Anyone who tunes in to watch a Packers game will see lots of fans in the crowd wearing a Styrofoam block of cheese on their heads. The fans wear the Cheesehead as a badge of honor, but where it did it come from.
The term “cheesehead” originated as a derogatory term used by Chicago fans to refer to fans from Wisconsin. This is much in the same the way that people from Illinois have embraced the term FIB (Fucking Illinois Bastard) which was the retort of the cheesehead. It will surprise many people that the first time a cheesehead hat was worn it was not at a Packers game, rather during a game between the Brewers and the White Sox in 1987.
The creator of the cheesehead was none other than Ralph Bruno, you have to love that name (not sure if it is a porn name or the guy who is going to come and break my legs for saying he had a porn name), who formed his hat from foam that he had taken from his mother’s couch. He was noticed by center-fielder Rick Manning and once it hit the TV Wisconsin became the state of the cheesehead.
Don Hutson is one of the many All-Time Great players to have played for the Packers. Hutson played from 1935-1945 and played in an era where the passing game was virtually nonexistent. Don Hutson broke the mold for what a wide receiver and a passing attack to do in pro football. The proof of that came in Hutson’s first play he ever took from scrimmage when he caught an 83 yard TD pass.
During his career Hutson was far and away the best receiver in the game nearly doubling the next closest receiver in every category, and Hutson would finish a season with more receiving yards than some teams. Hutson set an amazing single season record of 18 TD catches in 1942, which stood for 42 years until Mark Clayton broke the record thanks mostly impart to Dan Marino. The thing to remember about the 18 TD that Hutson had is that he did it in 12 games. He was also the first receiver to have more than 50 receptions and 1000 yards in a season. He averaged .85 TD’s per game in his career, which is still the all-time record, and forever changed the NFL and the passing game.
Hutson was a 2 time MVP in 1941 and 1942. He led the NFL in receptions eight times in his 11 seasons, including five consecutive times 1941–1945. He led the NFL in receiving yards seven times, including four straight times from 1941-44. Hutson led the NFL in scoring five times 1941–45. At the time of his retirement Hutson held 18 NFL records some of which stand today. Here is a list of those records.
Note: * = remains an NFL record.
Would Don Majkowski be remembered as much more than a blip on the Packers’ 90+ year history screen had his last name been Smith or Jones…or even Rajkowski? Probably not. But as the saying goes, if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.
The fact is, if you have the word “magic” or something that sounds close to it somewhere in your name, you’re going to be remembered in one way or another.
“The Majik Man”, as he was so creatively nicknamed, was drafted by the Packers out of the University of Virginia in the 10th round of the 1987 NFL Draft. After joining the team, he was at first assigned the number 5 jersey, but quickly changed it to #7 when it was thought that #5 would be retired in honor of Paul Hornung. It never was, but no Packer has worn #5 since.
Majkowski would start 14 games over his first two seasons in the league going 2-2-1 his rookie year and 3-6 in 1988. Then, in 1989, Green Bay decided to give Randy Wright (the starting QB Don had been sharing time with) his walking papers and handed the job over to Majik. That impending season turned out to be the best of his career and one of the finer ones in Packers history as he would eventually come to earn the nickname of “The Majik Man”.
Majkowski started all 16 games during the 1989 season as he went on to attempt 599 passes (third-most in Packers history) while completing 353 of them (fifth-most). His 4,318 passing yards led the league while his 27 touchdown passes came in third. He also led the Packers to a 10-6 record, which was the most amount of wins they had accumulated and just their third winning season since 1972. However, possibly the most important statistic from that year for Green Bay fans was the fact that he beat the Chicago Bears both times he played them, their first wins against them since 1984.
The Majik Man found himself in the Pro Bowl that year, but the rest of his career was a complete mess as he would go 7-12 in just 19 more starts for the Pack over the next three seasons. His last four years in the league were spent playing as a backup split between the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions.
