Everybody's got a great Brett Favre story.
Talk to anyone who spent time around the gunslinger during his legendary 20-year assault on the NFL record books and you'll hear some tales that will leave you gasping for air and fighting back tears in hysterics.
But he damn sure was the toughest, gritting out 321 consecutive starts, playoffs included, and probably the most fun to watch, too. There was never a dull moment in life with Favre -- whether on Sundays on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field or in the locker room, meeting rooms, production meetings or kicking back on a bye week hunting trip.
"I've told this to a lot of people, but that was probably the most fun I ever had in a QB room because Brett would tell stories and nobody could tell a story like him," said Mark Brunell during a phone interview last fall. "He's gotta be one of the funniest guys I've ever been around."
So to pay homage to the singular, iconic No. 4, a guy who wrote in his own book, "I'm not a guy who likes to be serious, ever," here are eight singular Favre stories, culled from interviews from "The Chronicles of Favre-ia," a rambling oral history of Favre's NFL career as told by his backup QBs and coaches.
That time Favre nearly sent Mark Brunell into early retirement
This one comes from Steve Mariucci, Favre's young QBs coach in Green Bay, who was tasked with trying to mold a "young country bumpkin" from Kiln, Mississippi into the next Joe Montana. Also in the quarterback room? Former Heisman winner Ty Detmer and Mark Brunell, who went on to start 151 games in the NFL and pilot the Jaguars to two AFC title games.
I had those three quarterbacks over at my house a lot, Mark, Ty and Brett. I have three sons, too. We had spaghetti, and we ate, then all of the sudden those three quarterbacks went downstairs in the basement with my three kids to play dodge ball. Gayle and I stayed up, we start clearing the table and doing dishes. We can hear them downstairs, yelling and having a good time, balls flying, hitting the walls. Just like a bunch of kids. Well all of the sudden, they shut the lights off. That was going to be the next part of this game. They're going to play dodge ball, with the lights out. OK? And then I hear, "Aaaaaah! You Son of a ...!" I go, "Oh my god, somebody got hurt." We go run downstairs. Brett Favre hit Mark Brunell in the face with a dodge ball point blank. He had a welt on the side of his face. Probably could've took his eye out. Dodge ball. In the dark. Probably from 5 feet away. It was like, "OK, guys, game's over. Do we have to do this right now?" They were all a bunch of kids.
That time Favre made John Madden run for the hills
This one comes from Andy Reid, the current Chiefs coach, and a Packers assistant from 1992-98.
John Madden has a quick trigger when it comes to smelling a person's bodily gas. Favre went out and got this stuff, this sulfur, called Morning Breeze. He's in his interview, and I'm kinda walking by, and all the sudden coach Madden comes flying out of the door, cherry red, doing this all over the place. (Reid mimics a gag reflex). Favre is in there just laughing. He had taken some of that Morning Breeze and he sprinkled it around so it smelled like he broke wind. At the moment, it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
That time Favre asked Ty Detmer, What's a nickel?
Here's Detmer, explaining just how wet behind the ears Favre was after landing in Green Bay in 1992 after a lost year with the Falcons.
One of our first blitz meetings, we would go in early Wednesday morning and the QBs would meet with the O-line coach, the RBs coach and the QB coach and go over teams' blitzes for that week and what our adjustments were. The O-line coach would be on the board, he'd say, "In the nickel, they like this blitz." Brett kinda leaned over to me and says, "What does nickel mean?"
That time Favre wore the wrong pants on a hunting trip
This story has made the rounds over the years, but it never gets old. Here's Brunell and Detmer recounting their first deer-hunting trip with Favre.
Detmer: He'd tell some of these hunting stories from Mississippi and it was more like walking through the woods, carrying a gun. I kinda grew up hunting, and I considered myself a real hunter. He and Brunell and I went out with a guy and we show up, and I got my hunting gear on and [Brett] shows up in like blue fleece sweatpants. It was like, "What are you wearing?" We're wearing orange, because it's Wisconsin gun season, and he's got this orange top on with these blue fleece sweatpants.
Brunell: That's a true story. I just assumed that Brett was a deer hunter. He grew up in Kiln, in the country. I assume he would be outfitted, head-to-toe camouflage, blaze orange jacket, rifle, all this stuff. He gets out there and I think he had a camo jacket that someone gave him and he had blue, old-school cotton sweats. I said, "You've got to be kidding me. I've been hunting for two months and I at least know what color pants to wear."
Detmer: It was like, "Man, this guy." We were kinda sneaking through the woods and the deer runs across and he's like, "Hey, I think I just saw a dog run across." I'm like, "That wasn't a dog, that was a deer." He was like, "Oh, I thought it was a dog."
That time Favre needed some new underwear
Another only-Brett story, courtesy of Detmer:
Hygiene wasn't really his thing at the time either. I remember we played at the old Cleveland Stadium and the locker room was tiny. We were sharing lockers. He'd hang his underwear up on the hook and there's a big yellow stain in them. Guys were like, "What the heck?" He's just laughing, like, "What? What's the problem?" He really didn't care.
That time Favre stole Andy Reid's peanut butter
This one comes from Steve Bono, one of Favre's backups in 1997, who played 15 seasons in the NFL.
One of the ones that I can tell, I remember, Andy Reid was on that protein diet, I forget what it was called. And Andy was like eating peanut butter by the jars. And he was losing weight. Brett went in there and ate the rest of the jar, or put something in it, I can't remember. But I do remember Andy throwing a fit when we walked in to sit down for a meeting and he was going to take out his jar of peanut butter and his spoon and start eating it.
That one time Matt Hasselbeck got one over on Favre
Another familiar Favre tale that's still funny, especially in the retelling by Hasselbeck, Favre's understudy for three seasons in Green Bay.
One night we had a night off in training camp, and instead of getting cafeteria food, we would go to a bar and grill there in De Pere or somewhere and we'd get dinner. I thought it was a good idea to pick up some fishing worms on the way back and secretly hide it in Brett's tin of dip. His routine was as soon as the lights would go out and Andy would start the film, Brett would grab his tin and he'd put a dip in. Anyway, he does it, and he freaks out. And he didn't know who did it, but he was sure that it was probably David Klingler. He was kind of a fisher, Southern kind of guy. I'm a city kid from Boston who took the train to school every day. So he's all angry and Andy knew I did it, and Doug Pederson knew I did it. Anyway, Andy stands up because Brett got a little hot and was like, "I did it! It wasn't him, it was me!" Andy took the bullet. And that's when I was like, "No, Andy didn't do it, I did it." I've never seen someone go from so angry to almost proud, like, that quick. He was ready to fight, then he was like, "Yeah, that's pretty solid."
That time Favre (maybe) drowned Bambi
Another hunting story, courtesy of Brunell:
My favorite Brett Favre story is a hunting story from when he was a kid. He and a buddy or a couple buddies who were out trespassing on some property somewhere and they had a .22 rifle. They were just messing around and they see a deer. You're trespassing, you shouldn't be there to begin with, and the last thing you should do is take your gun and shoot at a deer. So they do it, and I think they hit it a few times and knock it down. After a couple shots ring off, they realize somebody could discover them and find out they're trespassing. They're frantic, they don't know what to do, and they've got this deer and it's flopping all over the woods. So, they figured out the only way to kill this deer without shooting at it is to drown it. So they drag it over to a puddle, a stream, a small pond, I don't know what it was, but they basically held this deer underwater until the bubbles stopped coming out of its nose. Listen, I'll probably get in trouble for telling this story, but it's one of the funniest stories I've ever heard. And the way he told that story, we were crying laughing. It was gut-ache type laughing.