The 12th month is No. 4's time of the year. Brett Favre wins in December.
And today at his weekly news conference, the graybeard quarterback was talking a winning game four days before he leads the Green & White into battle for their 2008 lives in his first December home game as their QB.
We posted Favre's signature statement today - "I expect us to make the playoffs" - earlier. A followup question was if this is "Favre time," Brett leading his team into a postseason push, a time that was one of the main reasons the Jets traded for him with the Packers back on Aug. 6.
"What's Favre time? Magic or whatever? We'll see," he said with a smirk as he retrieved some fairy dust from his pants pockets. "My intentions are to go out and win every game, make every play a great play. I know it doesn't happen all the time and it makes you scratch your head sometimes. But one thing you can bet on: I'll do whatever I can to help this team win, whatever it may be. That's a given I can promise you today."
Here are some stats (which can be for losers but can also be indicators of what's ahead) to show that Favre and his Green Bay teams turned it on at this time of the NFL calendar. Consider:
* In the last three games of each regular season combined from 1992-2007, Favre's record is 37-11, a winning percentage of .771. In the first 13 games of those seasons, his record is 123-82, a .600 percentage.
* In eight of those seasons, the Packers finished the season 3-0, and in six of those eight, the Pack proceeded to the NFC playoffs.
* It may be a stretch to mix Lambeau Field apples with Meadowlands oranges, but in December home games from '92-07, Favre's Packers were 31-5 (.861), while in all home games before Dec. 1, his teams were 66-25 (.725).
What the Jets need now, of course, is to finish with wins over Buffalo, Seattle and Miami, which would secure the AFC East title and a home playoff game.
Favre isn't delusional. He knows for some folks the air has gone out of the Jets' 8-3 balloon following the strong win at Tennessee with lackluster losses to Denver and San Francisco. But he still believes in what he sees with this team.
"Yeah, we've lost two games in a row," he said. "But as good as it felt two weeks back, it's right there in front of us again. We need to do what we've been doing with a little more sense of urgency, obviously, but there's no reason to hit the panic button. You hit the panic button when it's over.
"You don't ever want to look back as an individual or a team and say, 'Boy, if I'd just done that or done this.' You can never get that back. One thing you can do day in and day out is effort, energy. enthusiasm. That's something you can't coach. As long as we have that, believe in our system - which I think every guy does - if we're not good enough, so be it. But I think we are."
He also discounts all the talk that has filtered through to him about "Same Old Jets," or "SOJ" as they abbreviate it on the message boards.
"Pardon my French, but hell, I don't know what's going to happen, I really don't," he said. "I'm aware of what's happened here in past for the most part. To be quite honest, I don't care. I care about what's happening the next three weeks. I care about what's happening this week."
Favre recalled his boyhood in Kiln, Miss., cheering for a team that broke his heart.
"I was a Saints fan growing up. I never got to wearing a bag over my head but I was close - 'Aint's fans.' Every time something went wrong, it was 'same old thing.' That was miserable," he said. "I'm sure Jets fans probably feel the same way as I did growing up as a Saints fan. I'm not saying we're up against that. A lot of these guys don't know.
"I think it's a huge challenge for us, a fun challenge. This is the position we wanted be in. Yeah, we would've liked to win these last two games, but we're in a good position. Let's ride the wave, see what happens, at the end of the year regroup and hopefully it was good enough. But we still control our own destiny."
Favre wasn't getting any locker room resistance to his message of hope and victory. As nose tackle Kris Jenkins put it: "That's Brett. What Brett says goes."
Favre on Coles
The quarterback laid to rest (maybe) a story that has legs from the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle quoting Laveranues Coles saying on a conference call that Coles has "become a role player instead of a guy teams had to prepare for."
"He's a competitor," Favre said of Coles. "His locker's right next to mine. He knows where I stand, I know where he stands. I've got no problems with Laveranues, none at all, and I'm doing my best to get him the ball.
"Should I go out this week and throw him 25 straight balls?" No. 4 asked rhetorically and impishly. "He would say yes, I . But we'd probably lose the game. We've got to continue doing what we've been doing, and he may have what some may consider a breakout game, I don't know."
"It was not a slap towards me at all," Favre summed up. "It doesn't bother me one bit."