Discussion in 'The National Football League' started by Double Barrel, May 15, 2013.
Good. My hatred for the guy has worn off a bit now that we are no longer being bombarded with "retirement" coverage of the old geezer, so this is good news. Brett Favre is and always will be a Packer. I'd like to wash any memories of him in a Jets of Vikings uniform from my brain; this is the first step in allowing that to happen.
He was pretty damn good on the Vikings in 2009. Unfortunately that was the last gasp of a legendary career.
I was a big fan of Bret's.... well, not a fan but I respected him as a person & a player.
Until that penisexting thing. Personally, I would cut ties.
And I was just getting used to no more Favre threads.
Don't expect him to kiss and make up with the Pack just yet. He will try to milk 6 or 8 years out of this. "Will 2017 be the year Favre rejoins the Packer family??? Maybe!!! Stay tuned!!!"
I expect there to be a huge misunderstanding when Favre mishears about the next Packer stock offering.
It's time. Go home Brett. Hug it out with Aaron.
Go hang with Bart Starr and Don Hutson and Vince. ( Be careful of Nitchskie.)
I had you in mind when I posted this story.
He should have went to the SB that year. The refs looked the other way as NO went full on "bounty" on him, or he would have most likely won his second ring.
Well, it was nice while it lasted.
Brett Favre said his goodbyes as he left Lambeau Field in 2008, hours before he was traded to the New York Jets.
‘How did it ever get to this?’
Almost seven years after he left Lambeau Field on his last day as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre will officially return to the fold at next week’s Packers Hall of Fame induction.
By JASON WILDE
GREEN BAY – The last handshake had been delivered, the last hug shared and Rachel Nichols’ last question answered when Brett Favre navigated his burgundy Cadillac Escalade up the loading-dock ramp, through the opening in the chain-link gate and past the throng of reporters and television crews keeping watch on the other side.
At 1:38 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Aug. 5, 2008, the soon-to-be former Green Bay Packers quarterback turned right onto Ridge Road.
At 1:39, he was sitting in the left turn lane at the stoplight at Lombardi Ave. – about to turn onto a street named for another Packers icon who’d finished his NFL career somewhere other than Titletown – when reality set in.
“I remember leaving, and yeah, the emotions were running high, as you would imagine,” Favre recounted during an appearance on ESPN Milwaukee’s Green & Gold Today earlier this week, in advance of his July 18 induction into the Packers Hall of Fame and the retirement of his familiar No. 4. “And it was mixed emotions. I was leaving, and it was like leaving family, and I don’t know if I’ll ever see them, or if we’ll ever be as close as we have been.”
“And the other emotion was, ‘I’m not good enough to play here, but I’m too good to play against you.’ That path was running through my mind, [too]. But I remember thinking as I left, just me, just thinking in the car, ‘How did it ever get to this? I cannot believe we’re at this point, after 16 great years, wonderful years.’ Tremendous success individually and team-wise, and yet, ‘Here we are.’
“And did I think when I left there that we would be talking about it this way – not laughing about it, but feeling so much better about where we are and where we’re going? I just didn’t know if that would ever happen.”
In the intervening years – by the time Favre is feted in the Lambeau Field atrium, it will have been six years, 11 months and 13 days since he drove off that afternoon – the Favre saga would take so many more turns than his short drive to the home on Shady Lane which he and wife Deanna would sell a few months later.
The trade to the New York Jets. A second retirement, and subsequent request to be released. Joining the archrival Minnesota Vikings. Two virtuoso performances in victories over his former team during the 2009 season. Two far-less-impressive showings in a pair of losses to the Super Bowl-bound Packers in 2010. Lingering hard feelings in the years that followed his final retirement. An on-stage handshake with his successor, Aaron Rodgers, that helped accelerate the process. Bygones becoming bygones.
And now, at long last, Favre-a-palooza, which will feature not only his Packers Hall of Fame induction and number retirement, but 67,000 fans cheering as they watch on scoreboard video screens their prodigal quarterback’s return home, and a Thanksgiving night unveiling of his name and number on the stadium’s north end zone façade.
“I feel much better now because things are in a much better place,” Favre said. “I -- like most people, probably – questioned if we would ever get to that point. And not only have we gotten to that point, but we’ve gotten there times 100.”
Of course, to get there, they first had to survive those ugly days during the summer of 2008, a he-said, they-said public-relations battle that divided Packer Nation and – despite the approaching love-fest – left scars on all the principals involved.
