Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007
I wasn’t a Brett Favre fan back on September 8, 1990.
Seventeen years later he’s one of my favorite quarterbacks of all time. He’s simply amazing. He makes Mississippi proud.
That day back in 1990, just five weeks after a car accident, he returned to the starting lineup for the University of Southern Mississippi and engineered an upset of my favorite college team, the University of Alabama.
“You can call it a miracle or a legend or whatever you want to,” then Crimson Tide coach Gene Stallings said after that game. “I just know that on that day, Brett Favre was larger than life.”
Nowadays, nothing Favre does is considered miraculous. We’ve come to expect it.
Rumored the past few years to possibly be retiring from the game he loves so much, he just keeps on doing what he does best – quarterbacking the Green Bay Packers. And this year that team is off to a fabulous, 4-0 start, largely due to the play of their fearless leader. It’s the team’s first 4-0 start since 1998.
Some of the throws he made in Sunday’s 23-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings were typical Favre – fired like a bullet, on target, and leaving defenders scratching their heads.
The soon-to-be 38-year-old, as usual, was modest when asked about breaking Dan Marino’s record for career touchdown passes Sunday, zipping No. 421 to Greg Jennings in the first quarter.
“It feels great, but I’ve never considered myself as good a quarterback as Dan Marino,” Favre said. “Dan was a hero of mine. To be mentioned in the same breath as Dan and other guys really makes it special.”
Marino, also a class act, returned the kind words.
“I loved holding the touchdown record for the past 13 years,” Marino said. “But if someone was going to break it, I’m glad it was someone like you, who has always competed at the highest level and always played to win.”
Favre is a quarterback of what seems to be a dying breed. He’s much more than a drop-back passer. He’s a gunslinger. He’s the ultimate competitor. He takes chances.
And he loves to play the game. Sunday, as I’ve seen him do many times before, he was jumping into the arms of fellow players when he tossed touchdown passes. He was celebrating, having a good time.
He makes the big bucks. But more so to him, football is fun.
He’s basically still a kid.
I grew up a Cowboys’ fan. Dallas has a young quarterback, Tony Romo, who is already being compared to Favre.
I like Romo. He is similar, but no one deserves to be put into the category with Favre. He’s unique.
Too bad the Cowboys and Packers both can’t make it to the Super Bowl this year. Both are in the NFC. But I will be a happy man with either team in the big bash at season’s end.
Whether Favre would consider retirement or not after a Super Bowl run, I don’t know.
His coach, Mike McCarthy, sees more years ahead. McCarthy was interviewed after Favre’s record-breaking performance.
“It’s a milestone that he hit and there’s probably a lot more of them left,” McCarthy said. “He has a lot of gas left in his gas tank. I’m not surprised by this at all.”
Favre, from Kiln, accepted a scholarship offer to USM, the only Division 1-A school to recruit him, in 1987. He was recruited as a defensive back.
Working his way to second string quarterback, he came off the bench and guided the Golden Eagles to a come-from-behind win over Tulane. The next week, in his third game as a freshman, he was the starting QB, for good.
The Atlanta Falcons drafted Favre 33rd overall in 1991. He was traded to Green Bay the next year and has started every game for the Packers since the first start in 1992.
And he’s still the same Favre.
“I just want to help this team win,” he emphasized Sunday.
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