The World According to Brett Favre
Favre discusses football during COVID-19, golfing with Trump and the NFL's best QBs
Welcome back to “The World According To …”, a series in which we solicit advice from people who are in a position to give it.
The face of the NFL in the mid-’90s, Brett Favre started an NFL record 297 consecutive games over 19 seasons and is still the first and only NFL player to win three consecutive MVP awards (1995-1997). Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, Favre was the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback wins when he retired after the 2010 season.
These days, the 50-year-old is keeping busy on 485 acres at his home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, tending to his property, watching Netflix with his wife Deanna (his favorite during quarantine has been My Spy with Dave Bautista) and road biking up to 130 miles a week. Favre recently spoke with us about why he’s recently decided to embrace CBD as an alternative pain medication, but we were able to keep him on the phone to talk about a number of other topics, including playing in the NFL during the COVID-19 pandemic and golfing with President Trump.
Here’s what the 11-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl winner had to say.
InsideHook: How worried are you about contracting the coronavirus?
Brett Favre: Take it for what it’s worth, and I’m not saying it’s not serious and we shouldn’t be extra careful, but I’m not overly concerned about getting it myself. In fact, I wish I’d get it and get it over with. It’s more unsafe for my mother, who is 76. I think you really protect the ones that are candidates to die, and the rest, you just go about your way. You get it, you’re over it and then you move on.
Would you be comfortable playing in the NFL during the pandemic?
Yeah, I would play, but that’s me. Concussions are a lot more serious, in my opinion, especially long-term, from the aspect of “What’s tomorrow?” Today I’m perfectly healthy. Tomorrow I may not remember who I am. You’re seeing more and more cases like that. It’s going to be interesting to see how this football season shakes out. If they play a full season schedule like they’re planning, what is that going to look like? I have no idea. I just can’t imagine a Monday night game in Lambeau with no fans. For the present players, there are a lot more questions than there are answers, I can tell you that.
What do you think about the NFL tacitly allowing players to kneel this season?
I think it’s like everything else going on in this world. Some will like it, some won’t. Some want to see it, some don’t. And honestly, I have no clue what’s going to happen. Will they play the national anthem prior to the game or will they stay in the locker room? Some teams stay in locker rooms, some teams don’t. I don’t know and I guess the good thing for me is I’m not playing, so I don’t have to worry about it.
With training camps starting, do you miss football this time of year?
I don’t miss the anticipation of reporting to camp at all. My last five years [in the NFL], it was the things I had to do aside from football, not the actual football stuff itself, that really weighed heavy on me. Reporting to training camp was one. Dealing with the media. Preparation for a game used to be fun, but then everything just became work. I was getting older and didn’t move as well and the aches and pains lasted a lot longer than they previously did, so I don’t miss that. I miss the guys. I miss the camaraderie and the feeling of a win after a game. But equally, I hate to even think about the feeling I had after a loss.
Players in the NFL just voted Lamar Jackson the league’s best quarterback, followed by Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Do you agree?
It’s a conversation topic. What matters is what happens on the field. I go strictly by performance and what that performance has led to. You’d have to put Brady at No. 1. He’s still playing. He’s got the most Super Bowls. He’s by far the best quarterback, maybe player, in the history of the game. I don’t see how you could say any different. Now, what will he be like this year, I don’t know. When he retires, then we can adjust. But I would put Brady and Brees and Aaron Rodgers in the top three, then Mahomes four. Lamar Jackson is really good. Really good. He’s the present day Michael Vick. But until he wins the Super Bowl and shows consistency and longevity, which I think given time he’ll do, I don’t think that you can put those other guys in back of him.
Is there a QB you think gets overlooked in these conversations?
If you look at statistics, the only thing he doesn’t have is Super Bowl wins or even playoff wins. But from a statistical standpoint, Philip Rivers has had a monumental career. I think if he doesn’t win one, he will be categorized with Dan Marino and guys like that who have tremendous careers but didn’t win a Super Bowl. I don’t think that’s Philip Rivers’ fault. I think it’s been a product of his team. But that being said, I think he’s played over and beyond what most have expected, given the caliber of his team at times. He’s the most underappreciated quarterback in the league.
What will happen in Green Bay with Rodgers getting older and the Packers taking Jordan Love in the first round of the draft?
I think Aaron will do a great job of helping Jordan along. Let’s just use Aaron as an example or me as an example. People have to understand, it’s not our job to mentor the guy behind us. That being said, like in my case, when Aaron was with me for three years, I would watch extra film after the day was done, and sometimes Aaron would say, “You mind if I watch film with you?” And I would say, “Sure, come on.” And if he asked me a question like, “What are you looking at here?” I would give him my answer. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to ask him to come watch film with me or ask him to throw extra balls. The most important thing for Jordan, which is a good thing, is to sit and watch how it’s done by a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback and learn. I know he wants to play. His day will come sooner than he probably expects, it always does.
How big a year is this for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland with the Browns?
It’s not a do or die year, obviously, but the pressure is on. Last year there was so much hype — a lot of it was self-induced — that they almost were set up to fail. I think Baker is a really good quarterback. I think he’s an exceptional leader. I think, as my agent used to say, “Don’t put the wagon before the horses.” And that’s sort of what they did, if that makes sense. They just need to play. I think that [last year] was a reality check for them and a humbling experience. But I do think they’ll succeed and that he’ll go on to have a really bright career.
What do you think of Cam Newton and Bill Belichick in New England?
I think it’s a good fit for Cam. He’s a very disciplined guy. Of course, Belichick is about as disciplined as they get, but Cam does a good job of taking care of the ball and playing within himself. The biggest question I have with Cam, regardless of where he goes, is if he can stay healthy. In my opinion, if he’s healthy, I think he can play. I think he can lead them very well.
Finally, you took some heat recently for golfing with President Trump last month. How did that outing come about?
As you can imagine, you don’t get a lot of free time with the president. No one does. I was honored to be asked and I caught some grief from the other side for playing with him. But I’ll be honest with you, if Barack Obama would have invited me to play golf, I would have taken him up on that opportunity. I respect the office of president of the United States of America and was honored to be asked, regardless of what party is present in office. But no, I didn’t get a chance to talk too much business. He loves his golf, and we were more focused on golf.
Was there any wagering on the round or creative score-keeping?
It was a fivesome. It was me, the president, Rudy’s son Andrew Giuliani, present PGA Tour player Jim Herman and a former player who I thought should still be playing on tour, Jason Gore. Now he works for the USGA. Myself, the president and Gore took on the other two, but no money exchanged hands. I don’t even know if we kept score. The president had to make a phone call one hole, so he missed out on one hole. Some holes I picked up and so did he. I don’t even think there was an official score.
Was it frustrating to take criticism for playing with Trump even though you’ve praised Colin Kaepernick and lauded him as a hero?
You can’t make everyone happy. In today’s world it’s a shame, it really is, that social media has dominated the world like it has. Unfortunately, young people believe what they hear and not necessarily what they read. Assumptions are formed instantaneously and then so much hate. It’s just a shame. I try to mind my own business as much as possible. I’m not looking at my phone all day long. I try to live as normal a life as possible and I think we do a good job with our family. It’s just a shame that people get branded like they do, and so much of it is untrue. I guess it’s the world we live in right now, unfortunately.
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