Favre, for one, admits now that his biggest mistake was announcing his retirement at that tearful – and awkward – press conference in March, after years of protracted will-he-or-won’t-he uncertainty about his plans to return for another season.
Feeling pressured by management to decide sooner than later, Favre made the call just six weeks after his overtime interception – his last pass in a green-and-gold uniform – sealed the Packers’ fate in an NFC Championship Game loss to the New York Giants at Lambeau Field. Given a mulligan, Favre said, he would have merely made Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy wait until he’d truly made up his mind.
“The reality of it – as we know – is, it’s over, it’s done with, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t go back,” said Favre, who won consecutive NFL MVP awards in 1995, ‘96 and ‘97 and led the ’96 team to the Super Bowl XXXI title – the Packers’ first championship after a 29-year drought.
“I’m one of those that never says, ‘Hey, if you could go back and do it over …’ That’s not me. But I do get that question, I do hear that quite often. ‘If you had it to do over again …’ Well, I always say, ‘You don’t.’ So it is what it is, and you move on.
“But yeah, could it have been avoided or could it have been differently? Absolutely. And I’ve said that so many times on my end. Obviously, if I was undecided when I told Mike that I would retire, then how you avoid that is, you don’t retire. You wait until you know 100 percent – which I don’t think I would have ever done, would have ever known 100 percent.
"But had I waited until July and said, ‘You know, I just don’t have it in me,’ that probably, I say would have been better. But then, if they’re holding out hope that you’ll play and then in July you say, ‘Yep, I’m not going to play,’ then they have to go in a different direction obviously.
“I see from Mike’s standpoint where the way that I handled it could put them in a tough spot. I really do. I completely understand that.
“Now, the great thing is, we’ve moved beyond that and things are, in fact, way better than I could have ever dreamed with the fans and the organization. And I think we can all agree on that.”
It was hard to envision such an amicable reuniting – albeit a still-in-progress and imperfect one – when Favre and McCarthy spent four hours in the head coach’s office the night before Favre’s departure, a conversation that became heated at times. Especially when Favre broached the subject of wanting to play for the Vikings, a desire that was confirmed by multiple sources and Favre’s own agent, James “Bus” Cook, at the time.
It was after that meeting but before Favre’s trade to the Jets that McCarthy uttered his infamous line about how “the train has left the station,” and described the tenor of the meeting while avoiding specifics of the conversation.
“As you know with Mike, he’s a boisterous person. And he wears his emotions on his sleeve. And that meeting, it was different because of what we were talking about, obviously, but it was no different than sitting in a team meeting and hearing him talk about, ‘We’re going to punch these guys in the mouth,’” Favre recalled this week.
“Even though I’m an emotional person, I was probably a little more in check [that night]. But he had people outside the building yelling ‘We want Brett!’ I think at that point, it was tougher on him than it was on me.”
Favre said his and McCarthy’s relationship now is “fine,” and that the two have talked “on several occasions” and exchanged messages “on numerous occasions.”
Asked last month about Favre’s return, McCarthy replied, “It’s definitely going to be a great event and it’s definitely something that I think we’re all looking forward to – giving him the praise and recognition and honor him based on his great career. … Great player, and this will be a great weekend.”
And for Favre, the fact that so many fans wanted to be a part of it is proof that all that had happened during those days in August 2008 had been put to rest.
“When the tickets sold out in an hour and a half, I have to admit, there were goosebumps, and my chest stuck out. I could not have felt more proud of being a Packer at that point and what I had done at any point in my career,” Favre said.
“When things went bad … it was unfortunate. It hurt me, it hurt the Packers fans, it hurt the Packer organization emotionally. But as far as getting over anything, I knew what I had done spoke for itself. And it’s kind of like looking in a mirror and liking what you see. We all have flaws, we’ve all made bad decisions, we’ve all made mistakes that we later regret, but just the body of work. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. But I played as hard as I could, I did everything I possibly could.
“I committed myself to the team, the organization and the fans, and more than anything, if there was anything that bothered me, it was that I didn’t do more. But I do know that I did all I could. So from that standpoint, I rest easier.”
Great to read!
I never thought Brett was the best QB but never doubted he gave his all. He should be honored by GB.