His overall career numbers may not be a showing for the ages (66 TDs, 67 INTs, 72.9 QB Rating, 26-30-1 record), but his 1989 “majikal” season will forever be etched in the minds of the Green Bay Packers faithful.
Reggie White, “The Minister of Defense” signed with the Packers in 1993 when he became a free agent and spent 6 seasons in the Green and Gold. During his tenure with the Pack he notched 68.5 sacks to become the Packers all-time sack leader until his record was broken by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. White was the perfect counterpart to Brett Favre and was the unquestioned leader of the defense.
White helped take the Packers to 2 Super Bowls, including a victory in Super Bowl XXXI. He was also named the NFL Defensive player of the year in 1998. Reggie White was a deeply religious man and after his retirement he was involved in some controversies. He was going to be a part of the CBS pregame panel which was a $6 Million contract and saw that offer withdrawn after he made statements where he called homosexuality a sin.
Reggie White passed away on December 26th, 2004. He suffered a fatal cardiac arrhythmia which was brought on from the cardiac and pulmonary sarcoidosis which he had lived with for years. He was taken way too young and though he had many controversies throughout his career, I will always remember #92 jack hammering offensive lineman with a huge right arm and sending them on their ass while he ran right over them and sacked the quarterback. That is the Reggie White I remember.
The Packers are different than all the other teams in the NFL in that they are the last small town team and are the only community-owned franchise in all of the 4 major sports. The team is operated as non-profit organization, although by Wisconsin law they are actually a for-profit corporation because they issue stock. So how is that possible? When the Packers initially wrote their Articles of Incorporation they included a stipulation that said if the Franchise were to be sold that after paying all expenses the remaining money would be donated to the Sullivan Post of the American Legion and thus there could never be any financial gain from owning stock in the Green Bay Packers. Yet Wisconsin is so proud of their Packers they have never had an issue selling stock.
In 1950 the Packers held a stock sale to raise money to help support the team. Then in 1956 Green Bay voters (Green Bay is a city of only 103,000 people today) approved the construction of a new city owned stadium, which was initially called City Stadium and then changed to Lambeau Field on September 11th 1965 after the passing of Curly Lambeau, the teams Founder.
In the latter half of 1997 the Packers held another stock sale and then again in the beginning of 1998 where they added 105,989 new shareholders and 120,010 shares, which is more than the amount of people in Green Bay…and with no financial reward….that is true fandom right there. The shares were priced at $200 apiece and they raised over $24 Million which they used to renovate Lambeau Field.
The team is currently in the midst of their fifth stock sale in team history which opened on December 6th 2011 and will run through February 29th, 2012. This time the Packers will offer a total of 250,000 shares at a price of $250 per share. They will sell all of the shares and raise over $62 Million, even though the stock will never appreciate in value and no one may own more than 200 shares of stock. The Packers with all these limitations in city size and not having a multi-million dollar owner have none the less sold out every single game at Lambeau Field since 1960, no matter what type of product was being put on the field.
The fact that they are always sold out is directly connected to the amount of people that are on the Packers season ticket waiting list, which is estimated at around 86,000 people. It has been said that the average wait time to get seasons tickets is about 30 years. Realistically it is a lot more as the Packers say only about 90 tickets are turned over each year…that is freaking insane. So, amortize that out and you can collect your tickets in 955 years…GO PACK GO!!!
Religion, Family, and the Green Bay Packers
“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” – Vince Lombardi
The most common quote Vince Lombardi has been linked to throughout the ages is that "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." However, not only was Lombardi not the first to recite this passage (it was John Wayne in a 1953 film called Trouble Along the Way), but he also expressed regret having ever said it at all because frankly, he didn’t like being viewed as a ‘win-at-all-costs’ coach. Lombardi knew there was more to life than just winning. He knew that what it took to win was more important in life than winning itself, and that winning, in essence, was an eventual byproduct of those characteristics.
That’s not to say that being Number One wasn’t the foremost goal of Mr. Vincent Thomas Lombardi. It was, as you can plainly see in this explicit recitation by the man himself.
Another quote that might best sum it up is this: “Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.” – Vince Lombardi
Lombardi’s childhood had a large influence on the man and coach he would eventually become in that he was the son of an Italian immigrant while being raised in a strict Catholic setting. Because of the prejudice directed towards him as an Italian/American, he developed a no-tolerance policy towards discrimination and told his players that if any one of them showed prejudice in any way, they would be kicked off the team. Lombardi once stated that he did not see his players as being either black or white, but only as Packer green. In fact, Lombardi stood so firmly behind his beliefs that he actually informed all the establishments in the Green Bay area that if they did not treat his black players equal to his white players, then that business would be off-limits to the entire team.
Religion, too, had a strong influence on Coach Lombardi, as can be observed in another one of his more famous quotes: "Your religion, your family, and the Green Bay Packers will be your priorities as long as you are here! And in that order!"
Turning a Franchise Around
In 1958, the Green Bay Packers chalked up their worst record in franchise history (1-10-1) and hadn’t put together a season record above .500 since 1947. Since Green Bay was a small-town franchise, the shareholders and surrounding community were understandably concerned with regards to the future of their team and knew that something needed to be done fast.
Enter Vince Lombardi.
On February 2, 1959, the Packers made one of the influential signings in NFL history by hiring Vincent T. Lombardi to be both their new head coach and general manager. Though he wasn’t a completely unknown figure at the time, the decision to bring him on board cannot be denied as being bold, especially considering the state the Packers were in. Of course, it soon became the best decision Green Bay ever made.
The moment Lombardi walked into a room, his presence could be felt. His voice, with the authority of a tenured drill sergeant, would instantly demand the sort of undivided attention normally reserved for the President or the Pope. So much so, in fact, that coupled with his early success and his own religious convictions, the Green Bay populace would soon lovingly dub Mr. Lombardi as, “The Pope”.
His belief in (and preaching of) certain values such as discipline, execution, perseverance, and pride were of the utmost sincerity and immediately taken to by everyone in the Packer organization. The way he would teach his players both on and off the field was very much like his relatively small playbook; simple, straightforward and in apple-pie order. The players all grew to love him because of his demands upon their mind and body and every last one of them would do pretty much anything in the world to please him. Vince Lombardi was a great many things both in life and to the Green Bay Packers, not the least of which was a leader.
“It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men. Men respond to leadership in a most remarkable way and once you have won his heart, he will follow you anywhere.”
“There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything. I do, and I demand that my players do.”
The Greatest Coach of All-Time
Vince Lombardi went on to coach the Packers from 1959-1967 compiling a career record of 98-30-4 (regular and postseason combined). In those nine years, Lombardi took to the Packers to the playoffs six times and won five championships having never endured a losing season. Two of those five titles came in the NFL’s first two championship games; Super Bowls I and II. He won unanimous Coach of the Year honors his rookie season in 1959 and was elected to the Hall of Fame posthumously in 1971, one year after he died of colon cancer. Just after his death in September of 1970, before the playing of Super Bowl V, then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle permanently changed the name of the Super Bowl Championship Trophy to the Vince Lombardi Trophy as a tribute to the greatest coach to ever be a part of the NFL.
Lombardi changed football in countless ways throughout his career, such as when he introduced “rule blocking” to the NFL, which is when a lineman would block an area on the field instead of a specific man so that his running back could find his own hole to run through (referred to as running to daylight). He would receive many more accolades along the way as well, but what he was to his players…the man he was to all the young men he coached throughout the years is where the true value of his life and coaching career can be found.
In his first team meeting with the Packers as their new head coach, Vince Lombardi began by telling them, “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
Vince Lombardi and his Packers teams of the 60’s did catch excellence, while Lombardi himself just might be the closest thing to perfection the NFL will ever see.
Backround History from the super nice folks at Heritage Sport Art:
We can't tell the story of the 2000 uniform without saluting Brett Favre. In 2000 Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre started every game for the 8th consecutive season, and in so doing set an NFL record for the most consecutive games started by a QB. The streak started in game 4 of the 1992 season, and as of the end of the 2000 season the streak stood at 141 consecutive regular season starts. Then add in his 14 consecutive playoff starts, and the streak stands at a stunning 155 games. And in this period of time the Packers have never finished below .500 - a remarkable tribute to a remarkable athlete.
The 2000 Packers nearly made it to the post season, ending with a 9-7 record. Included in the 9 wins were two overtime wins against division rivals - the first was a 26-20 victory over the Vikings, the second a 17-14 triumph over the Bucs in the last game of the season.
This 2000 jersey maintains the look Green Bay has kept for 50 years. In the home jersey depicted here, the sleeves are elasticized so opponents can't grab excess material and use it to their advantage! Note also the different striping pattern used on the collar. And as mentioned in the 1996 jersey, you'll notice the NFL logo on the V of the neck and on the upper left thigh - these have been NFL uniform fixtures since the 1991 season. Finally, note that the sleeve striping is a different variation than previous jerseys.
But the green and gold of the Pack remains one of the most enduring and readily recognizable uniforms in all of sport.
It has to be said: Green Bay has a population of less than 100,000, and is by far the smallest city in the Big Four sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) to have a team. In addition, the Packers are also the only team in the NFL that is a community-owned, non-profit organization. In this age of big bucks in sports, the Packers are a wonderful story - long may they live!
You can buy a really great framed original watercolor painting of this 2000 Green Bay Packers uniform by clicking here:
Some people may not know this, but Brett Favre did NOT start his career with the Green Bay Packers. He was originally drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round (33rd overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft and ended up signing a three-year contract with them including a $350,000 signing bonus. Luckily for the Packers, however, his rookie season with the Falcons would be a complete bust as he played in just two games going 0-4 with two interceptions and a sack.
During the following off-season, Green Bay’s general manager at the time, Ron Wolf, made one of the bolder decisions in Packers history when he decided to send the team’s first-round draft pick (19th overall) for the upcoming year over to the Falcons in exchange for the (thus far) disappointing quarterback, Brett Favre.
And as they say—the rest is history.
Favre’s career would not truly begin until the third game of the 1992 season against the Cincinnati Bengals when current starter, QB Don Majkowski, was forced to leave the field with a twisted ankle on the Packers second drive of the game. At this point, Favre entered the contest and proceeded to show the Green Bay crowd exactly why Ron Wolf had traded a first-round pick for him by throwing for 289 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
However, the most memorable part of this fateful day came with 1:07 left in the game and the Packers sitting at their own 8-yard line down 23-17. Favre would quickly lead his team down the field to the Bengals 35-yard line by completing three straight passes (including a 42-yarder to WR Sterling Sharpe, the player he threw his first NFL touchdown pass to just four minutes earlier) before spiking the ball to stop the clock with 19 seconds left.
On the very next play, an NFL legend was born.
Brett Favre dropped back to pass, and like he would do so many more times over the next 18 NFL seasons, he rifled a 35-yard TD strike to WR Kitrick Taylor with just 13 seconds remaining to win the game for the Packers, 24-23. He celebrated his game-winning throw with all the exuberance of a 10-year-old child—a trait NFL fans grew to appreciate and adore as Favre would continue to show this unique unmitigated love for the game throughout his 20-year, illustrious career.
From there, as was stated earlier, a legend was born.
Favre would end up starting against the Pittsburgh Steelers the following weekend and would continue do so for the next 297 straight games (253 for the Packers, 16 for the New York Jets, 28 for the Minnesota Vikings), 321 if you include the playoffs, both NFL records sure to remain unbroken for quite some time. Along the way, Favre would either set or tie so many NFL records that to try and list them here would be an act of impracticality, so feel free to click on this link and look through them all if you wish. His career accomplishments, such as being an 11-time Pro Bowl selection or winning the league MVP award in three straight seasons can be clicked on and read about here as well.
As a football player, Brett Favre was a man among men—an Iron Man—playing one of the toughest positions in all of sports in what might also be the most brutal of all sports. In other ways, Favre was merely a child playing a game on field of grown-ups—laughing and cheering and having as much fun as the local school-kids playing a game of Red Rover in the backyard. The impression he left on fans, teammates, coaches and owners, and especially upon the NFL itself will not soon be forgotten—nor should it. He was as special and rare of an athlete and individual as the sporting world has ever seen. Those who were lucky enough to see him play either at Lambeau Field or elsewhere will cherish those memories forever.
If not, there’s always YOUTUBE to help remind us that Brett Favre was not just a myth, but was indeed a true legend of the game.
Earl Lambeau, nicknamed “Curly” due to his heaping head of curly hair, was both the founder and first coach of the Green Bay Packers. Lambeau, who was only 21 years old at the time, was also an athlete who started at halfback for the team.
In 1919, he and his buddy George Calhoun got together a group of young athletes from the area and organized themselves a football team. Somehow Lambeau was able to convince his boss, Frank Peck, whom he worked for as a shipping clerk at the Indian Packing Company, to donate $500 to pay for the team uniforms. In exchange, Mr. Peck wanted the team named after his company, hence the name of the Green Bay “Packers”.
The Indian Packing Company was bought out by the Acme Packing Company two years later in 1921, but Earl found his ways of persuasion to be fruitful once again when he convinced the Acme owners, John and Emmitt Clair, to pay for the Packers entrance into the American Professional Football Association. The APFA would eventually be renamed the NFL the following season, so the Green Bay Packers found themselves as one of the pioneering franchises of the league we all know and love today.
Over the course of his coaching career, Curly Lambeau compiled a 212-106-21 record (including postseason games) and won six championship titles. Those six titles are tied with Chicago Bears coach and NFL founding father, George “Papa Bear” Halas, for the most championships won by a coach in NFL history.
Lambeau was also a player for the Packers as well as their coach. Though he played the halfback position, since the ball was hiked to directly to the halfback at the time, Lambeau also has the distinction of throwing the first pass in Green Bay history, the first touchdown pass in Green Bay history, as well as kicking the team’s first field goal. Because he was lucky enough to play one season under Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame in 1918, Lambeau was privy to Rockne’s secret weapon of the time…the forward pass. Earl Lambeau is said to have been the first one to bring the forward pass to the pro game, along with being the first to contrive pass patterns, conduct daily practices, as well as being the first to fly to road games.
In 1950, Earl “Curly” Lambeau resigned from the Packers due to a tussle with the executive committee over his $25,000 purchase of a practice facility for the team. Three months after he died (June 1, 1965), in September of 1965, the Packers changed the name of their stadium from “New” City Stadium to Lambeau Field in honor of their original founder. A 14-foot statue of Lambeau now stands in front of the stadium as it was erected after renovations in 2003.
Earl “Curly” Lambeau was inducted into the Hall of Fame with its inaugural class in 1963.
Paul Hornung may not be the most celebrated player in Green Bay Packers lore, but he’s probably the most versatile player to ever put on the ol’ green and gold uniform.
Back in college when he played football for the University of Notre Dame, Hornung lined up at so many different positions over the course of a game that it was hard to point him out from one play to the next. He started his football career as the team’s backup fullback during his sophomore year in 1954, but once his junior season rolled around, Paul had proven to be such a tremendous athlete that the coach couldn’t keep him off the field. Over the next two seasons, the “Golden Boy” (as he was nicknamed) would end up playing halfback, quarterback, safety, punter and kicker while also returning both punts and kicks. In his 1956 senior campaign, Hornung turned in one of the more insane seasons in college history as he led the Irish in passing, rushing, scoring, kickoff and punt returns, and punting—and that was just on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, he would also lead the squad in passes broken up while coming in second in both interceptions and tackles.
As one might expect, Paul Hornung won the Heisman Trophy in 1956 and did so despite the fact that his team posted a losing record (2-8) on the season. As one might not expect, Hornung is the only player in history to have won the award while playing for a losing team.
Half a year later, the Green Bay Packers selected Hornung with the first overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft. Because of this selection, along with his ensuing pro football career, Paul Hornung is one of only three players in history to have won the Heisman Trophy, been selected as a first overall NFL draft pick, and been elected into both the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fames.
As a Packer, Hornung would continue to display his multifaceted talents on the field as he lined up at his normal halfback position while also kicking field goals and extra points for the team. In 1960, he set an all-time NFL record by scoring 176 points on the season, which coincidentally was the final year the league would use a 12-game season. That last little tidbit is worth mentioning here because in 2006, Hornung’s record would be broken by LaDainian Tomlinson who scored 180 points during the season—though Hornung is always quick to point out that LT21 achieved his milestone during a 16-game season and that the record should really be based on points-per-game. If so, Hornung would still hold the record.
The Golden Boy still holds a few other NFL records to this day, as well as being named the NFL MVP in 1961. He won four league championships while playing with the Packers, including the first ever NFL Super Bowl in 1967 (though he did not play in the game due to a pinched nerve in his neck), and even though his #5 is not one of the five numbers retired by the team, he is still a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
In 2010, the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) created the Paul Hornung Award which is a yearly trophy given out to the most versatile college football player in the nation.
As a youngster, Ray Nitschke had a dream. His dream was to one day line up under center and quarterback a Big Ten college football team to a Rose Bowl victory. He was athletic enough in high school to be offered a contract to play professional baseball for the St. Louis Browns, but Ray would turn it down as his childhood fantasy still took precedence. One year later, Nitschke was well on his way to fulfilling his dream after accepting a scholarship to play quarterback for the University of Illinois.
Dreams, however, can oftentimes be elusive—especially when the thing you were born to do stands in your way.
Fate chose his sophomore season to intervene as Nitschke was uprooted from his beloved quarterback position and turned into a fullback by Illini head coach, Ray Eliot. At the time, college football also demanded that players play on both sides of the ball, so when it came time for the offense to switch over and play defense, “Wildman” Nitschke was told to play linebacker…and the rest is history.
Having a tough childhood (his mother died when he was 11 and his father was killed when he was three) and becoming a bit of a hoodlum, Ray Nitschke excelled at his newfound defensive position and ended up being drafted in the third round (36th overall) by the Green Bay Packers. Under the tutelage of Coach Vince Lombardi, Nitschke was transformed into a well-rounded, adaptable man who learned how to keep his ferocity contained to the football field while becoming known as quite the softie off of it—a furry little kitten with big fangs. In fact, his extreme contradiction of character led Packers Hall of Fame QB, Bart Starr, to at one time refer to Nitschke as a “classic example of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.
Wildman didn’t become a full-time starter for Green Bay until 1962, but once he did, Nitschke became the centerpiece for a defense that anchored one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history. Ray ended up winning five Championships in his 15 seasons as a Packer, all during the 1960’s, including wins in both of the NFL’s first two Super Bowls.
He was a first- or second-team All-Pro selection seven different times, was named the MVP of the 1962 Championship Game, was voted to both the NFL’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, as well as the 1960’s All-Decade Team. He recorded 20 fumble recoveries and 25 interceptions over the course of his career and was just the fourth player in Green Bay Packers history to have his jersey number (66) retired.
In 1978, Raymond Earnest “Ray” Nitschke was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and will forever be known as one of the toughest players and hardest hitters to ever step foot on the gridiron.
Brett Favre's Vicodin addiction is a hard pill to swallow for any Favre fanatic. Unlike most additions, Favre's can be traced back to a a bitch-slap, no, a sack of irony. On November 15th, 1992, in a game against that pinned the Green Bay Packers against the Philadelphia Eagles, Favre was dropping back in the pocket when the 6"5', nearly 300lb Reggie White came barrelling towards him and slammed him to the ground with some not-so-friendly fire. If only the ground were enough to break the fall. Instead, Favre started his downward spiral where he would eventually hit his own personal rock bottom.
