Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Favre is the first nfl player to beat all the nfl teams
Brett Favre had defeated the other 31 NFL teams before. There was only one remaining.
His old one.
In a pressure-cooker environment Monday night inside the Metrodome, having switched this season to the Minnesota Vikings and in his 19th year in the NFL, Favre got his first shot at team No. 32.
Chalk up another incredible record for Favre, as he came away on top, leading the Vikings to a 30-23 victory over the Green Bay Packers. He also delivered exactly what the Vikings needed, completing 24 of 31 passes for 271 yards, three touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 135.3.
Taking the field for the first time in warm-ups, he was greeted warmly by Rob Davis, his former Green Bay teammate who is Packers director of player development. But after that, Favre focused on the warm-up passes, gently lofting them one by one with expertise and control, probably disguising butterflies with rainbows.
"I was about as nervous as I've ever been in a game," said Favre, who likened the pregame emotions to the game he played shortly after his father passed away. "I'm so thankful for the way this game went. As much as I fought it today, I couldn't get over it. I wanted to make good decisions."
Favre handed off to the NFL's leading running back, Adrian Peterson, on the first four plays, a fitting example of the Vikings' strength on offense this year. But when the run game stumbled, Favre answered with patient passes, looking like a calm veteran in the comfort of a strange new home-field advantage. Favre's first touchdown strike to Visanthe Shiancoe was clean and simple to Favre's left, just a 1-yard throw but right on target. It's obvious his arm has healed.
Favre was into this game even when he wasn't in it. When he wasn't pacing the sideline watching the Packers, he was stealing a glance at their play from his seat on the bench while studying his own offensive pictures.
As the game wore on, Favre got even better. Perhaps reassured with his early play and with settled nerves, Favre played lights-out football in the second quarter with a quarterback rating of 155.8 on 8-of-9 passing for 132 yards. Favre hit Sidney Rice for a 14-yard touchdown early.
Then on the Vikings' fifth drive of the game, Favre unloaded a 43-yard deep one to Percy Harvin. Peterson wrapped up the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Vikings took the 21-14 lead into halftime, but Minnesota's offense was showing signs of superiority over Green Bay's unstable 3-4 defense.
"He's still got great command of the football whether command is touch or velocity; pump it or let it go, he's got command," said Minnesota coach Brad Childress. "He's a great competitor. Steely-eyed when it comes to competing."
The Vikings rolled as well in the third quarter. On second and 10 and with all the time in the world, Favre pump-faked twice before firing a shot to fullback Jeff Dugan for a 25-yard gain. On the next play, Favre easily fired a 31-yard touchdown to Bernard Berrian to lift the Vikings to a 28-14 lead. Out of Minnesota's first six drives, Favre had thrown three touchdown passes and found the fountain of youth.
It was almost like the vintage Favre in Green Bay, watching him run around the field pumping that fist in celebration. The fans couldn't sit when he was on the field and cheered him on in what has to be one of the loudest - if not the loudest - venues in the NFL.
"I hope the Packers fans know how I feel about them. But our fans were awesome tonight," said Favre. "And I know what it's like to be on the other side. That was a great environment tonight."
It was surreal for Favre to see old mates for the first time; Favre was one of the Minnesota game captains and shook hands with Green Bay's captains, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Kampman and Desmond Bishop.
But there's no question Favre will remember his 273rd consecutive regular-season start by playing well and beating his old team that wouldn't take him back after his first retirement. General manager Ted Thompson watched from the 50-yard line in the press box but kept his usual cool demeanor.
After the game, Favre greeted the Packers, including Donald Driver and Aaron Rodgers, whom he told, "Hey, way to battle."
If the 2009 season is not about revenge for Favre, then maybe this game was just about validation. With such a talented team around him, Favre played about as well as could be expected - no lost fumbles, no interceptions. Victory.
"It's why I play the game. It's a lot of fun," said Favre. "It never gets old to me, even though I do."