Brett Favre Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 16

Read the transcripts of the press conferences from the Lambeau Field media auditorium on Wednesday. Mike McCarthy | Brett Favre | Charles Woodson Ryan Grant | Greg Jennings | Donald Driver Giants Conference Calls: Tom Coughlin | Eli Manning National Conference Calls: Packers RB Ryan Grant | Giants WR Amani Toomer Audio | Video | Packers-Giants Game Center

(Can you talk about how during the game, down 14 nothing, you said that you had a history at times of pushing, and Tom Clements warned you not to try getting it all back at once. How did you break that habit and what differences in you are there?)

I don't know if I broke the habit. I'm not saying it's a bad habit either. I think at that particular time I was able to, ... part of the reason is I think they were up 14 nothing within the first four minutes. We had a ton of time left, and you know I think I would have been well aware of that. We had plenty of time and no need to run it up. We only had three plays, I think. But it was reassuring to hear that. And I guess that's, in my case, part of the maturing and aging process. But at least it was in that game.

(You said you wouldn't feel completed unless you won that Super Bowl ring. But now that you're one step away from going back to the Super Bowl, what do you think and what are you feeling to have another shot at it?)

It's a great feeling. But, you know, we have a big game this week, and I'm trying to focus on that, getting focused on it, so hopefully no one in our locker room is looking past that. But the opportunity is there, not only for us but for the Giants, so it's a good opportunity.

(Did you ever think you'd get back to this point? Was there ever a time when you thought maybe it will never happen?)

I'm not going to say I never thought it would happen. But you guys thought I was crazy when I said this was the most talented team I felt I had played on. Did we put it together as fast? I don't want to sound like I'm totally surprised. But I knew it could happen. The question was could I last. So...

(Week 2 was the first game where you really opened up the passing game. Did you suspect the evolution was coming or what did you think at that time?)

I had no clue what to expect from us. There were a lot of question marks offensively in certain positions. And we obviously were not...we had a good run in the game. DeShawn I think had a pretty long run towards the end of the game. But aside from that we didn't run the ball well. And with each game, after it kind of started in that game, we started opening it up a little bit more, and I think part of the reason was the lack of running game or the lack of confidence in our running game, and the increased confidence with guys like Greg and James and then eventually getting Koren back and having Ruvell. So did I think that we would evolve to that? Not really. But circumstances kind of led us to play that way. But, yeah, that was the game that really showed us that we could play that way, and may have to play that way all year.

(How is your relationship with Greg? The story I think it was in ESPN The Magazine talked about how it was a little bit icy at first between the two of you. I guess I didn't know that.)

I didn't either. (Laughter) I know exactly what you're talking about. I thought that the story was all over the top. I thought I was made out to be a jerk, which I may be. (Laughter) maybe I think highly of myself. A little too highly, I don't know.

(Can you answer the question anyway?)

I did answer it.

(More about the relationship itself. Not necessarily that story.)

I mean, I don't know exactly what Greg said. I can only go off of what was told to me by Jeff and the other guys, or what I did read in clips. I didn't read the story. I may have looked at one paragraph. I know what I said in the article, what was asked of me. Of course, not everything that is said is put in there. But I thought our relationship was fine. Did I go out of my way to sit by Greg in meals, to take him under my wing, to congratulate him every time he made a play in practice? No. Did I do that purposely to, you know, this is the way it is, this is the way it's going to be? Absolutely not. I don't know at what point did I say, hey, this guy can play, I better start ... I knew right away the guy could play. You can tell when guys have talent and their character and stuff like that. I thought highly of him right from the start. But I was not going to go out of my way. Now, did he take offense to that? I don't think so, but that may have been his first impressions of me. But I think our relationship from the start was, ... has it grown or evolved into something better, sure it has.

(I wasn't trying to make a big deal out of the story. My point was that it looked like, you can correct me if I'm wrong, looked like the first touchdown on Saturday you looked at him, gave him sort of a nod to make it happen. Didn't even look like the line knew it was a pass.)

