Private Stache: Brett Favre And The Breakfast Of Champions

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As keeper of Sports Illustrated's indispensable Vault, Andy Gray spends a lot of his time sifting through the sports photography of another time, when athletes wore short shorts and facial hair, and everyone looked vaguely uncomfortable. Here is one such photo.

As Brett Favre (once again) holds the NFL world hostage deciding whether he's healthy enough to play this season, SI looks back to October 1995, when the grizzled old gunslinger has just turned 26. Peter King got unlimited access to Favre from the moment he woke up on Monday until gameday on Sunday, including breakfast in bed from Arby's:

It's just after 8 a.m., and Brett Favre cannot bear the thought of getting out of the four-poster bed he shares with his girlfriend of 10 years, Deanna Tynes. This has nothing to do with the previous night's celebration of his artistic 342-yard passing performance against Detroit, which consisted of a single light beer. This has everything to do with the throbbing turf toe on his right foot. And the right shoulder he had heard go snap-crackle-pop when it was jammed into the turf 20 hours before. And the lower-back pain he feels every Monday, the lingering result of a lumbar fracture suffered in a 1990 car accident. And the arthritis that he knows is advancing in both hips. And his aching right side, which is the worst of all his ailments. Ten months ago two sections of hard plastic mesh were sewn into the muscle walls in his right side just below his ribs to repair a herniated muscle, a belated casualty of the car crash. His doctors said the muscle would take a year to heal completely. Of course, Favre couldn't wait that long. And so he must try to ignore the grotesque, egg-shaped growth of plastic and muscle mass that protrudes from his right side. Most of the time he succeeds, except after games, when the side feels as if something is ripping inside him when he moves.

"Deanna," Favre pleads in his Mississippi twang. "Could you please get me an egg sandwich and some hash browns?"

Tynes goes out for some fast-food breakfast. A few minutes later Favre, still in bed, is propped up on his left arm, polishing off his meal. Eating triggers more pain. When he chews, his jaw aches from the brutal helmet-to-helmet hit he took from Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Greg Lloyd in the preseason.

Finally Favre musters the energy to walk to the bathroom. His left knee is killing him. "God," he says to himself, "I didn't know I hurt that." Then he remembers the kick in the knee that he took from a Lion. He hadn't felt that one until now.


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