Brett Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers: How first ‘Monday Night Football’ showdown shaped never-ending comparisons

first_imgBrett Favre was always good for “Monday Night Football” ratings.  Whether it was throwing a game-winning TD pass off Antonio Freeman’s back or delivering an unforgettable tribute to his late father, Favre made the most of the moment during his time in Green Bay.   Yet it’s the “Monday Night Football” game when he wore a different uniform that drew the highest television ratings. ESPN will re-air the Oct. 5, 2009, matchup between the Vikings and Packers tonight — the first head-to-head matchup between Favre and Aaron Rodgers.  MORE: 11 insane things I did becuase of Brett FavreThat was a much-anticipated moment given the circumstances. The Packers’ brass — which included general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy — chose to proceed with Rodgers instead of Favre before the 2008 season. Favre was traded to the New York Jets and played one season before signing with the rival Vikings in 2009.  It marked a soap opera split of epic proportions, and the Favre vs. Rodgers debate consumed Green Bay leading up to the 2009 game. All those memories — and comparisons that continue today — will be conjured up again Monday night.  Favre owned ‘MNF’ showdown  The Packers-Vikings fell just five days before Favre’s 40th birthday. He led Minnesota to a 3-0 start, and the Packers were 2-1 behind Rodgers in his second year as a starter.  Favre seized the moment by finishing 24 of 31 for 271 yards and three TDs. He threw two first-half TDs, and a 31-yard TD to Bernard Berrian in the third quarter build a 28-14 lead.  Green Bay tried to play catch-up behind Rodgers, who finished 26 of 37 for 384 yards, two TDs and an interception. Rodgers, however, was sacked eight times in the 30-23 loss. Jared Allen had 4.5 sacks.  Favre scored a big win in Round 1 and would take it to the next level a month later.   Return to Lambeau  On Nov. 1, 2009, Favre returned to Lambeau Field in a Vikings uniform and delivered another jaw-dropping performance. He finished 17 of 28 for 244 yards with four TDs and no interceptions.  A 51-yard TD pass to Percy Harvin gave Minnesota a 24-3 lead in the third quarter. Rodgers, who finished 26 of 41 for 287 yards and three TDs, led another comeback that fell short.  Minnesota won 38-26 and went on to lose the NFC Championship Game that season. Green Bay fell short in the NFC Wild Card round, and it set the stage for the 2010 season.  Rodgers gets revenge  While those first two matchups get the most attention, it’s easy to forget the two head-to-head matchups in 2010.  Green Bay and Minnesota met on “Sunday Night Football” on Oct. 24, 2010. Rodgers finished 21 of 34 for 295 yards, two TDs and two interceptions, and Desmond Bishop’s interception return clinched a 28-24 victory.  Favre finished 16 of 29 for 212 yards, a TD and three INTs in his final appearance at Lambeau Field.   Green Bay dominated the second matchup 31-3 on Nov. 21 at the Metrodome. Rodgers put on another show by finishing 22 of 31 for 301 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Favre finished 17 of 38 for 208 yards and an interception.  Green Bay went on to win Super Bowl XLV. Favre was knocked out of a “Monday Night Football” game against Chicago on Dec. 20 and retired after the season.  MORE: NFL Mock Draft 2020: Complete seven-round editionHead-to-head numbers  Favre won the early battles, but the four-game series with Rodgers was a draw with the Packers and Vikings each winning two games.  In those four games, Favre finished 74 of 126 (58.7 percent) with eight TDs and four interceptions. Rodgers finished 95 of 143 (66.4 percent) with 11 TDs and three interceptions.  So it could be said that Favre might have the most memorable moment, but Rodgers has the hidden edge given the trajectory of both franchises since.  Healed relationshipFavre had a fractured relationship with Packers fans and Rodgers, but there has been healing since.  Favre and Rodgers appeared at the NFL honors together in 2013, and it put a humorous touch on their much-publicized relationship.  The Packers retired Favre’s jersey on Nov. 26, 2015, in a ceremony where the late Bart Starr joined Favre on the field.  Favre was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, and Green Bay jerseys dominated the night in Canton, Ohio.  That said, the comparisons with Rodgers still linger.  Favre vs. Rodgers comparisons Which quarterback is better? That argument still has several layers more than a decade later when you judge both quarterbacks’ career resumes.  StatsFavre ranks fourth all time in passing yards (71,838) and TDs (508). He also threw the most interceptions in NFL history (336).  Rodgers ranks 13th all time in passing yards (46,946) and eighth in TDs (364). He’s done that with the highest passer rating of all time (104.1).  MVP awardsFavre and Rodgers are two of the eight NFL players with multiple NFL MVP awards. Favre is a three-time winner (1995, 1996, 1997). Rodgers is a two-time winner (2011-14).  Playoff successFavre finished with a 13-11 record in the postseason, and he had a 2-3 record in the NFC Championship Game (including the one NFC championship appearance with the Vikings). He led the Packers to a pair of Super Bowl appearances.  Rodgers is 11-8 in the postseason and has led the Packers to four NFC title game appearances, including last year against San Francisco.  Packers legacyFavre remains one of the most lovable players of all time, and he led the Packers to their first Super Bowl victory in 30 years. He remains one of the most popular quarterbacks of all time because of “The Gunslinger” mentality during 16 seasons in Green Bay. He had a 160-93 record as a starter with the Packers.   Rodgers, meanwhile, is a surgeon. He enters his 16th season with Green Bay and has a 113-60-1 record as a starter. He is under contract through 2024 and likely will close his career with the Packers.  The comparisons will continue until Rodgers is finished, and Green Bay’s next franchise quarterback will face an impossible third act.  Perhaps that will play out on “Monday Night Football” in the future, too.last_img

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