It was on Sept. 27, 1992 that Brett Favre made his first career start at quarterback, taking the Packers onto Lambeau Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, 291 consecutive regular-season starts later (and 315 all told, including postseason games), it looks like the greatest Ironman streak in major sports history is on the verge of ending, with the Minnesota Vikings revealing the future Hall of Famer has multiple ankle fractures.
We figured we would have some fun with Favre's remarkable run and offer up a number of items and happenings that have come and gone since he beat the Steelers in Green Bay more than 18 years ago:
Before Favre discovered Jen (Sterger), NBC discovered Jen (Aniston) and the collection of coffee-sipping, sarcasm-dripping pals that put the Peacock at the top in the time slot for much of its run from 1994-2004.
Tony Soprano and Artie Bucco paid a visit to say hi to then- Jets coach Eric Mangini at the new Vesuvio in the 2007 episode where Bobby Baccalieri got whacked. A year later, 'Mangenious', after a painful end to Favre's one season in Jersey, saw his Jets career take a final trip on the Stugotz.
The Heat having a winning season
These were the decidedly pre- Pat Riley days, and in the Heat's first four seasons, their best record had been the 38-44 put up by the 1991-92 squad, coached by Kevin Loughery. The Heat has had only five losing campaigns in the 18 seasons since Favre's run began.
Cal Ripken ending his streak
Start No. 1 for Favre was the same day as consecutive start No. 1,728 for the Orioles' ironman shortstop. In 403 more games, Cal would pass Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 games in a row, and, 501 consecutive starts after that, he took his first day off in 16-plus seasons.
How would the acid-tongued--and decidedly British-- American Idol judge have characterized Favre's offseason idling performances, as he has ambivalently left the Packers, Jets and Vikings waiting in a lurch for him to make a decision? Pathetic. Awful. Brutal. Simon, very un-Favre like, left Idol without looking back after the May 26 finale, after almost eight years driving the televised singing contest.
The first MLB and NHL games in Florida
In September 1992, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League had yet to play a regular-season game in Florida. Then came the Tampa Bay Lightning (Oct. 7, 1992), Florida Marlins (April 5, 1993), Florida Panthers (Oct. 6, 1993) and the then- Tampa Bay Devil Rays (March 31, 1998). Each one of those teams have made their sports' championship series at least once, with the Marlins (1997 and 2003) and Lightning (2004) winning it all.
Shaquille O'Neal's NBA debut
Shaq, who like Favre is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer who has hop-scotched teams in the past few years, had been selected by the Orlando Magic with the top pick in the 1992 NBA Draft and on Nov. 6, the Big Diesel made his NBA debut in Orlando, scoring 12 points against the Miami Heat.
The presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
In late 1992, George H.W. Bush was being mercilessly parodied by Saturday Night Live's Dana Carvey as a "one-termer" who was deeply regretting having asked America to "read his lips" about no new taxes. That led to the November election of Clinton (speaking of comedy, Phil Hartman's McDonald's 'visit' as the new President is one of my top 10 SNL skits ever) and then, eight years after that, the younger George Bush.
Favre's first start was almost five years before an anonymous British author named J.K. Rowling released Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (or Sorcerer's) Stone, and the literary scene was hit by a lightning bolt not unlike the one who had scarred the title character's forehead. In the baker's dozen years since, Hermione Granger, the Weasleys, muggles, Quidditch and He Who Must Not Be Named have come to dominate teen-age pop culture.
The O.J. Simpson trial
Simpson was primarily known as a Heisman Trophy winner, NFL Hall of Famer, Hertz pitchman and bumbling Detective Nordberg in the Naked Gun series of films in September of 1992 and hadn't yet gotten a divorce from Nicole Brown Simpson. On June 12, 1994, Nicole and a waiter named Ron Goldman were found butchered in Brentwood, Calif. Simpson was implicated in the murders and, after an infamous police chase with him in the back of a white Ford Bronco and a riveting trial, Simpson was found not guilty on Oct. 3, 1995, in a controversial verdict. Simpson was later found responsible in a civil trial, and is currently in a Nevada jail after being convicted of various felonies unrelated to the murders.
Dan Marino's Achilles' tendon injury
It seems so long ago, but before Favre's streak, there was Marino's 145 consecutive non-strike starts (it seemed impressive at the time). The Dolphins, fresh from an appearance in the AFC Championship Game in January of 1993, had gotten off to a 3-1 start when they traveled to Cleveland to play the Browns. Then, with a 10-7 lead, disaster struck as Marino's right Achilles' tendon ruptured, a non-contact injury. Marino missed the rest of the season, and the Dolphins haven't been as far as the NFL's final four since.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times