Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Tony Romo is going to miss watching Brett Favre as much as anyone.
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback grew up in Wisconsin watching Favre and the Green Bay Packers. And Romo modeled his game after that of the three-time MVP, who retired Tuesday after 17 extraordinary seasons in the NFL.
"His style of play was as unique as it was effective," Romo said. "I admired his skills, his leadership, and especially his love for playing the game. You knew he was having fun when he played, and that made him fun to watch. He set the standard at the position for a long time."
Romo and Favre started against each other only once, on a Thursday night in November at Texas Stadium. Romo outplayed Favre, before Favre was hurt in the second quarter of a 37-27 victory for Dallas.
A New York Giants team coached by Tom Coughlin beat Favre and the Packers in the NFC championship game en route to winning the Super Bowl.
"What he has meant to Green Bay and that franchise and to the fans in Green Bay has been a tremendous rallying point throughout the 16 years he played there," Coughlin said. "He's brought them a Super Bowl victory, he brought them to another appearance in the Super Bowl and brought them to the NFC Championship Game this year."
Giants cornerback Corey Webster intercepted Favre's last pass in overtime of the NFC championship game that set up Lawrence Tynes' winning field goal.
"It's an honor to have competed against Brett Favre in his last game," Webster said. "Brett is by far one of the best quarterbacks I have ever competed against."
Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy admired Favre's competitiveness.
"He was the prototypical gunslinger type," Levy said. "He's the type of guy where, 'Oh, what's he throwing into that crowd for?' But he had intuition, toughness, resilience. It helped to have a good cast around him, which he often did. Those are all qualities which good quarterbacks have."
Bears coach Lovie Smith joked that he won't miss having to face him twice a season.
"I think this announcement comes about 17 years too late and I don't know if I will completely believe it until Green Bay opens the season without No. 4 lining up under center," he said. "In all seriousness, no one has given more to our game than Brett Favre. There is no player I respect more. He is one of the all-time greats to ever play in the NFL."
Favre started 253 consecutive regular-season games, a standard of durability that leaves Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in awe.
"As great a passer as he was, the thing I really admired was his toughness," Palmer said. "His record for most consecutive starts will never be broken. It's one of the most amazing records in sports. I guarantee you, he gets an immense amount of respect from every quarterback in the NFL for that record."
Praise for Favre extended beyond the football field. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong grew up a Cowboys fan, but that in no way diminished his regard for Favre.
"To me he's an ironman," Armstrong said Tuesday after speaking at an anti-smoking rally in Wisconsin. "He was around a long time. He played hard the whole time. He worked hard the whole time. He inspired and encouraged his team the whole time. He played through pain, he played through losses."
Armstrong said the two athletes he respects most are Favre and Andre Agassi.
"They were guys that played through pain, played through misery," he said.
Armstrong, a cancer survivor, said he also admired Favre for talking about his wife Deanna's battle with breast cancer.
"Just that fact that she was brave enough, and he brave enough to stand up as her husband, to tell the world about her disease," Armstrong said. "It's not easy to do that."
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