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Detmer confirms Favre’s ignorance of nickel defense

Reuters

If anyone thought Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is simply workshopping folksy Terry Bradshaw-style aw-shucks shtick when telling a story about the time Favre asked teammate Ty Detmer what “nickel” defense means, think again.

Detmer has confirmed that the question happened, and that Favre wasn’t playing dumb.

He didn’t know,” Detmer told Tully Corcoran of TheBigLead.com. “He was sincere in asking.”

The question came in 1993, Detmer’s second year in the league and Favre’s second with the Packers. And Detmer is convinced Favre wasn’t yanking Detmer’s tie.

“[I]t was during a serious part of the meeting,” Detmer said. “This wasn’t jacking around in the locker room, and throwing it out there. I did kinda question it, you know, ‘Are you serious?’ You could tell he was, I just figured I’d better double-check it.”

Detmer’s broader experiences with Favre confirmed for Detmer that the quarterback wasn’t keen on details and nuance.

“It was the first time I’d been around anybody that just kind of winged it,” Detmer said. “You could tell the first year he got to play, first year in Green Bay, Don Majkowski was the starter and [Favre] goes in, and he wasn’t great at remembering the formations. Back then we didn’t have the coach-and-quarterback helmet. We had to memorize all the formations, and we would signal in the play. You had to know the formation for that play that week, and they changed it every week. You knew he didn’t really have a great grasp on the formations and didn’t really study them as hard as they needed to be studied to be able to call them every week. He was a genuine guy that loved playing the game, but didn’t really put a ton of time into it.”

Which reiterates a question previously raised when sharing Favre’s latest telling of a now-old (but still good) story: Would Favre thrive in today’s NFL, where the franchise quarterbacks make preparation a full-year obsession?

If only there had been a recent example of a guy who loved partying more than preparing, and who preferred to just wing it.

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53 Responses to “Detmer confirms Favre’s ignorance of nickel defense”
  1. Wisconsin's Favorite Son Jeffrey Be Dahmed says: Jun 9, 2017 7:15 PM

    This might be funny to some. But not to us in Wisconsin. My Packers have a good handle on ignorance. Just you wash and lurn.

  2. drakost says: Jun 9, 2017 7:29 PM

    Even being a Cowboys fan you have to smile at this. If anything Brett Farve was one of the largest personalities that you will ever know.
    Though one does have to wonder what he would have been like if he had the intense drive to know every nuance like a Brady or Manning. How good could that man have been?

  3. 400marios says: Jun 9, 2017 7:39 PM

    Favre’s “awww shucks” attitude won a lot of games…lost a lot of them too

  4. vikefan284296 says: Jun 9, 2017 7:52 PM

    I heard that as he got older he started to study a lot more and actually really enjoyed practices during the early and middle part of his career. Not saying I don’t think he winged it a lot, but he prepared much harder than people give him credit for.

  5. belugataxi says: Jun 9, 2017 7:53 PM

    The “example” you’re searching for was named Johnny Something… I recall that not working out too well.

  6. mdippong26 says: Jun 9, 2017 8:04 PM

    The difference between Favre and the guy you guys are referring to at the end is that Favre was actually good at football, where Billy wasn’t.

  7. squackduckhawk says: Jun 9, 2017 8:07 PM

    I understand where you are coming from Drakost, but if he did put that much film and study time in he wouldn’t have attempted half of the things that made him so great.

  8. stoptellingmeaboutyourfantasyteam says: Jun 9, 2017 8:09 PM

    This “revelation” about him not knowing nickel defense has come up during the slow phase of every offseason for the past five years.

  9. cheeseisfattening says: Jun 9, 2017 8:10 PM

    “He was a genuine guy that loved playing the game, but didn’t really put a ton of time into it.”
    —————————————–

    Early in his career Favre was have too much fun bingeing with the locals to study a playbook.

