Yesterday Brett Favre announced his retirement from the NFL. It’s a sad day for me since he was my favorite playing growing up and still is my favorite. I’ve already confused my man crush on Favre here before but it’s warranted again.
The title of this entry is from a poster I got as a kid. It was a Brett Favre poster that I got back in elementary school. I framed it and hung it on my basement wall. It has been there ever since. That’s what it looks like below (sorry, I couldn’t get it any bigger).
Favre was an amazing player. If he was on TV, you wanted to watch (maybe not if John Madden was the announcer though). Everything that can be said about him, has been. And it all has been repeated yesterday and will continue to be repeated until, and after, he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. I don’t know how you can’t like this guy. Yeah, he got a free pass a lot of times from the media and fans because of who he was but that wasn’t his fault. He was just playing the game he loved and having fun (thank Madden for making that the most over used line when talking about Favre, but it’s still true).
The ironic thing is Favre’s last two games were so typical of his career, both the good gunslinging playmaker and the bad gunslining playmaker. Against Seattle in the Divisional round, in the snow, at Lambeau Field, Favre had a good Favre game. The play of the day, his spinning out of a sack and throwing underhand to Donald Lee (I think) who picked up the first down. It was a play that we have come to expect from Favre. It’s the play that makes us say ‘wow, how’d he to that’ or ‘wow, why would he do that?’ It’s a play that made fans love him when it went right and hate him when it didn’t. It was a play, in a game, that showed all the good qualities of Favre. He made plays, he tackled teammates, he threw snowballs and he looked like he was really enjoying himself. But that’s only part of Favre’s legacy.
Then there was the NFC Championship Game against New York. It was not Favre’s way to ride into the sunset. He didn’t play great and when he had the chance (at least twice) to move his team down the field in the final minutes, he couldn’t complete a pass. Then, given even another chance in overtime, he made his last throw of his career. It was a bad decision, across the field throw that was left to the inside of the receiver and easily picked off. The Giants scored a few plays later and in doing so, ended Favre’s career. This game, this throw, was as bad as the previous game was good. But that’s what you got with Favre. More often than not, it was good. But every time he dropped back to pass, anything could happen.
At first I was shocked Favre would retire after his great season last year. I was shocked he would want his last NFL pass to be an interception that cost his team a trip to the Super Bowl. But as I think about it, it makes sense. He is leaving after one of the best seasons of his career. The Packers will still be a good team without and it’s time for him to move aside. After two down years where people questioned his ability, he came back in 2007 and showed everyone he could still get it done. Why take the chance of having a down year in 2008 (I don’t think he would though) and putting those doubts back in the minds of fans?
Is Favre the greatest quarterback of all-time? Probably not. But he has to be in the discussion.
Throwing an interception on his last throw kind of fits. Favre was a gunslinger, as cliché as that is. It was either a spectacular throw that made you say “wow” or a spectacularly bad throw that made you say “why.” On that last throw, Favre took a chance. More often than not those chances turned out good. Sometimes they turned out bad. But that’s what made Brett Favre, Brett Favre. I’m going to miss seeing him take those chances.