Remembering Brett Favre’s Best Season with the Packers

Brett Favre was a franchise altering player for the Green Bay Packers. From the time he became the team’s starting quarterback in 1992, the Packers fortunes changed dramatically. The team ended 25 years of struggles and have been perennial winners ever since.

Favre was a first-ballot Hall of Famer and at the time of his retirement, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, yards and had a consecutive games streak that no quarterback is likely to approach any time soon.

But what was Favre’s best season with the Packers? The answer is 1995, the year the former Mississippi State star won his first NFL MVP award and led the Packers to the first of three consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances.

Favre finished the season with 38 touchdown passes which led the league and 4,413 yards which also placed him first. The Packers also won their first division title in a non-strike season since 1972 and finished the season with an 11-5 record.

It was impressive that Favre was able to accomplish that. His favorite receiver, Sterling Sharpe, had his career ended prematurely at the end of the 1994 season due to a neck injury. Suddenly, Favre found himself without his security blanket and had to find a new target to rely on when things broke down.

“When you look at the start of the season and what people were anticipating of the Packers, very few thought we’d be able to accomplish what we have,” Favre said after winning the MVP award. “No one thought we’d have a winning record. No one thought we’d make the playoffs again.”

Favre proved them all wrong. The Packers quarterback ended up finding a primary receiver but also distributing the ball more equally to other players. Robert Brooks stepped into the void at wide receiver and led the team with 102 catches for 1,497 yards and 13 touchdowns including a record-tying 99-yard touchdown pass against the Bears on Monday Night Football.

After Brooks, the catches were more evenly distributed with running back Edgar Bennett catching 61 passes, tight end Mark Chmura adding 54 receptions, running back Dorsey Levens pitching in 48 and wide receiver Mark Ingram 39.

Favre also played some outstanding games in 1995. His career-best five touchdown performance against the Bears in Week 11 was a new career high and he played the game on a badly sprained ankle. He also threw for four touchdowns in a game twice and had four games with three scoring passes.

The Packers improved as the season progressed, winning six of their final seven games with their only loss coming in overtime on the road in Tampa Bay.

After winning the league MVP award for what would be the first of three straight seasons, Favre and the Packers set their sights on the postseason. In the first round, he got revenge on the team that traded him away when the Packers beat the Falcons 37-20 at Lambeau Field. Favre threw for three touchdown passes in that game and had a quarterback rating of 111.5 with Brooks, Chmura and Levens each catching a touchdown.

A week later, Favre led the Packers past the defending Super Bowl champion 49ers in San Francisco 27-17. It was that upset win that transformed the Packers from a young and promising team on the rise to a true Super Bowl contender in the minds of most experts. Favre threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and for the second straight week did not throw an interception. His quarterback rating was 132.9.

The big thing was that Favre was maturing as a quarterback. He started to realize the importance of winning games rather than padding his personal statistics.

“Being in the postseason and winning games is what separates you from the other quarterbacks,” Favre told reporters before the NFC Championship Game that year. “There’s no doubt about that. That’s what we play for.”

His teammates learned to expect the unexpected from their young signal caller. As tight end Keith Jackson said, “You never say never with him.”

Safety LeRoy Butler added, “This year, there’s not a quarterback that’s even close to Brett. To compare him to anybody is an injustice to him.”

Favre threw for 307 yards and three touchdown passes in the NFC Championship Game against Dallas, but the Packers fell 38-27 although they led 27-24 at the start of the fourth quarter.

It all ended up being a learning experience for Favre, who one year later, overcame an offseason stint in rehab for prescription pain killers and won a second straight MVP award while leading the Packers to their first Super Bowl title in 29 years.

At 26, Favre was at the top of his profession and well on his way to the Hall of Fame. While he would win two more MVPs in a row, no season statistically matched Favre’s 1995 campaign and the season represented the Kiln, Mississippi, native at the top of his powers.

It was the year both the quarterback and the team made the jump from good to great. One year later, they would be the best.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

NFL Categories: 
3 points

Comments (16)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
TarynsEyes's picture

July 16, 2022 at 12:53 pm

For all the things that Favre became to many at the end of his time with the Packers, the one thing that can never be dismissed, he breathed life into the Organization, and without that breath of life, I cannot fathom where this Org would be, perhaps the 70s' and '80s would still be their yearly level.

11 points
12
1
Johnblood27's picture

July 16, 2022 at 01:24 pm

Tru dat

Even with all of the other talent and Holmy actually paying attention and coaching, I doubt the Packers would have attained the glory they did without the Ol' Gunslinger.

Maybe Brunell sticks around, he might have been pretty good in Holmgrens system with all the other weapons. He had some pretty good receivers in Jax, but not the same quality of overall talent and coaching.

