Transcript of QB Brett Favre's news conference before Wednesday's midday practice:
On playing in Oakland after his father's death in 2003…
It was obviously a tough time but was one of those games that everything I seemed to do was right. The guys around me made me right. It was a game that we knew we had to win. Actually that game, and we played Denver the next week, were two games we had to win in order to get into the playoffs, on top of needing help from someone else.
Arizona ended up beating Minnesota. None of it would have mattered in that following week had we not beaten Oakland. It was one of those games we needed to win. However, I didn't know if I would play. I ended up playing. I had a half probably better than any full game I'd ever played in. It was a special game, but it carried a lot of weight, obviously.
On the timeline of deciding if he would play in that game…
It was a Monday night game. I found out my dad had passed away Sunday evening. We went out there on a Saturday. I had actually played golf that day on Sunday with [Ryan] Longwell, Doug Pedersen and Josh Bidwell. I found out at the end of that round and went back to the hotel. My wife had actually called Doug. We were actually wrapping up. I went back to the hotel and sat there and tried to figure out what I wanted to do.
I talked with [then-head coach] Mike Sherman. Really, I talked with a lot of the players for a while. I think from the time I found out, I really felt like I was going to play because I knew we needed to win the ballgame. It's not like the game meant nothing to us. It was a question of could I play and help this team win? That was really the most important thing for me. I knew my dad would want me to play and all those things, but the shock of it — when I went out for pregame the next day, I had forgotten everything I studied all week. I couldn't tell you what coverage they were going to play, or what particular checks we had. In pregame warmups I was just throwing 10-yard passes with Doug. I was all over the place.
Even though I was dressed for the game, I was more concerned at that point, "If I can't throw it to Doug here in pregame warmups, what makes me think I could complete a 30-yard crossing route?" Your question would be, "OK, what changed? Why?" I just felt like, as I have in different times in my career, you don't really feel right in pregame, you're not as accurate in pregame. That's always kind of a gauge. You should be fine in pregame, but there are times where you don't feel up to par but it turns out better than you think. That was one of those cases. I said, "Well, once they start chasing me, live bullets start flying, I'll be fine." But it was more than fine.
On if he put his emotions to the side or used them in the game…
I think a little bit of both. In my case, playing with injury I think is the best example. Anytime I've played injured, the following week I've probably played my best. I keep asking myself how? I think for me, I use the injury to maybe focus more. I'm just thinking out loud. I use it maybe to focus more, but also to really not get caught up in what's happening in the game.
What I mean by that is, I kind of use the injury as something to settle me down because you get so caught up in the game itself, with 70,000 people cheering, you kind of lose sight of the things you worked on in practice. I guess, for me, it's getting back to basics and not getting caught up in cheering, or the crowd noise, or checks, or playing fast. It just settles me down.
I think that game was one of those deals where I kind of forgot about what coverage they were going to play and what checks we had. Once the game started, the study and practice that I had during the week just kind of took over. I really was concerned about that, as I should have been. As the game started, it just happened.
On if he expects those emotions to return on Sunday…
No, I really don't. Of course, maybe going out on that field at the start of the game will bring back some memories, but it has been a long time, a lot of games. Just the way I've handled things throughout my career, I hope that it's not anything big one way or the other. It's just another game, one that we need to win. Obviously, I'm with a different team, but in some ways the circumstances are the same. We need to win this game. This is a lot earlier in the year, but this is still a game we need to win. Hopefully it will be nothing more than that.
On how his wife, Deanna, helped him through the tragedy and game…
She ended up flying out, getting there at 3:30 in the morning or 4 — I can't really remember what it was. It was a couple days before Christmas. The two girls, she left them back in Green Bay. She asked me on the phone when I first talked with her if I wanted her to come out, and I told her no, that she had the girls and I'll be fine. She ended up coming anyway. That helped me through, it really did.
I still think that I would have been fine without her, but it sure made a big difference for her to come out. I'm not surprised by her coming out. I shouldn't say she surprised me. I had a feeling she was going to come out. It sure made the trip going back, too, because we jumped right on the plane, grabbed the two girls and went to Mississippi. It sure made that trip back a lot easier.
On his relationship with Deanna…
I would consider it 50/50. I don't know how many marriages can look at it that way. She has helped me in all the decisions I've made. She has stuck with me in times where she probably shouldn't have, that time in particular. That year, really there was about a two- or three-year stretch where there were a lot of things that were happening to us as a family that, as usual, the woman seems to be the one that stands tall through it all. That's the way she was in those cases.
On the fan experience in Oakland…
One of the things I remember about that game in particular was Oakland fans are not the politest fans in the National Football League, but I remember getting a standing ovation when I was introduced. 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.
We had a police escort after the game, when Deanna and I were going back to the airport. We had chartered a plane. That was probably the best police escort I'd ever seen. These guys were on motorcycles. We never stopped, not one time. It just seemed like the whole experience, as bad as it was from their standpoint, couldn't have been any better. It was a great ovation. The people were very respectful. When I think back to that, I still hear a lot about that game for obvious reasons, but that's what I think about when I think about that game.
On what kind of ovation he expects Sunday…
If they're watching, I hope it's still a standing ovation, but we'll see [smiles
On the two interceptions against Cincinnati…
The one I threw to Jerricho [Cotchery], the guy made a good play. Both guys went up. That's one of those things where you're one-on-one with your receiver, whether it be LC [Laveranues Coles], whether it be Jerricho, Stuck [Chansi Stuckey] or even our tight ends. I think most of the time we're going to win that matchup. At worst, it falls incomplete. If I had to do it over again, I probably would take the same shot with Jerricho, one-on-one.
