An Interview With:
Q. Brett was just making the point a few minutes ago that in these kinds of conditions that are forecast for Sunday, it’s less an athletic competition and more of a test of wills. What sense do you have of that?
DONALD DRIVER: I think it’s the same thing. I think it’s a test of wills because I always look at it as a mind game. When you go into this game, you know in conditions you can’t control them, so you basically have to just go play regardless of the situation. It’s going to be a mind game because if you let your mind tell you it’s cold, it’s going to be cold. But if you let your mind tell you it’s warm, that you’re in Hawaii somewhere, then that’s where you’re going to feel like you’re at. That’s why I always say I’m somewhere warm, maybe down in <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Texas</st1:place></st1:state>.
Q. Have you been frustrated at all this season about not getting into the end zone probably as much as you want, only a couple of touchdowns on the year? Has that ever been a thought in your mind at all?
DONALD DRIVER: No, not at all. I always feel like I can’t control that. I’m not the one throwing the ball, so I don’t control it. I just basically run my route, and if I get it, I get it, and if I don’t, then you don’t complain about it.
I think my contribution is just going out there and making plays whenever I’ve got the opportunity, and every time I’ve got the opportunity I make the best out of it. I think a lot of people feel like you have to score touchdowns to get the recognition, but I didn’t feel like I had to do that this year. I think it was a proven fact if you go out there and do your job then everyone around the National Football League understands that.
Q. In talking to guys in the locker room, yes, people want to get ‑‑ you guys want to get Brett back to the Super Bowl, but more than one player told me they want to get Donald Driver to the Super Bowl. How does that make you feel, and how does it feel to be one step away from the biggest game of your life?
DONALD DRIVER: I’m happy about it right now. I’m still ‑‑ I guess I don’t get myself too juiced up about it right now because I know that I’m only one game away.
But I remember talking to our receiving group right before we played Detroit, and I told those guys that those guys have a long career here, I’m winding down to mine, and I just ask that you guys get me to the Super Bowl. My biggest thing with them was Greg kind of mentioned, well, let’s get you the past this Detroit game and let’s get you to the second round playoff game. And then James threw his little two cents in and said he wanted to get me to the championship game.
So now I’m here, and I think Ruvell told me today that he’s going to try to get me to the Super Bowl. When you have those type of guys that come up to you and respect the things that you do, you’re happy for that.
Q. When you look at Brett’s numbers over the past three years, the interceptions have gone down, completion percentage has gone up; it looks like his game was kind of transformed somewhat as he gets to the later stage of his career. Would you agree with that? And if so, what role do you think McCarthy played in that?
DONALD DRIVER: Well, I just think when you look at last year, if you go back to last year and the year before that, I think he threw a lot of interceptions because we didn’t have those type of weapons that we have now, especially at the receiving group. I think he was trying to force the ball to me, and at that time you look around and you don’t have a problem with it. You’re trying to win games regardless of the situation.
But I think he realized that he had more weapons. He started trusting guys, and now that you look around, we’ve got five of the best receivers in the National Football League, and he can throw to any one and feel confident in doing it.
Q. Brett was saying that you guys were using footballs taken out of a freezer today in practice. Have you done that during the course of the year, and what purpose is served?
DONALD DRIVER: No, we have never done it. This week I think that’s what they wanted to do. Basically they never told us that the balls were coming out of the freezer, we just kind just felt it as we caught it, wow, the balls are cold. We thought most likely the balls had been outside all day, but they was in the freezer. They were kind of slippery. Mostly I think it’s for concentration because when it’s warm weather you basically don’t have to concentrate too much on the ball. Basically if you’ve got goot hands, you’re going to catch. But I don’t care how good your hands is, in cold weather you have to focus on the ball and make sure you catch it before you run with it.
Q. As a wide receiver, how does your assignment or your preparation change against a team that has such a good pass rush, which would change the dynamics at that end? How does your role change?
DONALD DRIVER: My role doesn’t change at all. I think our scheme as far as how we play the game and how Coach McCarthy has put the game plan in, that’s how we play the game. We don’t let the other team dictate how we play the game. We play the game the way we play it. That’s Green Bay football. Regardless of what they do to us, we’re a team right now, our receiving group, we lead the league in yards after the catch. So I think we want the ball in our hands to make sure we do what we do. If they blitz us, we’re able to get the ball in our hands, Brett can get the ball out quick, then it’s hard to stop us.
