Two Hall of Fame quarterbacks competing for the same job, with the drafting of one becoming a signal about the other's future career path. They became near-mortal enemies.
Now, Packers quarterbacking legend Brett Favre tells Wilde And Tausch on WTMJ sister station ESPN Wisconsin that he and his successor, all-time NFL leading passer Aaron Rodgers, have become genuine friends.
Favre joined the show in advance of this weekend's American Family Insurance Championship Celebrity Foursome he will participate in with Jack Nicklaus, Andy North and Toby Keith in Madison.
He says that friendship has especially developed as Rodgers has gained an understanding of what Favre's own career pathway was when Rodgers became a Packer through the 2005 NFL Draft.
In Brett Favre's own words, he first described the low point between them, and how things have changed since then.
From "strong enemies" to "very good" relationship: @BrettFavre about his evolving friendship with @aaronrodgers12 on WTMJ sister station @ESPNMilwaukee & @ESPNMadison's @WildeAndTausch.— 620wtmj (@620wtmj) June 18, 2019
Much more in-depth from the interview: https://t.co/m0REtQ7LGC #Packers pic.twitter.com/TpMFxwqDWe
"I would say (we were) strong enemies. I wanted to play my tail off, and so did he, especially when we played against each other. I thought we got along really well when he was a young, 21, 22, 23-year-old, and then we went about our way. Obviously, he has paved his own way and then some. He stands alone in the league today as the best player in my opinion. I'm OK with that.
"Honestly, I know people want to (ask), 'Who's the best player in Packers history?' People want to pick sides. I'm not picking sides. I could care less what people say either way. I think Aaron is a great quarterback presently, one of the all-time greats in the league itself and will be remembered as that. I'm really proud of him.
"Our relationship now is very good, and I'm more happy about that than anything else. I've been able to see a different side of him, a non-playing side. I think he's at a much better place in his life right now, which is great for him, and I think great for the Packers."
Wilde And Tausch asked if Favre regretted his take on what his role with Rodgers was, not believing it was his job to mentor the current Packers quarterback when they were teammates for three seasons (2005-07).
"There are a lot of things I've said and done in my life that I don't stand by. Saying 'I'm not here to mentor anybody, especially a quarterback,' I stand by that. I think Aaron gets that as well. You want to play as long as you want to play.
"When Aaron was drafted, and obviously a first-round pick which had never happened in my time there, you know to a certain extent the writing's on the wall. At some point, he is going to get his opportunity, which means you're getting phased out.
"I wasn't upset with Aaron at all. My initial thoughts were 'It's about time. I knew this time would come.' But I still felt like I could play, and I knew ultimately that I judged whether or not I would play longer or not by the way I played. I controlled my destiny. Not Aaron. Not anyone else. If I felt like I still could play, I was going to work as hard as I possibly could and do the things that I'd always done and let the chips fall where they may. So, there was never any animosity towards Aaron.
"I can point to so many times where Aaron said, 'Hey, what are you doing?' after our team film study after practice. I said 'I'm going to watch a little film.' (He asked) 'Do you mind if I tag along?' (I responded) 'No.' We would sit in meeting rooms and watch film and he would ask questions, and I enjoyed that. I feel like some of things have carried over into how he plays today, how he looks at things. Obviously, his game is in some ways a lot different than mine, and it's very good. I enjoy watching him play.
"It isn't your job to mentor. That's a coach's job. It's the young guy's job to get what he can from the guy in front of him. Some people understood that comment. Other people (said) 'How dare you do that!' It is a competitive job in sport, and I think sometimes people lose sight of it."
Favre also described how Rodgers truly gets where Favre was when the Packers drafted the current two-time NFL MVP, and how .
"Aaron and I have really spoke a lot in the last year and a half....he and I were talking not that long ago. He made the comment, sort of joking but so true.
"He goes, 'I'm kind of now at that spot or time in my career where you exactly were when I came in. I see and understand why you were what you were.'
"I don't know exactly from a definition point what that exactly means, but (perhaps it means) somewhat reclusive, I guess, in regards to when you leave the building, and also when you're in it. I watched film with the guys. I was eager to help, because I wanted to win, but really you kind of look around and you go 'Where did everyone go? I'm the last man standing here when I got here?' That's the case right now (with a few exceptions). Everyone else is gone."
"What is different when you get to the age that you got to, that Aaron (is at), when you're the elder statesman, you're not really into what the young guys are into. You're over by your locker. You could care less where they're going that night or who they're going with, or what they've got planned. You're wanting to get through today, go home, play with your kids, help with their homework, and make it through the next day, so on and so forth. When you're 21, 22, 23, 24, that phase of your career, you're on scholarship."
"You look at it differently when you get to the age that Aaron's at now. Now he gets it. You look around at the team snack, and you go, 'You know what, I'm the last guy left.' That's reality."