Quarterback Brett Favre spent 20 years in the NFL as a record-breaking gunslinger with a child-like passion for football. His career, which included 11 Pro Bowls, three all-pro teams, three MVP awards and NFL records for completions (6,300) and starts (298), as well as interceptions (336), fumbles (166) and sacks (525), culminated with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on a pristine Saturday night.
In typical Favre fashion, he broke another record. His 36-minute unscripted, heartfelt speech is the longest in Pro Football Hall of Fame history.
“I’m going for a world record, and I don’t give a damn,” the Green Bay Packers legend said during the speech.
Favre, 46, opened his speech by joking about another comeback.
“I’m going to ask [Packers Coach] Mike McCarthy and [Packers General Manager] Ted Thompson if I can play the first series tomorrow night,” Favre jokingly said about Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game between the Packers and Indianapolis Colts. “All of this excitement has me wanting to call [ESPN reporter] Ed Werder and spread the word again.”
Favre’s jokes included his family members. “I have never thrown an interception that was my fault according to my mother-in-law,” Favre said.
The Southern Miss product lauded his mother, who recently had a hip replacement, saying “by no means was she going to be put on waivers for this.”
Abut nine minutes into his speech, Favre got choked up, saying, “I’m not even halfway through. Help me out here!” He wasn’t kidding.
The heart of Favre’s speech centered on the importance his father, Irv, played in his development as a man and as a football player. Brett said Irv would have been his presenter had he not passed away in 2003.
Irv died at age 58, the night before Favre’s Packers were slated to play the Raiders in Oakland on “Monday Night Football.” Favre contemplated whether he should play the game or not. Ultimately he did, and the result was one of the most memorable performances of his career as he passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-7 Green Bay victory.
— Southern Miss FB (@SouthernMissFB) August 7, 2016
Favre took time to praise Raiders fans for how they treated him and his family that night.
“Everyone here who has played in Oakland either as the home team or the away team will all agree, they can be downright nasty,” Favre said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve witnessed it. But I’ll say this. That night, the tremendous respect and honor that was shown to me and my family from the Oakland Raider fans was spectacular.”
He said the Hall of Fame wasn’t a consideration in his mind until a revelation on the plane ride to Mississippi for his father’s funeral following the Raiders game. On that flight, his wife, Deanna, told him that Irv had told her he was eagerly anticipating the day he could introduce his son into football immortality.
Favre, who described his father as a man low on praise and high on tough love, struggled to fight back tears when talking about the man who raised him.
“This is tougher than any third-and-15,” he said.
Favre recalled a story from his high school playing days when his father used to coach him. He overheard his father telling assistant coaches that Brett had not played his best game but that he would redeem himself in time for the next game.
“I want you to know, Dad, I spent the rest of my career trying to redeem myself and make you proud,” Favre said. “I hope I succeeded.”
You can watch speeches and presentations of the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame class below.