Most professional athletes reach the prime of their career in their late-20s or early-30s. But Brett Favre is not like most athletes, and the quarterback of the 10-1 Minnesota Vikings is enjoying his best statistical season at the ripe age of 40.
On Sunday, Favre passed for 392 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-10 victory over the Chicago Bears. He leads all NFL signal-callers in quarterback rating at 112.1, and has thrown for a phenomenal 24 scores against just three interceptions.
But Favre’s most impressive accomplishment may come during the Vikings’ next game, at Arizona on Dec. 6. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, that contest will be the 283rd consecutive game that Favre has played under center, dating all the way back to the beginning of his career in 1992, and it will break the NFL’s non-kicker ironman record previously held by former Vikings defensive lineman Jim Marshall (New York Giants punter Jeff Feagles is safely ahead with 345 straight games played).
Favre already owns the record for most consecutive starts by a quarterback, with 280 and counting under his belt. Peyton Manning is next on that list with 187, but the Colts’ quarterback — who is also arguably Favre’s greatest competitor in the race for this year’s league MVP honors — will need to exhibit tremendous durability to one day bridge the gap.
Favre’s arm is showing no signs of the wear and fatigue that led to his late-season collapse with the Jets last year, and the bumps and bruises he has dealt with for years aren’t about to start bothering him now. He has talked to Marshall (who played for Minnesota from 1961-79) about the record throughout the current season, and is humbled by the chance to surpass him.
"Of course, we traded blows back and forth, saying, 'What you did was truly amazing,'" Favre told the Star-Tribune. "He said, 'No, playing quarterback has got to be tougher.' As most things are, it's a matter of opinion. I do know this, to be mentioned and to be up there with him is pretty impressive. It's hard to do.
"I think his position is harder because you are hit every time. There are some times where I can hand off and watch. The game, I don't want to say it was tougher then … the way it was looked at, the way things were treated was a lot different. So I tip my hat to him and what he was able to do."
Although John Madden won’t be there to call the latest big game of Favre’s Hall of Fame career, fans across the country — perhaps even in Green Bay — will be tipping their hats to No. 4, too.
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