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From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, December 19, 1994
Favre threw an NFL-high 24 interceptions during the 1993 regular season. Everybody threw that number back at him before the start of the next season, wondering whether the 25-year-old third-year starter was going to be too mistake-prone to be a winning NFL quarterback. How was the wild-eyed, wild-armed Favre ever going to fit in under coach Mike Holmgren, the reigning master of the precision passing game?
"There's no question it bothered me," Favre said of the doubt about his ability. "I couldn't understand why a young quarterback was catching so much blame. Young quarterbacks make lots of mistakes. But this season I was determined to play well. I was going to do whatever it took."
In 6� windchill at Lambeau Field on Dec. 11, 1994, Favre proved that he has become one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. His relatively safe 19-of-31 game led the Pack to its best offensive show in more than a decade. Green Bay beat Chicago 40-3, and the Packers' 516 net yards were their most in a game since '83.
In '93 Favre threw for 3,303 yards, with 19 touchdown passes and those 24 interceptions. This year he has thrown for 3,270 yards, with 28 TD passes and 12 interceptions. Holmgren attributes the improvement to playing time. "In the past we'd give good young quarterbacks five years to mature before we handed a team to them. Now, with free agency, we have to find out if a guy can play before his contract is up. And so quarterbacks play early. I said all along that this would be Brett's takeoff year. We talked in the off-season about game management, and we're seeing better results."
Favre hasn't arrived. He still makes kid mistakes. He still opens games with an arm full of adrenaline: Against Chicago he overthrew two piddling screens in the first quarter. "He's not going to be the most accurate quarterback I ever coached," says Holmgren, "but I've coached Joe Montana and Steve Young. Brett's making good decisions, and he's shown he'll be accurate." He's surely becoming a smarter player.
"That's asking a lot," Favre said.
"It's what we're shooting for. You've got to know that," Holmgren said.