Q. Can you just talk about how Coach McCarthy, what kind of tone he set as far as the chemistry goes and maybe if that’s a big element of what has gone right this year?
DONALD DRIVER: Well, the only thing that Coach McCarthy has been saying is just keep it loose. He’s one of those coaches that he doesn’t want to get all uptight about anything. All season long he’s telling us we only can beat ourselves, no team can beat us. We noticed that because the three game that we lost this year, we lost them on our own. It wasn’t no one that came out and just beat us flat‑out. We made the mistake that cost us the game.
He’s been real focused on making sure that we know that we only can beat ourselves, and it’s just like this in game coming up, if we make mistakes we will lose. But we’ve been having preparation all week to not make mistakes, and the first thing it is is ball security.
Q. If it’s relatively windless on Sunday, will it make it a little easier or a lot easier for a receiver?
DONALD DRIVER: You’re saying if it’s not windy?
DONALD DRIVER: If it’s not windy, it’s going to make it so much fun because we get the ball in our hands; it’s easy for Brett to throw. We all know he can throw with the wind blowing, as well. But I think it’s easier for a receiver to catch the ball if it’s not windy. If the wind is not blowing hard and we’re able to get the ball in our hands, then we’re dangerous.
Q. A lot of these players talk about trying to get you to the Super Bowl, but is there something you say to them to take advantage of these opportunities while you have them because you know firsthand they don’t come around that often?
DONALD DRIVER: I haven’t said too much. I’m one of those guys, I don’t talk a lot. I try to just let my play show. That’s one thing that I’ve always said is that this is only one chance to get there, and this is everybody’s childhood dream is to get in the Super Bowl and also to win it. I’m just hoping that come Sunday we’re able to go out there and do things that we have to do to get there.
Q. You’re one of the few receivers to go sleeveless. Are you going to go sleeveless tomorrow, and what does that prove?
DONALD DRIVER: Yeah, I’ll go sleeveless tomorrow. It doesn’t change anything. I think I’ve had my ‑‑ I guess you can say I’ve had my affairs with fumbles, and that’s one thing I’ve said I don’t never want to do again. I was telling Jimmy, that’s why I stopped wearing sleeves because I remember against Tennessee I had ‑‑ that Monday night against Tennessee we was losing real bad and I had a fumble that was a key play in the game. After that I stopped wearing sleeves and said I’d just rather freeze than to fumble again.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An Interview With:
Q. It’s been a decade since you’ve been in an NFC Championship game. Have you pondered that at all, and just talk a little bit about the journey to get back here.
BRETT FAVRE: Well, it’s been a long one, but you know, it goes without saying how excited I am to be back. I think the long layoff makes me appreciate it a little bit more. I’ve known all along how difficult it is to win in this league and to get to this point is something special. It’s pretty good to be back.
Q. For you personally, the last time you went through all this, your daughters were ‑‑ one wasn’t born. Do they understand it a little bit more, what this is all about now, and do they appreciate it more?
BRETT FAVRE: Well, Brittany, the older one, yeah, she’s an old pro at all this. Breleigh, the whole season has been a lot of excitement for her, a little bit different than it was the last couple years. I don’t think she totally gets it, but she’s pretty fired up about it. She gets to go to school and brag all the time, so that’s good.
Q. 48 hours or so before kickoff of this game, can you kind of give us a sense for what you’re feeling emotionally? Is it anxiety? Is it excitement?
BRETT FAVRE: No, not right now. I’m excited about the game, but I’m sure the feeling I have right now is totally different than it was before the last championship game, you know, for obvious reasons. There’s been a lot happen since then. In fact, I mean, I tried to downplay it, and I always use the term don’t want to peak too soon. I felt like I focused better that way and kind of see things a little clearer.
I mean, I’m excited about this game, and I’m sure the younger guys are ‑‑ everyone is different, but can’t wait to play it. That’s fine. That worked for me back then. But I’m sure Sunday morning being able to sleep in a little bit will help as opposed to years past where I was up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. I’m going to try to just relax and enjoy it, and up to this point I’ve done that.
Q. I was reading something about you, you didn’t remember the NFC Championship in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dallas</st1:place></st1:city> a few years back ‑‑
BRETT FAVRE: I can’t remember why.
Q. Do you just block out the bad games?
BRETT FAVRE: I try to. But you know, I think obviously losing games, playing in games, being around a long time, you gain experience through all these games. But I try to block out the bad ones. But I also feel like I’ve learned a lot from them, and whether or not it helps you in the next game remains to be seen. But I can say with each season there’s things that I have learned from the previous season or previous games where ‑‑ and it may be one play, where it has helped me see things a little bit clearer.
That was a long time ago now, that championship game. I think it was ’95, so it’s a long time ago.
Q. You had talked earlier in the week about just when it’s this cold that you’ve got to concentrate even to hand the ball off. Today I noticed that one of the equipment guys was putting the ball in a freezer. How does that help you to prepare for game day?
BRETT FAVRE: I have no idea (laughter). We’re trying everything. I mean, concentration should be at its highest level, regardless. But in conditions like this or last week or <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city>, you know, it goes without saying. You just can’t come off if you’re a route runner and just be careless. You’re going to slip at some point. You may anyway, snap from center, shotgun snaps, we saw that in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city>, two snaps that I think blindfolded a catch, moved at the last second.
I don’t think it’s going to be as windy, but it will be colder. It’s easy to lose focus in bad conditions. It’s easy to think about, man, I just want to get this game over, I want to get this play over, whatever. But the individuals and the teams that can focus for those three hours are going to be better off.
So that’s what we have to do. I have experience in bad conditions. <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago</st1:place></st1:city> was not a very good experience. But if these guys ask me, that’s what I would tell them. Focus. If you have to slow down, if you have to see the ball all the way in, if you have to slow your routes up, whatever it may be, but you’ve got to do it.
You really don’t know until you’ve played in games like this.
Q. Have you ever had a chance to ‑‑ I imagine you would, talk to players who played in the Ice Bowl game, and were you curious to hear what that was like or anything?
BRETT FAVRE: I’ve never really talked to anyone about it personally, but I know all about it. I think we all do. It’s been well‑documented, and still to this day it’s a memorable game, even though it was 40‑plus years ago. I’m sure they would say the same thing; it was cold.
You know, this game may not be as cold. You know, it’s going to be close. Hopefully we make it as memorable.
Q. How would you answer those who contend that games that are played in weather like this are not necessarily a measure of the skills of the two teams, that it becomes more a matter of survival than excellence?
BRETT FAVRE: To a certain degree I would agree with that. You know, but I think that’s part of this game is elements. Physically you look across this league, all the guys can run. They’re all strong, fast, quick, whatever. But mentally this measures toughness and discipline I think more so than it would in 70 degrees.
You know, I mean, maybe it takes away a little bit of the physical gifts that we were given, but I think it makes up for that with the mental discipline that you have to have. You know, I keep using the Chicago game as an example. They handled those conditions much better than we did, and I give them a lot of credit for that because it was bad. It was very windy, it was cold. I dropped two shotgun snaps, John Ryan had a rough day, we couldn’t complete passes. It looked like we didn’t want to be there, and they did. That’s what games like this come down to.
Q. Just how bad ‑‑ last off‑season just how badly did you want Randy Moss, and can you talk about what your concerns about this receiving corps was then and how it’s obviously worked out?
BRETT FAVRE: It’s worked out great. It’s worked out great for New England, as well. I’m not surprised by Randy’s success. You know, I felt like he could do that here. But my concern at that time, knowing we had a decent chance to get Randy, you bring in a guy who maybe, at least at that time, most people felt like he had played the better part of his years in Minnesota. Well, we’re seeing that he still has a lot left.
I felt like he could bring experience, obviously talent, a dimension that you can double him and triple him, and still, he can make plays. So that was what I was concerned about.
We have a young receiving corps outside of Donald. We know what Donald Driver can do and what he has done for us. I had a feeling Greg would emerge as a star in this league. Had he played the first two games, who knows? He’s going to continue to get better.
Our receiving corps is pretty good. We all here know that, have seen that. I think they will continue to get better, have good character, work ethic is great. They’re fun to work with and play with. So I’m very pleased with our group, and was last year. But there was a lack of experience, which I think our guys have made up for that.
Q. Talking with some of your teammates from the ’96 team, they all seem to remember different things from the Carolina NFC Championship game. Edgar remembers grinding out the clock at the end ‑‑
BRETT FAVRE: He would (laughter).
Q. Dorsey remembers having the best game of his life, Freeman remembers the catch that went on SI. What are some of the most vivid memories you have of that game? You were talking about the ’95 game that you don’t remember much about. I assume you remember a lot about that one?
BRETT FAVRE: I remember all those things. In fact, Antonio was here last week and we were actually talking about that touchdown that was on the cover of SI because we still run that type of route today. Dorsey had an unbelievable game, Ryan Grant in some ways reminded me of that game last week. Dorsey had a couple big catches in that game. But again, 200 total yards.
It was cold, but it seemed like it was a little bit warmer on our sidelines as the game got further into it, and it started off kind of rocky, a little bit like last week.
You know, I can remember thinking, you know, different than last week, the 14‑0 start that Seattle had last week, I was, as most people, very concerned. I didn’t know if we could make it up. But I could remember being down against Carolina here, thinking, oh, it’s not the way we want to ‑‑ Holmgren was a little mad. I think I threw a pick to Sam Mills or something. He was concerned, but I don’t remember being as worried maybe as he was. I just felt like we were too good. Surprising we started out that way, but we were too good to not come back, which we did. We made some wonderful plays.
The one play that stands out for me in that game offensively is when I stepped up in the pocket and Kevin Greene had me and I kind of two‑hand shoveled it out in front of me to Dorsey and got the 1st down. I can’t remember where it was in the game, but I remember it being a big play and a 1st down for us.
You know, that season or that game was a lot like our season. There was big play after big play, and it came from a lot of different guys. That game seemed like this was the way ‑‑ in some respects like last week, that’s the way it’s supposed to be here in Green Bay, cold, snowy, whatever.
Q. Two years removed from probably one of the worst seasons that the Packers have had last year, did you ever ‑‑ the 13‑and‑3 year that you had this year, what has it meant to you personally and to your career?
BRETT FAVRE: Well, you know, I really and truly say this with all honesty. Going into this year, and I’m sure people think differently, I had nothing to prove, and that’s the way I ‑‑ people say, hey, you come back and get this team back to where they once were and get back to playing the way you played back in the ’90s. I felt like I could do it or I wouldn’t be here.
But there wasn’t any added pressure on me that I put on myself to redeem myself. I didn’t feel like I had to do that. I still don’t feel like I have to do that. I felt like I could play at this level, have played at this level before. It’s been a while. This team has not been to a championship game in a long time. I’m sure most people didn’t think it could be done while I was playing again.
Maybe at times I doubted that myself, felt like I could play at a high level, felt like this team had potential, but 13 and 3 and back in a championship game, this is very rewarding, but I didn’t feel any added pressure. I’m very pleased with where we are, but I’m not content with the fact that we’re here, and okay, we’re just happy to be here and anything that happens after this is great. I mean, it will be a great year regardless, one that we will remember for a long time. But I want to take this thing further.
You know, I’m not going home doing cartwheels or anything like that thinking, my God, can you believe this? It’s been great, it’s been a fun ride, but we just don’t want to be the feel‑good story from this year.
Q. There are so many fans, so many Brett Favre fans, not only Packer fans but Brett Favre fans that have seen you this season and are even watching you right now, and I think there might be a perception that goes something like, he had one of the best years he’s ever had this year; he seems to be healthy and having as much fun as he’s ever had; he plays on the youngest team in the NFL that’s had a remarkable season to this point; his family was nearly unanimous in voting for him to come back last year. It all adds up to him coming back next year. What would you say to those fans?
BRETT FAVRE: When will they say it’s time to give it up? 4 and 12, they said, you’ve got to come back. 13 and 3, you’ve got to come back. And that’s a good thing. It is. All those factors go into my decision‑making.
But I don’t think that’s ever really going to stop. I mean, I can’t see people saying, okay, now you can go. We win the Super Bowl, everyone says, you’ve got to come back, man, you guys have another chance. You lose it, they say, you’ve got to come back. So you know, regardless, I think that’s going to be the case.
It’s nice to be in this position and situation right now. It’s obviously a lot different than it was the past couple years, but it’s not a bad thing for people to want you to come back and play or say they enjoy watching you play. I hope so. I hope I’ve been as much of a joy for people to watch as it has been for me to play, and more importantly, to play at the level we’re playing at right now. It feels good.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports