Brett Favre has been so magical and successful in his 13 years as a Packer quarterback that it would be easy to take his greatness for granted. Yet on Sunday, he reminded the football world once again just how special he is.
The Packers' gunslinger completed 20 out of 29 passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns but that only tells half the story. More importantly, he led the Packers to a game-winning field goal just as time expired to put his team atop the NFC North Division.
Sure, at first glance those numbers are just about what you'd expect from Favre. Four touchdowns and a comeback victory is just another day at the office, right?
Well, for Favre and the Packers, Sunday was anything but that. There was too much at stake for it to be called just another game. It was equal parts dramatic and crucial, but due in large part to Favre, it turned out to be a Packers victory.
Games between the Packers and Vikings are always important just as they normally are very close. That never seems to change and even when the Packers were up 14 points with less than five minutes left in regulation, it was evident that the game was far from over.
In typical fashion, the Vikings offense did enough to tie the game at 31. The only thing they did wrong was leave 1:20 on the clock for Favre and the Packers to work with, and they certainly made the most of it.
With the ball placed on the Packers 46-yard line, Favre misfired on a first down pass to Javon Walker. He came back on second down to make arguably the play of the game when he found Tony Fisher streaking down the right sideline for a 29-yard completion. Fisher made a spectacular play as did his quarterback according to GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman.
"Favre made a great throw," Sherman said. "In practice we threw it on the other side every single time. In the game he elected to go to Fisher and he went up and grabbed it.
"What a key play that was. I can't say enough about those two players and the other players that made plays. That's what it's all about."
Ryan Longwell came on to kick the winning 33-yard field goal three plays later and the victory was complete. Once again the offense came through, and as usual, their field general played a huge role in the result.
In addition to the victory, Favre also made his mark on the record books.
Favre's fourth touchdown pass marked the 18th single-game four-touchdown performance of his career, making him second all-time in NFL history. Dan Marino holds the record with 21, but if Favre keeps playing at his current level, he could surpass the long-time Dolphins great.
With his remarkable performance Sunday, Favre also extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 34, the NFL's second-longest streak behind Johnny Unitas' 47-game stretch (1956-60). Once again, it wouldn't be a surprise if Favre someday held that record himself.
What may be a surprise however, is just how Favre goes about his business in big games. Never rattled and always fearless, Favre obviously has what it takes to lead a team to victory when the outlook is in doubt. He is Mr. Poise in times that put most Packer fans at the edge of their seats, but that doesn't mean it's a piece of cake for the Packers legend.
When asked if his blood pressure goes up in moments like the ones on Sunday, Favre didn't hesitate in his answer.
"It'd be easy for me to say no, but I'm no different than anyone else," Favre explained. "I've said this before and I'll say it again, I would much rather be up in that situation but if you play long enough you are going to be forced into a come-from-behind situation like we had tonight.
"It's nerve-racking, there's no doubt about it. You're not always going to win those situations but you've got to be willing to roll the dice and do whatever it takes. And win or lose you walk away and say I gave it my very best. If you play it that way as opposed to 'I don't want to make a mistake, I don't want to do something to lose this game,' you've already lost."
It's an attitude like that which separates the great players from the good ones, and Sunday's demonstration was just another indication of what group Favre falls into.