Brett Favre became an absolute legend in Green Bay, but not all tales have a storybook ending.
Such is the case in tonight’s re-air on ESPN (8 p.m. ET), when Favre faced the Packers for the first time in his illustrious career.
It had been a little more than a year since Favre’s exit from Green Bay after 16 glorious years. Traded to the New York Jets for draft picks, the three-time MVP was seemingly done after an injury-plagued season in Gang Green and a subsequent flirtation with retirement once released the following offseason. But Favre had one more run left in him, and much to their dismay, he gave Packers fans a front row seat by signing with the rival Minnesota Vikings.
The anticipated grudge match set the table for a prime time Monday Night Football game in a sold-out Metrodome on Oct. 5, 2009. Favre, who was on the verge of turning 40 the following Saturday and facing his successor in Aaron Rodgers, delivered a late-career gem when facing the team that identified him best.
With the Packers shutting down a Minnesota run game that featured a spry Adrian Peterson, the Vikings relied on Favre to get past their NFC North rival, winning 30-23 and maintaining the Vikings’ undefeated start to the 2009 season. Favre completed 24-of-31 passes for 271 yards and heaved touchdowns to Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe.
With the win, Favre became the first player in NFL history to defeat all 32 franchises.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the last time Favre would face the Packers that year. Four weeks later, Favre prolonged Green Bay’s nightmare by leading the Vikings to victory at Lambeau. It was no easy feat considering the Packers were also a playoff team that year, but with the Vikings winning the NFC North by a slim margin, both victories against his former team would prove to be crucial by season’s end.
Green Bay would go on to lose in the Wild Card Round to the Arizona Cardinals later that season, nixing a potential third matchup against Favre in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Favre and the Vikings made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints only to fall short in heartbreaking fashion with a head-scratching fourth-quarter interception thrown by the gunslinger. Thus serving yet another harrowing reminder when the storybook ending falls apart.
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