Why Favre will return

Love of the game, competition, and family support among the reasons

Brett Favre's tearful interview after the Packers' victory over the Bears Sunday night was revealing. Revealing because Favre has always been a person that wears his emotions on his sleeve. He showed his emotions in Super Bowl XXXI after his touchdown pass to Andre Rison early in the game. Favre took off his helmet and galloped with glee to the Green Bay bench like a child preparing to meet Santa Claus. Favre has also been quite exuberant this year as he did his FIRST Lambeau Leap and twice lifted Donald Driver on his shoulders after touchdown passes.

Favre has also been much more demonstrative in a stern way on the field in his latter years. When players run incorrect pass patterns or miss blocks, Favre more often than not will tell those players of his displeasure. Why? Because Favre loves to compete. Favre loves to win. Favre loves the game of football. Favre knows the sands of time are working against him.

Sunday night was not the first tearful interview for Favre. Many recall the post-game press conference after the Packers' 28-24 win against Oakland in the 1999 season opener at Lambeau. It was a classic Favre comeback as he moved the team 82 yards in 11 plays in 1 minute, 40 seconds, with Favre hitting tight end Jeff Thomason with a touchdown pass with 11 ticks on the clock. Favre could not finish the press conference that Sunday. Many have speculated it was because he had rid himself of the demons that had affected his relationship with his family recently that year. It was reported that Favre was given a choice by his wife Deanna - family or drinking. Favre chose family. Favre has never looked back as he is now the consummate family man.

It is that family that will always support Favre, no matter what decision he makes. It is that family that supported Favre when he lost his Father Irv on that dark day in December 2003. It's that family that has stayed together as they fought through the tragedy of the death of Deanna's brother Casey in an ATV accident in 2004. It is that family that stayed together as Deanna bravely fought breast cancer. It is that family that stayed together as Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, including the Favre family home that Brett grew up in.

Family has always been big to Brett Favre. So has football. They went hand and hand as Irv Favre was Dad and football coach in high school. Brett has been playing football not just since 1992 in Green Bay, but since he was a little boy. Every summer, Favre has practiced. Every fall, Favre has played. We are talking about well over 20 years of this ritual. The clock is ticking, just like in his 36 game-winning comebacks. Favre knows this. That is why he wept.

So why will Favre come back? What does he have to prove? I mean he has won a Super Bowl. He has won three MVP awards. He is second, along with Dan Marino, in quarterback victories all-time with 147 wins. Only John Elway with 148 has more. Favre has thrown 414 touchdown passes, second only to Marino's 420 all-time best. Favre has thrown for 57,500 yards in his career, again second only to Marino's 61,361. Favre has 5,021 completions which is 1st all-time. Favre has thrown for more than 3,000 yards 15 consecutive years. Favre has also started an INCREDIBLE 237 straight games under center, which is far and away the best all-time for quarterbacks, and third best all-time.

So why will Favre come back? The first answer is he loves to compete. The second reason is his teammates. The third reason is he can still play at a high level. The fourth is that he is on a team that is on the rise and he can take that love of competition to another level. And finally, it goes back to family. I believe Deanna, and his daughters Brittany and Breleigh, all love watching him play and will always support him. It would be different if he was shuffling along like Marino was at the end of his career. Or if he looked like Johnny Unitas or Joe Namath at the the completion of their careers. But Favre can still move effectively and he still has the howitzer arm.

Favre has put off for now his arthroscopic ankle surgery as he contemplates his decision on whether or not he comes back. This is very similar to last year. Many in the media had Favre as good as retired this time last year. I was one who steadfastly believed he would return. I feel the same way this year. There will be plenty of years to ride on the tractor at his vast Mississippi residence. But the ride as the leader of the Green Bay Packers still has more roads to travel down. I for one, think Favre will be behind the wheel of the Packer express in 2007. Just like always.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.

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