'We talked football all the time'
Brett Favre used to joke that he became a great quarterback in spite of his father, Irvin, who was his high school coach and never let him air it out.
Truth was, the Green Bay Packers' star passer credited his father, who died Sunday in Mississippi at age 58, for everything he accomplished in football.
Irvin Favre, of Kiln, Miss., coached his son at Hancock North Central High School. He said he knew Brett had a great arm, but he also had an abundance of good running backs. So, for the three years Brett was the starting quarterback, Hancock North ran the wishbone.
"I always told my dad the wishbone would never get me to pro football," Favre cracked after winning an unprecedented third straight NFL MVP award in 1997. "Thanks, Dad."
Favre, who made his 205th consecutive start Monday night in a 41-7 win at Oakland, said having a father as his high school coach had its benefits and drawbacks.
"Sure, he was harder on me than he was on other kids, and I probably got mad about it at the time," Favre said back then. "But they all had to wait until the next day to get more coaching. I got it all the time. We talked football on the way home from practice, we talked football at supper time, we talked football before bed. We talked football when we got up in the morning.
"We talked football all the time."
And it paid off, Irvin Favre said before his son won the Super Bowl following the 1996 season. He said Brett had a great memory to go with his great arm and he put all that advice into action.
Favre grew to appreciate the advice as he starred at Southern Mississippi and in the NFL.
"When your dad is the coach, you get extra coaching whether you want it or not," Favre said. "He had a huge influence on my career and in my life."
Favre and his father remained close, with Irvin Favre attending many Packers games both at home and away over the years.
His father once flew back to Green Bay from a playoff game in St. Louis, and passengers around him were surprised he traveled in coach and not first-class. After all, his son was the first NFL player to sign a $100 million contract.
"Everybody thinks we're rich because we're Brett's parents," Irvin Favre said. "It's Brett's money. He earned it. He should keep it. I just enjoy watching him play and knowing I taught him some of what he does."
That was reward enough.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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