200 Just Another Number

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Brett Favre will once again run out of the tunnel at Lambeau Field Monday night as he is announced as the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Though he's been doing it week in and week out since 1992, this entrance should carry some special meaning with it as the game will mark Favre's 200th consecutive regular season start for the Green and Gold.

Or so you would think.

When asked about his remarkable achievement of durability - no other player in Packers history has even played in 200 games, let alone started 200 in a row - the quarterback downplayed the occasion, saying it should carry no more significance than the previous 199.

"It means a lot, but I treat this game no differently than I've treated other games," said Favre Wednesday. "The fact that I'm still here and playing I think speaks for itself. I'm fortunate in a lot of ways to be able to do this and to overcome injuries, adversity and still play at a high enough level that the Packers still want me around.

"Each game that I start is an accomplishment. So to rank this one any higher than 150, 175... There are guys who start their first game and get injured. It's not their fault, sometimes it's something you can't control. It kind of puts in perspective how difficult it is to do this job. 200 is in some ways a lot different than 100 or the first start, but I wouldn't say it ranks any higher than my first start. Like I said, I treat this as just another game. I know it's been a long time, a lot of games, a lot of consecutive starts, I'm aware of that, but it's just another game that we need to win."

Trying to measure just how much Favre has meant to this franchise since taking the reins as the starter September 27, 1992 is nearly impossible. Since coming to Green Bay in a trade earlier that year, he's helped lead the Packers to nine postseason appearances in 12 seasons (it had been 10 years since their last playoff game when he got to town), five division titles, two NFC championships, and of course the victory in Super Bowl XXXI following the 1996 season.

Favre was asked about his fondest football memory from his remarkable career, and the Super Bowl win was his response.

"I would have to say the obvious answer would be the Super Bowl, which is every player's - I would think," he said. "You get into this game because you love it, but if you really consider yourself a team player, willing to do whatever it takes, then the ultimate would be the Super Bowl."

"But individual things do not come to mind. I think of celebrating with my team. Like the other night, that was such a special win. And to most people it would seem like, "They just won another game." There's so many great things that have happened to me because of the Green Bay Packers, the teams that I played with."

Speaking of the team, some other Packers had thoughts on Favre's ironman streak. Guard Mike Wahle spoke about the man he is paid to protect every week.

"200 football games is amazing," Wahle said. "To have that kind of starting streak, to play through injuries, to not get injured to the point where you can't play, the guy is absolutely one of the toughest competitors I've ever been around.

"He's obviously been blessed with a body that can heal pretty fast and a mind that can play through a lot of pain. He means everything to our team. He's just such a talent, such a leader and just a great locker room guy. You really can't say enough about the guy. He's done so much for this program and he's such a big part of what we do."

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman agreed when asked about the only starting quarterback he has ever had as a head coach.

"I think of all the awards that he has won and all the accomplishments that he's attained, I don't know that there's one of them that he's more proud of than the consecutive starts because that embodies his character," said Sherman. "I think that's really what he's all about.

"I've never taken him for granted - I appreciate every day that he's the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers."

Looking back at that first start against the Pittsburgh Steelers 12 seasons ago, Favre recalled the eager feelings he had and contrasted them with the approach he has now that he's an old pro.

"I remember being extremely nervous and having a lot of uncertainty from my standpoint of, "Okay, what will happen? How will I play? Will we win this game?" Things that really I couldn't control. As I look back now, with so much experience under my belt, I think those were normal feelings. Now I know what I can control and what I can't. That's as far as I go with it."

One thing he seems to be able to control is the entertainment level of an entire nation of faithful Packer fans. With Brett Favre at the command, they have learned that nearly every one of his 200 starts has produced some memorable moments and will continue to do so as the starts and the numbers keep piling up.

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