Inside Slant: In Favre to Rodgers, Packers accomplished rare succession

Between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have had an elite quarterback for 22 consecutive seasons. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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The Green Bay Packers are in the midst of perhaps the most sweeping team-building accomplishment in NFL history. At the height of the league's quarterback era, the Packers have fielded an elite player at the position for 22 consecutive years -- and counting.

Brett Favre's 1992 ascension to the starting job began the run, and in the rarest of achievements, the Packers did not miss a beat upon his departure. Aaron Rodgers has led the NFL in cumulative passing rating (106.6) since he picked up for Favre in 2008. The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, and Rodgers was named the league's MVP in 2011 and 2014.

Favre will be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame this weekend and is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year. Rodgers' career suggests a similar track. A glance through league annals reveals most franchises have struggled for decades to replace a Hall of Fame quarterback; the Packers' transition is rivaled only by the San Francisco 49ers' shift from Joe Montana to Steve Young in 1993.

Below is one rendering of the success (or, more frequently, failure) NFL franchises have experienced after moving on from Hall of Fame quarterbacks. I limited the group to those who retired after the 1980 season to help preserve some level of apples-to-apples comparison. Note the handful of repeat characters in this story.

1. Joe Montana -- Steve Young

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Year: 1993

Comment: The 49ers are the only team where one Hall of Fame quarterback followed another. Montana missed all of 1991 and most of 1992 because of an elbow injury, finally giving Young his opportunity to grab the starting job. From the 49ers' perspective, the only hiccup came when Montana regained his health at the end of the 1992 season. Many fans wanted Montana back as the 1993 starter, but the 49ers wisely chose Young. They traded Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played two more seasons, while Young remained the 49ers' starter until 1999. In all, the 49ers' Montana-Young era lasted 21 seasons.

2. Steve Young -- Jeff Garcia

Team: 49ers

Year: 2000

Comment: The drop-off from No. 1 to No. 2 in this ranking speaks to the difficulty most franchises have had with this task. Garcia started 10 games as an injury replacement in 1999 before taking over after Young's retirement. He was named to three consecutive Pro Bowls, leading the 49ers to the playoffs in two of those years, but departed after the 2003 season -- beginning a journey to six franchises over the following seven seasons. Later, the 49ers invested seven years in Alex Smith before turning it over to Colin Kaepernick in 2012.

3. Warren Moon -- Billy Joe Tolliver, et al

Team: Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans

Year: 1994

Comment: After Moon's 10-season run ended, the Oilers turned to Tolliver, Bucky Richardson and Cody Carlson during a 2-14 season. (There's a trivia answer for you!) Steve McNair was their top draft choice in 1995, but he sat behind Chris Chandler for two seasons before taking over as the primary starter in 1997. But the Oilers/Titans can say that Moon or McNair was their primary starter for 19 of 22 seasons between 1984 and 2005.

4. Troy Aikman -- Quincy Carter, et al

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Year: 2001

Comment: Carter started eight games for the Cowboys in the season after Aikman's retirement, sharing time with Anthony Wright, Ryan Leaf and Clint Stoerner. Over a five-year period, the Cowboys shuffled between Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Drew Bledsoe and Vinny Testaverde as their primary starter before Tony Romo established himself in 2006. The distance between Aikman and Romo seemed much longer than five years.

5. Dan Fouts -- Mark Malone, et al

Team: San Diego Chargers

Year: 1988

Comment: Malone started half of the Chargers' games that season, sharing time with the great Babe Laufenberg and Mark Vlasic. The franchise spent the next 14 seasons toggling between the likes of our old friend Tolliver to Jim McMahon, John Friesz, Stan Humphries (a primary starter for six years), Jim Harbaugh, Doug Flutie and Ryan Leaf. In 2002, 14 years after Fouts' retirement, the Chargers named Drew Brees their starter. Brees gave way to Philip Rivers in 2006, meaning the Chargers have experienced near-elite quarterback play for an impressive run of 13 seasons and counting.

6. John Elway -- Brian Griese, et al

Team: Denver Broncos

Year: 1999

Comment: Griese was the Broncos' surprise post-Elway starter, emerging over longtime backup Bubby Brister, but his tenure was the start of a 13-year period of stagnation before signing Peyton Manning in 2012. The Broncos devoted time trying to develop Griese, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow into long-term starters, but none made it longer than four seasons. Between 1999 and 2011, the Broncos won two playoff games.

7. Terry Bradshaw -- Mark Malone, et al

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Year: 1984

Comment: Before he replaced Fouts, Malone had spent parts of four seasons as the Steelers' first attempt to take over for Bradshaw. (Cliff Stoudt started 15 games as Bradshaw's injury replacement in 1983.) Thus began a seven-year period shared mostly by Malone and -- yes! -- Brister before the Steelers signed free agent Neil O'Donnell in 1991. O'Donnell took the Steelers to the Super Bowl in the last of his five years as starter, setting off another eight nomadic years until the franchise drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. In all, the gap between Bradshaw and Roethlisberger was 20 seasons.

8. Dan Marino -- Jay Fiedler, et al

Team: Miami Dolphins

Year: 2000

Comment: Frankly, the Dolphins have yet to find a suitable replacement for Marino in the 15 years since his retirement. Fiedler lasted four seasons, followed by a patchwork run that included Jay Fiedler, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington and the two Chads, Pennington and Henne. Current starter Ryan Tannehill has a great chance to be the best of the group, even by default. After signing a contract extension that all but guarantees his spot through 2017, Tannehill should reach at least six seasons as the Dolphins' starter.

9. Jim Kelly -- Todd Collins, et al

Team: Buffalo Bills

Year: 1996

Comment: Here's a sobering post-Kelly thought: The Bills are the Dolphins without the current promise of a Tannehill. A total of 14 quarterbacks have started at least one game since Kelly's retirement, including two first-round draft picks (J.P. Losman and EJ Manuel) and another who was acquired with one (Drew Bledsoe). Ryan Fitzpatrick had the most staying power (53 starts over four seasons), but this spring, the Bills were so concerned about the position that they traded for journeyman Matt Cassel to start over Manuel.