I'm not sure what I gave him. That's being totally honest with you. I had a feeling by coverage that he might do this. But I kind of wanted to give him this look to make sure. Now, it worked, and I'm jumping around, celebrating. Everyone said excited. I'm excited because I'm going, 'Can you believe we just hit this play?' It was a run play, and we have thrown a bunch of touchdowns this year. I threw one to (Ruvell) in Detroit on the run play, but the route is different. The coverage is usually different. But it happened right at the last second. I didn't have time to stop and if we would have jumped offsides, not only that the clock was running down, did I want to use a timeout? So from that standpoint our relationship has grown a great deal. A lot like Donald and I. You know, there's more eye contact than there is hand signals. And if you can get to that or just feel, sometimes you don't even have to make eye contact. And there's no doubt that last year that was not there.

(Leading the youngest team in the NFL into a game of this magnitude, how do you use your 17 years of experience and familiarity in these circumstances to benefit the rest of the team?)

It's been 11 years, I think, since ... I have to kind of refresh my memory on it. Times have changed a bunch, I guess. Jeff had to remind me I have to do a press conference, what is it, Friday? You know, all the fun things are coming back to me now. But I find that ... I was getting some treatment yesterday, James Jones was getting treatment beside me, and he asked me, 'So how many championship games is this you've played in?' I said, 'This will be three.' And I was quickly corrected by our trainer. He said, 'No, the first one we lost to Dallas.' And then we played in two after that, which we went on to the Super Bowl. So this will be four. And the only thing I try to get across to these guys, and I don't know if I necessarily do it verbally or should do it maybe more, I don't know, is that you gotta treat it just like another game. And some people may look at that and say, well, it's not just another game. Well, it's not in the sense it's a championship game. And if potentially you win this game you go to the Super Bowl. You lose, you go home. No different than last week. But you have to approach it from a physical and mental approach like you do any other game. Now, that's the way I do it. I can't prepare any more for this game than I did for the Giants the first time we played them. That game, to me, was equally as important as this one. And I know some people may think that's crazy, but I think in order to get to this game, you have to play those games as if that's the last game you play. And with that in mind, you gotta have fun. And I'll be the first to tell you I love to have fun and enjoy it. But I was joking with some of the guys. The old rookie wall, you hear guys hit the rookie wall. I hit the 17-year wall a long time ago, and I mean it's tough sometimes. It's a struggle. Winning has made it a lot more fun. But when we're out there at practice and when you're preparing and when I leave from here we go have a quarterback/receiver meeting and Mike comes in and Tom Clements and Jimmy Robinson, we sit in there and there's open dialogue. We laugh. We have a good time. It makes the time go by a little bit quicker, but we get our work done. And I think that approach is working for me. That's what I get to those guys. If you play tight you don't play as well, at least in my experiences. So if there's anything they can take from me, and I know everyone is different -- some guys like to be quiet before a game, some guys like to listen to music or tell jokes -- if you're prepared it shouldn't matter. You do whatever.

(When was the first time you learned about Eli Manning or saw him play and what were your impressions of him?)

The first time I knew of Eli, we grew up in pretty much the same area, and I think the first time I saw Eli I was at my then uncle's bar a long, long time ago. He bought this bar right on the beach down in Pastor Sand and I can't remember if I helped him get in or what. But that's a different story (Laughter). But I knew of him. Of course I knew of Peyton. Peyton was playing at Tennessee, and I was always a big fan of their dad's and grew up a Saints fan and watching them throw. I kind of was aware of his rise as I was with Peyton's. And the old Tennessee and Ole Miss (rivalry), Archie, I was up to date on keeping up with those guys, and I probably knew Archie better, at least back then I knew Peyton and Eli and even Cooper, but knew them all, had met them all at one point or another. But I thought a lot of them as a family and as quarterbacks. I think what they've done is outstanding. But I was aware of him way back in high school.

(Did you see what he did in Mississippi? Did you follow his career at all?)

At Ole Miss? Yes. Southern Miss, that's where I played. And there's Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. I can't say I really pull for Ole Miss, but I did pull for Eli. I thought it was, I don't want to say gutsy, that he went to Ole Miss but I can see why Peyton in some respects didn't go to Ole Miss, wanted to make a name for himself, did an outstanding job of that. And I think Eli did the same thing as well at Ole Miss. Did he make everyone forget Archie? No. But I thought he had a great career and I did follow him.

{sportsad300}(What was the first freezing, cold game you played in? Did you ever think you would get this good at playing in it? Do you ever get used to it?)

