On September 20, 1992, Green Bay Packers quarterback BRETT FAVRE relieved an injured DON MAJKOWSKI and engineered two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to lead the club to a 24-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay's Lambeau Field. Included in that comeback was Favre's first career touchdown pass, a five-yard scoring strike to wide receiver STERLING SHARPE. Few knew then that it would be the first of a historic run.
Fifteen years later, Favre now sits in second place all-time with 417 touchdown passes, only three shy of Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO's record of 420.
"When I retired, I thought if one guy would get to 420 touchdowns, it would be Brett," says Marino. "I really didn't think anybody would get to it, but I knew that the one guy out there who could probably reach that level of 420 would be Brett Favre. Not only his ability as a great quarterback, but the durability he has, just the ability to play each and every week, is pretty amazing."
The top five quarterbacks in touchdown passes:
Marino has held the record since 1995, when he threw the 343rd touchdown of his career, passing FRAN TARKENTON for the most in history.
Following is a chronology of the NFL career touchdown pass record and the eight players (all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame) who have held the record since 1930:
BENNY FRIEDMAN passed for 66 career touchdowns and held the record from 1930 until 1943.
- ARNIE HERBER reached 66 touchdown passes in 1940 and shared the record with Friedman until 1943.
- SAMMY BAUGH passed Friedman and Herber in 1943 and threw 187 career touchdowns. Baugh held the record until 1962.
- BOBBY LAYNE tied Baugh in 1961 and passed him in 1962. Layne finished his career with 196 touchdown passes and held the record until 1963.
- Y.A. TITTLE passed Layne in 1963 and ended his career with 212 TD passes. Tittle held the record until 1966.
- JOHNNY UNITAS passed Tittle in 1966 and threw 290 touchdowns. Unitas held the record until 1975.
- FRAN TARKENTON passed Unitas in 1975, finishing with 342 career TD passes. Tarkenton held the record until 1995.
- DAN MARINO passed Tarkenton in 1995, retiring with 420 career touchdown passes. Marino currently holds the record.
"I've never seen a more talented quarterback," says Packers Hall of Fame quarterback BART STARR. "He can throw it off-balance, sideways and falling down as well as many quarterbacks can standing in a good, strong position. I don't believe there's a more competitive player in the game today than Brett Favre. He's a great leader. He is tough, he is hard-nosed. I love watching him because of that. Brett is a wonderful example of enthusiasm and courage and leadership. He's just an unbelievable guy."
The week after his comeback victory against Cincinnati in 1992, Favre made his first career start against Pittsburgh. He has not missed a start since, a span of 239 games (259 including the playoffs) -- the NFL record for a quarterback.
"Brett's streak is very impressive just given the nature of how demanding the quarterback position is," says Indianapolis Colts quarterback PEYTON MANNING, who himself has started 146 consecutive games, second only to Favre. "To be able to answer the starting bell for so many seasons is one of the great accomplishments in sports, and it means a great deal to everyone connected with the organization."
The most consecutive quarterback starts in NFL history:
Last Sunday, Favre, who is the only player to be named the Associated Press NFL MVP three times, became the league's all-time winningest quarterback as he led the Packers to a 35-13 win over the New York Giants, the 149th victory of his 17-year career.
"As proud and amazed as I am of what Brett is and has accomplished on the playing field, the thing that impresses me the most is what kind of a man and leader he has become off the field," says Seattle Seahawks head coach MIKE HOLMGREN, who coached Favre for seven seasons in Green Bay (1992-98). "I have taken great joy in watching him develop as a person and father over his career."
The most quarterback wins in history:
Favre threw for three touchdowns in Week 2, the 59th game of his career with at least three TD passes. With his next three-touchdown game, Favre can join Marino (62) as the only players with 60 such games:
Who will catch Favre's record-breaking touchdown? The active leader is two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DONALD DRIVER, who has caught 35 touchdowns from Favre, third-most all-time behind ANTONIO FREEMAN (57) and Sharpe (41).
"Brett is a Hall of Famer," says Freeman, who played eight seasons with Favre (1995-01, 2003). "Our journey was great. I could name 20 fantastic moments with him and I would still miss five that I should have included. That's how great the journey was. There was never a dull moment with Brett."
A look at Favre's touchdown passes broken down by the 42 different receivers: