After playing in 267 consecutive football games—289 including playoffs—it should come as no surprise that Brett Favre doesn’t know what ‘normal’ feels like. Coming down the home stretch of his 18th season in the NFL, he certainly is not taking anything for granted.
“From the start of the season I really took every game in,” Favre said. “As you approach the latter part of the season I think every player looks at it maybe a little bit differently. You feel the pressure.”
Of course for the media, what better time than in the thick of a playoff hunt to bring up the ‘Are you gonna play next season, Brett?’ questions?
“I can’t predict the future,” he told reporters. “To predict or assume is wrong, so my sole focus is to try to beat the Seattle Seahawks.”
Despite a season with lower-than-his-best statistics, the legendary quarterback was still picked to play as a reserve in his 10th Pro Bowl. Favre will tell you though that the most important statistic is wins and losses.
“I think we did win the game the other day. I think that’s the one stat that gets lost in all this week in, week out.”
As for beating the Seahawks in Seattle, Favre has never won at Qwest Field, and he will be going up against his former coach in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren, someone Favre feels very strongly about.
“I can honestly say I would not be here today if it were not for Mike Holmgren. He and I worked together a long time ago, but the things that he taught me really hit me a little bit later. He put me in position to succeed.”
While the Jets are 9-5 and in control of their playoff destiny at this point, all the credit for success certainly cannot be handed to Favre alone—not that he wants it.
He’s thrown more interceptions (17) than any other quarterback in the NFL, and his 86.5 passer rating puts him at 15th league-wide. That ranks him behind his green and white predecessor, Chad Pennington, who is 4th with a 95.1 passer rating. But let’s be easy on the statistical analysis. Chad is only averaging 11 more yards per game than Favre and he’s thrown seven less touchdowns, so how do you measure success?
Stats aside, if Pennington comes into The Meadowlands on Dec. 28th and strips his former employers of a playoff berth, it won’t be pretty in Jetland.
That last paragraph would make Eric Mangini’s skin crawl.
Looking at this week’s opponent, he said that while they are 3-11, the Seahawks aren’t what the numbers may suggest.
“That was the case with San Francisco as well,” Mangini said. “They had radically changed things. It was a different approach. It was a different style. It was a different level of turnovers.
“It was just not what the numbers may have indicated, and that to me is the importance of disregarding that stuff and just seeing what you see on tape.”
It’s a good thing Mangini is their coach, because if the Jets were only to look at numbers, they probably would not even show up this week. Who would? On paper, the Seahawks do not lead New York in a single statistical category, save for number of penalties, but Seattle has lost more yards due to flags, so that goes out the door.
But still, playing a 3-11 team is never as easy as people think it to be, especially with the Jets heading west. Gang Green is 0-3 on the West Coast this season, a trend they hope to reverse the fourth time around.
“I’ve researched this ad nauseam,” Mangini said. “I mean, I couldn’t spend any more time on this than I have prior to the trips.
“I mean, you gotta play. I don’t care where we go, we gotta play.”
He fielded so many questions about travel itinerary and poor play out west that he mentioned to reporters that they are actually playing a team on the West Coast.
“We’re not playing ‘the’ West Coast,” Mangini finally blurted out. “Who is starting for them? Oh, California.”
Referred to by Favre as a ‘great motivator,’ Holmgren’s last game in Seattle should figure to bring out some emotions from the fans and certainly the players. This is his 10th season with the Seahawks and the first time missing the playoffs since 2002.
“Weather’s gonna be a part of it,” Chris Baker said. “With all the emotion with Coach Holmgren leaving and everything, it’s gonna be a playoff atmosphere.”
The Seahawks are going to need some kind of emotion. They feature a ridiculous 24 players that have missed games this season, including 15 that were starters. Nine players are on injured reserve.
Mangini a ‘Proud Parent’
When asked about one particular player of his that he was especially happy for regarding the Pro Bowl, Mangini rattled them all off.
“What really made me happy about that is I called each guy, and they were obviously all pleased with it, but they all talked about the other guys.
“There wasn’t one guy that didn’t mention, you know, ‘God, the offensive line has done a great job,’ ‘T-Rich has done a great job.’ It was all about their accomplishments in the context of the guys that they work with, and then it was, ‘This is great, but we have to move on to Seattle.’
“I felt like a proud parent.”
Smith Feelin’ Better
Brad Smith, who suffered a head injury against the 49ers, said he’s “gettin’ better,” when asked how he’s feeling.
He said he has not yet spoken with any of the coaches about playing this Sunday, but he suited up and practiced Wednesday.
“We’ll just see how the week goes and see if I can get back,” Smith said, answering ‘No’ to the question about David Clowney putting any added pressure on him with his magnificent catch against Buffalo—Favre’s longest pass of the game.
Revis Has Come a Long Way
From Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, to the Pro Bowl in his second NFL season, Revis admitted that he’s come from a long way.
“It’s exciting,” Revis said. “It shows how hard I’ve worked, and I gotta give it to my teammates. They’ve been out there helpin’ me be the best player I can be by gettin’ to the pass rush. We’ve been blitzing well, so I just tip my hat off to those guys.”
Mangini said how impressed he has been with Revis’ consistency at practice.
“It would be very easy for a young guy with that much success to go into a sophomore slump,” Mangini said. “And he hasn’t.”
Revis said how he started in the off-season, studying the top receivers and working out as hard as he could.
“I know they believed in me and I just wanted to try to be the best corner I can be.”