EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. --- To celebrate last week's victory, Brett Favre cocked his hat to the side and led the Minnesota Vikings in an off-key abbreviation of a song made famous by American Idol.
His favorite greeting for unsuspecting teammates is a powerful slap on the backside that he has mischievously repeated countless times throughout the season.
Oh, and he keeps peeling himself off the ground after each hard hit, his durability at age 40 still as sound as ever.
Favre will become the oldest quarterback in NFL history to start a conference championship game in New Orleans on Sunday when the Vikings meet the Saints for a spot in the Super Bowl, but he's sure not acting his age.
"Brett's amazing," defensive end Jared Allen said. "He's out there having fun and playing like he's 20."
Favre broke the league's longevity records for non-kickers this season, for consecutive games and consecutive starts. With his right arm healed from surgery in May to repair a partially torn biceps tendon in his shoulder and the offensive line protecting him relatively well, Favre has looked as spry as he has in a long time.
"I was hoping that I'd be standing here with the same feeling," Favre said. "But you have to think that, at 40, coming off surgery with a rotator cuff tear, that at some point it's going to show up. From that standpoint it is a little bit surprising."
Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman described Favre as "one of the toughest guys" he has ever met.
"He can get through injuries and ailments different really than almost anyone else I've ever seen," Sugarman said. "He can get whacked in the game and get a big bruise in his back, and he'll come show it to me. I'll be like, 'Hey, let's go over here.' He says, 'Nah, I'm good. I'll get in the cold tub.' That's his deal. That's his treatment of choice."
Perhaps the most impressive part of Favre's performance this season is that he's carried so much more of Minnesota's load than he or anyone else anticipated. The running game didn't work like it was expected to.
"Enjoy every minute of it, and I know I have done that," Favre said.