1. Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers
This “gunslinging” quarterback from Gulfport, Mississippi was one of the toughest players in football history. Favre was the ironman of the league—always suiting up even when doctors told him he shouldn’t—starting an NFL record 321 straight games, playing through injuries, hard hits, bruises, freezing temperatures at Lambeau Field, and even broken bones.
He was mentally tough, too: Favre not only started the day after his father passed away but had one of the best games of his life, throwing for four touchdowns and over 250 passing yards by halftime against the Oakland Raiders on a nationally televised game on Monday Night Football. After playing for the Green Bay Packers for the bulk of his career, Favre became a grizzly veteran who wouldn’t let age or his ailing joints stop him from playing. At the age of 39, he came out of retirement and started 16 games for the New York Jets, and at 40 he took the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs after leading the team to a 12-4 record.
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