Favre-a-Palooza

Now that we can safely say that Brett Favre has retired (notwithstanding rumors to the contrary), I thought it was time to pull out some data on the indecisive quarterback’s career touchdown passes. Stats on passes say a lot about the relationship between a quarterback and his receivers so I wanted to create a visual that captured some of these stories.

The chart below shows each touchdown pass that Brett Favre threw during his NFL career and displays it up by receiver (vertical axis), season (horizontal axis), average yardage per month (size of marker), and team (color of marker).

Packer Fans will immediately recognize the significance of some of the data points. For the rest of you, here are a few highlights:

  • Sterling Sharpe caught Brett Favre’s first touchdown pass as a Green Bay Packer in 1992 and continued to be the quarterback’s primary receiver for the next three years. The 5x All-Pro led the NFL in touchdown receptions in both 1992 and 1994 and would certainly have played a major role in the team’s subsequent success if he hadn’t suffered a career-ending neck injury at the end of the 1994 season.
  • Following Sharpe’s early exit from football, Favre was forced to distribute his passes among a broader range of players, chief among them wide receivers Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman. These two players would serve as the primary pillars of the passing game throughout Favre’s most successful period with Green Bay.
  • During the 1996 season (the year the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI), Favre threw touchdowns to ten different receivers, a career high. His total touchdown pass yardage that year also reached a high water mark.
  • Following Favre’s two Super Bowl appearances, there was a noticeable dropoff in the number of new players catching touchdowns. It is not clear whether it was because the receiving core had stabilized or the coaches were focused on developing other aspects of the team but there were no fresh faces in the 1998 season and only two (Corey Bradford and Donald Driver) in 1999.
  • Favre did not have another pair of favorite “big play” receivers until his last two seasons with the Packers, when he had both Driver and Greg Jennings.
  • After Favre’s retirement from the Packers, he was introduced to an entirely new slate of receivers with the New York Jets in 2008. This situation was repeated in 2009 when he signed up with the Minnesota Vikings. He threw his final touchdown pass to Percy Harvin in December 2010.

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