The Gunslinger, Unplugged
Brett Favre will return to Lambeau Field on Saturday for the first time since he left football—for good; no, seriously—when the Packers will retire his famous No. 4. It’s unlikely that anyone involved will delve deep into the summer of 2008, when Favre held his first tearful retirement press conference, only to later desire a return, forcing a trade to the Jets that reverberated throughout the NFL and started the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay.
For a Where Are They Now cover story, Sports Illustrated spent three days with Favre at and around his home in Mississippi between March and May. He addressed all of it—his last play as a Packer, an interception in Jan. 2008 in the NFC championship game; his messy split with the team and city that once defined him... What follows is Favre on the Packers in his own words—and in theirs.
* * *
Ted Thompson (Packers general manager): I got there in 1992, same as Brett. The Packers had struggled to win. There was a certain amount of trepidation that it might take a long time to rebuild. When we traded for Brett, we didn’t know the impact at the time. I guess Ron Wolf (then the general manager) knew it. But the change that they made in the organization was profound.
Holmgren (former Packers coach): I didn’t really know about Brett when he came out in the (1991) draft. At the time, I was with the 49ers, but I graded his college workout and conducted an interview and ran him through the paces. That was the first time I really met him. He seemed like a laid-back southern kid. I asked what he was going to do with the rest of his day. He said, I’m going to do a little fishing. And I’m going to drink a little beer. And I thought, that’s an interesting thing to say to a coach.
Favre: There’s no way that’s true.
Holmgren: The next year, Ron says he wants to trade one of our first-round picks with Atlanta for Brett. He thought Brett was the best player in the draft the year he came out. Brett had some problems in Atlanta. But we looked at his college film together. It was obvious he could adapt to our system of playing quarterback.
Thompson: Reggie White was a big fan of Brett’s. And quite frankly I don’t think Reggie would have come (in 1993) if not for Brett. He wanted to go to a team with a quarterback.
Holmgren: Gunslinger? That was accurate. I still remember one time when, we’re driving, close game, and I asked him during a timeout what kind of play he liked. I grabbed him to focus him as I would on occasion. All the quarterbacks are laughing, and I’m like, what’s wrong with you guys?
Mike, Brett says, you oughta see your mustache. There’s an icicle in there.
Everyone is busting out. Then he went out and did it. He went out and scored.
It didn’t always go that way. Another time we were playing against the Steelers. They had Kevin Greene at outside linebacker. I told Brett on a certain play to be careful and throw it away if he anticipated Greene from the blindside. Yeah, whatever you say. Sure enough, he runs the play, and Greene hits him in the chest, and he goes down. He’s bleeding. I’m mad. I knew this was going to happen.
Steve Mariucci (former offensive coordinator): I remember our 1995 team. We went all the way to the NFC Championship game. Lost to maybe the best Cowboys team ever. Anyway, we’re riding the bus to this game, and Mike (Holmgren) would always sit in the front right seat. I would sit behind him. Favre would come in last, after he finished signing autographs. So here he comes, and he pulls out a book. It’s from Jeff Foxworthy. You Might Be a Redneck If … So he starts reading it. You Might be a Redneck If … old yeller is your uncle’s front tooth. I was like, shut up! But you could tell he was ready to play. He was relaxed. I have a million stories about how he loosened the team up.
Holmgren: When you think of his consecutive-games started streak, it’s one of the more remarkable things in sports. I mean, more than 300.
I remember a Bears game. Can’t remember which year. He had hurt his ankle. He couldn’t practice all week. But he said he could play. I told him, if you’re at risk out there, I’m going to take you out. So don’t get upset. Yeah, well he threw five touchdowns against the Bears that day. It was unbelievable. I told him afterward. See what happens when you can’t be a crazy man out there? Good things happen.
He says, oh, sure.
Mariucci: I still remember when he broke a record, maybe the touchdown record, and the linemen carried him off the field on their shoulders. That reminded everyone that this is still a game, a game that kids play. That’s the thing about Brett. He was still a kid. He played football like a kid.
Holmgren: I think about this on occasion. I left Green Bay for Seattle in 1999. I wonder what would have happened had I stayed in Green Bay, where I’ve got one of the best quarterbacks of all time in his prime.
Mariucci: The Packers took Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Brett told me he was going to be a good one. For Brett to hang on for three years with Aaron sitting there patiently, that was like Steve Young and Joe Montana. Those situations are never comfortable.
Favre: You can imagine all the quarterbacks I’ve been with. He was the first first-round pick. And we got along fine.