Though Green Bay won the game, the aches from the hits stuck. That night Favre asked the team doctor for some relief. Innocently enough, Favre took his first step into an opiate addiction. Opiates work to ease pain by providing the patient with a euphoric body high and they are not easy to quit once they have taken a hold of one's thoughts.
Favre continually used Vicodin to remedy the strain that playing had put on him throughout the '92 and '93 seasons, but by the '94 season Favre was reportedly taking up to 6 pills a day. This is made more evident by his homelife. Favre's, then girlfriend at the time, Deanna Tynes, said she "started finding pills everywhere." Favre admitted in his autobiography "Favre: For the Record" that he would mooch pills off unsuspecting teammates when he would confide in them that his shoulder sounded like a cement mixer. The addiction was undoubtedly propelled by the fact that Favre was playing the best football he had ever played. '94 would be the first season in which he threw over 30 touchdown passes. Throughout the rest of his career he only did this 7 other times.
Favre was plagued by the side effects of Vicodin. Though the pills made him feel that defensive linemen could no longer knock the shit out of him, it was actually true. A prominent side effect of continuous Vicodin use is constipation. Favre wrote that he would go a week, sometimes longer, between bowel movements. Deanna Tynes was aware of these changes and the toll it was taking on their relationship. She struggled to get him clean time after time.. She even considered leaving him, but the thought that his addiction would be catalyzed by the loss hindered her.
In 1995 Favre lead the Packers to the NFC Championship, after beating the San Francisco 49'ers 27-17 in a playoff game. Despite throwing 3 touchdown passes during the NFC Championship game, the Dallas Cowboys put up 38 points to the Green Bay's 27. In the following weeks Favre had his mind set on quitting. He railed 15 capsules and flushed the bottle in one last hurrah. Needless to say, this strategy did not pan out for the quarterback extraordinaire.
He continued to abuse the prescription drug until one fateful day. In February of 1996 Favre was undergoing a surgery in which bone chips were to be removed from his left ankle. The surgery was successful but while in the recovery room talking to Deanna, in the presence of their daughter Brittany, he suffered a seizure. Though the cause of the seizure is not completely certain, it can be attributed to the Vicodin use since seizures are a possible side effect. Favre had a revelation. His seizure said seize the day - carpe diem.
Favre met with NFL appointed doctors in Chicago in March of '96. It was their suggestion that he go to Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas to seek treatment but Favre was incompliant. It was not until a league doctor warned Favre that he would have to report to Menninger Clinic or he would be fined four-weeks pay - a hefty sum of roughly $900,000. Favre took this information and finally brought his addiction to the attention of coach Mike Holmgren, who suggested that Favre address the issue in a press conference. On May 14th Favre spoke to the media sincerely. Taking responsibility for his actions he said, "I'm not blaming anyone... It's my fault."
Favre completed his 46-day stay at Menninger Clinic on June 28th, 1996. During his recovery he proposed to Deanna and they were married by July, just before the start of training camp. Favre threw a 39 touchdown '96 season, a career high that culminated with the Packers winning Super Bowl XXXI 35-21 against New England. Since then Favre has established himself as one of the world's best quarterbacks and though he has suffered injuries since his Menninger treatment, he eases his pain with over-the-counter pain relievers instead of the heavy-hitter drugs.
There is one last tidbit to this story though. When Brett Favre made the career decision to toss the pigskin for the Minnesota Vikings, the words "Favre's on the Vikes" were uttered at sport's bars far and wide and if one wasn't keen on the fact that he was going to be playing for The Purple and Gold, he might be lead to believe that Favre had relapsed. Despite this confusion, Favre makes it clear that his pill-popping parties are behind him. When he looks back, Favre sees his Vicodin addiction not in the rear-view mirror - where objects are closer than they appear, - but as a memory from a "distant life".