By Matt Petrero
After a 20-year illustrious career in the NFL, legendary quarterback and sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer Brett Favre hasn’t backed down from the hustle and bustle. He’s no longer leaving footprints on the turf, but he is leaving footprints on the world beyond football.
We had the opportunity to chat with Favre, who now sits on the board of Sqor Sports, a San Francisco based company that serves up a unique social publishing platform. Sqor delivers the content of nearly 1,500 professional and amateur athletes with the goal of deepening relationships between athletes and fans.
Favre recently partnered with his wife, Deanna, in a more-than-wedding-band kind of way. Brett and Deanna merged their charities, which benefit youth with disabilities and breast cancer survivors. The new Favre “baby” is called Favre4Hope.
Sqor recently launched its crowdfunding platform and the Favre’s are taking full advantage. They’ve raised just over $11,000 so far from generous donors.
In fact, Brett offered up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to one of his lucky donors.
“Thank you to everybody that donated to my charity Favre 4 Hope. I’ve randomly selected one donor to win 2 tickets to my 2015 jersey retirement game at Lambeau Field plus a photo with me at that game.”
We had the chance to talk with Favre as well as Sqor founder Brian Wilhite earlier this month about the up and coming app.
Favre isn’t necessarily involved in the day-to-day operations of Sqor, but that’s because he’s been so busy with the charity and with family.
Brett Favre on Life After the NFL
There were very few people in the history of the NFL that were more competitive than Favre. Does the famed quarterback still miss the game?
“I really don’t want this to come across negative because it’s not by any means,” Favre said. “I really don’t miss much at all. You have to look at it from my standpoint. I played twenty years but I started all four years in college, and of course I played high school. For so many years, that’s all I knew. Before I retired, I really didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I would miss it. I guess the answer to if I retired at the right time, it came to me after the first season was underway that I retired. I didn’t find myself in front of the T.V. watching every game and wishing I was there. You know, there’s no substitute for life now like throwing a touchdown pass in Lambeau Field or a winning pass in Soldier Field or being in a Super Bowl. You just can’t replace that. I do have those memories and they’re great memories”
“A lot of guys who do get a chance to play, when it’s all said and done, would have loved to play longer. I was one of the fortunate ones. I played twenty years, and wasn’t just on the team. I played the whole time. I got a taste of everything; success, failure, being fortunate enough to be on a Super Bowl winning team, and winning an MVP three times. I never dreamed of that. I played in a record 326 straight games, playoff games, Pro Bowls…you name it, I’ve done it. So there’s nothing I look back on and go, ‘I wish I would have done that.’ I’m very, very proud of that and it’s a satisfied feeling, thankfully because I’d hate to say, ‘I wish I could have just been able to do that!’ If there is something I do miss, I miss the camaraderie that I had with the guys. You know that fellowship you have, the winning and losing together, sweating together, eating together…it’s a special thing. Then to just shut it off and be away from that is difficult at times.”
The camaraderie Favre spoke of led to the next question: Does he keep in touch with his former teammates?
“It’s amazing, it’s kinda like high school,” Favre said. “Our oldest daughter is going to graduate law school this year but our youngest daughter is a sophomore in high school and I try to tell her, like any teenager, ‘Enjoy this moment because before you know it, all of your close friends and friendships you have in high school, when you leave, you say you’re going to communicate, you say we’re going to stay in touch…but you don’t. You may have a few people you might stay in contact with, but you go on. You go to this college, you go to that college, you leave this state and go to that state….life goes on.’ You look back and before you know it, it’s twenty years down the road. You say, ‘Wow, it’s a lot different than I thought.’ That’s the way it is when you leave football. I stay in contact with a few guys, but it’s not all the time.”
A potential transition for players who have football in their veins is to go into coaching. In some cases it allows them to remain a part of the game and keep the competitive juices flowing, vicariously through those they are mentoring. Is that in the cards for Favre?
“I coached high school football the past two years,” Favre said. “This year I didn’t because my daughter is starting on the volleyball team and they would be playing the same time as we [his football team] would be practicing and/or playing. So I look at it as the bulk of the reason for retiring is to enjoy your family and be there all the time. I really enjoyed coaching and I get that question a lot, and the answer to that question is yes…but not enough to do it. What I mean by that is I don’t want to sacrifice the time that I would have to give up in order to do that enough to make that commitment. I think it would be a huge challenge for me to match wits with whoever and to develop a team and to be a part of it. But I’m not willing to give up that time…not at this point.”
A Fast Track to the HOF
Anybody who follows the NFL knows that Brett Favre will not have to wait beyond the customary five years to take his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, what you would learn from speaking with Favre is that he is modest about it and recognizes how much his teammates throughout the years had a big part of his accomplishments.
“It’s not a non-chalant answer, but honestly, I don’t think about it,” Favre said. “In no way do I mean any disrespect for this, but it’s so not on my radar. I go back to when I was a kid and I dreamed of playing pro football, probably not a whole lot different than any other kid. I knew that I was going to play pro football or Major League Baseball. I mean I KNEW that. Well, my dream came true. When I was a kid I dreamed of playing for the Dallas Cowboys. Roger Staubach was my hero, and I loved Archie Manning. For us, that was our local team: the [New Orleans] Saints. I envisioned myself being in the Super Bowl, running around playing like those guys played but I never dreamed of the Hall of Fame. I never dreamed of the MVP. I never dreamed of anything other than throwing a touchdown pass, running out on the field, scrambling around. That’s what I dreamed of. I have been fortunate enough to live out every one of those dreams. So the other stuff that goes along with it, it’s an honor. I mean I am very honored. I don’t sit by the phone waiting for that call because my dreams have been answered and have come true.”
We thought that there was going to be a moment of acceptance of his place in the annuls of history during this answer. Although he did allow himself to appreciate that forthcoming day, he modestly turned it back to all who joined him on his twenty year ride.
“I’m sure when that time gets closer, there will be some butterflies,” Favre said. “But I think more than anything, I want to share that moment with everyone; and that’s hard to do. Imagine twenty years of football and there’s a lot of people that had a part of my successful career. When I think of nervousness or butterflies, that’s what I think about. This is not about me, it’s about all of the people I did it with.”
We managed to hit the trifecta of most asked questions of Brett Favre when we asked about his most and least gratifying moments on the football field, aside from the Super Bowl XXXI victory. He, in time-honored fashion, answered it with class and humility. “
The Super Bowl is, from a team standpoint what you’re trying to achieve every year,” Favre said. “It’s the ultimate goal. I was able to be a part of a team that won the Super Bowl. WOW! How amazing! But really what I just sit back and think about when you just asked this question; I look back on my career, what to me is the most gratifying thing or moment, is not necessarily a moment. It’s the fact that I played and that we’re actually talking about it. That’s just so hard to do, and to do it the way I did it for so long, that is the crowning achievement.”
Favre tried to come up with an ungratifying moment, but could not. He referred back to the entire 20 year experience and looked at anything bad as part of the whole of the good; kind of like yin and yang. Who knew we’d be talking to Brett Favre, the philosopher.
Staving Off Hardship
If you watched the NFL from 1992 thru 2011, you were fortunate to have seen Brett play the game as well as anyone ever had. However, when you look at the games he participated in when he faced the most adversity off the field, is when he seemed to save his most spectacular performances.
For instance, take Monday Night Football, December 22nd, 2003. Just one day after his father passed away from a stroke, Farve chose to play in the Packers’ contest in Oakland against the Raiders. Instead of having the tragedy throw off his focus, as it might for many of us, he went out and had one of the greatest statistical games of his career. He threw for 399 yards on 73.3 completion percentage and 4 touchdown passes in the first half alone. He finished with a passer rating of 154.9 out of a possible perfect rating of 158.3. As you could guess, his Green Bay Packers routed Oakland 41-7. So how does Brett explain the ability to focus on the task at hand when things seem to be at its worst?
Brett said that it was years of being prepared that allowed him to go into that game and just play.
“I always thought that I couldn’t study enough, there was always something else to study. The reality was, (In preparation) there was nothing else I could do. I just needed to go play. There’s only so much you can control. I do believe that there’s a point where you can overanalyze anything, and not just in football. So all you can do is prepare yourself and let the chips fall where they may. In the case when my father died, I went into that game less focused on who was blitzing — not that I didn’t know, because I had prepared, don’t get me wrong, but I just played.”
Clearly Brett’s preparedness throughout his career always had him ready to play well under any circumstances. That’s why he accomplished all that he did in one of the most amazing careers in the history of American sports. In addition to all of the aforementioned accolades, maybe his most impressive statistic is that he played in a league record 297 consecutive games; 321 games in all. In a collision sport such as pro football, that is probably his most impressive record and one that probably won’t ever be eclipsed.
Whether it was on the football field or whether it’s through Favre4Hope, Favre’s passion shines through most clearly, and so does his vision for a life well lived.