I knew right away he had a tremendous amount of talent. He had a great arm. He was mobile. Really, he just needed an opportunity. As we all do. And I had gotten that opportunity myself.
We watched film together. He would ask from time to time, hey, you mind if I watch film with you? Because I had heard stories that I didn’t help and didn’t spent time with the younger guys. That’s not true. Did I go out of my way and say, I want everybody to come over? No. But if you said, hey, can I watch film with you? Absolutely. What happens is, and he’s no different, a couple years in the league, you’re not playing, you just go with the flow. I don’t care where you’re drafted. You’re just kind of going through the motions. And you kind of feel like, even though you’re making good money, it’s like, I want to feel like I’m doing something. And I’m sure he probably had that feeling. I had it. And wanted to play. But we got along fine.
Mariucci: When it was clear that Aaron would take over, Brett felt like he could still start for somebody. When he retired, he didn’t want to do that. He felt like they wanted him to. He did it reluctantly. That’s why you saw the tears. It wasn’t really his decision. They wouldn’t let him change his mind. He told me, Mooch, I’m not ready to retire.
Favre: After the 2007 season, I just went about my normal routine. I let the rest take care of itself.
I was, yeah, maybe angry. To me it looked like I was not good enough to play there. This is just my perception. Not to rehash, but I shouldn’t have retired, and in July, if I chose to play again, great. If I didn’t that was it. I didn’t owe them an answer, and that was where I was wrong, to give one early.
I felt pressure to give them an answer. I was hearing that every day. Give them an answer. It was about this time of the year (March). From their standpoint, that’s what you do. You want to know. I understand that. So you can see both sides.
What bothered me wasn’t the fact they didn’t want me to play. It was that they didn’t want me to play against them. I felt like they should have let me go rather than dictating where I went. They probably felt like my best years were behind me. That didn’t hurt my feelings.
Mike (Holmgren) and I talked about it. Retiring. He told me that later in your career you’ll have five good wins and one loss ruins them all. If you play long enough, if you’re in this business long enough, that happens. You can do everything right and the loss is going to stick with you. You’re going to dwell on one bad play.
The things I couldn’t control worried me sick. Like, I wonder if this guy is studying his playbook. Heck, I can’t control that. At 25, believe me, I didn’t care if the other guy studied his playbook, and that served me well. Do what you can, and that’s it.
“Both times we played Green Bay (in 2009), Ted Thompson sent me a simple text message afterward. And I responded,” Favre recalls. “It went a long ways.”
Holmgren: It seemed like every time he was going to retire, we played them. One time he came onto our plane. He walked on. Everyone, they don’t know what to make of it. He sat down next to me. I think I’m done. You’ve been great. He leaves the plane.
Years later, he calls me at my summer cabin in Santa Cruz. He’s in Minnesota at that point. He’s going, I think I’m done. I said, we’ve had this conversation before. You sure? I told my wife, Kathy, I think he’s finally done. That’s when all those Vikings went down to his house and got him to come back.
I used to tease him. When they give you a TV when you retire, and you come back, do you have to give all those TVs back?
Mariucci: I know people in Green Bay really wished he didn’t go to their rival, the Vikings, after he left the Jets. I mean, other Packers went to the Vikings. But the quarterback?
He showed he could play at a very, very high level. He just loved the game that much.
Holmgren: I remember asking, did you have to pick Minnesota? That was always a tough thing for me. He laughs, of course. That kind of thing is always hard. I lived it in San Francisco. I’m glad the dust has settled.
Ken Ruettgers (former Packers teammate): I mean, if you love this game, and he LOVED this game, it becomes your identity. To stop playing is like pulling the plug on yourself. It was not surprising to see him come back a few times. Maybe three times? I can’t remember.
Holmgren: I stayed out of it in regard to the Packers stuff. I know Ted, and Ted is a good man. Ted is the best. I know Brett, too, and we have a lot of history together. I’ve spoken to Ted and the Packers many times but not about that. When I went into the Hall of Fame in Green Bay, they asked me to call Brett and ask him if he was going to come. I understood what they were trying to get done, but I wasn’t going to get involved. I told Brett that.
He said, Mike, I can’t. Not right now.
Favre: The first year in Minnesota (2009) was an outstanding year. I try never to let one play define me, but I threw the pick right before overtime of the NFC championship game.