  10. edukator4 says: Jun 9, 2017 8:11 PM

    when football was fun to watch as a fan. this version of football is too over analyzed and over coached. same safe boring plays week in and week out. give me the 90s brand of football over todays everyday

  11. TL;DR says: Jun 9, 2017 8:12 PM

    Fake it ’til you make it. It’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see how it pays off for ’em..

  12. pastabelly says: Jun 9, 2017 8:14 PM

    Favre had a natural feel for the game. He probably understood how to beat a nickel without knowing what it was. Favre was great, but his problem was that he tried to do too much. Always enjoyed seeing him play though.

  13. shnakeriver says: Jun 9, 2017 8:18 PM

    And 508 TD passes later…

  14. joshr99164 says: Jun 9, 2017 8:19 PM

    This is true early but by the end of his career, Favre was one of the smarter QBs in the league. Had seen so many defenses.

  15. ibillwt says: Jun 9, 2017 8:23 PM

    Being a knucklehead is endearing to some fans but it cost them rings and it’s why Rogers took his job. Much rather have a Rogers, Ryan, Wilson type. Then there is of course, The Great One, but there will never another one approach what he’s done.

  16. h0c2000 says: Jun 9, 2017 8:24 PM

    Playing for Irsay and the Colts, he’d have a supplier.

  17. beerbratscheese says: Jun 9, 2017 8:27 PM

    Mike Holmgren is a huge reason for Favre’s success. Make no mistake about that. Favre had all the ability to be the HoF QB he is/was. But Holmgren knew how to coach Favre up to maximize that ability.

  18. officialgame says: Jun 9, 2017 8:37 PM

    The picture at the top speaks volumes.

  19. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jun 9, 2017 8:42 PM

    cheeseisfattening says:
    Jun 9, 2017 8:10 PM

    “He was a genuine guy that loved playing the game, but didn’t really put a ton of time into it.”
    —————————————–

    Early in his career Favre was have too much fun bingeing with the locals to study a playbook.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Holy Guacamole, this purple actually uttered a truth. The other purples may rise against him for it, but by golly he did it.

  20. Packernet says: Jun 9, 2017 8:50 PM

    This is not new. Was in NFL Film’s a football life years ago. Why the big deal now?

  21. Packernet says: Jun 9, 2017 8:52 PM

    And Favre hasn’t had a drink since 1995, I believe, so not quite sure what you mean by partying. Favre never missed a game or practice, thinking he wasn’t a complete idiot.

  22. beerbratscheese says: Jun 9, 2017 8:52 PM

    ibillwt says:
    Jun 9, 2017 8:23 PM
    Being a knucklehead is endearing to some fans but it cost them rings and it’s why Rogers took his job. Much rather have a Rogers, Ryan, Wilson type. Then there is of course, The Great One, but there will never another one approach what he’s done.
    ————-

    When did Wayne Gretzky play QB in the NFL?

  23. bittersportspills says: Jun 9, 2017 8:59 PM

    Detmer had more of everything than Favre.
    Except talent.

  24. stellarperformance says: Jun 9, 2017 9:06 PM

    Even in off years the Packers are never concerned about the Vikings. The Viking trolls like to think they’re on our level as fans, but they’re not, not even close.

    There are only a few fan-bases that enjoy a high level of success from their team of choice year in and year out, and the Vikings aren’t one of them. They have no clue what it’s like to be us.

    They want what we have and they want to be us. That’s why they fight with insults and put-downs, because they have no football-related bragging rights whatsoever. None. At least not compared to us.

    It’s called truth. Eat it and enjoy.

  25. mistercakes says: Jun 9, 2017 9:27 PM

    Nice double-burn of both Favre and Johnny Manziel with that last sentence 😉

  26. EJ says: Jun 9, 2017 9:32 PM

    Favre may have not known the technical term, but he knew what he was seeing on the field and what to do in each situation. Nickel, Dime, Prevent… It didn’t seem to matter to Brett, he had a knack for putting the ball right where it needed to be at that point in time. Football wouldn’t have been the same without a Brett Favre.

  27. nyneal says: Jun 9, 2017 9:38 PM

    I laugh when people criticize Favre. When he was the three time MVP he was the best player in the league. Not just QB, the best player. And to his credit, he did become a complete QB who knew how to read defenses as well as anyone.
    And to those who criticize his interceptions, I will tell you this, because I have looked. His pass to interception ratio is not nearly as bad as people say. He is better than a lot of really good QB’s in that regard.
    Favre could throw the ball with anyone who ever played this game. At the QB challenge when he was a young player, they had the longest throw challenge. Each QB got to throw the ball three times and their longest throw is what counted. Favre passed on his first two attempts. The leader at that point was Randall Cunningham, who had thrown the ball about 81 yards. John Elway had also thrown the ball over 80 yards. Favre then took his one and only throw and beat Randall’s throw by about 2 yards, but his throw went out of bounds, so it didn’t count. Still, he showed who had the strongest arm.
    Brett Favre’s body of work compares favorably to anyone who ever played QB in the NFL. He is easily one of the greatest QB’s to have ever played the position. It’s impossible to say who is the best who ever played, because each era is different, but there is no doubt that Favre is one of the best to have ever played.
    His critics focus in on interceptions in big games, but they fail to recognize how many big throws he made in many big games which no one else could make. The one I will never forget was a throw he made against the Bucs. He fired the ball like a laser through 4 defenders to get it to Antonio Freeman for a TD. Even on slow motion replay, it was an amazing throw that left the defenders shaking their heads. I truly believe there is no other QB who could have made that throw.
    So all you Favre critics, you could not be more wrong about him. No other QB could have taken some of those Packers teams he played on as far as he took them.

  28. 24601jvj says: Jun 9, 2017 9:44 PM

    What did you expect! The man can’t read!

  29. nfl fan says: Jun 9, 2017 10:05 PM

    Well, at least we know of 1 accomplishment in Detmer’s illustrious career.

  30. vottorific says: Jun 9, 2017 10:25 PM

    He was fun to watch play the game. Worth the price of admission.

  31. phillybrilliance says: Jun 9, 2017 11:01 PM

    Sounds like detmer has a bone to pick with Favre. I don’t believe Favre had the reputation for being overly affectionate to backup qbs.

    Oh and comparing Favre to Johnny football is a tad bit ridiculous. You aren’t that good for that many years by just winging it.

  32. chrisk61 says: Jun 9, 2017 11:06 PM

    if you look at favre’s career

    the 1st half was much better than the 2nd half.

    in fact it is almost the tale of 2 careers. great and mediocre.

  33. jjbadd385 says: Jun 10, 2017 3:38 AM

    I’m a Denver fan, but Favre is my 2nd favorite Qb of all time. Hands down the toughest SOB to play the position….

  34. Thomas says: Jun 10, 2017 4:21 AM

    Oh yeah and Detmer sucks.

  35. joejoedancer55 says: Jun 10, 2017 5:04 AM

    Just stop that “today’s NFL” narrative..he retired 6 seasons ago, not 30. The NFL didnt magically change in the last 6 seasons so much that Favre would be out of place

  36. rdsdawgsnvkns says: Jun 10, 2017 6:40 AM

    So what? What’s detmer’s point? Brett knows what type of jeans to wear, the example didn’t keep farve from winning, he beat pill abuse, booze, odds of playing a stellar career. At least he didnt choke to the seahawks…

  37. fjd10 says: Jun 10, 2017 8:01 AM

    Favre would have been greater today than ever. The reason is all the rule changes to protect the QB and receivers. He took a beating that todays quarterbacks don’ have to take.

  38. absolutevisuals says: Jun 10, 2017 8:35 AM

    After what Favre did on the Vikings, he would light up today’s NFL (as long as he’s protected). All the complexity isn’t necessarily good for the game, and it’s obvious in some cases it stiffles players due to round peg, square hole syndrome that a good number of NFL coaches are known for. Kills their confidence and/or are thrown into the dog house because of lack of patience by those very same coaches.

