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Favre's moment arrives Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Green Bay Packers' fourth victory in their past five Metrodome appearances was over for 50 minutes when Brett Favre made his way into a makeshift interview room.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Green Bay Packers' fourth victory in their past five Metrodome appearances was over for 50 minutes when Brett Favre made his way into a makeshift interview room.

He was wearing a black T-shirt and brown shorts and could have passed for a good ol' Mississippian on his way to snag a mess of catfish.

Except that there were numerous TV cameras and several rows of reporters to chronicle what Favre had to say, seeing as how three hours earlier he had become the most prolific thrower of touchdown passes in NFL history.

The record-breaker was No. 421, and it came on a 16-yard slant to Greg Jennings 10 minutes into the first period.

Favre's 17-year career has been built on the spontaneous, on the unpredictable, and Packers fans on every bar stool in Danbury and Mondovi and Siren will revel for years in the retelling of what happened on this historic throw by Brett the Great.

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You see, the Packers were facing third-and-7, and failure meant a field goal, and everyone in the Dome had the same reaction -- "Where's he going?" -- when Favre bolted from his shotgun position with six seconds left on the play clock.

Favre was racing to his right to tell tight end Donald Lee not to go down field as dictated by the original play call. He wanted Lee to move into the right flat and leave the middle open for Jennings to run his slant past Vikings nickel back Marcus McCauley.

What did he say to Lee? "I told him to get out of the way," Favre said.

He said this with a wide smile, and then went into a more detailed explanation of his race to make sure Lee understood what he wanted.

"I knew we were pressed for time," Favre said. "I thought we could get it off."

Favre was back in the shotgun as the clock went from 2 to 1, ordered the snap, and that's when this play truly turned astounding -- when he showed the composure that now goes with the always-present rocket arm and indomitable spirit.

You race over to tell a tight end to stay out of the way. You race back and take an immediate snap.

What are 99 percent of the men who have played NFL quarterback going to do in that frenetic circumstance? They are going to throw hurriedly, at the first blur of the receiver's jersey they see as he cuts across the middle.

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But not Brett Favre -- not when he has the guile that comes from being 10 days short of his 38th birthday, and not when making his 241st consecutive regular-season start.

"That was a second-window pass," Jennings said.

Meaning, as Jennings slants, Favre looks for early space in the defense. There's none, so that window is closed, and Jennings keeps slanting toward the end zone. Favre waits another count, and then hits him in the second window.

Touchdown 421 for a career, and the first points in what became a 23-16 victory for the 4-0 Packers. As Jennings hit the end zone, Favre raised his arms, pumped his fist a few times and then raced to Jennings to lift him off the turf in triumph.

"He must have thought I was Donald (Driver)," Jennings said. "He usually only lifts up Donald. This was the first time he's lifted me."

Boos were the first sound from many Vikings fans, as the Packers poured off the bench to celebrate with Favre. Soon, there was a video on the scoreboard screens with Dan Marino, the record-holder for the previous 13 years, paying tribute to Favre.

When the announcer read a script offering congratulations from the whole of the NFL, nearly the entire audience -- purple and green-and-gold alike -- stood for an ovation.

Once he returned to the sideline, Favre ran to the stands to share a country hug and a Southern smooch with Deanna, his wife and a cancer survivor. The only time his emotions came to the surface in the mass interview was when he was asked about that moment with Deanna.

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Asked about the Marino tribute, Favre said: "I didn't see it. When was it ... halftime?"

The timeline was explained to Favre, he offered thanks to Marino, and then said: "I never considered myself as good a quarterback as Dan Marino. Dan was a hero, as were a lot of other guys I played (against) early in my career.

"As I've said, to be mentioned in the same breath as Dan Marino and some of the other great quarterbacks -- that's more important than any record."

-- Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune

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