Man, that was a magical year. It just seemed like on that drive, I remember thinking, I was beat to hell, but I remember thinking, this is meant to be. Because I grew up a Saints fan, and here we were, driving down to beat them. That pass was obviously a dagger in the heart. Like fourth-and-26 against Philadelphia. I was thinking, there’s no way they’re converting this. They did. We lost. That was one of those years.
Both times we played Green Bay (in 2009), Ted Thompson sent me a simple text message afterward. And I responded. It went a long ways. Like when I met with Ted prior to leaving, when all that was going on, I felt like Ted was really sincere. But he was in a tough spot. I get that. Now, that doesn’t mean I can’t say, what about me? It’s a two-way street. But I do believe he was sincere in that he really wanted the best for me, but he had to run his team the best way he knew how.
When he was saying, they’ll remember you here for a long time, a long time after I’m gone and you’re gone, at that time I didn’t want to hear all that. I’m like, whatever, let me go, just let me go. At least give me my release. Don’t you think I deserved that? But I see where he was coming from.
Did I really expect the fans to cheer for me when I came back? I don’t know. I mean, it would have been nice. But I’m not surprised. I went to a big rival. I felt like it would be just as easy to get back into their good graces with more positive attention that came from not only me saying the right things but the Packer organization, too. You just have to put all that to rest and move forward. Next thing you know, people have forgotten about it.
I knew that time would be a determining factor in how all this would play out. I wasn’t waiting by the phone.
In the back of my mind, I knew this was going to happen. Whether it was 30 years or five years, I knew it was going to happen. Even if I didn’t want it to. I could have done it via satellite. I really felt like it was going to happen with the timing that it has happened now. And I just remember thinking, boy, things have to get better in a hurry. Well, it was amazing how quickly things went back to normal.
We’ve had so many conversations. Hey, we want to do this. And we just want you to be on board. It was my idea last year to go up to a game. Really, to break the ice. Oh, Favre’s here. To do nothing but just be there. And they were like, OK, that’s not a bad idea. I really wanted Bart Starr to go. To be honest with you, I kind of wanted him to hold my hand. Then he got sick and had a stroke, and we thought about doing it without him, but I was like, I’d rather have Bart go.
I thought I would miss football. I didn’t know what to think, to be honest with you. There was some fear. Some nervousness. This is all I’ve ever done. Will I be able to go from, you know, a hundred to zero? The answer to that is yes. And much easier than I would have expected. The way I look at it now, I kind of like the nothing.
The fan outpouring is proof enough of the relationship between myself and Green Bay. That’s where it should start and finish. Without the fans, you wouldn’t have an NFL. You definitely wouldn’t have a team like Green Bay. That’s what makes it so special. It gives me goosebumps.
My youngest daughter, Breleigh, she said, they must really like you, after the lower bowl at the stadium sold out for the ceremony. That was the first time she’s reacted like that.
Holmgren: You just knew it was going to happen, and it was just when. Time has a way of healing most things. You just need time.
Mariucci: I hope Bart Starr’s a part of it, somehow. They were very close.
Thompson: I think it will be wild. I means a lot to the people here, and it should. Brett has always been a Packer. You can say a lot of different things, but I don’t think in his heart Brett has ever left here, or in their hearts, the fans have ever left him. There’s a genuineness to that relationship.
Ranking Brett Favre's best games with the Packers
Led Zeppelin, the Beatles or Pearl Jam?
"Citizen Kane," "The Wizard of Oz" or "The Godfather"?
Paul Molitor or Robin Yount?
Whether you're arguing the greatest bands, movies or Milwaukee Brewers legends, there are no wrong answers. Only memories that generally lead to smiles.
Listing the greatest games of Brett Favre's career is a similar exercise. Everyone has their favorite. And Packer Nation typically has perma-grin when thinking about the endless stream of magical Favre moments.
Here's our list at Packer Plus:
1. HONOR THY FATHER
On Dec. 22, 2003 — just one day after his father, Irv, died — Favre decided to play on a Monday night in Oakland. And with the Packers fighting for their playoff lives, Favre proceeded to give arguably the finest performance of his career.
Favre completed 22 of 30 passes for 399 yards and four touchdowns, including memorable scores of 22 yards to Wesley Walls and 43 yards to Javon Walker. Favre's 311 passing yards in the first half set a team record and his passer rating of 154.9 that night also set a team record.
Favre's legendary night added to his legacy as an all-time great. And most importantly, he guided the Packers to a critical 41-7 win.
