Brett Favre believes he might’ve played in NFL too long

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SUMRALL, Miss. — Brett Favre, on the verge of 50, looks like he can still play football. Trim and cut like Tom Brady, cardiovascularly fit from riding his bike along southern Mississippi country roads 110 miles a week, he lives a pretty simple life near where it all began. Every morning, he gets up around 5:30 and eats some strawberry yogurt with granola. He says some days he and wife Deana, both born and raised Catholic, pray the Rosary together. He goes and eats breakfast with a cadre of friends from around Hattiesburg. Then he’ll putter around his 465 acres, or hit some golf balls, or ride his bike.

Nine years removed from playing, and three years after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Favre is happy with this quiet life. He does a little radio, which, for the storyteller he is, is more of his genre than TV. He never really wanted to be a TV talking head.

I visited Favre in August, and we recorded a 47-minute podcast to use around the time of his 50th birthday, which is Thursday. Over the years, we’ve laughed a lot at his stories—and you’ll love the one he tells on the podcast about the automatic fart machine on a tense Packer team bus back in the day. There was some of that, but there was also some of, How are you doing? How are you really doing? Because the football world isn’t this gauzy place full of John Wayne heroes who fade off into a sweet retirement. Football players, particularly those from the Favre era and before, have the long-term effects of brain trauma to worry about now. And talking to Favre, you can tell he’s concerned. Not obsessed with it, but it’s on his mind, figuring that making those 297 consecutive starts, every game over 17-plus seasons, will exact a toll on him later in life.

I should preface what I’m about to write with a story. A couple of weeks after I saw Favre, he and I got together in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes—the quarterback who is most like Favre of any who have followed him—and Andy Reid, who has coached both of them. We went over film of Favre plays from 25 years ago, and from Mahomes plays of last year. They talked. Favre’s memory was razor-sharp of the tiniest details about each of his old plays. So there’s that.

The bottom line is that so much about the brain as it deals with aging and repetitive head trauma is unknown. I don’t draw conclusions to either understate or overstate anything about how the future will treat Brett Favre, because I just don’t know, and the experts don’t know.

But with the attention being paid to concussions and CTE, Favre knows there could be a new reality coming for him.

“For me, what I have fear of more than anything that 20 years ago was not even a thought is the mental side of it,” Favre said, sitting in his living room while a late-afternoon thunderstorm boomed outside. “You and I were talking before we started the podcast—some of the stories you brought up, I don’t remember. There was a point in my life where I remembered everything … A story I should know, whether it’s one from you or someone else, I have no recollection of it. It bugs me. It makes me wonder.”

Favre told a story of the former Steelers doctor, Julian Bales, reaching out to him after he retired. Bales wanted to do some testing on Favre, to investigate whether he might have elevated levels of Tao protein, the indicator that a person could have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Bales told Favre there was no known treatment for elevated Tao levels. “No disrespect,” Favre said he told Bales. “But I’d rather not know.”

I asked if he had thoughts that he stayed in football too long.

“Absolutely,” Favre said. “Absolutely. I wonder every day what tomorrow will bring just from [how] I did play. John Wayne was cool then. Maybe not so cool now.”

I asked if he was glad he played football. “Absolutely. Absolutely,” he said.

“I wouldn’t trade any of it, the good and the bad,” he continued. “I spoke most recently at a Boys & Girls Club in Hudsonville, Alabama. There’s 1,500 people. I was asked a lot of questions. One was if you could go back and change something. I said, Let me stop you. I always get this question. I wouldn’t change anything. It is what it is. First of all, we can’t change it, so it’s ridiculous to even think that. Secondly, if everything was good, if I completed every pass, we’d won every game, how would you ever know what a real great win would be like?

“It’s something as a coach I would tell my kids—I would tell my own kids, and I’ll tell my grandkids. Whatever you want to do, make sure that at 25 you don’t look back and say, ‘You know, I should’ve played.’ Or ‘I should’ve worked harder.’ Or, ‘I could’ve been the best in my class.’ Whatever that may be. Or at 35, or 40. When you leave high school, you don’t go back. You better make the most of it. Every adult that I’ve ever been around when talking about this subject, they all say the same thing. If they could go back, they’d go back. Not because you love chemistry or biology, but it was a simpler time in life. We all have some regrets to a certain extent but there are some that are controllable. You’ve got to have the absolute best time you can have. But you’ve got to work hard at it. I know I did … I’m proud of what I did. I had a blast doing it.”

When you listen to Favre, except for maybe-I-played-too-long stuff, you can tell he doesn’t wallow in the what-might-have-been. Most of his life is spent looking ahead, though he is prompted (by people like me) to recall what was. We probably talked for 10 minutes about the fearsome wild hogs on his property. Those are big concerns to him. Controlling the beavers damming up the property in spots—another concern. He likes the life now. He thinks about the future, yes. Does it torment him? Sure doesn’t seem like it.

Lots of players struggle with the post-football transition. I remember once, after the Packers won Favre’s lone Super Bowl, Favre told me if NFL Films tried to find him after his career, they’d have a hard time. One place he wouldn’t be: in the spotlight. That’s pretty much how it’s turned out. When I text Favre these days, sometimes it’s returned immediately, sometimes not at all, sometimes after a couple of days. He’s out riding his bike, or tending to daughter Breleigh’s volleyball games; she plays at Southern Miss, and Favre’s been a big benefactor to the program.

