Normal sightings in Wisconsin include clean lakes, shady parklands, extensive dairy cases in supermarkets, and the Green Bay Packers winning football games at Lambeau Field. Recently, only three of these sightings have been visible because the Packers are winless at home this season (0-2).
This week, the Tennessee Titans hope to keep it that way as ABC's NFL Monday Night Football rolls onto Lombardi Avenue for a prime-time showdown.
Two of the NFL's top quarterbacks, each of whom have "NFL MVP" on their football résumés - the Packers' BRETT FAVRE and STEVE MC NAIR of the Titans - take center stage. Both hail from Mississippi, whose state motto is "Virtue et armis," which means, "By valor and arms." And it is valor and toughness each of these quarterbacks has exhibited as their arms have led their teams to victories for years.
When asked which quarterback is the toughest, Packers head coach MIKE SHERMAN says, "I think you are 1 and 1a right there - I think they are both pretty tough nuts.
"I have seen McNair do some amazing things on the football field as well as Brett Favre. There are no two tougher guys in the league than those two."
Favre is probable for the game, McNair questionable.
The Packers and Titans share 1-3 records, but rebounding in the season's final 12 games is something both clubs have done as well as anyone in the league in recent years.
Below is a look at the five winningest teams in Weeks 5 through 17 in the last three seasons (since 2001):
TEAM, RECORD IN WKS 5-17, WINNING PCT.
Philadelphia Eagles, 37-11, .771
Tennessee Titans, 35-13, .729
Green Bay Packers, 33-15, .688
New England Patriots, 33-15, .688
St. Louis Rams, 33-15, .688
Since 1997 when the Titans moved to Tennessee, they are an NFL-best 21-7 (.750) in interconference games under head coach JEFF FISHER, including victories in the past five games against the NFC. While the Titans hope to increase that winning percentage Monday, a victory also would lift McNair (70, 1995-present) ahead of WARREN MOON (70, 1984-93) for the most wins in franchise history.
Favre seeks to make history on Monday night, too. The 14-year veteran has thrown a touchdown pass in 29 consecutive games, a franchise record and the third longest streak of its kind in NFL history.
If Favre registers a scoring toss against the Titans, he will tie DAN MARINO for the second longest such streak in history:
QUARTERBACK, CONSEC. GAMES - TD PASS, SEASONS
Johnny Unitas (Baltimore), 47, 1956-60
Dan Marino (Miami), 30, 1985-87
Brett Favre (Green Bay), 29, 2002-Present
Dave Krieg (Seattle), 28, 1983-85
Chris Chandler (Atlanta), 27, 1997-99
Peyton Manning (Indianapolis), 27, 1998-99
MONDAY NIGHT MUSINGS
TAKE A PLAYER TO SCHOOL
Packers running back AHMAN GREEN and Titans cornerback SAMARI ROLLE are going back to school.
The two players will participate in the "Take a Player to School" program presented by JCPenney Afterschool within the next two weeks. Through a promotion held at JCPenney stores nationwide, every NFL team will have a player join one lucky student at his/her school.
"I'm happy to get involved in the program," says Rolle. "If just one of the students is influenced into making better decisions or having a better attitude towards school, then it's worth it. Hopefully they all understand that sports can only take you so far in life and you need your education to reach your full potential."
The players will speak with the students about the importance of education and afterschool programs. NFL players will visit schools on Tuesday, October 19 and Tuesday, October 26.
Between them, they have four MVP awards, three Super Bowl appearances and 10 Pro Bowl berths. They are regarded as two of the toughest athletes in sports. On the field, they're competitors. Off the field, they're good friends.
Quarterbacks BRETT FAVRE of Green Bay and STEVE MC NAIR of Tennessee both hail from Mississippi and return to their home state after the season. Favre, who lives in Hattiesburg, and McNair, who resides in nearby Mount Olive, spend time together fishing in the offseason.
BULLUCK GIVES BACK
Tennessee Titans All-Star linebacker KEITH BULLUCK started the Keith Bulluck Believe to Achieve program to work with Nashville area foster-care groups because he wanted to work with children with backgrounds similar to his.
Bulluck grew up as a foster child. At the age of 12, LINDA WELCH, a divorced mother, became Bulluck's legal guardian. He lived with Welch, who is white, and her two sons for six years, even though the original plan was for a several-week stay.
"If it wasn't for that family giving me a roof over my head, it would have been harder for me to get to where I am now," says Bulluck.
Though things were not always easy for Bulluck, he prospered with his new family and went on to Syracuse, where he flourished so much that the Titans selected him in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
"Everything's not always going to be perfect," says Bulluck. "You have to play the cards you're dealt, and I tried to keep my head level and just persevere."
Bulluck still speaks with Welch about once a week. "We're all so proud of him," she says. "He's been through a lot of rejection, and he deserves everything he gets."
PRO BOWL QB...AND BEST SELLING AUTHOR?
Packers All-Star quarterback BRETT FAVRE gives fans an inside look at his life and football career in FAVRE, the new autobiography co-published by the NFL and Rugged Land LLC.
Written with Green Bay Press-Gazette columnist CHRIS HAVEL, the book, which goes on sale October 19, features contributions from Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback TERRY BRADSHAW, best-selling author MARK BOWDEN, PETER KING of Sports Illustrated, and BONITA FAVRE, Brett's mother.
"He's the best I've ever seen," says Bradshaw.
In addition, a DVD from Emmy Award-winning NFL Films is included with the book. Entitled "In Their Own Words: Brett Favre," the DVD reveals Favre's intensity, humor, competitiveness and humanity, using rare interviews, archival action footage and exclusive sound captured on the field, on the sidelines and in the locker room.