Sunday, November 1, 2009

Modern Mythology

September 8th, 1990:

"You can call it a miracle or a legend or whatever you want to. I just know that on that day, Brett Favre was larger than life."

- Gene Stallings, Alabama Coach, after Southern Mississippi's Brett Favre led the team to a comeback victory who - six weeks prior - had a near fatal car wreck in which he had 30" of is small intestines removed.

November 1st, 2009

"It was about what I expected," Favre said. "It was probably worse every time I took the field ... but I considered it a good thing. It's better than saying nothing, I guess. I know what I did here. You can ask the teammates I played with here. ... I would venture to think all the guys I played with would speak positively about the way I carried myself. ... Although I wasn't expecting a standing ovation, I know what I've done and what I stand for."

As he went on he got a little emotional. I checked behind him during this interview to see if any Green Bay fans were still there cheering him. There were, thank goodness. He spent 16 years there being what the fans thought, was one of them. He was, he is. What he is not is one of the people that run the Packers franchise.

"I know how special these fans are," Favre said. "I think deep down inside I know how they feel. Packer fans cheer for Packers first. I know that. I hope that everyone in the stadium watching tonight said, 'That joker's on the other side, but he does play the way he's always played, with his passion and love of the game.' As long as I play, that's not going to change."

As I watched the post game interview on the field with Brett Favre I couldn't help but get a little into the moment. He was trying his best to get off his chest what he wanted to say to all the fans there in that tiny microphone in front of him. Even though he seemed to be searching for words, I think the words found him.

Green Bay ownership wanted to move on without him and insert the new young gun, and they did. I think Brett took on a two year journey to get to Minnesota (Green Bay's rival) and stick it to them. An he did. I know that revenge can sometimes be hollow. In this case I think only Favre knows if that's the case. I also think that the ownership of which he was exacting revenge on probably feels empty as well. Not because of the team loosing, but for the decisions they made two years ago. And the fans, for whom cheered him on for nearly a generation? I hope they are upset with themselves for booing him, but in fact, are feeling probably pretty empty as well for doing so.

From is roots in Kiln, Mississippi (pop. 2000) to is time as 7th string QB at Southern Miss (the only school to offer him a scholarship), to this first Packers pass (which he completed to himself), to his young days enjoying a beer or two, or his addiction to painkillers, to his two Super Bowls, through is wifes cancer, to the legendary game after his fathers death, to setting most all passing records including interceptions all through his 276 game start streak. His story is seemingly as rich as Davie Crockett or Daniel Boone. And like any other stubborn southerner, he refuses to quit or go quietly.

By beating the very group off people that said he was washed up twice this year... Brett did what he done set out to do.


Here is the obligatory excerpt from Wikipedia about his early days:

Favre was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and raised in the small town of Kiln. He is of French and Choctaw ancestry; one of his paternal grandparents was a Native American affiliated with the Choctaw. He was the second of four children and attended Hancock North Central High School where he played baseball and football. Favre started for the Hancock North Central baseball team as an eighth–grader and earned five varsity letters. He played quarterback, lineman, strong safety, placekicker and punter in a primarily option, run-oriented offense coached by his father, Irvin Favre.

Irvin Favre said he knew his son had a great arm but also knew that the school was blessed with good running backs. As a result, in the three years Brett was on the team, his father ran a run-oriented offense called the wishbone. Favre rarely threw more than five passes in a game.

After high school Southern Mississippi offered Favre a scholarship (the only one he received). Southern Miss wanted him to play defensive back but Favre wanted to play quarterback instead. Favre began his freshman year as the seventh–string quarterback and took over the starting position in the second half of the third game of the year against Tulane on September 19, 1987. Favre, despite suffering a hangover from the night before and vomiting during warm-ups, led the Golden Eagles to a come-from-behind victory with two touchdown passes.

In his junior season, Favre led the Golden Eagles to an upset of Florida State (then ranked sixth in the nation) on September 2, 1989. Favre capped a six-and-a-half-minute drive with the game–winning touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining.

On July 14, 1990, before the start of Favre's senior year at Southern Miss, he was involved in a near-fatal car accident. When going around a bend a few tenths of a mile from his parents' house, Favre lost control of his car, which flipped three times and came to rest against a tree. It was only after one of his brothers smashed a car window with a golf club that Favre could be evacuated to the hospital. In the ambulance, his mother was sitting with him. "All I kept asking [her] was 'Will I be able to play football again?'" Favre recalled later. Doctors would later remove 30 inches (760 mm) of Favre's small intestine. Six weeks after this incident, on September 8, Favre led Southern Miss to a comeback victory over Alabama. Alabama coach Gene Stallings said, "You can call it a miracle or a legend or whatever you want to. I just know that on that day, Brett Favre was larger than life."

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