EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The big 4-0 is right around the corner for Brett Favre. You'd never know it.
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback played his last game of his 30s Monday night against the Green Bay Packers and showed everyone that his surgically repaired right arm has new life.
"My arm feels great," said Favre, who threw for 271 yards and three TDs to beat his old team, 30-23. "It didn't feel very good last year. I'm not going to make excuses.
"But my arm feels a lot better and I think it's showing."
That's for sure. After his first four games in purple, Favre has completed 68 percent of his passes for 837 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception to lead the Vikings to a 4-0 start.
It's a far cry from how he ended his only season in New York. Favre suffered a partially torn biceps in his throwing arm last season. He threw nine interceptions and only two touchdowns as the Jets lost four of five down the stretch and missed the playoffs.
Surgeon James Andrews operated on his biceps in May, cutting the partially torn tendon to alleviate the pain that caused Favre, whose birthday is Saturday, to (temporarily) retire for a second straight season last spring.
Favre had two options this summer. First, he could have had Andrews repair the torn tendon, which calls for a much longer recovery time.
Instead, Andrews cut the tendon to relieve the pain. The recovery time is much shorter with that option, which paved the way for Favre to go through about six weeks of rehabilitation and join the Vikings in mid-August.
"That's a pretty significant, painful injury," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "He couldn't have come here if he wouldn't have had the surgery. He knows that."
Broncos quarterback John Elway went through a similar injury and was able to play two more years after his biceps ruptured, winning two Super Bowls. Without the pain, Favre is enjoying a career renaissance in Minnesota.
That was never more evident than on Monday night, with millions of eyes on the first game between Favre and his once-beloved Green Bay, where he spent 16 seasons. He completed 20 of 24 throws for 242 yards and three touchdowns in the first three quarters to get out to a big lead, and the Vikings held on for an important division win.
"He's still got it," receiver Sidney Rice said. "I don't care how old he is."
Record ratings. The Packers-Vikings game attracted the largest cable television audience ever.
ESPN's Monday Night Football was watched by more than 21.8 million people. The previous record was more than 18.6 million viewers for last year's Monday night game between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.
ESPN also said that the game drew the highest rating (15.3) in the network's 30-year history.