Week 3 sends
Green Bay to Detroit. Favre arrives at his team's fancy hotel wearing a striped
sport shirt, baggy khaki pants and scuffed walking shoes. Had he not stepped
off the team bus, hotel management might have thought he'd come to skim the
Over one shoulder
he totes a battered canvas bag. In that small olive-drab duffel are hunting
magazines and crossword puzzles sufficient to thwart boredom until game time.
His pregame meal is already on its way up to his room. Cheeseburger. Fries.
Q: Is it tough
being on such a young team?
A: There was a
time when I thought, I'll play forever. This game's easy. What are they worried
about? Why study this play if I won't ever run it? But sure enough, you run it.
And so you learn to expect the unexpected. Be ready for any situation. It's
never as good as it looks; it's never as bad as it seems. That said, I don't
know if we're good enough, right now, to win a lot of games. Some people say,
'Hey, in a couple of years, this team....' Well, I'll probably be cutting the
grass by then.
Q: What about the
rumors you'll be traded?
A: There are
those who say, 'He shouldn't have come back. Serves him right they're losing.
He knew what he was getting into,' and those who say, 'I wish he'd get with a
good team and finish out his career right.' And I guess there's a third take
too, of those who just don't give a s---. All three, I guess, are fair.
You know it's
game day in Detroit when the hometown fans pissing in the alley behind the old
JL Stone Company building turn their backs politely to the boulevard. Just up
Brush Street at Ford Field, the Packers are trading sucker punches with the
Learning a new
system, a new offense, Favre has new reads and new checkdowns and new routes
and new teammates and a new head coach. There are rookies colliding everywhere
around him and strange new diagrams from the immense playbook running together
in his head and unlined faces of players he hardly knows looking back at him
for the ball. There are moments in the pocket when it's easy to see his
frustration. Seven-step drop, quick, but then his feet stop moving and he
stands briefly flat-footed. Who are these people? Then a short pump fake, a
shake of his head--This has to be wrong, doesn't it?--then the throw, almost
angry, a recrimination, to a stranger running to the wrong spot at the wrong
time. Walking back to the huddle, he's still shaking his head. Was that him or
me? he wonders.
And moments, too,
like this: Favre drops back into a collapsing pocket, chaos everywhere around
him, and sets up. Up on the balls of his feet, he stands very still while the
noise and the violence grasp at him, then steps forward into a long throw. The
ball sails and hangs and lands without a sound in the hands of rookie wide
receiver Greg Jennings. He goes 75 yards for a touchdown, and hope gains a few
yards on reality. Favre runs the length of the field to gather him up. It is
Favre's 400th career TD pass.
Most of the
second half looks like a pickup game. Over an afternoon riddled with bad
choices and bad bounces, Green Bay clings to a thin victory, 31--24.