Favre overcomes nerves to deliver vintage performance
MINNEAPOLIS -- "You nervous?'' backup Minnesota quarterback
"Hell yes,'' Favre said, poring over some notes and playsheets in the Vikings' locker room.
After the 30-23 Minnesota win
If you saw the game, you saw the MVP Favre of the mid-90s, minus the high-wire act. Favre managed his tornado of emotions perfectly, completing 24 of 31 throws for 271 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was not sacked. "I not only wasn't sacked,'' he said by his locker afterward. "I wasn't touched. My protection was unbelievable.'' By my count, he threw all 31 passes on the night without taking a serious risk on a single throw. When I spoke with Packer outside linebacker
The reason for the efficiency is simple: He has so much help here. If you want to know why Favre came back to play football for one final time when
But it was a lot harder than it looked, an exhausted Favre said as he left the stadium. "Their defense gives people fits,'' a hoarse Favre said, looking every day his age -- he turns 40 Saturday. "And I was laying in bed at the hotel, around 11:30, and I couldn't sleep. I called [wife]
Eerie scene around the Twin Cities, with gigantic Wrangler billboards welcoming Favre to Minnesota. In the Loon Café downtown, a sports-bar hangout near the Target Center, scores of people wore purple No. 4 jerseys with FAVRE on the back. Walking around the city, it finally sunk in: Favre's a Viking, and he's playing the Packers for NFC North supremacy in three hours. Right about that time, Favre was at pregame mass at the Viking hotel, praying more than he ever does before games.
"Man, I'm losing it,'' he thought.
He's been through so many of these games, though, that the nerves didn't paralyze him. He played with a calm he hasn't often had in games this big.
The Vikings opened predictably, wanting to keep the pressure off Favre. He handed it to Peterson on seven of the first 11 snaps, the only effective Peterson-aided drive of the night. Favre finished it by rolling right, planting his right foot and firing a one-yard TD strike to tight end
On the first series of the second half, as it turned out, Favre put the drive on his shoulders -- and on the shoulders of his offensive linemen -- and clinched it. On second-and-10 from the Vikes 44, Favre took a three-step drop, moved left, pumped, moved right, paused, looked, and finally (after 7.34 seconds, according to the ESPN stopwatch) fired a 25-yard strike over the middle to backup tight end
That made it 28-14, and though Green Bay kept trying to make it interesting, the outcome wasn't in doubt after the Vikes stoned the Packers on three plays from the Minnesota 1 on the next series.
At the end, Favre found a few old mates -- Harris, Donald Driver, Kampman and Rodgers -- and gave them hugs. The hug with Driver, his favorite receiver for years, was particularly warm. He said he told Rodgers, with whom he hasn't spoken in over a year, "Way to battle."
He did not meet either coach
On his way up the tunnel, he was serenaded by a deafening roar from his new home crowd. He hugged fellow Packer expatriate
And he tried to soak in a night when he was at his best with so much, personally and professionally, riding on it.
"It's why I play the game," said Favre. "It never gets old, even though I do."