"The previous day when I got the news is all kind of a blur," Favre said during a recent interview. "But the game itself, much like the way I played, is still really clear. The flow of emotions was much like a roller coaster. You throw a touchdown and it's a total high. Then you go back to the sidelines and it hits you again and you start thinking that you have to fly home after the game and your dad is going to be buried. That's tough and this is all going on during the game.
"But when I was playing, when I was in the game, I was really zeroed in on what I had to do as hard as that might be. So it was up and down, up and down, back and forth."
Not only did Favre shine one day after his father's death. He did so in the "Black Hole," where Oakland's boisterous crowd did everything it could to rattle Favre.
By the end of the night, the rambunctious fan base was actually cheering for Favre — knowing they'd witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event.
"I've never seen a leader or a player like Brett in my career, and I'm pretty sure that nobody else in this locker room has," Walls said. "I think we wanted to make him proud. Just getting up in front of the team at such a horrible and difficult time in his life really showed he cared about us. That was something I'll never forget."
2. SIMPLY SUPER
The Green Bay Packers hadn't played in a Super Bowl in 29 years. So when the Packers faced New England in Super Bowl XXXI on Jan. 26, 1997, there was a mix of excitement and trepidation.
Favre did all he could to eliminate the latter. Playing in the Louisiana Superdome, less than an hour from his hometown of Kiln, Miss., Favre hit Andre Rison for a 54-yard touchdown on Green Bay's second play from scrimmage.
Favre later hit Antonio Freeman for a then-Super Bowl record 81-yard TD and the Packers leveled the Patriots, 35-21. Favre finished the day 14 of 27 for 246 yards and helped bring the Lombardi Trophy back to tiny Green Bay.
"People have asked me what's my favorite moment of Brett Favre's career," retired Packers president Bob Harlan said. "I really think it was the first touchdown in Super Bowl XXXI when he threw to Rison and he ran off the field with his helmet off. He looked like a kid running home to mom with his first great report card."
3. THE START OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL
Favre was nothing but a backup quarterback when Week 3 of the 1992 season rolled around. By the end of the day, he was Green Bay's quarterback of the present — and future.
Favre replaced an injured Don Majkowski and led the Packers to a dramatic 24-23 win over Cincinnati. Favre capped the come-from-behind victory with a 35-yard TD to Kitrick Taylor with just 13 seconds left.
Remarkably, Favre was the Packers' starting quarterback the next 253 games (275 including playoffs).
"It's probably a game that will be talked about forever," Favre said. "And a big reason for that is it's the one that kick-started everything, it's the one that got it going."
4. WHAT'S HE DOING?
It was Dec. 18, 1994, when Favre made the Packers' biggest play of the year. It was one that showed both his courage and his recklessness all at once.
Green Bay needed a win over Atlanta in the final game ever played at Milwaukee's County Stadium to keep its playoff hopes alive, but trailed, 17-14, late. Favre and the Packers drove to the Falcons' 9-yard line in the closing moments, and with the Packers out of timeouts, coach Mike Holmgren had a simple demand of Favre.
"Whatever happens, don't scramble," Holmgren told Favre. "Because we don't have any timeouts and if you get tackled in bounds, the game's over. Throw it someplace where we have a chance to score or throw it away. Do not run around!"
Favre was always one for the dramatic, though, and when no one got open, he took off running. Favre dove for the right corner of the end zone and hit pay dirt with just 14 ticks left on the clock. His gutsy, mad scramble gave Green Bay a 21-17 win and helped it clinch a playoff berth the following week.
5. HOW SWEET IT IS
Green Bay hadn't hosted a title game since the legendary 1967 "Ice Bowl" when Carolina came to town for the 1996 NFC Championship Game. Favre and the Packers seemed hellbent on making up for lost time.
Favre threw for 292 yards with touchdown passes to Dorsey Levens and Antonio Freeman. And the Packers rolled past the Panthers, 30-13, to earn a berth in Super Bowl XXXI.
"Out of all our wins, that was the best," former Packers free safety Eugene Robinson said.
Former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, the architect of Green Bay's revival in the 1990s, agreed.
"That was the game that showed we had arrived," Wolf said. "I'll never forget it. Playing in our stadium in front of our fans and going up to the podium to accept that (NFC championship) trophy. That was some kind of experience."
6. NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
Perhaps the game that showed the Packers had indeed arrived came during the 1995 divisional playoffs. Favre and the Packers stormed into San Francisco — the defending Super Bowl champs — and knocked off the 49ers, 27-17.
Favre was magnificent, completing 21 of 28 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. And even though Green Bay fell the following week in Dallas in the NFC Championship Game, its win in San Francisco was a springboard to future successes.
"I thought that game was huge in terms of helping us get where we wanted to go," Wolf said. "That was a great, great win."
7. RECORD SETTER
Favre always said records didn't mean anything to him. But you wouldn't have known that following his 421st touchdown pass — one that gave him the all-time NFL mark.
Favre hit Greg Jennings for the record-setting score during a 23-16 win in Minnesota on Sept. 30, 2007.
Favre would go on to finish his glorious Packers career with 442 TD passes.
"I think Brett will appreciate it when it's all said and done after the fact, when the season is over and his career is over," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's a milestone that he hit, and he's got a lot more left."
8. STREAK BUSTER
Green Bay hadn't won a playoff game in 11 seasons when it went to Detroit's Silverdome on Jan. 8, 1994. And it looked like that streak of ineptitude would continue late in the game, when the Packers trailed, 24-21.
But Favre made one of his all-time great individual plays, when he eluded trouble and scrambled to the far left side of the field. Favre threw across his body and into the right corner of the end zone, where Sterling Sharpe was waiting to haul in a 40-yard TD with 55 seconds left that gave the Packers a 28-24 win.
"I think when Brett rolled left, the defense was reading his eyes and they drifted to their right," Sharpe said. "Brett looked over and made a great throw."
9. MONDAY NIGHT MAGIC
There was something about Favre and Monday nights. Favre threw a 99-yard touchdown pass to Robert Brooks in 1995. He had a brilliant game against San Francisco in 1996 that helped the Packers win in overtime and eventually land the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Favre completed a miraculous game-winning TD pass to Antonio Freeman in 2000 that helped the Packers defeat Minnesota. And he threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns in a win against Chicago in Champaign, Ill., in 2002.
But one of Favre's all-time magical moments on Monday night came during the 2007 season. The Packers and Denver had just gone to overtime tied at 13. On the first play of OT, Favre wound up, lofted a bomb into the Mile High Stadium air that landed on the hands of Jennings. Jennings, who whipped cornerback Dré Bly on the play, hauled in the perfect pass and raced home for an 82-yard touchdown that gave the Packers a 19-13 win.
"That was fun," Favre said that night. "I can't wait to watch the tape."
10. MR. TOUGH GUY
Favre had several injuries that nearly put an end to his record-setting run of consecutive games played. But that streak appeared in perhaps its greatest danger in November 1995, when Favre missed an entire week of practice with a severely sprained left ankle.
Not only did Favre play on that Sunday against Chicago, he lit the Bears up for a career-best five TDs and led the Packers to a 35-28 win. That was just the 59th game (including playoffs) of a streak that will be remembered for years to come.
"I think that streak means more today than it ever has," Favre said. "I knew it was important. I knew it was tough to do week in and week out. It's so tough each week just to get yourself prepared mentally. That really is tough and can be a grind. But then the physical element is even harder.
"None of the things I accomplished are possible unless you're playing — and to play for a long time. And to play all those years and to fight through a lot of things and keep going, I really have to tip my hat to myself on that one."
...when Brett Favre was shipped to the Packers after only one season in Atlanta.
Our buddy Thom Abraham of WNSR in Nashville passes along a clip of... former Falcons coach Jerry Glanville, who defended the decision to trade Favre in blunt terms.
“I had to get him out of Atlanta. . . . I could not sober him up,” Glanville said. “I sent him to a city where at 9:00 at night the only thing that’s open is Chili Joes. You can get it two ways, with or without onions. And that’s what made Brett Favre make a comeback was going to a town that closed down. If I would have traded him to New York, nobody to this day would have known who Brett Favre ever was.”
Favre has been candid regarding his issues with alcohol and painkillers, which he eventually beat several years ago... Still, we can’t recall Glanville ever being quite so candid about the reason for the trade. He has mentioned needing to send Favre to a town that closes up early, but Glanville had never suggested that Favre’s problems were essentially continuous...
Andrew Brandt @adbrandt
Staple of team flights was Brett [Favre] and [C Frank] Winters doing crosswords, one asking "How do you spell Mississippi?" Answer: "The state or the river?"
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