Remember last March, when Green Bay Packer icon Brett Favre said he was mentally tired and was done with pro football? His emotional face was seen across television stations and newspaper front pages. Many saw this coming, and all the coverage Favre received was his last hoorah as he rode off into the sunset as arguably the most prolific quarterback in NFL history.
Fast forward four months later. Favre supposedly had the “itch” to return, and because of the nature of his desire to play again, you couldn’t turn on ESPN without seeing Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy at a press conference or Brett Favre getting out of his burgundy SUV. It almost got to be unbearable.
Once Favre finally landed with the New York Jets, as the Packers has adamantly said over and over they were moving on with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, people were expecting big things out of Gang Green.
That didn’t necessarily happen, as the Jets ended with a 9-7 record, just short of achieving a playoff berth. Favre did all he could with a team that went 4-12 the previous season, but it was not enough.
Now the end has come. Brett Favre is finally done with football for good (hopefully). A torn bicep muscle was enough to send Favre back to his home and family in Mississippi. But this time, there were no tribute videos, no huge send-off from the fans and no massive amount of media coverage. It seemed as if many were tired of Favre’s indecision, and thought his one year in New York was something that completely tarnished his seemingly pristine reputation as a top-of-the-line quarterback.
Not me, though. I still regard Favre as one of the best of all-time. And I’m happy for him, too. Not many people get the chance to play professional football, and for those who do, it’s certainly a blessing. Favre knew that better than anybody.
When I hear Favre’s name, the first thought that pops in my head is his final season with the Packers, in which he took a team with low expectations to a 13-3 record and a spot in the NFC Championship game. Although it didn’t end in victory, it still gave me my fondest memory of Favre. The man wasn’t in his prime, but in terms of his leadership ability, he was the absolute best.
Despite his amazing talent on the field, the media still made distractions. For years, once the football season ended, the media would speculate on whether Favre would finally hang up his cleats. And each time, he decided to come back and play one more year. This could have easily been a disruption to Favre and his team. But the three-time MVP took it in stride, and continued to put up extraordinary numbers.
The man has to be remembered for his consistency. Favre was the “Iron Man” as he played in 269 consecutive games. Despite having the flu, a sprained ankle or even an injured throwing hand, Favre was on the field each and every Sunday. No matter what age, what team wouldn’t want a man like that leading them?
Favre wanted to prove to himself he could still do it. His one year in the Big Apple was nothing more than his farewell tour, and for that, I do not fault him one bit.
Favre still wanted to play the game he fell in love with so many years ago. He was not ready to let go just yet, and the career leader in touchdown passes played every single game he possibly could until he physically could not do it anymore. That is dedication.
So to Favre, I say this: Thank you for the memories, and I’m glad that you got to play every single down you wanted. And don’t worry, that one little year in New York was just another year we got to spend watching you play.