Two-time league MVP Brett Favre estimates that of the 65 or so plays the Packers run every game, he calls an audible on only three or four. Most quarterbacks make more changes, but Favre has such faith in coach Mike Holmgren that he believes almost every play sent in will work. Nevertheless, in last season's Super Bowl XXXI win over the Patriots, Favre called two audibles that went for touchdowns. Below he describes the thinking behind the first audible, when he changed 322 Y Stick, a pass designed to go to tight end Mark Chmura on a short, sideline route, to 74 Razor, a throw to wideout Andre Rison on a deep post pattern that resulted in a 54-yard score on the Packers' second play from scrimmage.
"322 Y Stick is a safe pass—except when the defense is blitzing, because the tight end and one back are out. That leaves five linemen and one back to block. The 'three' in 322 means three-step drop, so it's a quick pass, but if the defense is blitzing, it's still tough to get it off. Plus, if they cover Chewy [Chmura] with a safety instead of a linebacker, we'll never throw the ball there; he'll be covered too well. As I came to the line, I saw the safeties cheating up, and the linebacker over Chewy looked like he was coming. I figured they had seven guys rushing me. Incredible. We had never seen this from the Patriots on film, and if I couldn't get out of the play, we'd be in trouble. I checked to see that we had enough time on the clock to audible—you need at least seven seconds to change a play and get everybody to hear you—and we did. I knew I had to check to something with great protection and something that attacked the area the safeties were leaving open.
"It's not like I have a Rolodex in my head and just flip through plays till I get to one I like. After you've been in a system for a while, boom, the right play just comes to you. And 74 Razor just came. Chewy and both backs stayed in [to block]. And the second I took the snap, both of the safeties charged to cover a back and Chewy. The linebackers came. They had seven guys rushing and only two corners covering deep. That second, I thought to myself, Yeah! Just what I expected! We say that when the defense blitzes, you have to gash 'em. Make 'em pay. And Andre beat his guy and scored.
"A lot of people have made a big deal of how much I celebrated after that play, running around the field with my helmet off. It's because it was the biggest game I'd ever played in, and I'd just outsmarted the defense in front of the whole world. I just wanted to go nuts. You get pretty jacked up when you go out on a limb, call an audible, and it works. That's one of the real fun things about playing quarterback."