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From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, November 18, 2002
BRETT FAVRE LOCKED IN ON HIS TARGET AND BARRELED into the fray. Man, it's been a long time since I've done this, he thought as he charged across the wet Lambeau Field grass on Sunday, Nov. 10, his fragile left knee be damned. Wideout Terry Glenn had just turned a short Favre pass into an apparent 47-yard touchdown, and the quarterback was intent on reaching Glenn before the receiver could make his first Lambeau Leap. As Favre ran frantically to the end zone, he looked like the victim of one of his own classic pranks, a man with hot sauce in his jock. When, finally, he slammed Glenn to the ground and rolled underneath him, Favre screamed, "That's why we brought your ass in here!"
Never mind that after a replay review Glenn was ruled to have been down at the one-yard line or that Favre sheepishly admitted to Green Bay coach Mike Sherman after the game, "That was the only time I felt any knee pain all day." Favre's brilliance has always included a measure of recklessness, and this was a 33-year-old living legend at his finest—decisive, unpretentious and willing to embrace the emotion of the moment.
"When something like that happens—and we had a lot of moments like that today—you feel so powerful as a quarterback," Favre said after the Packers had spanked the Lions 40-14 for their seventh consecutive victory, the franchise's longest winning streak since 1963. "I don't know where we're going to end up, but it's impressive what we've been able to do so far, and it sure has been a lot of fun."
When Favre has this much fun, football fans get goose bumps—and the rest of the NFL feels the chill. In his 12th season Favre shows no sign of decline. His garish 2002 numbers include a 65.7 completion percentage, a 17-to-4 touchdown-to-interception differential and a 101.7 passer rating. "I don't think Brett would admit to this," Sherman says, "but he's at a level he hasn't been at before."
Like Joe Montana, the man he passed early in the game to move into sixth place on the NFL's career-passing-yardage list, Favre is a homespun hero who uses levity to lead. "I'm 100 percent convinced that all people, at any job, are at their best when they're relaxed," he says.
Long after the game, as he sat in a room in Lambeau flipping a half-full water bottle into the air, Favre remained giddy about Glenn's big play, which set up Najeh Davenport's one-yard touchdown run. "I've always been confident," Favre said, "but this is the most confident I've ever been, and the reason is the way the guys around me are playing. [Wideout] Donald [Driver] made a great block, and Glenn made the guy covering him look silly."
Take that last point as gospel. Favre happens to be an expert on the subject.