The Green Bay Packers announced Monday that former quarterback Brett Favre will be the centerpiece of the new Packers Hall of Fame when it reopens next year, as he will be inducted next July.
The franchise will also retire Favre’s No. 4 jersey at a game next season. Packers chairman emeritus Bob Harlan said that will make Favre the first player in history to be enshrined in the Packer Hall of Fame and have his jersey retired simultaneously.
“Brett Favre will be the first person inducted in the new Hall of Fame space,” CEO Mark Murphy said. (per the Green Bay Press-Gazette) “He was a special player. He was a winner. But more than that was his joy for the game. I was not in Green Bay during his time here, but I remember watching Brett and thinking, ‘Wow, he’s really good.’
“What stood out to me was his joy of the game and that resonated with our fans. For those reasons, we decided to also retire his number at the induction ceremony. Then, during the 2015 season, we’ll unveil his number on the north end of the stadium. He’ll join names such as (Don) Hutson, (Tony) Canadeo, (Bart) Starr, (Ray) Nitschke and (Reggie) White.”
Favre’s arrival in Green Bay in 1992 in a trade from the Atlanta Falcons and the arrival a season later of White as a free agent from the Philadelphia Eagles signaled a dramatic turnaround for a franchise that knew mostly hard times in the wake of the Vince Lombardi era.
Prior to Favre’s arrival, the Packers had just four winning seasons and two playoff appearances from 1967, Lombardi’s last as coach, and 1991.
Favre became the Green Bay starter early in the 1992 season after incumbent quarterback Don Majkowski tore a ligament in his ankle, beginning a run of consecutive starts that didn’t end until 2010, when Favre was with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers went 9-7 in 1992 and qualified for the postseason the following year. Since 1992, Green Bay has had only two losing seasons and has made the playoffs 16 times, including the last five seasons.
Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette described the scenario for the game in which Favre’s number will join those of the other Packer legends.
Favre and Bart Starr walk together to midfield as honorary captains for the pregame coin flip. Aaron Rodgers is there as one of the Packers’ captains. The three greatest quarterbacks in franchise history, one in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, another a surefire first-ballot choice in 2016 and the third on his way to a Hall of Fame career.
Then at halftime, Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren, the general manager and coach, respectively, who brought Favre to Green Bay, developed his talent and won a Super Bowl with him, join Favre and his family on Lambeau Field. The ceremony will unveil Favre’s retired No. 4 on the stadium’s north facade, only the sixth number retired in Packers history.
Favre was sold.
“I’ve got chills right now thinking about it,” Favre said via teleconference during the announcement.
Steve Mariucci, who was Favre’s first quarterbacks coach in Green Bay and now is an analyst for NFL Network, struggled to describe how big that moment would be.
“They do the coin flip and have that ceremony? My God, that will be unbelievable,” Mariucci said. “It will be a big night in NFL history.”
Favre reiterated during the teleconference that he is not worried about the reaction from fans.
“I’ve commented a couple of times in the past couple weeks, I’m not concerned,” Favre said. “Not everyone’s going to be pleased and that was the case some years back. I know Packers fans as well as anyone and there’s no one like them.”
Favre said regardless of what jersey was over his shoulder pads late in his career, he was always a Packer.
“I’m a Packer,” Favre said. “It was almost like borrowed time playing for other teams.”