Brett Favre’s Backup Quarterbacks Through The Years


Often times when a great player plays quarterback for one franchise for a very long time it is interesting to look at who played backup for him. Who developed into a starting quarterback of their own? Who had started at other places but was winding their career down here? Here we look at Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre’s backups through the years. This doesn’t include players on the practice squad or who were with the team only during preseason, it primarily includes players who were on the active roster during the season and may have even gotten out on the field for a bit.


1992: Brett Comes To The Green Bay Packers

Backup: Don Majkowski (University of Virginia)

Majkowski had started for the Packers earlier in his career and later on would start games for the Indianapolis Colts, he would also appear in a few games for the Detroit Lions.

1993: Brett’s 2nd Year

Backup: Ty Detmer (Brigham Young University)

Detmer won the Heisman Trophy playing QB for the BYU Cougars and after backing up in Green Bay in 1993 and 1995 he would go on to start games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996 and 1997. He would also see playing time with San Francisco, Cleveland, and Detroit.

1994: Brett’s 3rd Year

Backup: Mark Brunell (University of Washington)

Probably the quarterback that played behind Favre and went on to the most success (so far), Mark Brunell would later start games for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins. Brunell made numerous Pro Bowl appearances, and in 1996 he led the league in total passing yards. Brunell also currently ranks in the all-time top 25 in the following categories: Passing attempts, passing completions, and passing yards.

1995: Brett’s 4th Year

Backup: Ty Detmer – See Above

Backup: Jim McMahon (Brigham Young University)

McMahon had already been a starting quarterback for most of his career and had won a Super Bowl with the 1985 Chicago Bears. He would also be a sometime starter with San Diego, Philadelphia, and Minnesota. He also spent time with the Arizona Cardinals briefly before spending his last two years in the league backing up in Green Bay.

Backup: T.J. Rubley (University of Tulsa)

Rubley had starting experience with the Los Angeles Rams in 1993 but his time with the 1995 Packers would be his last in the NFL.

1996: Brett and the Packers win the Super Bowl

Backup: Jim McMahon – See Above

Backup: Doug Pederson (NE Louisiana)

Pederson would go on to see time as the starting quarterback with Philadelphia and Cleveland in 1999 and 2000 respectively before returning to be the backup in Green Bay again for the 2001 through 2004 seasons.


1997: A Super Bowl Loss

Backup: Doug Pederson – See Above

Backup: Steve Bono (UCLA)

Bono had prior starting quarterback experience for both San Francisco and Kansas City. Earlier in his career he had backup experience with both Minnesota and Pittsburgh, and after this one season in Green Bay he would spend two more years in the league (backing up for the Rams and the Carolina Panthers) before retiring.

1998: Brett’s 7th Year and Mike Holmgren’s last year as the Packers head coach.

Backup: Doug Pederson – See Above

1999: Brett’s 8th Year and the one and only season Ray Rhodes was the head coach.

Backup: Matt Hasselbeck (Boston College)

Hasselbeck would go on to play for Holmgren in Seattle and lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2000: Brett’s 9th Year and Mike Sherman’s first year as head coach.

Backup: Matt Hasselbeck – See Above

2001: Brett’s 10th Year

Backup: Doug Pederson – See Above

2002: Brett’s 11th Year

Backup: Doug Pederson – See Above


2003: Brett’s 12th Year

Backup: Doug Pederson – See Above

2004: Brett’s 13th Year

Backup: Doug Pederson – See Above

Backup: Craig Nall (Northwestern State)

Nall would throw for four touchdowns in his only action in the NFL during this season. He would go on to backup Favre in 2005 before spending one final year as a backup in Buffalo.

Backup: J.T. O’Sullivan (University of California-Davis)

O’Sullivan saw no action for Green Bay other than two late game kneel downs, he didn’t see any playing action at all in 2005 or 2006, but has gotten on the field for the Detroit Lions during the 2007 season.

2005: Brett’s 14th Year

Backup: Craig Nall – See Above

Backup: Aaron Rodgers (University of California)

Rodgers would go on to become an extremely successful Green Bay Packers quarterback in his own right after a few years as Brett Favre’s backup.

2006: Brett’s 15th Year and Mike McCarthy’s first season as head coach of the Packers.

Backup: Aaron Rodgers – See Above

Backup: Ingle Martin

Martin made it into the game for the final game of the year and handed the ball off one time and took two kneel downs.

2007: Brett’s 16th Year

Backup: Aaron Rodgers – See Above


There you have it, Brett Favre’s backups through the years during his time with the Green Bay Packers. This is by no means definitive and focuses primarily on the quarterbacks who not only were on the roster but made it into the game at some point during the season.

A few observations:

Twice Favre had backups from small colleges in Louisiana (Favre’s home state), with Doug Pederson being from Northeast Louisiana and Craig Nall being from Northwestern State.

The Packers have had two different ex-BYU quarterbacks backup Brett (Jim McMahon and Ty Detmer). The quarterback who spent the most years as Brett Favre’s backup was Doug Pederson and he did it in two separate stints with the team (1996-1998 and 2001-2004).

Brett Favre himself was drafted by the Falcons, only to play sparingly and then be traded to the Packers in 1992. In 1993 the Packers drafted Mark Brunell who played sparingly for them and was then traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars where he went on to star for many years. He is one of the most durable quarterbacks the league will ever see, and these were the guys who backed him up.

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