Favre has his doubts

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre appears cool and collected at all times, but inside there is a 40-year-old man with 11 Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl win to his credit who sometimes doubts himself and his decisions. Who would have thought?

He has nearly every career passing record in the NFL – yards, touchdowns, completions, attempts, victories, even interceptions. He has a Super Bowl ring to his credit. He has the highest jersey sales in the league. He has a two-year, $25 million contract.

And Brett Favre has self-doubts.

After 19 years in the NFL, one of most accomplished quarterbacks to play the game still wonders what he can and can't do. Did he make the right diagnosis of that defense? Did he study enough film? Did he make enough good throws to win? The doubts are part of what drives him to come back to the game he loves despite his annual flirtation with retirement.

"I think (self-doubt) is human nature. For me, I know it's always been a source of drive or a sense of always needing to prove myself, not ever being satisfied," Favre said Thursday. "I think it's OK to be confident; I don't think it's OK to be overconfident."

Fans see the cool, calm, stubbly-bearded, silver-haired man with the southern drawl and rocket arm. Why would anyone with his résumé and records have reason to doubt himself?

This is an NFL Pro Bowler at age 40. This is a quarterback that just finished his first regular season with a pass rating above 100. This is the former gunslinger that came to the Minnesota Vikings after 17 years with the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota's biggest rival, and morphed into a precision passer that has thrown only seven interceptions.

Self-doubt? Really?

"Doubt to me at times is a good thing. It makes you work harder. You never get complacent," Favre said. "I've had a lot of success in my career, and there's probably times I was maybe a little more confident than not only this moment but maybe at other times in my career. That hasn't changed, and at 40 years old there's times after a play I'm like, 'OK.' But it's not like I can do it every time.

"There's always this (feeling of), 'You're not as good as maybe other people think.'"

Plenty of people believe Favre is one of the best. He was one of the leading vote getters among fan voting for the Pro Bowl. Coaches and players completed that sentiment when they cast their votes and made him a Pro Bowl player for the 11th time in his career.

But apparently not everyone feels as strongly. According to a FoxSports.com poll asking which home team is most likely to lose in the playoffs this week, 41 percent of the 40,000-plus respondents as of Thursday night picked the Vikings.

However, Favre has maintained since he signed with the Vikings on Aug. 18 that his only goal was to win another Super Bowl. The first and only time he accomplished that was 13 years ago, but he has the Vikings in position for that possibility once again. They are 12-4 and host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. If the Vikings win three more games, Mission Miami is accomplished.

"The expectations are high, and that's good. And they're high for me as well," Favre said. "People can't place any higher expectations than I place on myself, but that's not to say I don't have doubt. I just know for me, it's worked for me. But it teeters. Just like you wake up some days and you have better days than others. It's no different."

Well, except for the fact that Favre's bad days can be in front of tens of millions of people watching on television … or more if that bad day comes during a Super Bowl performance. Some are waiting for him to fail. Others are waiting to heap praise.

So what if he does reach that pinnacle again? How would Brett Favre, the Packers legend, feel about hoisting the Lombardi Trophy while being a Minnesota Viking? The sentence doesn't even seem right, does it?

"If we're fortunate enough to do that, I really don't know how ... obviously it would rank up right there with '96," he said, referring to his Super Bowl XXXI win over New England. "Just how difficult it is, whether it's a team you've been on, new team, look at Pittsburgh. It just is not easy to do. Coming here, all the factors that have gone into just this whole season in general, how it unfolded and all that stuff, makes it even tougher. As if it is not tough enough to begin with.

"I hope I have that to ponder, if you will. As I said (Wednesday), I'm not even focused on the what-ifs and how it would feel and stuff. We've got a tough enough task this week."

And some doubters.

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Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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