Fortune smiles on Favre, Green Bay

GREEN BAY – Every once in a while, Packers quarterback Brett Favre thinks about what might have been. What would have happened if the Atlanta Falcons, the team that drafted Favre in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft, had held on to him? What would have happened to Green Bay if Ron Wolf had not sent a first-round draft pick to the Falcons for Favre, who completed exactly zero passes in five attempts in his only season with Atlanta?

History would have been very different, at least from a Packer perspective .

"It's been brought to my attention how things have unfolded," said Favre this week as he prepared to face his old team for the fourth time in his career. "I'm aware of what could have happened. Maybe if I stay in Atlanta things are fine, but it's hard to think it would have been better than here." With Favre in the fold, the Packers won three straight NFC Central Division titles, went to two Super Bowls, and won the title to cap the 1996 season. Favre won three straight Most Valuable Player awards from 1995 to 1997.

"Green Bay gave up a first-round pick and I knew I would get an opportunity to play, and soon," Favre said. "This was an opportunity I had to take advantage of. I thought of it as my last chance."

The Falcons made Favre the 33rd overall pick in 1991 draft. He was the third quarterback taken, behind Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich. He threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason, but was 0-for-5 with two interceptions during the regular season.

February 10, 1992, the Packers traded a first-round pick for Favre. Green Bay went 9-7 and almost made the playoffs. The Falcons finished 6-10. Favre has gone on to forge an NFL record QB ironman streak -- Sunday's contest makes 150 in a row. The Packers are 98-54 in the regular season since the trade, while the Falcons are 65-84.

Favre has faced his old team three times before, once in the playoffs. He lost the first matchup in 1992, but helped the Packers win in 1994 in the last game at Milwaukee County Stadium. Favre threw two touchdowns and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 9-yard run with the clock winding down.

In 1995 the teams clashed in the playoffs at Lambeau Field. The Falcons scored first, but Favre threw three touchdowns and the Packers won 37-20.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons have suffered through a parade of less-than-effective field generals. Jeff George faced the same problems there he's faced everywhere. The man Jerry Glanville chose over Favre, Billy Joe Tolliver, eventually fell into the Falcons' backup role behind Chris Chandler. Tolliver made his unceremonious exit from Atlanta around the same time Favre was starting his second Super Bowl. Tolliver ended up on a path that saw him cut as the Packers' backup this preseason.

"If that trade had not been made, I doubt that it I would have been as successful there as I have here," Favre said.

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