Favre throws 421st career TD, surpasses Marino
Published 9:32 am Monday, October 1, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brett Favre is No. 1 — with a bullet.
Favre broke Dan Marino’s record for career touchdown passes Sunday, zipping No. 421 to Greg Jennings in the first quarter of Green Bay’s 23-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
He hit Jennings on a 16-yard slant for the score with 4:56 left in the quarter, and like most of his touchdown throws through his brilliant 17-year career, this one had plenty of steam on it.
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“It feels great, but I’ve never considered myself as good a quarterback as Dan Marino,” Favre said. “Dan was a hero of mine. To be mentioned in the same breath as Dan and other guys really makes it special.”
Ever the jubilant celebrator, Favre sprinted to the end zone and hoisted Jennings on his left shoulder. He joined in hugs with his teammates on the sideline, as thousands of Packers faithful who made the trip from Wisconsin cheered loudly.
Even those dressed in purple stood and applauded when the announcement was made, and a taped message from Marino was played to congratulate Favre, who threw for another TD in the fourth quarter. He finished 32-of-45 for 344 yards, the 50th time he’s topped 300 yards in his career.
“I loved holding the touchdown record for the past 13 years,” Marino said. “But if someone was going to break it, I’m glad it was someone like you, who has always competed at the highest level and always played to win.”
It’s the latest, and possibly the most hallowed record claimed by the league’s last true gunslinger. Two weeks ago, Favre broke John Elway’s mark for career victories by a quarterback when he led the Packers to a 35-13 win over the New York Giants.
The soon-to-be 38-year-old Favre also holds the marks for career completions and consecutive starts by a quarterback, which hit 241 Sunday, moving him past former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff into second place on the list for all players.
Former Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall holds the all-time mark with 270 consecutive starts.
Late in the second quarter, Favre broke another Marino record when he threw the 8,359th pass of his career, and is also within shouting distance of Marino’s record for yards passing.
Jennings also caught the record-tying TD from Favre, a 57-yarder last week that lifted the Packers to a 31-24 victory over San Diego.
“I know one thing,” Jennings said, “I know I’ll never be forgotten and that’s thanks to Brett.”
Marino held the record since 1995, but Favre’s reign could be considerably shorter. Old No. 4 has acknowledged that most, if not all, of the records he sets in his career will be challenged very shortly by the Colts’ Peyton Manning.
But perhaps even more impressive than the numbers Favre has put up is the manner in which he has done it.
Favre entered the league in a different era, when guys like Marino, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon and Steve Young played with an aggressiveness and a swagger that’s uncommon among today’s quarterbacks.
While offenses have moved away from that mentality more toward “game managers,” the league’s biggest gambler hasn’t let go of his high-risk, high-reward style. That mentality has thrilled fans in Green Bay since he first stepped onto the Lambeau Field turf in 1992, but it has also earned him his fair share of criticism over the years.
He has been accused of being careless with the football at times, but Favre will be the last one to apologize for entering the game two interceptions shy of tying George Blanda’s career record.
“What got me to this point, what got me in this league, was a playmaking ability that was different,” Favre said.
Favre was pressured on his first pass attempt Sunday, and he blindly winged a pass far downfield for Jennings that was intercepted by Darren Sharper. But Favre was bailed out by an illegal contact call on Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, and the Packers punted four plays later.
After Jeff Dugan fumbled to give the Packers the ball in Minnesota territory, Favre hit Donald Lee on a nice touch pass for 27 yards. Two plays later: history.
“It’s a milestone that he hit and there’s probably a lot more of them left,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
McCarthy has reined in Favre a little bit this season, and it has worked brilliantly so far for the Packers, who are 4-0 for the first time since 1998.
“He has a lot of gas left in his gas tank,” McCarthy said. “I’m not surprised by this at all.”
And while there is no single record for quarterbacks that carries the significance of Barry Bonds passing Hank Aaron’s career home run record, McCarthy has said Marino’s touchdown mark probably comes closest.
But Favre said he didn’t think the touchdown record was getting anywhere near the hype that Bonds’ pursuit of Aaron received over the summer. He has laughed off any further comparison to Bonds, smiling as he jokingly flexed his forearms to prove he doesn’t quite measure up.
There will be no dispute over this home run ball, though.
“I was hoping to put it on eBay,” Favre joked. “I think we are going to let it sit in the Hall of Fame for a year or two. I’m sure after that, I will keep it.”