ALTHOUGH MY relationship with Brett Favre has mostly been at a professional distance, at the opposite end of a 600-millimeter lens, my father, Vernon, and my brother, James, have been close to him over the 16 years he has been in Green Bay.
My father has been the team's sideline photographer since 1941—he started when Curly Lambeau was coach. He and Favre are friends, and my father would go into the locker room before almost every game and sit down with Favre and chat for 10 to 15 minutes. They talked about everything except football. He photographed Favre's family for Christmas cards, and my dad and James also shot Brett and Deanna's wedding in 1996.
When I heard Favre was retiring, I thought of one incident that sums up the kind of person he is. About five years ago, while my father, then 80, was still shooting from the sideline (he now works from the press box), I was kneeling next to my dad during the game when Favre was chased out-of-bounds, coming precariously close to crashing into us. As he headed back to the huddle for the next play, he stopped and put his arm around my dad and said, "Vern, you've got to move a little quicker." My father got a big kick out of that. And Favre looked back and gave him a big smile. That was his nature. He gave everyone in the organization, from the general manager, to the mail clerk, to the team photographer, the same level of respect, and that was why he was so loved by everyone.
One thing we learned as photographers was to follow Favre off the field after touchdown passes. He wore his feelings on his sleeve. He reacted like a kid in a sandlot game. He was so full of joy, and he wasn't afraid to show it. The cover of this magazine is one such picture, taken after a score on Sept. 23, 2007.
These snapshots are some of my favorites, and I think they illustrate why Favre was beloved by Packers fans throughout his career.