Transcript of Jets QB Brett Favre's news conference before Wednesday's midday practice:
On his mindset for the last stretch of games…
Obviously, every game in football is important. Not to say that they are not important in baseball and basketball, but you can't afford to go on a two- or three-game losing streak. You only play 16 games. Every year, you can look back, and every team just about could say "That one game cost us" or "That was the one that put us in the playoffs" or whatever.
My approach really doesn't change. I'd like to think that every time I go out, I'm as prepared as I possibly can be. I think you understand. It's just human nature. The first game obviously feels a little bit different than the last game. The first play of the game feels different probably than the last play of the game. You know that you have another play. You really can't over think it.
Every game I play in, I know how important it is. Do some games carry more meaning from a media spotlight or from a fan standpoint? Sure they do. We as players, you can't approach it that way. Every game is important, every play is important. That's really, more than anything, what I try to do.
On preparing for tough weather conditions during games and if that progressively gets more difficult…
I really don't know if it's been tougher. Everyone says "This is your type of weather." We never practiced in it in Green Bay. No one ever thought anything about it until we lost the [NFC] championship game last year: "They didn't handle the cold well, they probably should have practiced outside."
I think it all comes down to the individual himself, first of all. I grew up in South Mississippi. I never saw snow fall until I got to Green Bay. It wasn't like all of a sudden I got off the plane and said, "Woo, my kind of weather!" [laughter]. I'll say it again as I've said before: They will pay someone else to do it if I can't. I find that I don't get quite as tired in colder weather as I do in warm, if you're looking for something older versus younger. Your hands get cold, the ball can become slick, all those things.
The game the other day [against Denver], they handled the conditions better than we did. Jay [Cutler] played extremely well. It had nothing to do with age or anything like that. They just handled it better. You don't practice in those type of conditions that often. You don't practice in snow that often. It's just one of those things.
I've played in a lot of games — bad conditions, good conditions, OK conditions, whatever. It always presents different problems to you, the field conditions or whatever. You just have to be able to overcome that. You're not going to be perfect every time.
If I was the head coach, would I practice in tough conditions all the time? Probably not, but I'm not saying that that's right or wrong. Everyone is different, and I think as a player you're different. Mentally, you have to overcome different challenges that you're faced with.
I think as I've gotten older, I'm probably more aware of certain things and more realistic with myself. You look at things kind of like a coach. You've seen it done so many times, but it is what it is. I'd like to think that the worse the conditions, the better we will be as a team.
On the effect of off-the-field distractions on a team during the season…
A good example is to look at the Giants. They are playing pretty well. They have dealt with that all year, different issues. They are dealing with being Super Bowl winners — that's a huge issue. They have managed to deal with it exceptionally well.
I think that success in this league hinges on a lot of things, obviously. Off-the-field issues, on-the-field issues, injuries, guys want more money or whatever, it's part of it, especially teams that have had success or traditionally have been successful. As soon as you have a little bit of success, guys want new contracts and the makeup of your team changes. The spotlight, obviously, is cast upon you more.
This time last year, not too many people gave the Giants a chance, nor did they really care what was going on, on or off the field. That has changed. That has changed because of their success. I give Coach [Tom] Coughlin a lot of credit. He has handled it very well. The guys that they have on that team have handled it very well. They have managed to just go out and focus on the job at hand.
It is nice to not have to deal with issues. I'm not saying that you can't have success dealing with issues, because the Giants are proving that you can. It's part of it. You never know when it's going to come and how it will come, whether it be on-the-field or off-the-field issues. I speak individually for players — in order to play a long time, you have to have a lot of luck on the field, obviously, fall into the right place, whatever. You also have to be smart off the field and be able to manage your success as well as failure if you want to play a long time.
On if it's more physically challenging during the later games in the season…
No. I thought I played pretty well in the championship game last year. I threw an interception to end the game. We went into overtime. Everyone said all of a sudden, "Brett can't play in bad conditions anymore." The week before, I played one of my better games in a blizzard. No one was saying anything about it then. That was about as late as you can get. Both of those games were in January.
We didn't win the football game the other night. I could have played much better. It was bad conditions. Jay Cutler outplayed me. It's easy to say "Out with the old and in with the new." Was I cold? Was I wet? Sure. Was it cold and snowy last year against Seattle? Absolutely. I didn't wear down then.
At some point, I have to fall apart [laughter], I'm not going to lie to you. It's like any car — you drive it long enough, it's going to fall apart, you're going to have a flat tire, or something's going to happen. At some point, I'm going to fall apart. Right now I'm still together. I don't know what else to tell you. As long as they want me and as long as I can still play at a high level and feel like I can, we are going about it as usual.
On how he feels physically…
I feel fine. Are there little aches and pains that I have today as opposed to a couple months ago? Sure. We probably all in this building wake up and go "Oh, where did that come from?" I've been sacked and hit a few times. That's normal. There were a couple passes the other night I should have made. I had Laveranues [Coles] on one deep post route wide open.
