SUPER POLL 50 | 2: Brett Favre turned a replay into a big play in Super Bowl XXXI win

Our series on ASN’s 50 greatest NFL championship competitors of the past 50 years continues with No. 2 Brett Favre, originally published on Feb. 7.

The day Brett Favre won the Super Bowl, he spent a lot of time watching TV. And by doing that, he may well have sealed victory before the game began.

“It was weird sitting in the hotel room before the Super Bowl. They keep showing the 49ers-Broncos Super Bowl (XXIV) over and over again,” Favre said during an installment of NFL Network’s America’s Game in 2006.

2-Brett-Favre“I keep seeing (San Francisco quarterback) Joe Montana checking to ’59 Razor.’ I was thinking about how awesome that had to be, checking to that play and guessing right. We had the same play, just with a changed number system. [In the Super Bowl] The Patriots are showing us the look that would be good to check to ‘Razor.’ So I take a gamble and check to it … and it works perfectly. I can’t believe it worked. Of all plays to audible to in the Super Bowl and I’ve been watching it on TV all day long.”

That audible resulted in a 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison that, because of Favre’s premonition, may well be the most memorable play of Super Bowl XXXI. On the second play from scrimmage, Favre thought he saw a blitz coming and changed the call, sending Rison on a post route that left him open.

After the play, Favre ran nearly crazy, without his helmet, celebrating the touchdown.

“So when you see me running with my helmet off, I’m thinking, ‘Can you believe I checked to this play?” he told ESPN. “It was amazing.”

Favre threw two touchdown passes in that game — the other an 81-yard toss to Antonio Freeman, which at the time was an NFL record — and scored a rushing touchdown en route to a 35-21 victory against New England and head coach Bill Parcells in New Orleans.

The Packers reached the Super Bowl again the following year, but lost to John Elway and the Denver Broncos, 31-24.

“I would have liked to have won more Super Bowls, but you know what? I’m not disappointed about that,” he said in a 2008 interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I gave it my all. I think people who know me know that.”

One of eight members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, Favre is the NFL’s No. 2 all-time leader in passing yards (71,838) and touchdown passes (508).

A second-round pick out of Southern Miss by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1991 NFL Draft, Favre played the bulk of his career in Green Bay (1992-2007). He also played a season each for the Falcons (1991) and New York Jets (2008) and two seasons for the Minnesota Vikings (2009-10). Along the way, he earned 11 Pro Bowl trips and was the NFL’s passing leader four times. He is a three-time NFL MVP and All-Pro. The Packers retired his No. 4 in November.

Favre earned a teaching degree at Southern Miss, which then competed as a Division I independent. After retiring from the NFL, he returned home to Mississippi where was the offensive coordinator for Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, which won a state championship in 2014.


Above and middle: Brett Favre accepted the only football scholarship he received — from Southern Mississippi. Originally, the school wanted him to play defensive back but he emerged as the starting quarterback after beginning his freshman year as a seventh-stringer. He survived a near-fatal car accident before his senior season in 1990 and set most of the school’s passing records. (Photos courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics)

Jill R. Dorson

Jill R. Dorson is a freelance writer based in San Diego.