Jeff Pearlman dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss his new book, “Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre,” which is being billed as the definitive biography of the Hall of Fame quarterback.
The book, if nothing else, will shed light on one of the most complex and intriguing sports figures of the last quarter century – beginning with his upbringing. Yes, most Hall of Fame quarterbacks were Golden Boys from birth. Favre, however, was not.
“It’s weird,” Pearlman said on the Doug Gottlieb Show. “He played in Mississippi and missed his sophomore year with mono and was a starting quarterback the last two years. He had a great arm, but his dad was a Wing-T, wishbone-type coach, and he wasn’t a guy who changed systems. So Favre probably averaged four to five throws a game as a starer. People refer to him as a lightly recruited prospect. That is an exaggeration. He was unrecruited – completely unrecruited.”
As fate would have it, Favre got an opportunity at Southern Miss. The result was three MVPs, 11 Pro Bowls, two trips to the Super Bowl and one title.
Pearlman interviewed more than 500 people for the book, but not Favre. Still, Pearlman spoke to a variety of sources and got wonderful insight on Favre’s career – from his time with the Falcons to the Vikings to everything in between.
Pearlman also delves into Favre’s once-shaky relationship with Aaron Rodgers, who, as a rookie, made the mistake of calling Favre “Grandpa.”
“It took time for him to mature,” Pearlman said of Rodgers. “Favre, meanwhile, he’s mid-30s, he’s been around forever. (His mindset was), ‘Why am I going to help someone take my job?’ He was always haunted by the way he took the job from Don Majkowski. Majkowski got hurt, Favre steps in and Majkowski is basically a ghost after that. He was never in the business of helping someone come along and take his position.”
Pearlman, who also wrote “Sweetness” and “Boys Will Be Boys,” discovered one overarching consensus about Favre: that there was no consensus about him. People have different and wide-ranging takes on Favre depending on which stage of life they encountered him.
“I feel like his life is kind of this roller coaster of highs and lows and highs and lows,” Pearlman said. “But I do find him at the end very redeemable.”