A New Brett Favre


With two minutes left on the clock, the ball on your own 18-yard line, trailing by one score, no time-outs, whom do you want running your offense? John Elway, "Captain Comeback" himself, Jim Harbaugh, the savvy Warren Moon, or Brett Favre? When it comes to making comebacks, hands down the choice these days would have to be No. 4, Brett Favre.

The home opener against the Raiders set the stage for an emotional game winning comeback that saw Favre at the end of the game slumped over and exhausted, weeping in his hands. He cried. Crying is not the type of emotion Favre usually exhibits after winning - it is celebration of such an occasion, not one of relief. Favre provided more Lambeau magic two Sundays ago with a precise and efficient drive, marching the Packer offense down the field over, around, and through Vikings defenders to seize victory out of the hands of the Vikings on September 26 in Lambeau Field.

This is a new Brett Favre we are seeing this season. A slimmer Brett Favre, who has openly admitted to rededicating himself to football and to his family.

"You get older, whether you're in the spotlight or not, you get older," Favre said, "Things that were not important to you at a younger age become important to you. You do have a tendency to grow up with age. I used to think it was just a myth, but now I realize that it is true. You start devoting more time to family and future things. My family is growing."

The newest addition to the Favre clan is Breleigh, born this past July 10. Her arrival has had a mellowing effect on Favre - he no longer celebrates victories with teammates at parties, he instead returns to the confines of his home and celebrates with his family. It is all a result of his commitment to his growing family and him turning 30, which Favre does today.

"I'm 30 years old, which is not real old, but you start thinking about some of the things you have to do and how you want to go about doing them. That has a mellowing effect," Favre said. "I'd like to think I'm becoming a better father, a better husband, although my family would argue that," he said with a playful grin, "I know they've seen some changes in me that are positive."

"This is Brett's Team," Head Coach Ray Rhodes has said on several occasions.

Acknowledging this Brett has taken on more of a proactive role with the team, rather than like in the past leading by example.

"I guess in a way with Mike (Holmgren) leaving, I feel like I have to have more of an active role in the offense. I feel like after nine years, and all that I've accomplished, it is time for me to take that leadership role. Although I've been a leader in the past, now they are looking to me for more vocal leadership," Favre said.

He has accomplished quite a bit in his nine-year tenure in the NFL. Three Associated Press 'Most Valuable Player' awards, first to throw at least 30 TD passes in five consecutive seasons, and he is closing in on a record for most consecutive starts by an NFL quarterback, which was in jeopardy earlier this season (by a bruised thumb); today's start will be 113. Not too shabby credentials for a leader to have. He has exhibited his leadership by helping the young Packer receivers learn the complex offensive schemes Offensive Coordinator Sherm Lewis runs.

"We have a lot more younger guys, Robert (Brooks) is retired, Chewy's down, you get younger players, who are not familiar with the offense. You have to do two things: you have to be more of a teacher, instructing guys on how to do things, how we've done things in the past, because it has been successful, it has worked," Favre said. "Also, you have to be kind of a cheerleader too. Show guys that when they do something well, encourage them, because it does nothing but breed good habits. So that is my philosophy."

Aside from the leadership that Favre exhibits, he has shown remarkable durability. As was mentioned earlier, his start today will be his 113th (1992-current) consecutive in the NFL, three shy of Ron Jaworski's record of 116 from 1977 until 1984 - durability that only stems from the kind of toughness shown by very few people.

"I don't look at myself as being any different from any other person. I play the game the way I feel it is supposed to be played: as hard as I possibly can. I put everything into it that I think I possibly have. I take away from the game everything I possibly can. Football is a tough sport," Favre explained, "but it is a fun sport. Injuries are a part of the game. Ups and downs in the sport are no different than life's ups and downs. You learn from them. I think I was raised to take the good with the bad. How I'm able to overcome injuries that other people are not, I don't know. I don't know if it is mental or physical. Maybe I've just been lucky."

Really it has been Packer fans that have been lucky. Lucky to watch Favre win a Super Bowl, countless victories and even luckier to see him grow into the man he is today.

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