1 points
1
0
HarryHodag's picture

July 16, 2022 at 03:01 pm

The tendency is to ignore the capabilities of the GM and coach. Favre was a game changer, no doubt, but Holmgren's offense was too good to stink even if Favre wasn't the QB. Wolf had an eye for talent(like Gute) and I'm sure would have found another good QB. Wolf knew enough about Favre to pull him off the scrap heap in Atlanta where Jerry Glanville said all he did was drink beer and eat chicken wings.

Thus the cornerstone of the argument: finding talent. Wolf did. Wolf also hired Holmgren. Without Holmgren to tame him, Favre would have been just another strong armed idiot on some losing team.

2 points
3
1
Johnblood27's picture

July 16, 2022 at 05:23 pm

Wolf DID find another pretty damn good QB.

Mark Brunell!

Quarterback Mark Brunell played 17 seasons for 5 teams. Brunell had 2,761 completions in 4,640 attempts for 32,072 yards and 184 touchdowns. He was selected to play in 3 Pro Bowls.
Drafted: 1993 Rnd 5, Pick 118 by GB
Born: September 17, 1970 in Los Angeles, CA

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BrunMa00.htm

1 points
1
0
PeteK's picture

July 17, 2022 at 09:28 am

Hasselbeck became a solid QB and Brooks had some shining moments. Wolf had an uncanny ability of finding talented QBs.

0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

July 16, 2022 at 01:40 pm

Without question Favre saved the Packers with his great play on the field. Favre was a key factor in Reggie White signing with the Packers in 1993.

Fortunately Mike Holmgren was the Packers HC when Ron Wolf traded a #1 pick to Atlanta for Favre during the ‘92 draft.

Holmgren was the perfect coach for Favre and he was able to reign in Favre’s undisciplined play early in his career. I will always believe that if Holmgren had remained in GB the Packers would have won at least one more SB during the Favre era.

For his part Favre gave us many more good days than bad during his time in Green Bay. He gave us everything he had every time he stepped on the field. In the end, as fans, we can’t ask or expect anymore from any of our players.
Thanks, Since ‘61

8 points
8
0
Savage57's picture

July 17, 2022 at 05:42 am

Hear, here. Tony Kornheiser didn't get much right during his MNF gig, but in a feature he did on Favre he nailed it.

"The reason we watch Brett Favre is because he moves the needle."

People forget that for a decade, Favre was the face of the NFL and its biggest draw. He made Green Bay relevant again.

4 points
4
0
LLCHESTY's picture

July 16, 2022 at 07:06 pm

Levens catching 48 passes in '95 surprises me, I don't remember him being on the field all that much that year. By the end of the regular season in '96 it was clear he should be the starter. Edgar was solid but wasn't very elusive or fast. Good mudder though.

1 points
1
0
ricky's picture

July 16, 2022 at 03:55 pm

So, Favre lost his "security blanket" Sterling Sharpe, but spread the ball around. And a complementary end (Robert Brooks) stepped up big time. Is this a prediction for what could unfold this season for the Packers? Rodgers loses his favorite receiver (Adams), and we believe Rodgers will spread the ball around more. All that is needed to repeat history is for one of the WR's to step up and become a bigger threat. Lazard comes to mind immediately. And Cobb could be someone who gets a lot more looks. And if Tonyan can return to form, this could be the team that finally excels in the post-season.

2 points
2
0
Johnblood27's picture

July 16, 2022 at 05:20 pm

If we are gonna draw Robert Brooks parallels then my vote is for Sammy Watkins to emerge, with Christian Watson or Romeo Doubs waiting in the wings.

2 points
2
0
LLCHESTY's picture

July 16, 2022 at 07:11 pm

Totally different circumstances. Favre was still learning the position and what a nickel defense was.

2 points
2
0
PhantomII's picture

July 16, 2022 at 08:15 pm

If Lazard is the go-to guy.....That would be sad. He's a #3 WR....He has never gotten back to his trajectory pre sports hernia. We need speed on the field with so many TE's used by our coach, it's needed even more..

0 points
0
0
PeteK's picture

July 17, 2022 at 09:45 am

Watson 4.36 could spread the D.

1 points
1
0
rstain99's picture

July 21, 2022 at 07:55 am

Favre was a tremendous QB made the average WR part of his offense, along with Bobby Orr and Larry Bird he is on the top of the mountain of my favorite athletes. Hopefully AR will get these new receivers involved in the scheme. Defense will have to be strong this year STs as well just be average that's all Packers fans want.

0 points
0
0
Bleedinggreenandgold's picture

July 17, 2022 at 01:48 am

Does anyone else see a common thread between Favre losing Sharpe (his best receiver...maybe THE best receiver at the time in the NFl...and then having his best season...ever...hopefully Rodgers has the same results..."spreading it around," after losing the best receiver in the league....fingers crossed
GO PACK!!!!

1 points
1
0
PeteK's picture

July 17, 2022 at 09:51 am

The following season 96 could be a better parallel as Favre lost Brooks to injury. The ball was spread around even more with an emerging Freeman leading the team with 56 catches and 7 others with at least 20 or more catches.

1 points
1
0