I'd love to tell you the ball slipped out of my hands. It looked like it because I had several people at home say, "Hey, if that ball wouldn't have slipped out of your hands ... " It was tough to be a man about it and say, "You know what? It didn't slip. I missed him." Those are few and far between, but you have to make those plays. It's not because all of a sudden it's the latter part of the year and I'm falling apart. Yet [smiles].
On the wind at the Meadowlands in December…
It's not any different than Wisconsin. It gets pretty windy there. We played a game in Chicago last year where there were 60-mile-per-hour winds. I think both teams had one foot on the bus before the first kickoff. They endured better than we did and beat us, but that was miserable. I played in some games in Wisconsin where it was pretty windy and pretty cold. Most of the time, we won those games.
As much success as I've had in bad weather, playing in Wisconsin all of those years, everyone seems to think that we had the upper hand. I think bad conditions even the playing field, whether you're the home team or the away team. People kind of look at me funny when I say that. I think 5 below or 10 below, whatever it was against the Giants last year, it was cold. We didn't practice in it. I drove back and forth to the stadium and I looked at my truck and said, "Thank God we are not practicing in this today." I don't know how that gives you the upper hand. They felt like you-know-what, after their game. They went to the Super Bowl, we went home.
I think it evens the playing field. It can make a very good team look average and then an average team can stay average and win. It can force mistakes that can happen to anyone. The ball can slip out of your hand, you're a little bit off, the wind conditions — it's hard. I don't care who you are, to throw the ball in 30- or 40-mile-per-hour winds, you have to get lucky. There's not a whole lot of skill involved with playing in 30-below. You make less mistakes than your opponent, or you make one more play than your opponent, you have a real good chance of winning.
On what it takes to not let a season slip…
Consistently, you have to give yourself a chance to win. That game the other night, make no mistake about it and we all know in this room, that's a game when we went into it everyone felt like "OK, sigh of relief, they go to play in New England, a tough place. If they lose, we are not surprised."
We go and play at Tennessee, who is undefeated, a tough place. At some point, we are going to stumble. We played two outstanding games. We win them. We come here and we play against Denver who has been, you know, hit-or-miss. You scratch your head when you look at Denver and you go "All right, we don't know what to expect." They played very well. They outplayed us. We didn't play our best football.
If you want to call it a stumble, whatever, it's a game we feel like we should have won. It's one of those games that kind of scares coaches. I don't know if it really scares players. I knew that we could go into that game and get beat like we could any week. We are going and we're playing a 4-8 team this week who is playing really hard. They went into a tough place last week and won.
The bottom line is, you can be beat any week. In pro football, you just never know. Everyone says, "You guys should go out and beat them [Denver], Oakland blew them out.' What does that mean? That means nothing. That means nothing. I have no idea what Denver will do this week. I have no idea what San Francisco will do. I hope I know what we will do. We play our type of football, what has gotten to us this point.
It's one game, and it's no different than the five we had won in a row. It means nothing once you line up and play the next game, it really doesn't, how quickly you can fall and how quickly you can rise. All we have to do is do what we have done up to this point. It was not our best football the other night. We have proven that in the previous five games how well we had played. Now people have kind of come to expect that out of us. We need to expect that out of ourselves, as I think we do, and expect a team to give us their best.
All of a sudden now, people say, "Hey, the Jets are pretty good, we have to play pretty good to beat them and let's knock them off." Kind of like us going to play Tennessee. We are going to get their best, so we have to play our best. We are not good enough yet to think that we can play average and get away with it.
On the factors that allow teams to improve later in the season…
I guess there are a lot of factors that you can point to. For me, as I look back to all of the really good teams that I was able to play on, first and foremost are injuries. Obviously, you can't control them, but the teams with the fewest amount of injuries have a tendency to do better. The teams that have some injuries and are able to kind of plug a guy in, you go, "Hey, they didn't miss a beat." That plays a big part of it. You just can't go out and plug guys in, and the teams that are able to do that manage to win a lot of games.
I think consistency, to me, is probably the most important thing at this point. Obviously, everything is in. All of the stuff that we went through in training camp, all of the things and the ideas of whatever. Teams know you. We should know who we are and our identity. It comes down to the fundamentals — reading routes, throwing the ball correctly, blocking the guy across from you. Every once in a while you throw in a little trick or two here or there, but tackling and things likes that, the three phases, doing them well.
You play the Giants, you know what they are going to do. You play New England, you know what they are going to do. We have to have that same mentality. You play the Jets, you know we are going to run the ball, we are going to stop the run and we are going to hit a few in the passing game. We are going to create pressure however. We have to be good at what we do. It's no secret. I think the teams that are good, historically, you know what you're going to get from them.