When Deanna Favre presents her husband, Brett, for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, it brings to full circle a relationship that started when both were in high school in Kiln, Miss.
“Deanna is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” Brett Favre said in a statement last week. “She has been by my side throughout this journey and I’m so excited that she gets to play such an important role for me.” The two were married in 1996.
Favre headlines this year’s induction class in Canton and was recently named the No. 2 player in ASN’s Super Poll 50, marking the 50 greatest ASN-affiliated athletes to play in the Super Bowl.
One of eight members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, Favre is the NFL’s No. 2 all-time leader in passing yards (71,838) and touchdown passes (508).A second-round pick out of Southern Miss by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1991 NFL Draft, Favre played the bulk of his career in Green Bay (1992-2007). He also played a season each for the Falcons (1991) and New York Jets (2008) and two seasons for the Minnesota Vikings (2009-10). Along the way, he earned 11 Pro Bowl trips and was the NFL’s passing leader four times. He is a three-time NFL MVP and All-Pro. The Packers retired his No. 4 in November.
Favre earned a teaching degree at Southern Miss, which then competed as a Division I independent. After retiring from the NFL, he returned home to Mississippi where was the offensive coordinator for Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, which won a state championship in 2014.
Favre’s impact on the field started early. As former teammate Tim Hallman told SouthernMiss.com in a story on Favre’s career, starting a game as a freshman was unheard of for the Eagles.
Hallman was a senior during Favre’s freshman season in 1987. It was just Sept. 10 when Favre made the first and biggest impression of his legendary career. Southern Miss was hosting Tulane on a hot day in M.M. Roberts Stadium, and there had been a few unfortunate circumstances that led the 17-year-old’s early, but not premature, debut.
“When they put him in, he had not practiced a lot,” Hallman said. “With Coach [Jim] Carmody, you wouldn’t play back then unless you performed in practice. When we saw him come in, we thought he had lost his mind. We didn’t know who this guy was and hadn’t taken many snaps with him.”
The potential talent question was not the only thing on the team’s mind.
“We just knew he was a kid from the coast with the last name ‘favor,'” Hallman said. “Nobody knew how to pronounce it. It wasn’t characteristic of Carmody to put him in, but everything worked out perfectly as we well know. That was impressive.”
Favre was the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 70,000 yards on more than 10,000 attempts with more than 6,000 completions. He was the only player to win three consecutive AP player of the year awards over the course of his 20 year career.
His durability was legendary. Once he was named the Packers starter for the Sept. 27, 1992, game against Pittsburgh, he did not miss a game for the next 18 1/2 seasons. He holds the record for most consecutive starts by an NFL player with 297 (321 including playoffs).