Brett Favre, who starred for the Vikings and Packers during a 20-year career as an NFL quarterback, will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame during an Aug. 6 ceremony.
Yes, that means it’s been more than five years since the ol’ gunslinger retired for good.
As part of the lead-up to his enshrinement, Favre participated in a national conference call Tuesday morning. I listened in, and here are some of the highlights from vintage Favre:
*On the difficulty of comparing eras in football — namely comparing Bart Starr to Favre to Aaron Rodgers. (But first: some thoughts on small appliances):
“I mean with technology, I don’t know how old you are but I’m 46. I can name numerous changes over the years. I can remember how excited we were in our house to get a microwave. A pocket calculator was a big deal. Or a cordless phone. Technology changes, rules change, the game changes.
“I think you talk about comparing the careers of players, I think it’s unfair to a guy like Bart Starr, for example, who played in an era where throwing the football was not quite frankly not done. It was frowned upon almost. I looked at Bart Starr as not only one of the all-time great guys but one of the great players in the National Football League. If you were to look at statistics, you would argue against him. That’s unfair to him. It’s just the era he played. It’s hard to fathom that someday I’d be looked at as Bart Starr in regards to statistics. But how knows? It’s astronomical what will or could happen. The advantages right now are to the offense, especially the passing game.”
[Side note: Favre's tone wasn't salty at all, but it is interesting how he delved into a discussion of his career and how modern passers (like Rodgers) have more advantages -- and therefore might look statistically superior].
*On violence in football: “I don’t know what you can do other than to put flags on guys to take away the physical aspect of it. Is that a concern? I think what people love about football is the hitting, the tackling — sure, throwing, all that stuff. But if you played flag football, it would not be as appealing. That would be a concern about keeping the integrity intact.”
*On his reputation as a prankster: “I never planned out some big thing — much like the way I played, it was spontaneous. But what’s most important, what comes to mind to me, is I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings or jeopardize a relationship with my teammates. I always did it for fun. When you watched my career, you saw a guy who had a tremendous amount of fun and passion for playing. That I can say. I can’t say I was the best passer, the most mobile, the toughest. I can say I had the most fun, on and off the field. I could not believe they were paying me to do what I was doing.”
*On his boyhood dreams and when he realized he could be a Hall of Famer someday: It’s a good thing that (football) worked out for me because I never dreamed, ‘If it doesn’t work out, I’ll do this.’ I was devoted to my dreams. I was determined that I was going to be Roger Staubach someday and I was going to play for the Dallas Cowboys. And nothing was going to stop me. I never dreamed of totals, MVPs, how many games I would play, statistical stuff, the Hall of Fame. I just dreamed of playing. I can sit here and honestly say that every dream I had as a child, daydream, night dream, came true. And for that, I’m forever thankful. I mean, wow — who can say that?
“When the Hall of Fame came on my radar? I don’t know, I would say someone had to mention it, at some point. I never really thought about it. I was just pinching myself every day because it was pretty cool. Good things came by not seeking them. I just went out and played and had a blast. And they said, ‘Hey, you’re in the Pro Bowl.’ Well that’s pretty cool. Or ‘you’re the MVP of the league.’ Wow.”