Favre: It's Super Bowl or bust

He's not getting any younger. Ahman Green can't get any better. The dominating offensive line might not be together next season. Brett Favre knows all of this. He knows the time is now.

"There's no sense in beating around the bush," Favre told reporters in the Lambeau Field media auditorium Wednesday. "To me, it's Super Bowl or (the season) was a bust. I know there are other teams out there saying the same thing, and that's fine.

"We were close (last year). The difference being, we have to start off the way we finished. Home-field advantage here and a bye, a win's a lock. It doesn't mean we can't go on the road and do it. Carolina did it last year. ... I don't see why we don't fit right in at the top. There's no sense in talking it down or working our way through it. Hey, it's there for us."

It was typical Favre. No punches pulled and full of bravado. It was also typical, honest Favre. Such bold statements would sound ridiculous coming from almost anyone else, but Favre has seen Super Bowl potential before in his illustrious career.

"That's the way we were in '96," Favre said. "We lost in '95 in the (NFC) championship game and when we came back there was a certain air about us. We knew we were going to do it. We were a little older than this team is, but we saw how good we could be and how close we came."

The reason for the optimism is obvious. Though they lost in the divisional playoffs at Philadelphia, the Packers arguably were the NFC's strongest team by season's end. The running game was practically unstoppable. The receiving corps Favre saw so much potential in started making plays. The defense, with the addition of Grady Jackson, went from porous to formidable. All of that, and the confidence that comes from those factors, should carry over to this season, Favre said.

"I think our team should be more confident this year than we were last year," the three-time MVP said. "The question mark in my mind (last year) was if guys believed how good we could be. Well, I think at the end of the season last year that we felt we had a chance. Hopefully all those guys in the locker room now feel the same way.

"I pretty much felt the same way last year but I don't know everyone else did. We should all believe that (now). There's no reason why we shouldn't do it and no reason why we shouldn't feel like we have a legitimate shot at it. Now we just have to do what it takes."

Favre said he doesn't feel a sense of urgency to win now, despite the fact he's nearing the twilight of his career and the team almost certainly won't return 20 or 21 of 22 starters, like it is this season.

"I don't feel any added pressure because I'm getting closer to the end of my career. I think (Denver's John) Elway probably felt pressure. (Miami's Dan) Marino felt pressure. I've already won one. I'd love to win another but it's not like, ‘Man, I'm running out of time.'"

Favre's confidence comes from being the leader of what could be the league's best offense this season. Favre says Ahman Green is the best running back in football. He says his offensive line is the best, too, and he wouldn't get many arguments around the league on that fact. He has lavished praise on his receiving corps since last training camp, with that group emerging in the second half of last season. And then there's Favre, who willingly has allowed the offense to transform itself from a passing team to a running team.

"People may say, ‘What about the quarterback?' Well, we did the league in touchdown passes," Favre said. "You don't have to throw for 4,500 yards to be productive in the passing game. For the first time in my career, we have a very explosive running game. I think that's where it starts. From that, there's got to be down-the-field throws.

"It's like Dallas those years they beat us and won the Super Bowl three out of four years, (Troy) Aikman didn't throw many passes, but when he threw 'em they were productive. Everyone knew Emmitt (Smith) was going to get it on third-and1 and you still couldn't stop him and he'd be tackled five yards into the defense. So when they did throw it, everyone's mind was focused on the running game. You get a lot of one-on-one matchups. That's what we're going to see."

There's one other thing Favre wants to see. Another Super Bowl ring.

"If we play the way we're capable of, I think we have a legitimate shot."

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