Fearless Favre's a gameday gambler
Friday, January 2, 2004
Favre led the Pack back
By Bob Carter
Special to ESPN.com
Jan. 26, 1997 - As an NFL newcomer, Brett Favre frequently saw his decision-making ability criticized. In his first Super Bowl, the matured Green Bay quarterback twice turned audibles into big plays against New England at the Superdome in New Orleans.
On the Packers' second offensive play, he sensed a blitz from the Patriots and switched from a quick tight end pass to a deep post for Andre Rison. The wide receiver evaded Otis Smith, caught Favre's perfect pass and cruised into the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown.
"I knew if I got the protection, that he would beat his guy," Favre said. "And that's exactly what happened."
In the second quarter, Favre put the Packers ahead to stay, 17-14. At his 19-yard-line, he saw the Patriots in single coverage against three wide receivers and audibled to a better pass-blocking scheme. Antonio Freeman broke free from rookie safety Lawyer Milloy at the line and Favre hit him along the right sideline for an 81-yard touchdown, the longest Super Bowl score from scrimmage.
Favre threw for 213 yards in the first half and also ran for a two-yard touchdown in helping the Packers to a 27-14 lead. He finished 14-of-27 for 246 yards with no interceptions, and Green Bay won its first Super Bowl in 29 years, 35-21.
Odds 'n' EndsAs a fifth grader, Favre competed in his first organized football game, playing quarterback.
At Hancock North Central High School, he was a star third baseman and the team's leading hitter.
After earning three letters in football, he played in the state high school all-star football game as a senior.
His father Irv pitched for the Southern Mississippi baseball team, and his younger brother Jeff played safety on USM's football team. Older brother Scott was a quarterback at Mississippi State.
Irv coached high school football for 29 years and coached all three of his sons.
Favre's mother Bonita was a public schools special education teacher.
At Southern Miss, Favre completed 40.7 percent of his passes for 1,264 yards as a freshman in 1987 with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He improved, throwing for over 2,500 yards as a junior.
After his senior season, he earned MVP awards at the East-West Shrine game and All-American bowl.
Favre isn't sure he would have succeeded with the Atlanta Falcons even if given the opportunity. "I still didn't know how to read defenses," he said, "how to drop back and look around and see the defense unfold."
His No. 4 jersey at Southern Miss was retired in 1993, and he was inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame four years later.
In the 1996 NFC title game, two Favre turnovers helped Carolina to an early lead. But he led the Packers back, and his touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman in the second quarter put Green Bay ahead to stay in a 30-13 victory.
While in the NFL, he has had injuries to his hip, ankle, foot, knee, toe and thumb, yet has started every Packers game since the fourth game in 1992.
In his 12 seasons with Green Bay, the team never has had a losing record.
At home, he had a record of 79-15 (.840) through 2003.
Favre was 35-0 at home (29-0 regular season, 6-0 in the playoffs) when the
temperature was 34 degrees or colder before the Packers lost to the Falcons
in the 2002 playoffs.
Favre has been selected to the Pro Bowl eight times.
As a passer, he led the NFL in TDs in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2003; in yards
in 1995, 1998 and 1999 and in completion percentage in 1998. Favre, Johnny
Unitas, Len Dawson and Steve Young are the only pro quarterbacks to lead
their league in touchdown passes four times.
Favre had thrown five touchdown passes in a game three times - in 1995, 1997 and 1998.
In 1996, Favre started the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation, helping youth-oriented charities in Green Bay and Mississippi. He has donated money to the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay and worked at Thanksgiving with the Salvation Army. He's also helped with Wisconsin's Punt, Pass & Kick competition.
Endorsement deals flooded to Favre after the Packers' 1997 Super Bowl victory, and he has served as a spokesman for several organizations, including the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. He opened a steakhouse in Milwaukee in 1997.
Brett and Deanna have two daughters, Brittany, who was born in February 1989, and Breleigh, born in July 1999. They have homes in Green Bay and Diamondhead, Miss.
Favre is an avid golfer (two handicap) and fisherman.
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