Pain was Brett Favre's gain: As backup QB, he hoped starter got hurt

Favre's love of the game defines his legacy (2:26)

Ed Werder calls Brett Favre's competitiveness "legendary" and looks back to the times he was covering Favre from outside of his home in Mississippi. (2:26)

CANTON, Ohio -- Brett Favre's record for consecutive starts makes even more sense now; he feared his backups would think the way he did.

Favre didn’t spent much time behind anyone -- he became a college starter midway through his freshman year at Southern Miss and an NFL starter early in his second year -- but when he did, he always thought the same thing.

“I’m not afraid to say it now, every time the quarterback got tackled I was always hoping he got hurt,” Favre said on the eve his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. “Call it what it is; I wanted to play. However I got in the game, so be it.”

That’s exactly how Favre became the Green Bay Packers' starter in 1992, when an ankle injury knocked out Don Majkowski and opened the door for Favre. Two hundred ninety-seven consecutive starts later, Favre still wonders if any of his backups thought the same thing.

"I was never going to lose my spot," Favre said. "So every time I got tackled I thought, 'I wonder if they're over there [clapping but saying], 'He got up, damn.''"

So which of Favre's many backups did he think was most anxious to play?

“Probably Hasselbeck,” Favre said.

Matt Hasselbeck probably came the closest to it. In 2000, Warren Sapp landed on Favre’s left foot, leaving him unable to walk after the game. Then-coach Mike Sherman told reporters in his postgame news conference that Favre likely would be out for the next game “and maybe even longer.”

Of course, that never happened. Favre not only played the next game but led the Packers to a win over the Colts, and Hasselbeck was eventually traded to the Seattle Seahawks.

“I was so fortunate to have some great guys [as backups]. … I knew that they wanted to play because quite frankly when I was a backup quarterback [so did I],” Favre said.