If only for 15 minutes, it was vintage Brett Favre. The NFL legend, who starred with the Packers for most of his career before an unforgettable turn with the Vikings, will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame during an Aug. 6 ceremony. As part of the lead-up, he participated in a national conference call Tuesday morning.
He threw, metaphorically, into tight spaces. He played into his own — almost clichéd, though absolutely true — legacy by offering up quotes like, "When you watched my career, you saw a guy who had a tremendous amount of fun and passion for playing," and "I just went out and played and had a blast." He even wove in a discussion of small electronics into a conversation about comparing QBs from different eras.
"I mean with technology, I don't know how old you are but I'm 46. I can name numerous changes over the years," Favre said. "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."
The ol' gunslinger was warming up and he was onto something. Eventually, he meandered back to the original question about how rule changes and style changes make it hard to compare the careers of Packers legends Bart Starr, Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
"I think it's unfair to a guy like Bart Starr, for example, who played in an era where throwing the football was, quite frankly, not done. It was frowned upon almost," Favre said. 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."
Indeed. Starr ranks 72nd on the NFL's all-time passing yardage list, just behind the Vikings' Tommy Kramer. He finished his career with almost as many touchdown passes (152) as interceptions (138). But he's a Hall of Famer, a Super Bowl champion and a legend.
Favre retired as the all-time yardage leader (71,838), but he already has been passed by Peyton Manning. When you stack up Favre against Rodgers, there is no doubt that Rodgers is more efficient.
"It's hard to fathom that someday I'd be looked at as Bart Starr in regards to statistics. But how knows?" Favre said. "It's astronomical what will or could happen. The advantages right now are to the offense, especially the passing game."
Then again, Favre insisted by the end of the call, none of that really matters to him, anyway.
"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," Favre said. "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?"