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Favre says comparisons to Romo are overdone, but not off base

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Chris Jenkins/Associated Press
November 28, 2007
— With prime playoff positioning at stake for the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, Brett Favre doesn’t feel the need to play along with one of the game’s other compelling story lines.

Still, Favre has to admit there are some striking similarities between himself and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.


Favre sees himself in Romo’s knack for turning broken plays into big gains. He can identify with Romo’s rise from relative obscurity. And if there is any other player in the league who plays with the level of pure joy Favre does, it’s Romo.


But Favre thinks the comparisons are a little overblown, and not necessarily fair to the kid.


“I am sure he is probably tired of answering this question or talking about it himself,” Favre said. “I think he’s his own player. I think the fact that he’s from Wisconsin and is younger than me and watched me play and was a Packer fan enhances this whole scenario.”


Romo spent this week fighting the comparison, too.


“Brett’s Brett,” Romo said. “At the end of the day, anyone who tries to pretend there’s another Brett is just kidding themselves. That’s like saying you’ve got the next Jordan and all that stuff. That’s just what people want to talk about. But the reality is, he’s one of a kind and there’ll never be another one like him. It’s just neat to be able to watch him from time to time.”


Romo did indeed grow up in Burlington, a small town in southeastern Wisconsin. But unlike many folks in America’s Dairyland, Romo didn’t have a Favre shrine in his house as a kid. Didn’t wear holes in a tattered No. 4 jersey. Didn’t own a cheesehead.


Truth be told, Romo was more of a basketball guy. He wanted to be like Mike, not Brett.


And – gasp! – he even admitted this week that he rooted for John Elway, not Favre, in the 1998 Super Bowl.


“I understand the angle and it’s nice and fun, but I have to beat the guy this week,” Romo said. “At the end of the day I don’t want him to pass for 265 yards against us. That’s the bottom line. I’ll root for him on every other game.”


But even if Romo didn’t grow up idolizing Favre or trying to pattern his game after the three-time MVP, the end result certainly looks familiar.


“Absolutely,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week. “I had a conversation with Brett this morning and he even made the statement that Romo reminds him of himself in his early years.”


Favre says the most pronounced similarity is Romo’s ability to scramble out of trouble and try to make a jaw-dropping play – and get away with it, at least most of the time.


“His creativity to bail himself out is very good,” Favre said. “It’s probably the same mentality I had. There is never a bad play, which can get you in trouble sometimes. For the most part it’s worked out for him.”


Heck, Favre admits that Romo might be faster than he ever was.


“Or he seems that way,” Favre said.


Favre sees similarity in their backgrounds, too.


Favre was a second-round draft pick out of Southern Mississippi and threw only four passes for Atlanta as a rookie. Most fans scratched their heads when then-Packers general manager Ron Wolf made a trade with the Falcons to bring Favre to Green Bay.


Romo signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2003, and didn’t even get to throw a pass in a regular-season game until last year.


“To a certain degree, his rise to where he is now is some ways like mine: a virtually unknown and all of a sudden has success,” Favre said. “You go, ’Who is this guy? What is he about? Where is he from? What is he like?’ Last year it was like, ’Flash in the pan, or can he keep it up?’ I think he has proven that the guy is legit.”


Maybe those humble roots play a role in the joy both players display on the field.


“He’s always smiling,” Favre said. “I think that goes hand in hand with winning and being a leader and saying the right things and doing the right things. All of that he does well, on top of playing well on Sundays. The guy, barring some injury, could have a great career.”


Despite all the comparisons, the two really don’t know each other.


Romo went to Favre’s offseason charity golf tournament with Cowboys teammate Marco Rivera two years ago.


“He was nice,” Romo said. “We didn’t chat too much or nothing, but he was a good guy. He just had a lot of people tugging at him and stuff like that. You could tell, it’s a little different being him.”


Favre remembers seeing Romo there, and briefly remembering what it was like to be in his position.


“I knew who he was,” Favre said. “He wasn’t the starter at the time, but I do remember being in his shoes one time and knowing what that was like, (thinking) ’Hey, I’d like to have my own golf tournament, I’d like to have this, wanting to be accepted or whatever.”’


And now?


“He’s definitely made people remember his name,” Favre said.


But if there’s one major difference between Favre and Romo, it’s this: While Favre would just as soon be back on his ranch in Mississippi driving a tractor, Romo has some Hollywood in him, finding himself romantically linked to a different actress or singer every month.


Asked if he ever was invited to judge a beauty pageant, as Romo was, Favre said, “My wife would turn that down for me.”



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