Brett Favre feels like he has earned the respect of his teammates. For the first few games, Favre took a beating like Rocky Balboa and kept leaving the ring with a beat-up victory, but on Monday night he had plenty of time in the pocket and he was throwing all the knockout punches needed.
Favre waited as long as he could to take the field before Monday night's game against his former team, not wanting to feed the media frenzy his signing with the Vikings has brought. He admitted to being as nervous as he's ever been before a game, and then he went out and earned the respect of his teammates, just as he told them he would about a month earlier.
"More than anything, I wanted to speak to them, but I wanted to prove to them that, I don't know how I am going to play week in and week out, I have no idea, but I know I'll do whatever I can," Favre said after leading the Vikings to a 4-0 record. "I think that they would agree to that now. You have to earn that. I believe I have."
It's probably no coincidence that his best game of the season came against the team he played with for 16 years. He felt jilted that the Packers wouldn't take him back in the summer of 2008 after preparing during the offseason without him and taking Favre at his word that he was retired. When Favre last played for the Packers, they were 13-3. Last year, having traded him to the New York Jets, the Packers were 6-10 despite solid play from Aaron Rodgers.
Now, after losing to the Vikings, 30-23, the Packers are 2-2 and two games behind Favre's 4-0 Vikings.
He had led the Packers to a Super Bowl win more than a dozen years ago, but he is now relishing the opportunity to try that with the Packers' bitter rival.
"I wanted to do the same thing on the opposite side for obvious reasons, to go 4-0, regardless of what people think," he said. "I had church (Monday) at 3 o'clock and was sitting there and throwing all kinds of prayers out and I said, "Man I'm losing it." Man, I am so thankful the way this game went, and we were fortunate enough to win it, but the good Lord answered my prayers, I guess."
Favre downplayed the obvious storyline during his midweek press conference last Thursday, but he said the enormity of the game hit him at the team hotel on Sunday. Hype follows Favre, but on Monday he was trying to avoid that as well as he did his former teammates rushing him.
He eventually came out on the field before the game only because he had to get his nearly 40-year-old body loose at some point.
"I knew everywhere you go there's a camera in your face. The only reason I go out, I'll be 40 on Saturday, I think, and I need to go out and kind of get loose and throw the ball a little bit, but I felt like it would be more of a zoo than it needed to be," he said.
Turns out, he was the zookeeper, taming the few defenders that got near him. He had solid protection from his offensive line, by far the best protection he's seen in a Vikings uniform and he made the most of it, throwing three touchdown passes and no interceptions.
"The arm feels great. It didn't feel that great last year," he said. "I'm not going to make any excuses, as the season progressed last year I didn't make good decisions. I did not play as well as I would have liked, and my arm didn't feel very good. It feels a lot better and I feel like it is showing."
So is his growing comfort level with the Vikings' receivers. Bernard Berrian caught six passes and a touchdown and Sidney Rice caught five passes and a touchdown, as the Packers concentrated on limiting star running back Adrian Peterson. The Packers were successful in doing that, holding Peterson to a 2.2-yard average, but they couldn't frazzle Favre. His protection held up, his arm was lively and it all came together for him in one relieving night of football against his former team.
"It felt right, but yet I guess I never thought I would be in this situation," he said. "… Now, once again, it seems right."
‘It feels right' to Favre
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