EDITOR’S NOTE: The following column was originally published July 17, 2015. We share it again on the eve of Brett Favre’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Every photographer hopes to one day capture that iconic image that will live forever. Little did I know that a photograph I took of Brett Favre in 1991 on NFL draft day would turn into a timeless image.
On April 21, 1991, my assignment for the Sun Herald was to be at the home of Bonita and Irvin Favre as their son, Brett, might be selected in the NFL Draft.
Having covered Favre a little in high school and almost exclusively during his college days at the University of Southern Mississippi, I thought the quarterback had the talent to be selected in the first round.
The last thing I wanted to happen was not to be by Favre’s side the moment he was selected by an NFL team. While friends, family and media were celebrating inside and out at the Favre household, I would not let the future Hall of Fame quarterback out of my sight.
For the next few hours, I sat on the floor in Favre’s bedroom as he played video games and watched the draft.
The Seattle Seahawks, with the 16th pick of the draft, selected San Diego State’s Dan McGwire to be their quarterback of the future. McGwire was the first quarterback taken in the draft. Favre’s reaction to the selection was a loud “DAN MCGWIRE?”
Eight picks later, the Oakland Raiders made Todd Marinovich of USC, the second quarterback taken in the draft.
Favre would have to wait as McGwire and Marinovich were the only quarterbacks taken in the first round. Favre was selected in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons and was the 33rd pick in the draft.
My plan of not letting Favre out of my sight worked to perfection as friends and family squeezed into his bedroom to listen as Favre talked to two NFL teams.
Before the Falcons could reach Favre on the phone, Favre was already talking to Ron Wolf of the New York Jets. Wolf had Favre rated as the best player in the 1991 draft, and he planned on taking him with the Jets pick immediately after the Falcons.
Favre informed Wolf that the Atlanta Falcons were on the other line. Favre laughed and told all in his bedroom that Wolf told him not to answer the Falcons’ call.
Favre did take the call from the Falcons as they selected him with the 33rd pick of the draft. I had been taking pictures of Favre since he was on the phone with the Jets. He reclined on his bed as he joked with the Falcons on the phone.
It was at this moment that I took the photograph that first ran in the Sun Herald and has since been flashed on NFL draft magazines, websites and television channels ever since.
I had my iconic image, and it was of a boy from the Kiln wearing jorts, with a rocket arm and that South Mississippi charm.
To be honest, I didn’t know there was such a word as jorts until I heard ESPN commentators on the radio describing my picture years later. They were going on and on about Favre wearing jorts. I remember I had to ask someone what jorts were.
Wolf gets his QB after all
Ironically, Ron Wolf eventually got his quarterback. Wolf joined the Green Bay Packers as their general manager and engineered a 1992 trade with the Falcons that sent Favre to the Packers and into NFL history.
The photo that has become an iconic image was a fun moment that happened and was captured due to the photographer’s stubbornness not to miss the picture. It also helped that the subject of the photo was Brett Favre and that he just happened to be wearing jorts.
ESPN’s fashion police will never let us forget Favre and his jorts.