Brett Favre will face one of his biggest challenges on Saturday when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
It will have nothing to do with throwing a touchdown pass, reading a zone defense or winning a Super Bowl.
The challenge for the former Green Bay Packers quarterback and Kiln native?
Summing up a spectacular 20-year NFL career in a speech that is supposed to last eight to 10 minutes.
“I want to get it right,” Favre said in a telephone interview with the Sun Herald. “You have one shot to do this right, and I don’t want to leave anybody out.
“I got a memo from the Hall of Fame that said the speech had to be eight to 10 minutes long because eight people are being inducted. I’ve been practicing it in my head.”
Favre will be the final speaker.
For the record
Favre, who legitimately was known as “The Ironman” and “The Gunslinger” during his NFL career, made 321 consecutive starts in the NFL (including playoffs), beginning on Sept. 27, 1992, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He threw for a 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns, and holds 24 Green Bay records.
He threw his first touchdown pass as a Packer to Sterling Sharpe and his final touchdown pass as a Packer to Percy Harvin.
He led the Packers to the Super Bowl XXXI title in New Orleans in January 1997, a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance in January 1998 and lost in the NFC championship to the New York Giants in overtime in January 2008 as a Packer and in the NFC title game to the New Orleans Saints in overtime in January 2010 with the Minnesota Vikings.
His 508 touchdown passes as a Packer went to 62 different receivers.
Those accomplishments will give anyone pause about the challenge facing Favre in his induction speech.
Deanna Favre and family
His wife, Deanna, will present him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.
“Of course, my father (Irvin) would have done it,” Favre said. “Deanna will do a great job. She has always done well.”
The late Irvin Favre coached Brett during his high school career at Hancock North Central, and he and his wife, Bonita, were constantly on hand during Brett’s spectacular football career at Southern Miss.
Irvin Favre died on Dec. 21, 2003, and Brett played for the Packers the next day in a “Monday Night Football” game at Oakland in one of the most memorable performances in NFL history.
Playing with a heavy heart, he threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-7 rout of the Raiders.
“I am honored by this,” Favre said. “It’s not something I ever dreamed of. I think the last year and a half has been busier than when I played.
“The whole family will be up there. Mom (Bonita) had her hip replacement and will be there.
“I’m not really nervous or anxious. It’s just that I don’t do that well (talking) in front of crowds.”
Planning and preparation
Favre said getting ready for the induction is somewhat similar to the two weeks before playing in the Super Bowl — handling the logistics and details for family and friends as they head to Canton.
Favre will be inducted Saturday with wide receiver Marvin Harrison, offensive tackle Orlando Pace, linebacker-defensive end Kevin Greene, coach Tony Dungy, owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., quarterback Ken Stabler and guard Dick Stanfel.
The NFL beginning
Favre started his career in 1991 and was traded to the Packers before his second year in the league.
He replaced the injured Don Majkowski early in the 1992 season, and led the Packers to a come-from-behind 24-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He led drives of 88 and 92 yards in the last eight minutes, setting the tone for his NFL career.
Favre said the expectations weren’t that high for that game.
“No one knows what to expect from a rookie,” he said.
He would start every game for the Packers through 2007 before being traded to the New York Jets in 2008 and finishing with the Vikings in 2009 and 2010.
“The biggest win collectively was the Super Bowl,” Favre said. “That is the ultimate goal for all players.
“Individually, obviously the Oakland game after dad passed away. Everyone wondered ‘Can he honor his father on the biggest stage — ‘Monday Night Football?’ ”
And he lived up to the challenge.
Other memorable games
Two other memorable games came against his longtime team — the Packers — when he played for Minnesota in 2009. There was the first Packers-Vikings game in the Metrodome and then when the Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field.
“There were butterflies,” Favre said. “I was nervous, there was pressure to perform. As an opponent, I had to prove myself all over again that I was not quite done yet in football.”
And he led the Vikings to wins in both of those games during Minnesota’s drive to the NFC championship game against the Saints in the Superdome.
Pro Football Hall of Fame induction
When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio
TV: ESPN and NFL Network
Order of Hall of Fame inductees
The eight inductees and their presenters for Saturday’s ceremony, courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame website:
Marvin Harrison — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay
Orlando Pace — Justin Pace (son)
Dick Stanfel — Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy
Kevin Greene — NFL defensive coordinator Dom Capers (Greene’s coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers)
Ken Stabler — Hall of Fame coach John Madden
Eddie DeBartolo Jr. — Lisa Bartolo (daughter)
Tony Dungy — Steelers teammate Donnie Shell
Brett Favre — Deanna Favre (wife)