Brett Favre recently shared some advice on playing through injuries with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in a telephone conversation the two had. Favre, whose regular-season consecutive-starts streak stands at 258, is famous for playing through an array of physical ailments.
However, playing through those injuries may have paled in comparison to the pain Favre had to deal with as he was getting ready to play in Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003.
The iron-man quarterback entered the game with a heavy heart one day after the sudden death of his father, Irvin - and turned in one of the most memorable performances of his career and in the history of Monday Night Football in the Packers' 41-7 victory.
"It was obviously a tough time," Favre said at his weekly news conference today as the Jets have begun preparing for their next trip to Oakland's "Black Hole." "But it was one of those games that everything I seemed to do was right. Guys around me made me right."
He suspected his wife, Deanna, would fly out from Green Bay to be at his side - even after he told her that she didn't have to.
"She ended up flying out, getting there at 3:30 in the morning, 4:00 - I can't really remember what it was," said Favre. "That helped me through, it really did.
He completed 22 of 30 passes for 399 yards (311 coming in the first half), threw for four TDs and no interceptions, and achieved a 154.9 passer rating (158.3 is a "perfect" rating).
Favre didn't anticipate the impeccable performance after his erratic throwing during pregame warmups.
"Didn't know if I would play. Ended up playing. Had a half probably better than any full game I'd ever played in," he said. "You know, it was a special game, but it carried a lot of weight, obviously."
Favre was also unsure of what to expect from Raiders fans heading into the game, considering their notoriety for rowdiness.
"I remember getting a standing ovation when I was introduced," he said. "When the offense was introduced that night, I didn't know what to expect. Believe me, I didn't expect them to give that type of ovation. I can't tell you how many signs were in the stadium."
"I mean, it was a great ovation. The people were very respectful."
He will return to the Black Hole, a.k.a. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (and no longer known as Network Associates Coliseum) this Sunday, when the Jets will make their second of four West Coast appearances this season.
While Favre knows that any NFL team can be tough to beat, he sees the ingredients for the Jets to be successful in every game they play.
"I see a lot of good guys on this team, a lot of good players," he said. "It's just a matter of putting it together. Chemistry to me is the most important aspect of being a winning football team. Not the most talented teams. It's chemistry. And I think this team has a lot of potential as far as chemistry is concerned. And I see that getting better each and every day."
Favre gave his Green Bay teammates credit for his awesome performance on that Monday night, and the Jets will do their best to support their quarterback as they get ready to play a tough game in Oakland.
"For him to be able to put out a performance like that, it is special," said right tackle Damien Woody. "What more can you say? Another thing, guys tend to rally around in situations like that and that's one thing I remember. Guys rallied around Brett in that situation and they played lights-out against Oakland that night.
"If we can get a repeat performance, I'll be more than satisfied."