By Greg Bates
Multiple times a day, Dan Milliren would log onto eBay.
It almost became an obsession.
Milliren searched for ticket stubs from NFL games BrettFavre started.
“I had the idea of I wanted to do something different thanI’d seen out there ever,” Milliren said. “I like to do projects, so I thoughtBrett Favre’s got the ironman record, 297 straight starts. He never missed astart, so I thought that would be kind of cool to find every ticket from everygame that he ever started.”
Milliren, who now lives in Greenville, didn’t really graspthe full extent of what he was getting into in April 2015. Along with the 297regular-season games he played for the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets andMinnesota Vikings, Favre competed in 24 postseason games. That’s 321 totalgames in his illustrious career. That meant Milliren had to track down 321tickets from every one of those games.
The Favre ticket project really got jump started forMilliren when he met with a fellow collector. The guy had a Ziploc bag of about50 full Packers ticket stubs and wanted to get rid of them. Milliren boughtthem on the spot. The tickets were mostly from the Favre era and early 1990s.
Milliren made a spreadsheet of every game Favre started andhe marked off a ticket once he obtained it.
“As I went along, I kind of learned there was threedifferences between the tickets,” Milliren said. “There’s the season ticketversion, which are the nicest ones. They have the neat pictures and everything,all the teams and all the info. on it. Then they have what’s called a boxoffice version, which is basically someone going up to the ticket window theday of the game and the ticket is printed out and given to them. It has all theinfo, it’s just not as nice – it doesn’t have all the color. The third one theyhave is the Ticketmaster version, which is pretty plain. No logos or anything,just says the day of the game.”
Milliren, who also has a full ticket from the “Ice Bowl” andone from the 1961 Championship game, wanted to try and get the season ticketversions for every Favre ticket. However, if he found box office orTicketmaster versions, he would buy them in hopes of upgrading down the line.
He wanted to find the full ticket or stub in the best conditionpossible and he always bought raw versions. Ticket collecting has become apopular hobby and Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) grades the conditionof tickets and encapsulates them. Milliren shied away from graded ticketsbecause they can take up a lot of room, especially for 321 of them.
Tracking down tickets for the Packers home games were by farthe easiest. Getting the three seasons Favre played for the Jets and Vikingsweren’t too bad, either. It was the road contests that became tough to find,especially for the 1992-95 seasons.
Milliren had checked off 319 tickets and just had two left:road games in New Orleans in 1993 and 1995. He couldn’t figure out why ticketsfor New Orleans were hard to come by until he talked to a friend. The two cameup with a theory that Hurricane Katrina might have wiped out collections in NewOrleans and destroyed the coveted tickets.
“I must have went probably six, seven months between findingone and finding those last two,” Milliren said. “When I first started out, Iwas finding them every day. Then, obviously, as I got closer and closer, Iwould find one every week and then one every month, one every couple months.”
In March 2018, Milliren had completed his project. It tookhim another year to upgrade some of the tickets to season ticket versions. Heended up getting all 321 tickets to that best version.
Obviously, some tickets in the collection are more valuablethan others. Favre’s first NFL start was against the Pittsburgh Steelers onSept. 27, 1992. A ticket from that memorable game is worth some money. Also, aticket from the Monday nighter in Oakland in 2003, the day after Brett’s dad,Irvin, died, is a treasured piece. Milliren found a pair of tickets from thatRaiders game and purchased them both. He ended up sending one ticket to Favreto get signed and kept the other clean.
“For the most part, they were all pretty affordable,”Milliren said. “As I got closer to the end, I think I was a little more willingto pay a little bit extra for a ticket here or there just to check it off thelist. I kept patient throughout the whole process and I wasn’t going to gocrazy (spending) over a ticket. But if one popped up that I thought was in goodcondition or it was a full ticket vs. a torn ticket, it was worth a little bitmore to me.”
To finish the Favre project meant a lot to Milliren.
“When I first started, I didn’t know how long or how muchtime or effort I had to put into it, so looking back, I don’t know if I’d do itagain,” Milliren said. “But once I started, I was kind of determined that Iknow they’re out there, I’m going to put in the time. I’m going to put in thework to find them and eventually I’ll do something with them. Right now,they’re all just sitting in a binder. Someday, I’ll display them somehow, Ijust don’t know how that is going to work yet.”
A few years ago, Milliren met Packers Hall of Fame curatorBrent Hensel and the two got to talking about Milliren’s ticket collection.Milliren has been able to loan a few tickets to the hall of fame for displaysover the years.
“It was neat to go into the hall of fame and kind see stufffrom my collection up that other people can enjoy and learn a little about thehistory, too,” Milliren said.
When Milliren whittled down his Favre ticket project down toabout 50, he had the idea of keeping the project going with Aaron Rodgers.
“Being that he came in in 2005, I figured it would be alittle bit easier,” Milliren said. “So, I kind of just grabbed them here andthere. I really wasn’t doing too much with it, but when they pop up, I grabbedit if it was worth it.”
Rodgers made his NFL debut vs. the Saints in 2005, butMilliren started his project with the 2008 season.
“A couple big differences between Favre and Rodgers is thata lot of the teams are going to digital tickets. So, probably going back tolike 2017, maybe ’16, teams like the Vikings and Falcons, they’ve completelygotten rid of hard tickets,” Milliren said. “So, you’ve either got to get –they give season ticketholders like a card and basically that card is used thewhole year. It’s not specifically a ticket for a game versus the Packers, it’sjust a season ticketholder card. So, I’ve had to use that for a couple of thegames. Then, there are some games that I’ve never seen pop up for Rodgers overthe last couple of years.”
The last year the Packers stopped ripping tickets was 2007,and the following year the team went to just scanning the barcode of tickets.
Following the 2020 regular season and playoff game against theLos Angeles Rams, Rodgers was at 190 regular-season games and 19 playoff games.That means his ticket number is 209.
While collecting Rodgers tickets, Milliren came across aninteresting find. A few years ago, he bought a full, unused Packers season ticketsheet from the 2005 season, which was Rodgers’ rookie year. Milliren was amazedthat the tickets, which were addressed to Trinity Lutheran Church in Green Bay,weren’t used. Milliren was able to get Rodgers to sign the ticket sheet, aswell.
“I think that’s kind of neat that someone had season ticketsand never used them the whole year,” Milliren said. “Nothing’s torn off thesheet.”
With hard copy tickets no longer available at most venues,Milliren is disappointed he’ll never be able to get those versions of ticketsagain.
“It’s kind of disheartening,” Milliren said. “A lot of thefun and enjoyment from the tickets is seeing the different designs. It musthave been a fun job, the people that designed those tickets over the years.Some of my favorite ones are the early ones.”
Milliren is a 2003 graduate of Owen-Withee High School.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.