  39. TheDPR says: Jun 10, 2017 10:04 AM

    Favre had how many Super Bowl wins since the mid-90s? Appearances? How about interceptions? Seems he never quite fully adapted to the modern era of football, after all.

  40. bradjames33160 says: Jun 10, 2017 10:11 AM

    Ty Detmer’s good people. He’s just a humble Texan who was a valuable backup and even excelled with the Eagles for several weeks when given the opportunity. People like him are what football needs. BYU loves him in his current role.

  41. filthymcnasty3 says: Jun 10, 2017 10:20 AM

    Just another Packer HOF QB.

    It’s almost like Green Bay a factory that is the worlds leading supplier of awesomeness.

  42. guyjuneguyjune says: Jun 10, 2017 11:47 AM

    Any defensive formation that employs 5 defensive backs. I just looked it up.

  43. rdensing says: Jun 10, 2017 11:59 AM

    Well, Favre’s attitude and preparation is why he was shipped out of Atlanta. Only Ron Wolf believing in him kept him in the league.

  44. packfaninpackland says: Jun 10, 2017 12:59 PM

    Seems he did ‘okay’ anyway !!!

  45. aarons444 says: Jun 10, 2017 1:40 PM

    if you look at favre’s career.. the 1st half was much better than the 2nd half… in fact it is almost the tale of 2 careers. great and mediocre.
    ===

    2001-2004 he averaged over 3700 yards and 30 tds per season.

    At age 38 and 40 he averaged 4000 yards and 30 tds each season.

    Mediocre? I guess if Peyton Manning was the only measuring stick.

    The Green Bay Packers were better from 1995-1998. That was the difference.

  46. defscottyb says: Jun 10, 2017 3:44 PM

    No wonder he through so many picks.

  47. minnesota1970 says: Jun 10, 2017 7:36 PM

    filthymcnasty3 says:
    Jun 10, 2017 10:20 AM
    Just another Packer HOF QB.

    It’s almost like Green Bay a factory that is the worlds leading supplier of awesomeness.

    //////////

    Yawn

  48. thirdistheworrd says: Jun 12, 2017 9:16 AM

    ibillwt says:
    Jun 9, 2017 8:23 PM
    Being a knucklehead is endearing to some fans but it cost them rings and it’s why Rogers took his job. Much rather have a Rogers, Ryan, Wilson type. Then there is of course, The Great One, but there will never another one approach what he’s done
    ————————–
    I bet you’re a lot of fun at parties

  49. ibillwt says: Jun 12, 2017 9:55 AM

    There ain’t ANY fun at the party when you don’t win.

  50. siuleno says: Jun 12, 2017 12:02 PM

    rose colored glasses. i watched him from the stands his whole career. he wasnt very good after holmgren left. facts. see what happened when ray rhodes came in? and sherman’s first year? never made it back to the super bowl. blew it several times. even with a stellar rb in ahman green. so. many. interceptions. he had the ball in his hands in the final minutes when i went to see him in his second super bowl.. he did NOT win that one. does anyone remember the standing ovations he got when he threw the ball out of bounds instead of trying to make something happen!? not the greatest qb. i’ll take rodgers over him every time. when he won his only super bowl. was he the mvp? nope. he had a short field every game that year because of #81. truth.

  51. djvh2 says: Jun 12, 2017 3:52 PM

    “And Favre hasn’t had a drink since 1995, I believe”

    I am and always have been a die hard Packers fan, since 1960, but you can’t honestly believe that.
    He was having beers with Hornung on the day he announced to everyone that he was sober.

  52. wordsmith513 says: Jun 12, 2017 9:08 PM

    Favre preferred to keep it simple. After all in the end, he won a SB and when he left, owned some passing records. How many QBs has the Vikings & Bears had in just the time Favre was the QB in GB? Exactly ………..

  53. cornerblitz says: Jun 15, 2017 1:09 PM

    Favre would dominate if he came into the league today just like he did back then. He might not make it as long, but don’t underestimate or forget the talent and will of a young Brett.

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