Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Former NFL QB Brett Favre speaks at Liberty University, details how God became real to him

Over the course of quarterback Brett Favre’s 20-year NFL career, he turned in many spectacular performances. He tossed six touchdowns against the Cardinals in 2008. He threw for 446 yards against the Cardinals (coincidentally) in 2010. He won a Super Bowl over the Patriots in 1996-97.

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But arguably the most memorable came on a Monday night in December 2003 — a game the Green Bay Packers legend referenced in his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2016. It was the day after his father, Irvin, died of a heart attack near their hometown of Kiln, Miss. Many wondered if Brett would play against the Raiders.

He did indeed play because he wanted to honor his father. By halftime, Favre had a personal-best 311 yards, four TDs and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He ended the 41-7 blowout with 22-of-30 passing, 399 yards, the four touchdowns and no interceptions.

On Friday, Favre was a guest at Liberty University’s Convocation, and he was asked about that game. Favre described how much he prayed beforehand with his teammate and good friend, Doug Pederson, who’s now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“We prayed so much, right up until we went out for pregame, we had a prayer right at my locker,” Favre said. “I just wanted to honor my father; I wanted to win the football game. I didn’t care about being the greatest player that night. I wanted to honor my father in a way that he would be proud.”

Mission accomplished — by halftime.

But Favre went on to say that performance helped him believe God is real.

“What I realized later after I retired as I think about that game is that I, and maybe you, have oftentimes said, ‘God, show me You’re real, just for me, just for a second,’” Favre said. “Come out of the clouds, cross the road, whatever. You look for these signs and you never see them — when they’re right in front of you. And for me the sign was how I played in that game.”

Later in the conversation, Favre was asked about his favorite story in the Bible. He pointed to Luke 23 and the story of Jesus’ crucifixion — when an innocent Jesus hung on the cross beside two criminals.

“One (of the criminals) chose to ask for forgiveness, and the other was steadfast in being a criminal,” Favre said. “One was forgiven, in spite of all the things that he had done. At that weak moment, he decided to ask for forgiveness — and he was forgiven and he entered the Kingdom of God. And if he can do it, we all can do it. We all need it.”

Favre acknowledged that this story stands out to him because he can relate. He’s not perfect, nobody is. He encouraged the students in attendance to “be who you are and trust that God has your back.”

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