Brett Favre will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton this weekend, entering as one of the most beloved players the game has ever seen.
“I think the beauty of Brett Favre was – and still is – what you see is what you get with him. There are no secrets,” former Packers head coach Mike Sherman told Moose & Maggie, who were filling in as hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think that’s why the fans embraced him so much. He’s very candid about himself and his life and what he was doing. He’s kind of like an open book. His family, himself, his career was there for the taking for anybody that wanted to pay attention. I think the fans pretty much embraced the transparency of Brett Favre. People knew just about everything there was, and when you’re living in a fish bowl like Green Bay, it was pretty easy for people to become part of your life.”
Favre, an 11-time Pro Bowler and three-time MVP, won a Super Bowl with Green Bay and retired with just about every passing record imaginable, both good and bad. His style of play (tough yet enthusiastic) and his openness with the media (always wearing his heart on his sleeve) was perfect for Green Bay.
“Because Green Bay is such a unique place, I think it also went along with the uniqueness of Brett Favre as well,” Sherman said. “They kind of bounced off each other. I think Brett was great for Green Bay, and I think Green Bay was great for Brett.”
Sherman, 61, was a tight ends coach with the Packers in 1997 and 1998, spent a year in Seattle as the offensive coordinator and returned to Green Bay in 2000, this time as head coach.
“I was 44 years old and had never been a head coach before,” he said. “I came back to Green Bay, and obviously Brett had established himself. He was in his 30s, (had won) MVPs and won a Super bowl. So the challenge of being a young head coach going into that situation is pretty obvious because of his status. When the player is a lot bigger than the head coach, which was the case with me, it could have been a tough situation. But Brett made it work. He wanted to make sure that we had the relationship that we have and he wasn’t going to be bigger than life, even though Green Bay tried to make him that way. He was the first one to practice, the last one to leave. He practiced hard, if not harder, than anybody else. He did what we asked him to do. I think that was what made him great.
“People would ask me all the time after a game, ‘Boy, what a great throw that was by Brett. Have you ever seen him do that?’” Sherman continued. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen him do it plenty of times in practice.’ That’s how he practiced. He made great throws in practice every day. I think that was the beauty of him. He never allowed himself to get too big even though the fans in Green Bay put him up on a pedestal – and he was up there. But when he practiced and he played, he was just like anybody else, working hard to get the job done.”