The defining moment of Brett Favre’s short career with the New York Jets came three weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals. That day, the future Hall of Famer made the 1-2 Jets look like the 2007 New England Patriots, tossing six touchdown passes in the 56-35 win.
Favre did this wearing a uniform decked out in gold, the same color he wore from 16 seasons in Green Bay. The Jets, whose colors are traditionally green and white, decided to wear their alternate jerseys for the game. Call it ironic; call it Favre doing what he has done heroically his entire career. Either way, it worked.
On Sunday, two days after his 39th birthday, Favre led the Jets to another win, their third of the season. He did so wearing gold again.
“I’m open to wearing whatever if it helps us win,” coach Eric Mangini said, referring to the team’s Titan throwback uniforms.
“That (win) felt as good as any I’ve ever been apart of, at least in recent memory,” Favre told me after the Jets’ 26-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
This off-season was the most difficult of Favre’s 18-year NFL career. He retired, decided he wanted to play again, and was ultimately forced out of Green Bay. Eventually, he landed far away from Wrangler country when the Jets traded for the league’s all-time leader in passing yards (62,779), touchdown passes (455) and victories (163).
“With Brett coming in, obviously you make the passing game better,” Jerricho Cotchery, one of Favre’s favorite targets, said. “Teams are going to continue to have a lot of problems if we just work hard.”
“I compare this group of receivers to the guys I’ve played with the last few years,” Favre said, acknowledging his days in Green Bay. “If I can complete 25-to-30 balls, they’re going to break a few.”
Favre is still getting accustomed to the Jets’ playbook. New York, meanwhile, has been patient while their new quarterback learns the system. It’s part of the give-and-take you get when trading for a new playcaller one month before the start of the regular season.
“I’ve been playing a long time and I’ll play the game the only way I know how to play,” Favre said.
The Jets’ coaches trust Favre’s experience and have allowed him to make last-second decisions on the line. He knows not all of them have paid off.
“Sometimes you make good decisions and sometimes you make bad decisions, but you’ve got to be willing to role the dice and take the chances,” he said.
In five games this season, Favre has been taking lots of chances. He’s right when he says his 71.3 completion percentage is the best since he came into the league in 1991. But, that is not the number he’s most concerned with.
“I’m not here for stats, I’m here for wins,” Favre said.
The next five games for the Jets, who missed the playoffs last year, come against opponents who are a combined 10-15 on the season. It’s a portion of the schedule where they hope to pick up a few wins. Not all of them, however, are going to be like their 56-point performance in Week 4.
“I don’t believe in ugly wins; a win is a win,” Favre said. “I don’t think you can assume any game is going to be easy.”
The Jets have one easy decision to make. If the uniform makes the man, it may not matter where – or for what team — Favre puts it on. Just keep him in gold.