When Brett Favre starts against the Raiders today, he will continue a consecutive game streak that began in the first Bush administration.
Back then, his ability to throw touchdowns and close bars impressed everyone in Green Bay, Wisc. After years of heartbreak and demon-wrestling, he now has a sober wisdom to go with that rocket arm.
"Good Morning America Weekend Edition" anchor Bill Muir remembers being a young reporter in Green Bay when Favre took over as quarterback for the Packers back in 1992. The two have stayed friends over the years, and this past week Muir caught up with Favre to talk about his incredible career, plans for the future and newfound perspective.
Favre has perservered through many highs and lows in his past 15 years with the Packers, including the loss of his father, his wife Deanna's battle with breast cancer, the destruction of his mom's home in Hurricane Katrina, and the death of his father-in-law just before this season started.
"All the money in the world can't bring him back, can't bring my father back, can't bring my brother-in-law Casey back, can't change the fact that my wife had cancer and it still could come back, no matter how many Pro Bowls or MVPs or games I play in a row -- really doesn't matter," said Favre.
Favre's hardships have taken their toll. After two stints in rehab, he now faces life's pain without self-medicating. To his credit and to the surprise of those who knew him when he was drinking, Favre seems to have kicked his bad habits for good.
"I tell people all the time, if there was one person who I thought would NEVER quit drinking, I thought it was me," he said. "Never. I said there was no way. It was too much fun. I thought, 'I'm playing well, why quit?' And as I look back, I can't believe I ever drank. [I] don't miss it one bit."
Favre credits much of his success to the support and presence of his family.
"I think what has grounded me most has been Deanna and our kids, and unfortunately for Britney who is soon to be 19, she saw a lot of the rough times," he said. "I was there, but I wasn't there -- if you know what I mean. She sees where I am, and she is one of those who can speak and say, 'He's a different guy.' I'm probably as proud of that as I am of anything -- the way I've changed."
Muir joked with Favre that it can't be easy for a boyfriend of Britney's to meet her dad.
"Well, usually I don't say anything," he said. "I don't want to be nice. I don't want to be rude. I'm not going to be like, 'Hey buddy ... come on! Let's go throw the football or something.'
"Deanna says, 'This is getting you back for all those years of the way you acted, having two daughters,'" he said. "All guys that have daughters hear the same things. I'm not going to let them feel comfortable right away."
Going Out with a Bang
With an epic career behind him, the 38-year-old Favre continues to hit the field every week. He considers retirement but is determined to end it on his own terms.
"I would love to go out winning the Super Bowl, but that's already happened," he said. "I'm going to do everything in my power to lead this team to another Super Bowl. If it's not this year, then I will evaluate that soon as the season's over, and hopefully make a decision right away."