Before capping the 1996 season by leading the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory, Brett Favre was 4-3 in playoff games. Not bad for a 26-year-old who at the time probably didn’t know he’d play another 15 NFL seasons.
The four wins came against the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and twice against the division rival Detroit Lions. The losses? Well, they all came at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. And all were played at Texas Stadium.
The Cowboys, who were favored by at least nine in each of those games, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, won 27-17 in 1994, 35-9 in 1995 and 38-27 in 1996.
“I remember what the biggest issue was, we couldn’t get past Dallas,” Favre said Friday before a SMU Athletic Forum luncheon at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. “Now, they were good. They were good. Each year we felt like we were gaining. But I always felt like, if we don’t get them at our place, we’re always going to be second fiddle.”
Favre completed 56 percent of his passes in those games, averaging 283 passing yards per contest and totaling five touchdowns and five interceptions.
The following season when Favre and the Packers went on to defeat the New England Patriots, 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI, the Cowboys lost to the Carolina Panthers, 26-17, in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Although some of his teammates wanted their Super Bowl run to go through Dallas, Favre admitted that he was rooting for the Panthers to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs.
“I was thinking, ‘Please, please, beat them.’ I just had enough,” Favre said. “Other guys were saying, ‘I want them again.’ I’d had them enough. That was the biggest issue, we just couldn’t get past Dallas.
“It’s just hard to stay on top. It’s hard to get to the top. What they did was really amazing.”
Following his 10 minutes with the media and some time to eat lunch, Favre sat down with the voice of the Cowboys, Brad Sham, to entertain the guests with stories of his career. While sitting center stage, Favre said although growing up in Kiln, Mississippi made him want to see the New Orleans Saints do well, their lack of success turned him into a Cowboys supporter.
“I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan. I loved Roger Staubach,” he said. “That was back when teams kept the same players on the roster for a long time. Drew Pearson, Randy White, Charlie Waters, Danny White, Robert Newhouse, Tony Dorsett, Billy Joe DuPree, I could go just on and on. I always dreamed of playing for the Cowboys, playing in the Super Bowl.”
Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, no doubt about it. But it’s unlikely that the Cowboys would’ve had more success in the 1990s with Favre than they did with Troy Aikman.
Now, how Favre could’ve helped the Cowboys from 2001 and beyond is a different story.