The highly anticipated divisional game between Favre's Minnesota Vikings and McCarthy's Packers on Monday night in Minneapolis has conjured up memories — not-so-pleasant ones — of what occurred 10 years ago in another overly hyped matchup.
Favre and the Packers hosted Mike Holmgren and the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 1, 1999, at Lambeau Field. It was Holmgren's first game against the Packers since he bolted the team as its head coach after the 1998 season to assume the same position with the Seahawks.
That game also was played on a Monday night in front of a nationally televised audience.
"Statistically speaking, that night was not a good night," Favre recalled Thursday.
Favre completed only 14 of 35 passes for 180 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions, along with three sacks, as Seattle pounded the Packers 27-7. The mentor one-upped his onetime passing protege, humbling the star quarterback in the process.
"I thought the world of Mike Holmgren, and I was not trying to get back at him or whatever you want to call it," Favre said. "I hated that he left (the Packers). So, that had nothing to do with it, like I had to prove something to Mike or I wanted to get at him for leaving us and all of that stuff.
"(What happened in that game) was just bad play."
The respect factor for Holmgren notwithstanding, the widely held belief is that Favre went into that game too jacked up to beat his former coach and his performance consequently suffered.
McCarthy, currently in his fourth year as Green Bay's head coach, was the Packers quarterbacks coach in 1999.
When asked Thursday whether he had to calm Favre down for that game against the Seahawks, McCarthy responded, "Didn't do a very good job of it."
"I think (Favre) was definitely excited about that game," McCarthy added. "I could remember the first interception like it was yesterday because he tried to throw it through three people to the post down in the red zone. He was gunned up for that game. But, frankly, he was in some tough spots in that game, too.
"I'm not just crying because I was his position coach and it didn't go very well. But, that was a rough night."
McCarthy wouldn't mind being a witness to another disastrous outing by perhaps an overly ambitious Favre, who will face the Packers on Monday for the first time since the two sides had an acrimonious split before the 2008 season.
McCarthy acknowledged there is "added juice" to the matchup.
Green Bay traded Favre to the New York Jets after its 16-year starter had unretired and sought to rejoin the team early in the preseason. Following last season, Favre retired again and then made a comment to Sports Illustrated that he was hell-bent on playing in 2008 after the Packers made it clear they didn't want him so he could "stick it" to Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson.
Favre's desire was to play for the rival Vikings, but the Packers prevented that by shipping him to the Jets. His belated arrival in Minnesota happened late this summer after he came out of retirement again and signed as a free agent.
In a conference call with Wisconsin reporters Thursday, Favre changed his tune on the sentiment he aired several months ago regarding Thompson.
"I was never motivated (to come back and play for the Vikings) for that reason. It has nothing to do with it," Favre said. "It wasn't about revenge to begin with. It had nothing to do with it."
Favre insisted his motivation to play this season is, "I'd like to win it all. I don't think I need to prove anything to anyone."
Favre has helped the Vikings to a 3-0 start this season and is coming off throwing a dramatic game-winning touchdown in the final seconds to beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
He will turn 40 five days after Monday's game. McCarthy came away from watching recent game film of Favre impressed with his skills at an advanced age.
"I think he still throws the ball with good velocity," McCarthy said. "I think it was clearly evident just on the last throw of the San Francisco game. It was an excellent throw and a great catch.
"I think he still has good feet. He's always had great command of the line of scrimmage, just the way he has handled that aspect of it. I think he looks sharp."