Favre began his speech with a joke about returning to the field before moving on to thank Jesus.
“Thank you Jesus Christ, my Lord and saviour. Believe me, I’m blessed. I’m an extremely blessed man. I look at my family. What a lucky man. To play a game that I love so much for 20 years, to have all the wonderful things happen, what a blessing. To share that joy with you guys here tonight. What an incredible night. What an incredible week.”
The 46-year-old was introduced to the audience by his wife Deanna who also presented him with the infamous gold jacket.
When Favre took to the stage, he was quick to acknowledge the prominent and positive role that his wife had played in his life and career.
“And having my wife introduce me was an easy choice considering she was there long before my first touchdown pass, long after the last.”
The former Green Bay Packers player and his wife are high school sweethearts who stayed together throughout college and eventually married in 1996.
During Favre’s time as starting quarterback at Southern Mississippi University, Deanna fell pregnant with their first child. Deanna was also in college and the couple were unmarried at the time. Despite the attempts by friends to encourage her to have an abortion, she refused to have one.
In her memoirs, Don’t Bet Against Me, Deanna wrote of the experience: “There was no way I could destroy an innocent life.”
That “innocent life” became the couple’s first daughter who they named Brittany. She is now an attorney and the mother of two boys, and was in the audience along with her husband.
The Favre’s have been through some testing times. In 2003, Irv, Favre’s father, a central figure of support and inspiration to him, passed away. Then, 10 months later his brother-in-law was killed in an ATV accident and a few days later Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The couple who are both Catholic have openly spoken about how crucial their faith has been in helping them cope with the difficulties they’ve faced throughout the years.
Favre’s father’s sudden death occurred the night before the Green Bay Packers were due to play the Raiders in Oakland. After deliberating over whether or not to play the game, Favre made the decision that he would and went on to play in great physical form. He said during his Hall of Fame speech that his father would have been the one to present him with the honour if he was still alive today.
While Favre didn’t break any records by having his spouse introduce him – she’s the second wife to do so for a Hall of Famer – he may have broken one with his speech. His 36 minute long acceptance speech in which he looked back on his career and thanked those who had helped make his achievements possible is believed to be the longest in professional football Hall of Fame history.
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