In advance of Saturday's ceremony to induct Brett Favre into the Green Bay Packers' Hall of Fame, Favre and several key members of the Packers' organization, both current and past, spoke to the media about the event and reminisced about Favre's time in Green Bay.
Here is a partial transcript of the comments from many of the speakers.
It kind of feels like a game day outside. This is more than a game day in here. This is really a special and historic night. On behalf of the Packers organization, we are excited...it's great to welcome (Brett Favre), really great for the organization. It's historic because it's the first time in our history that we've inducted them into the Hall of Fame and retired their number at the same time. ...
I can't think of a player who's had a larger impact on a team or an organization than Brett Favre has. He's obviously very deserving of this honor...we've only retired five players' numbers, so it's really the highest honor we can bestow upon a player.
Tonight we will retire the number, and we will unveil the banner in the Atrium ... we are excited for Thanksgiving night...(when) we will unveil the number in the stadium during halftime of the game against the Bears.
When (Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, and Brett Favre) came to town, we were coming off a 24 year period in which we had 4 winning seasons and 2 playoff appearances ... character and dignity were restored to this organization immediately. Thanks to these gentlemen for what they did and to Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy for what they've continued to do.
I appreciate Brett as the greatest competitor I've ever seen to this day ... this is something tonight that's going to be a historical moment for our franchise. I'm proud to know these gentlemen.
Do I really have to say something after that? (laughs)
It is an extreme honor for a guy from New Freedom, Pennsylvania to be standing in a part of football's most storied landmark, Lambeau Field, to honor who I think is the best player ever to play for the Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre.
I say that because when I was in Green Bay, I got to know people who covered the Packers through the 30s the 40s the 50s, through the Lombardi Era, and they told me the same thing.
The problem with these sorts of things is I always have to follow Bob Harlan and Ron Wolf, in that order (laughs) ... it's tough. I want to thank everybody, I want to thank the gentleman behind us. Ron took a chance on me. I hadn't been a pro coach very long, and I'd never been a head coach. I'm thankful he saw something. We hit it off, and it was really great.
The whole thing really started one day not long after he hired me. He said "I'm' thinking of trading our number one pick for this guy named Brett Favre." I had known Brett briefly, conducted his workout out of college ... Ron could have just come in and said "we're doing this" but he never did that. He talked to me about it, and I always appreciated that.
We made the trade and the rest is history.
Over the years, I've had the privilege of coaching this young man and competing against him. Now I talk to him about once a year ... but it's special, every single time, because I believe I know him better now than I did when I was coaching him, and I'm proud of everything he's accomplished.
Boy, I don't know where to start. I have to admit, part of me, I don't know if embarrassed is the right word. I've always taken pride in how I played and work ethic and things of that nature. I had always dreamed of playing pro football, no different than any other kid across the country ... all I dreamed about as a kid was being Archie Manning or Roger Staubach...I never dreamed of Hall of Fames...did I dream about Super Bowls? Absolutely. As I say all that, all of the dreams have come true and then some.
I wanted to play. I didn't necessarily want to practice, sit in meetings, but that was part of it. I can honestly say that everything has come true and then some, and not many people can say that.
I'm extremely thankful and blessed but it's a little embarrassing. Frank was a great player,. Mike was a great coach. Best GM in football, yes I'm biased, but Ron Wolf. I understand that this night is "about me" but I would say it's about us. I always thought as a QB, you get too much credit and get too much of the blame. I always thought we shouldn't get credited with wins and losses.
I would say that my success was strictly based on these guys behind me, the guys I played with, the fans. I just had to work hard and do all I could do and rely on these guys ... I'm extremely honored, and that's probably an understatement. By the end of the night, I'm sure we'll all be tired of hearing Brett Favre stories.
One of the only regrets I have is that I didn't get to play with Mike longer, which I can put that blame on him (laughs). I think there would have been more championships, even though it's hard to get there. That's not taking anything away from what we accomplished. I wish I had to play longer with Frank, if he hadn't been 6 or 7 years older than me. It was like the stars fell in line at the right time.
If you truly love to play the game, you play it no matter what, regardless of conditions. You have to have a great cast, and I had a great cast, top to bottom, and I'm thankful for that.
I never lost sleep over thinking about "will they put me in the HOF, will they retire my jersey". That was never on my list. Is it a great honor? Absolutely, it's a great honor, but I didn't wait by the phone for Bob or Mark to call me. The body of work I did was not perfect by any stretch ... what I'm thankful for is that I had an opportunity and I made the most of it.
I don't think (tonight) really will be that emotional, and Mike said this, I think it's more of a celebration. Driving over here just now, I had a feeling like we were playing a game. I think it will have that feel to it throughout the night. This is a celebration, not just for me, but for all of us. Because these guys behind me definitely had a hand, a big hand in my success. To me, it's about all of us. I don't see any sad moments. I'm ready to tee it up! I'd much rather do that than wear this, trust me. I'm just going to kind of have fun with the night. I hope I don't boo-hoo and cry, but if I do, the heck with it.
On the event being sold out in under two hours:
I am more honored by that than by the Hall of Fame induction itself. That's a tribute to the fans. That's Green Bay.
On the connection between Packers fans and the team:
When I came back here as an opponent I had a newfound respect, which is hard because I had a lot of respect...there was part of me that was like "damn, this is impressive." You want to win, but it's like "wow", you're up against a lot, and it's a special place. And I want to relay that to the people tonight. Coming back, the way they've opened their arms, it's not surprising.
On helping to turn the franchise around in the 90s:
When I got here, we heard about the Lombardi years. That's all there was to talk about. It had gotten kind of boring. People got used to being okay. Now, you're just kind of used to winning. The fear is that you don't get too used to winning. You stay hungry. That's what Mark (Murphy) is up against. I take pride in knowing that everyone is kind of used to winning. We were kind of the ones who started that off.
On what his father, Irv Favre, would say if he were part of tonight's ceremony:
Lord only knows what my dad would say. It wouldn't be good enough. "I thought he should play four more years." I know he'd be proud.
The same with Reggie. Reggie would be phenomenal. Reggie's the greatest player I ever played with. The man could change the game. All you had to do was chant "Reggie" a few times and the left tackle or right tackle was in for a world of hurt. Reggie would just say to soak it in.
I haven't missed football. I've missed Mike chewing my butt. Rooming with Frank. Bus rides. Shooting it up with the coaches. Not Mike (laughs) ... I miss the camaraderie with the guys. I miss the things Reggie told me I would miss.
On how the 90s Packers worked so well together:
We were such a good team, not because we were so great individually ... Mike had thought about making a switch numerous times. I know that. I wasn't all that back then. We loved to play, we loved to play together, and it happened to be a great fit. The reason it was a great fit - and he will never, never take the credit - was Ron Wolf. Isn't that the mark of a great GM, to make it all fit?
When we lost in Dallas, it seemed like we lost every year. There's one particular time ... Ron came over on the sidelines. It was a tough loss, one of those where we almost won ... Ron came over, he said "we're gonna get these guys." It was kinda like "Damn, Ron's talking?!" That was kind of, to me, I didn't want to play Dallas again. I did, but I didn't. I wanted them to have a couple of injuries maybe, take a wrong turn ... we just were hungry.
I'll say this about Mike, I think the world of him as a man and as a coahch. One of the things he was so great at - he was great at chewing my butt by the way - he was so great at making us believe we could beat anyone ... the mark of a good coach, great coach, great leader, is one who can make you believe. I think that was a huge part of our success as well.
Enjoy tonight's ceremony, Packers fans.