Favre's story goes beyond sports

Whenever I watch another quarterback, I say to myself, "I could do that." With Brett Favre, I'm not so sure.

Updated: December 26, 2003, 6:11 PM ET
By Steve Young | Special to ESPN.com

Whenever I watch another quarterback, I say to myself, "I could do that."

But when I think about the longevity of Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, it's a different story. I don't think I could ever play in 190 straight games as he has. That's an overwhelming statistic, when you think about the sheer number of games and the beating you take as an NFL quarterback.

Brett Favre
Brett Favre experienced victory in the midst of grief Monday night: a MNF win one day after his father's untimely death.
And when I watched Favre perform brilliantly on Monday Night Football, the day after his father died, with the myriad of emotions involved -- I can't imagine my father passing away and having to go out and play a game.

To go through what he was experiencing emotionally while quarterbacking a football game ... I can't imagine it.

And in that context -- in a big MNF game with playoff implications -- Favre took his game to another level: 22-for-30, 399 yards, four touchdowns. What an amazing, poignant way to bid his dad farewell.

I had tears in my eyes as Favre gave his interview after the game. I know what it's like to have Monday night games like that, to feel the exhilaration of playing well -- but not coupled with my dad passing away the day before. Favre went to a rare place on that night where few quarterbacks have ever been.

In a way, he was blessed to have to play the game, to have something to do, to focus his thoughts for three hours on something else. Maybe that will be helpful in the long run. I can't put myself in his shoes, but we all were able to appreciate Favre's uniqueness and also to feel some of his pain.

This storyline is beyond sports. Favre will always have a place in our hearts because of this experience. By watching him play and feeling with him and praying for him, we shared the experience with him, in a way. It was meaningful for lots of people. I hope that others who have experienced loss were able to gain strength from it. And I hope that as time goes by, Favre's broken heart will mend.

Father and sons use sports to communicate. A distinct bond is shared. Often, your dad's favorite teams are your favorite teams. And your dad's view of you and how you play has such an impact.

I heard Favre talk about how tough his dad was, and I feel the same way -- my dad was a tough guy too. That was an essential part of my upbringing. My dad's influence was a huge part of my success.

This season, as Favre has dealt with the thumb injury on his throwing hand, the Packers have relied more on the run. But the same thing happened with John Elway at the end of his career with the Broncos -- and he went out as a back-to-back Super Bowl champion.

Favre always brings leadership, presence and big-play ability.
Favre couldn't care less if Ahman Green runs for 300 yards and he throws for five (Elway had Terrell Davis). He doesn't care. Favre just wants to win games. He's done everything already ... won three straight MVP awards, won a Super Bowl. Now he just wants to get back there. He doesn't need the pats on the back or the accolades.

Whether the Packers emphasize the run or the pass, Favre always brings leadership, presence and big-play ability. He's the ultimate competitor.

We saw the Packers rally around their quarterback Monday night. To get to the playoffs, Green Bay will need another inspired performance Sunday at home vs. the Denver Broncos. I don't know if the Packers have the weapons to go far into the playoffs (if they get there), but never underestimate Brett Favre.

ESPN football analyst Steve Young was a Pro Bowl quarterback and won a Super Bowl with the 49ers.

Steve Young

Sunday Night NFL Countdown analyst
Pro Football Hall of Famer and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young is an NFL analyst for ESPN. He travels to the Monday Night Football city each week for Monday Night Countdown and the pre- and post-game editions of SportsCenter. Young also contributes to ESPN's annual Super Bowl and NFL Draft coverage, including the past five years (2006-10) on ESPN's main set at Radio City Music Hall.

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