Brett Favre’s Incredible 2003 MNF Performance a Day After Dad’s Tragic Death
Brett Favre is making headlines again. This time it’s not for anything he said or did recently. Favre is in the news because his former rival, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, mentioned the former Green Bay Packer quarterback’s incredible MNF performance in December 2003 against the Oakland Raiders, just a day after his father tragically died. Here’s a look back at what happened.
Brian Urlacher comments on Brett Favre’s performance after his dad died
Brian Urlacher was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. Two years prior, Brett Favre received the same honor. Favre became part of the headlines on Thursday after Urlacher compared Favre’s courageous 2003 performance — just a day after his father died — to NBA players in Orlando boycotting games in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“Brett Favre played the MNF game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity. NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”
Urlacher’s comments generated a firestorm of criticism, including a response from his former employer.
“The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization,” the statement read.
Ironically, hours after Urlacher’s comments, the Bears canceled practice in a display of solidarity with other teams and leagues protesting against racial injustice and police brutality.
Favre said Colin Kaepernick a hero like Pat Tillman
Interestingly, Brett Favre made headlines in June for making a comparison of his own between former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Arizona Cardinals player Pat Tillman, who left the NFL for military service where he was killed in a friendly fire incident.
Favre said Kaepernick’s actions to take a knee in 2016, which ultimately cost him his job, reminded him of Tillman, because both players willingly sacrificed their NFL careers to pursue something much bigger than a game.
“I can only think of — right off the top of my head — Pat Tillman’s another guy who did something similar, and we regard him as a hero,” Favre told TMZ. com. “So I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well… It’s not easy for a guy his age, Black or white, Hispanic, whatever, to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing and put it on hold — maybe forever — for something that you believe in.”
Brett Favre’s incredible game a day after dad died
Brett Favre had many memorable games in his 20-year Hall of Fame career, including a Super Bowl victory in 1996 over the New England Patriots. While that one was notable simply because it was the Super Bowl, seven years later Favre would leave an imprint in the minds of NFL fans for a Monday Night Football performance that was one of the ages.
In that game, the Packers traveled to Oakland to take on the Raiders. The fact that Favre was there, let alone played, is remarkable. That’s because just 24 hours earlier, Favre’s father, Irv, tragically died of a heart attack back in his home state of Mississippi. No one would have blamed Favre for skipping the game, but he didn’t, and in the process he continued his streak of not missing a start in 11 years.
“It’s the most nervous I’ve ever been in a game,” Favre told NFL Network for a special on the 100 greatest games in NFL history. “I was so worried I would lay an egg. I think people who were watching would say, ‘Hey it’s understandable. His father just passed away.’ I didn’t want that, I wanted to play better than I had ever played before.”
And he did just that. Favre threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns — in the first half. He finished the game completing 22 of 30 for 399 yards — just three yards shy of his career best at the time. Late in the game, an emotional Favre embraced his wife, Deanna, on the field before flying back home to Mississippi immediately after.
It was a moment that NFL fans watching will never forget as Favre carved up the Oakland defense, and as announcers Al Michaels and John Madden said numerous times during the broadcast, he did it with a little extra help from above.