The story was broken by the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. Favre is good friends with the sports editor, Al Jones, who wrote the story.
At just before 10 a.m., the Packers confirmed Favre's decision in a short statement from general manager Ted Thompson.
"The Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. He has given Packers fans 16 years of wonderful memories, a Super Bowl championship among them, that will live on forever. Brett's many accomplishments on the field are legendary. He leaves the game holding virtually every career passing record, plus his consecutive starts streak, which may never be duplicated."
Favre's agent, Bus Cook, and brother Scott said part of the reason for Favre's decision was the Packers' reluctance to seek the quarterback's input on the direction of the franchise. That was not the overriding reason, though.
Favre is coming off a pulsating 16th season with the Packers in which he finished second in voting for NFL MVP. He completed 356 of 535 passes for 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He led the Packers to the NFC championship game. But, it appears Favre's final professional pass will be a game-killing interception against the Giants.
Favre practically rewrote the NFL record book last season, and now owns every meaningful league quarterbacking standard.
With Favre showing he had the skills to be an elite quarterback, his return for an 18th NFL season seemed a foregone conclusion. But that decision wasn't so easy, as coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFL scouting combine last month.
"It's not the fact that he knows he still can play. He had a great time this year," McCarthy said.
"It's just the fact that he's played a lot of football, and he's had to fully commit himself and his family year in and year out. When you do get older, you have more responsibility, and he just wants to make sure he'll be able to commit himself 100 percent."
With Fan Fest starting Friday, there was speculation the Packers would announce Favre's return then. In 2005, Favre appeared at Fan Fest and announced his decision to play another season.
Favre was a second-round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons in 1991. Packers general manager Ron Wolf, then in the front office of the New York Jets, had wanted to draft Favre, but the Falcons beat him to the punch. So, on Feb. 10, 1992, in one of his first moves as GM of the Packers was to send a first-round pick to Atlanta for Favre, even though Favre threw just four passes with two interceptions (and no completions) during his one year there.
Favre made his Packers debut in Week 2 of the 1992 season, when the Packers were getting blown out at Tampa Bay. His first pass against the Buccaneers was deflected, and he caught it, making his first NFL completion a 7-yard loss.
Favre played again the next week, when starter Don Majkowski went down with an ankle injury. Favre struggled, but led the winning drive in the final 1:08 to beat Cincinnati on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kitrick Taylor with 13 seconds remaining.
A legend was born.
Favre, with his legendary toughness, started the next game and never left the starting lineup. He started 253 consecutive regular-season games. The previous standard for quarterbacks was Ron Jaworski, with a mere 116 consecutive starts.
This past season, Favre set records for touchdown passes (442), victories (160), yards (61,655) and interceptions (288). He also holds the record for completions (5,377) and attempts (8.758).
Favre's toughness, in fact, played perhaps the biggest role into Green Bay becoming one of the great teams in NFL history. On Nov. 15, 1992, Favre sustained a separated left shoulder against Reggie White and the Philadelphia Eagles. Favre rallied the Packers to a 27-24 victory. White said Favre's toughness that day was a big reason he surprisingly signed with the Packers as a free agent before the next season.
Favre is the NFL's only three-time MVP, winning the award outright in 1995 and 1996 and sharing it with Barry Sanders in 1997. It was perhaps the greatest three-year run in NFL history, with 988 completions in 1,626 attempts (60.8 percent) for 12,179 yards with 112 touchdowns and 42 interceptions.
He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI, a 35-21 victory over New England that Favre famously propelled with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison on the Packers' second play from scrimmage. In an unforgettable image, Favre ripped off his helmet and thrust it into the air, sprinting off the field with a mile-wide grin after the play. He added a touchdown run and a Super Bowl-record 81-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman, and finished 14-of-27 passing for 246 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.