He watches some football—not a lot. He never was one for sports on TV. But he will watch Patrick Mahomes if the Chiefs are on. “He is more polished than I was,” Favre said. “I think our styles are very similar. We use our feet, use our arm strength. You never know what’s gonna come out, including me, including him.”

As I wrote last week, Favre also has been a big booster of a doctor at Florida State, Jake VanLandingham, who is working to develop a topical cream for football players to use pre-game to reduce the effects of head trauma during the game. VanLandingham is also developing a nasal spray to be used after a concussive blow, to lessen the length of time for recovery from a concussion. Favre has spoken to Roger Goodell about getting on board with a medication that could be an antidote to the concussion crisis at all levels of football. VanLandingham is in the trial phase with these medications, and he told me two major colleges could be using the meds within a year. The military, with its history of concussive incidents in combat, is interested in VanLandingham’s work.

So Favre has found other things to do, and other things to think about on those bike trips.

“I try to ride about—I average 110 to 120 miles a week … Like Deana and I rode 27 miles two days ago. Some of the back roads, some of the main roads just depending on what time. When she got me a bike about 11, 12 years ago, one of those bikes you pick up with one finger, I said, What am I gonna do with that? She said, we can go biking together. I’m like, don’t be ridiculous, I’m not biking. How far do you go? She said about 25 miles. I said Are you crazy? Twenty-five miles? One time? One day? And lo and behold, she said if you start getting into it, you won’t waste your time for anything less than. And she’s right. The first couple times I went like three miles and I’m like, alright let’s turn around and go back. I’m thankful that she talked me into it.

“I love to jog but not when it’s 98 and humid. So in the winter I’ll jog a little bit if my body feels okay. I ran in a half-marathon last year with Breleigh, our youngest daughter. She said, ‘Dad, I think I’m gonna sign up for a half marathon. Will you do it with me?’ What are you supposed to say? I’m not doing it? I said of course I’ll do it. So I try to stay as in-shape as possible.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America here.

How to watch the 2023 NFL honors: TV, live stream info, date, awards, location, and more

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The 12th annual NFL Honors will take place this Thursday, February 9 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona–just a few days shy of Super Bowl 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Live coverage begins at 9 PM ET on NBC and Peacock. Coverage will also be available on NFL Network. See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 NFL Honors.

RELATED: How to Watch Super Bowl 2023 – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs

What is the NFL Honors?

The NFL Honors recognizes the league’s best performances, plays, and athletes form the 2022 season. This year’s celebration will be particularly special as Kelly Clarkson–an Emmy and Grammy award winning artist–will be the first woman to host the show.

What awards are presented at the NFL Honors?

  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
  • Best Moment of the Year
  • NFL Fan of the Year
  • AP Most Valuable Player
  • AP Coach of the Year
  • AP Comeback Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Player of the Year
  • AP Defensive Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • NFL Inspire Change Tribute
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023
  • FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year
  • Salute to Service Award
  • Bud Light Celly of the Year
  • Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
  • Deacon Jones Sack Leader Award
  • AP Assistant Coach of the Year

How to watch the 2023 NFL Honors:

  • Date: Thursday, February 9
  • Location: Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Time: 9 PM ET
  • TV Channel: NBC and NFL Network
  • Live Stream: Peacock

Everything you need to know about Super Bowl 2023:

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL season and playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

 

Eagles Super Bowl history: When is the last time Philadelphia made it to, won the Super Bowl?

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After a dominant 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles are vying to earn their first Super Bowl win since the 2017 season, when they defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Jalen Hurts and the Birds will go head-to-head with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2023. Find out how to watch below as well as a full breakdown of the Eagles’ Super Bowl history. Click here for a look back on the Eagles’ journey to football’s biggest game of the year.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Schedule – Bracket, game dates, times and TV networks

Eagles total Super Bowl wins

One (2017 season). The Eagles have won one of their three Super Bowl appearances in franchise history. The Eagles appeared in four pre-merger NFL championship games, where they won three of them (1948, 1949 and 1960).

Most recent Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl appearance

  • 2017 season: Defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII

The Eagles were victorious in their last Super Bowl appearance. The victory was a redemption 13 years in the making, after the Eagles lost to Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in the 2004 season, 24-21.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023: Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

Philadelphia Eagles most recent Super Bowl win

That 2017 appearance was of course Philadelphia’s most recent Super Bowl triumph, and one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history. The game is most remembered for the heroics of quarterback Nick Foles, who stepped in late in the season to replace the injured Carson Wentz, and for Foles’ catch on the trick play known as the “Philly Special.”

Eagles Super Bowl history

  • 1980 season: Lost Super Bowl XV vs the Oakland Raiders, 27-10
  • 2004 season: Lost Super Bowl XXXIX vs the New England Patriots, 24-21
  • 2017 season: Won Super Bowl LII vs the New England Patriots, 41-33

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

RELATED: Who is playing in Super Bowl 2023?

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs scores: Final bracket, recaps, results for every AFC and NFC postseason game


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.