On Thursday, the gunslinger himself, Brett Favre, made an appearance on seasoned NFL writer Peter King’s podcast to discuss his career, life, and 50th birthday. In between talks about how he used to swim with gators as a kid in Mississippi to biking 25 miles a day, he also discussed some of the best advice he received during his tenure in Green Bay.
The conversation started when King asked Favre what advice he would give to second-year NFL quarterback Sam Darnold. Favre then shared a trick that may explain some of that gunslinger magic he so often displayed. It all starts with being able to learn something from film in 15 minutes that could take others hours.
How, you ask?
Well, Brett said that his then-assistant coach Andy Reid taught him a trick that made it easy to read defenses and know exactly what kind of play they were running or what scheme they were lined up in. He explained that you have to find a player on the opposing team that is tipping off the defensive play. During film he worked to find the key player on defense who was giving away the play or defensive scheme in advance — usually a young player — instead of just breaking down the result of the play itself.
One example that Favre pointed to from his career was in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He said that he could tell that the Buccaneers were going to blitz based off of whether nose tackle Brad Culpepper was tilted or not.
“Brad Culpepper was the nose tackle...they were young and still pretty much doing what they were coached, those were the ones you could pick up on...Andy said when Culpepper is tilted they are are running strong dog.”
Favre said that these players who give the play call away are the ones still doing exactly what the coach tells them, either because they are new to the league or new to a team. Then, as NFL players get more seasoned in the league, they are able to hide these nuances much easier. Here’s a lengthy look at the exchange:
This kind of knowledge would prove to be invaluable in the NFL and throughout his career. Brett Favre has made plenty of plays that only he could make, and this could be one contributing explanation. In fact, he said he wishes he would have learned that right away in his career.
Another player who has flashed the same brilliance that Brett Favre did? Aaron Rodgers. Now, Brett Favre nor Aaron Rodgers has never stated that this kind of knowledge was shared, but Rodgers has said that he learned a lot from sitting behind Favre.
Surely, Andy Reid taught this to his MVP quarterback, Patrick Mahomes as well. But based on some of the plays Rodgers has made — the ones that make you wonder how any human could even do that — it is fair to assume that Favre passed down this trick to Rodgers somewhere down the line.