By: Bob George/
August 25, 2005

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Rob Gronkowski puts out video to talk about his decision-making process
Patriots getting a good read on Louisville QB Lamar Jackson
Filling the Patriots' needs: No. 2 Linebackers
Rob Gronkowski says he'll be back with Patriots

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- Okay, he was the last quarterback to beat your faves in the Super Bowl. But maybe you're over that by now.

Where: Lambeau Field
Green Bay, Wisc.
When: Friday 8/25/05
8:00 PM EDT
TV National:
TV Local:
DSS: DirecTV
Channel 931
2004 Team
Patriots 17-2
Packers 10-7
Latest Line: Patriots by 3
Brett Favre has had an interesting career. In some aspects, he is one of the all-time greats. And in some aspects, he is seen as a wild gunslinger who is prone to some ill-placed interceptions, some of which have lost some very important games in team history. He is a former three-time league MVP, but he may also not even be the best quarterback in Packer history (some think Bart Starr is).

Think of him what you will, but there is no question that when Favre finally decides to hang up his legendary cleats, the NFL will be a great deal poorer when that happens. What Favre has contributed to the league in his 14 years in the league has made for him one of the more impressive legacies in recent memory. Take away all his interceptions and you have possibly the most exciting, and maybe the most complete quarterback in the history of the game.

Favre was at the helm of the Packer offense on January 26, 1997 at the New Orleans Superdome. The Patriots might have played somewhat better if Bill Parcells hadn't been committing adultery with the New York Jets at the time of Super Bowl XXXI, but it is doubtful that the Patriots would have had enough to overcome Favre when he was at the absolute top of his game. As it turned out, Favre fired two long touchdown passes and ran for a third and led the Pack to a 35-21 win over the Patriots, giving Green Bay their third Super Bowl, the first since Super Bowl II and their most recent. Favre did return to the Super Bowl the next year but fell seven points short of John Elway and the Denver Broncos.

Only once in his career has Favre not beaten the Patriots. It took a great comeback by Drew Bledsoe to help the Patriots outlast the Packers 17-16 in an October 2, 1994 clash at old Foxborough Stadium. Since then, Favre has beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl and beaten them twice in Foxborough, both times by a 28-10 count (in 1997 and 2002). In each case, Favre totally outclassed the Patriots, and showed Elway-esque tendencies in that you could reduce the opposition to a bunch of AARP members and Favre would still kill the Patriots.

So, when you see Favre on the other side of the sideline, and wish he would have one of his four-pick games but instead makes your team look like a bunch of monkeys, you can't be blamed if the hair on the back of your neck bristles a bit. Favre, who had major interception issues when he was a rookie in Atlanta, had a history of driving former Packer head coach Mike Holmgren nuts with some of his improvisational antics, and who threw one of the most notorious interceptions in NFL playoff history against Philadelphia a few years back, never plays like that against the Patriots.

Dislike him? Don't 'cha dare.

There perhaps isn't a more likeable guy in the league. There perhaps isn't a tougher guy for his position in the league. There perhaps isn't a stronger arm in the league. But this is barely scratching the surface.

Favre permanently etched his true NFL legacy back on December 22, 2003, in one of the most legendary and incredible performances in NFL history. It perhaps defines Favre better than any superlative you can offer up.

On December 21, 2003, Brett's father Irv Favre passed away. On April 12, 2000, this writer's father passed away. Favre had a Monday night football game to play at Oakland on December 22. I had state festivals my group of students had to perform at on April 12 and 13.

Favre's mother told the quarterback to play the game against the Raiders because his father would have wanted him to play. My mother told me to take my groups to the festivals and then come home the next week for the funeral, because that's what my father would have wanted me to do. Favre played for his dad, and I did the same.

My groups achieved the highest state ratings at each festival. On both days, I was pretty much a zombie, in shock over the loss of my father. Only Favre himself knows his exact mindset going into the Monday night clash with the Raiders.

All Favre did was throw four touchdown passes, complete 22 of 30 passes for 299 yards, and achieve a passer rating of 144.3. Even the psychotic Oakland home crowd stood up and took notice, since everyone there knew Favre's situation. For someone who was still stung by Favre's performance against the Patriots in the big game six years prior, I stood up and cheered loudly. I never felt more proud of any non-Patriot in my whole football-watching life. Watching Favre do what he did, all the while thinking of what I went through three years prior, was more than gratifying. I felt a kinship with Favre, and my admiration for him changed permanently.

This is preseason, and Favre will only play in limited duty. We will not get to see the renegade gunslinger who is impossible to defense against, even for geniuses like Bill Belichick. But just seeing him out there, for the first time against the Patriots since his father's death, will be a pleasure.

Generally, you like to see the Patriots avoid the Packers. The Patriots are 3-5 lifetime against the Packers, they are 0-2 in the state of Wisconsin (0-1 in Lambeau, 0-1 in County Stadium in Milwaukee). Granted, this is all regular season, but the Pack has traditionally been a bad matchup for the Patriots. Given this is preseason and the third game, this being the supposed "dress rehearsal”, how they do Friday night against the Packers means a little something.

But this game doesn't count in the standings. So let's just sit back and watch Favre do his thing. His time in the league isn't long, and you don't get to see someone as durable and as exciting as this guy come along every day. Enjoy the future Hall of Famer, and keep hoping that in the Super Bowl, his team isn't on the other sideline.

But most of all, respect the guy. For all that he is and for all he has done for the league, he is a treasure, plain and simple.

And someday, when I get to where my dad is, I want him to meet Irv Favre and listen to them talk about how they feel about their sons.