I don't know if you ever get used to it. We practiced in T-shirts and shorts in the Hutson Center today. I remember the first really cold game that sticks out in my mind was we played the Raiders here. Howie Long was one of the defensive linemen for the guys and Vince Evans the starting quarterback. So it goes a ways back. I don't want to say it was unbearable, I guess unbearable is you can't be in it. But it was as close to it as it could possibly be. And I just remember saying it's hard to play in this. Everything you do has to be thought about, I don't want to say in advance, but you just can't come back and hand off, you can't just toss the ball without thinking about it. You just can't drop back and make a throw. You can't make a little lob. It's so windy and cold. For people who don't remember that game, all you have to look to is our Chicago game several weeks ago. Totally took us out of our game plan. I give them a great deal of credit, but it was hard. Whether or not it's a factor, mentally you have to try to block that out and rise to the occasion. For those three hours you have to be better than the next guy, and I think in games like that, it does come down to this mental discipline. Yeah, balls will move, things will happen that ordinarily would not happen. But it's the team and the players who make the least amount of mistakes, handle it the best. In that game we didn't. For the most part of my career, we've done well. Did I ever think I would play as well? I don't know if I've played that outstanding in bad weather. I guess better than the next guy. And growing up in south Mississippi, never seeing snow and very rarely do we see freezing weather, no. But someone has to do it. I've always said they'll pay someone else to do it if not me and I enjoy doing it, and I consider it a huge challenge.

(Mike Nolan and Jim Haslett said this week when they worked with Mike McCarthy they felt he was one of the brighter offensive minds in the game. How much apprehension did you have when Mike was first coming in coming off that season in San Francisco that finished 32nd in offense. Did you ever question?)

No, I didn't. I'd worked with Mike for a year. Now, different set of circumstances you know, coming back in the second time, he's the head coach and decisions obviously fall upon him, his ideas and stuff. We discussed ideas in '99, things that he liked, things that we would try to get in. No different than Aaron Rodgers, myself, Craig, discussing things within our little group or talking with Tom Clements. Saying, okay, let's bring that up to Mike and see what he thinks. It was no different back then. Let's bring it up and see. I liked his philosophy. Did I agree with everything? No. But that's been the case with every guy I played with, head coach or coordinator or quarterback coach. There was a short time ... the thing I noticed right off the bat with him back then was, I guess his directness is the right word. Maybe it was not a good concept, maybe it was not a good play, and I'm just saying this, I don't know, but it was believable coming from him. He had this matter-of-fact attitude that we'll make it work. And I've said this all along when asked about different coaches I've played with. You have to be believable to me before you can be anything else. Coming in and saying we're going to the Super Bowl is one thing. But if you're believable, and that path of how we're going to get there, it makes a big difference. And when Mike got the job, I can remember talking to him that day, the next day, whatever. Right away he was trying to sell me on his philosophy, which I don't think he had to do. I kind of felt like, was I a little surprised he got the job? Not a knock against him, but like a lot of guys who get the opportunity or hired, you go, seems like an odd choice, but someone has to start somewhere. And I felt like in '99 this guy could, had we had some more time to work together, you know I liked his ideas and thoughts.

(When was the first time he mentioned Super Bowl to you and it was believable? Was it this year or last year?)

You know, I don't think, I don't really remember us discussing it last year in terms of last year. But from Day 1 this year, and I remember talking with Mike in the offseason and saying that has to be our focus, no joke. That's really going back to the last year. I can remember my first team meeting with Mike Holmgren, and he said it's been 25 years, whatever, and I can't go word-for-word here. But our goal here is to make the playoffs, to win this division, get to the Super Bowl. And we can't start with the latter. It's been a while since they've gotten to the playoffs here and established a winning rapport, and he said that's between us in this room. We don't want to go out to the media start talking Super Bowl and championships and things like that. Slow steps. And that was sort of Mike's approach last year. And I thought it would be hard for him to come in last year after 4-12 and say we're going to the Super Bowl and be very believable. I think how and when you handle that is obviously important. A lot has to do with what happened the previous year, previous years. But right from the get-go this year he said that has to be our focus. I'm looking around and I'm thinking some of these guys are just happy to be here. I can't say that that's the wrong approach but you wonder how young guys will handle that sometimes. Our guys have handled it well. But each week, you know, he's done a great job of focusing on the game, this game. The job at hand, but also keeping in mind that this is important because of where we would like to go. So last year I don't think it was ever an issue. I don't think it should have been. This year it was more, okay, we'll build off of our last four games. We almost made the playoffs, but it's not just about making the playoffs, it's about what we do. And obviously it's worked out.

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