The one to Bubba [Franks], I should have thrown it away. I thought Bubba had leverage on the guy. I really thought the ball was thrown far enough where it would fall out of bounds. That one was one of those you shouldn't throw. The one to Jerricho, it just happens.
On the offensive progression…
I feel like each week I'm getting more and more comfortable with the offense. I think this team, this year, being included in this team, I see a lot of potential. Maybe from the outside looking in, in the past, you saw a lot of potential, but it was almost like they anticipated something bad happening. It's kind of hard to change that way of thinking. I haven't heard that. I haven't discussed it with anyone. I think good things happen when you start believing that good things will happen.
It's been a long time, but that's what we started out in Green Bay thinking. They had lost there for so many years and Mike Holmgren was trying to change that way of thinking, whether it be getting rid of some of the guys that thought that way or being able to change the mindset of those guys. It's different the different places you go.
For this team, you look at this team, there are a lot of good players on this team on both sides of the ball. They made some additions that I think will help and have helped. I think more so than anything, it's a mindset. Every game you play is tough. I think, for us, the games we've lost we could easily have won. I think if we continue to believe that we can win any game and that we can make every play and not anticipate something bad happening, but rather anticipate good things happening, I'm not going to sit here and make predictions, but I think people can see there is some improvement from this team.
More than anything, what I hear from people is that there's enthusiasm. I didn't play here last year, but there's enthusiasm. It seems like there's more fun when guys are playing. To me, that leads to positive feedback from the whole team in general.
On where he got that perception of the Jets as an outsider…
Just hearing things. I don't sit here and listen to talk radio and read the papers. No offense [laughter]. But you do hear things. I had talked to no players in particular, but you just hear things.
Like the way I play, which is not perfect every game, but I play with a lot of enthusiasm and I try to have fun. I try to bring that in practice, as well. I've heard from numerous guys that we just didn't have that as much in the past. Winning, obviously, is a lot more fun than losing. I've been in seasons before where we are winning and it hasn't been as much fun, for whatever reason. What I try to bring, regardless of if it was here or in Green Bay, is to have fun every day. It's a long season. Believe me, it's a game. It's a game. I keep saying that. If you lose sight of that, it won't be as much fun and I don't think you'll be as productive.
If you have fun doing what you love to do, and I love doing this, I hope the rest of our guys love doing it. I think we enjoy it, but there's nothing more enjoyable than doing it as a team and celebrating as a team as opposed to individuals. I see a lot of good guys on this team, a lot of good players. It's just a matter of putting it together. Chemistry, to me, is the most important aspect of being a winning football team. It's not the most talented teams. It's chemistry. I think this team has a lot of potential as far as chemistry is concerned. I see that getting better each and every day.
On the changes Deanna went through enduring breast cancer…
I saw it make her stronger. She developed her foundation and has been able to help a lot of people with that. So many people have come up to her and say, "I feel stronger in the process I've gone through," whether it be breast cancer, "and that I feel like I can make it." It's funny how you can impact people when you don't think that your situation can.
She's not the only one who has done that. There have been a lot of people that have been able to turn a negative into a positive. In her case, I think that's what she's done. It was tough. I know for a woman losing her hair, and I hate to use that as an example, but that's a very tough thing to go through.
She stood tall through it and listened to me gripe and grumble about us losing games and things like that. She got up and made breakfast for the girls and for me, drove them to school and did all the things that moms do. It made her stronger and made our family stronger. You just never know. Sometimes you're hit with unfortunate circumstances, but in the end I think it makes you stronger. That was the case for us.
On Deanna's advice on whether he should retire over the summer…
She didn't say a whole lot this time. In the past she was like "Hey, I think you need to go back" or "I think you need to give it up," which are the same things that I had been saying. She said, "I'm not saying anything, I think you still can play, I think at times you still want to, but ultimately it's your decision." I told her, "That doesn't help a bit [laughter]." But it was the right approach. Ultimately, it's my decision. We're happy we're here. We'll see what happens.
On if his experience with the Jets has been better than he expected and if he'll return for a second year…
I haven't even thought about next year, honestly. I really am excited about being here. For me, I'm taking it game by game. I don't see how you can look at it any differently. I really don't. My job is to lead this team and hopefully go into Oakland and win this football game, and then we'll go from there.
It's always a game-to-game basis. When I was young, in my third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth year, you're always thinking past that. You're always thinking next contract. You're always thinking "Can I get to the Pro Bowl?" You're always thinking Super Bowl. You're always thinking of things. It seems like as a young player you're always thinking of more individual things.
For me, I've been fortunate enough to achieve all of those things, way more than I ever set out to. I don't know if there are too many guys who have been in my situation. Records and all those things never really meant a whole lot to me. I guess from some people's standpoint, they go, "That's easy for you to say, you have them all, good and bad." So for me, I don't know. It's hard to explain the situation I'm in.
Sometimes I often wonder, and have wondered, just like other people have, "What the heck are you doing? You got it all. Why continue to put yourself through it?" I love to play the game. It's a different situation here in New York, but I'm really excited about it.
I don't know what is going to happen in the end. The only thing I can control is this week and the type of leadership that they brought me in here to show. I think I'm doing a good job of that. I expect to play at a high level, and that's what I'm looking at each week, playing at a high enough level to give your team a chance to win.
More importantly, bring a type of leadership that you have brought in the past. If you can continue that, fine. We'll take it week to week. At the end of the season, I'll assess how I played this year and talk with the Jets and we'll see from there. I think it's way too premature to even think about next season.