if you count the playoffs).
He returned to the field the next week, for an outdoor home game against the Bears. Early in the second quarter, Bears rookie Corey Wootton got to Favre for his first career sack. The 41-year-old quarterback’s head slammed into the frozen, unforgiving turf at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. The resulting concussion ended Favre’s 302nd and final NFL game.
During that time, he collected the NFL career records for completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns. Winner of one Super Bowl with Green Bay (XXXI) and dogged chaser of an elusive second, Favre officially retired for the last time after the 2010 regular season finale. We think.
— Robert Klemko
Photograph of de-activiation report courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.