First off I’m letting it be known that I’m a Bears fan; born that way, raised that way, and that’s not ever going to change. So there’s this rival team called the Packers and another one called the Vikings – neither of which I’m too fond of but they exist in my Division and by sport and man law, I despise them. Playing for them, they had a player named Brett Favre who I wasn’t too fond of either, but not because he was bad but because he was so damn good – he was my sports nemesis.
I watched him play football for two-thirds of my life and always rooted against him but I respect the man regardless. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 70,000 yards, to throw over 500 touchdowns, to throw over 300 interceptions, and the only quarterback to have over 10,000 pass attempts. That’s a lot of interceptions right? Well Babe Ruth struck out a lot too, but he’s still one of the best players that ever played the game.
My issue with him at the end of his career really has nothing to do with Favre sending pics of his junk to some hot chick or all of the weird voicemails he left her. None of those. My problem is that Favre didn’t finish strong. He didn’t know when to quit and put a bad seal on top of his career which, in my opinion, slightly tarnished his legacy.
Brett retired a few times with the first being in 2008, ironically after beating the Bears at Soldier Field. The Chicago fans gave him a standing ovation. He went out with even his rival fans standing up and cheering for him because everybody respected him and loved what he did for the game of football. He cried at the press conference and had everybody’s praises and well wishes. He should have stayed retired. We all know the story… he came back, had some fights with the Packers, went to the Jets, got injuries, and blah blah eventually ended up with the Vikings. Which leads us to the photo.
I found this photo and I think it really sets my point in stone. It’s a photo Favre laying motionless on the ground after getting taken down pretty hard at their last home game with Brian Urlacher looking down at him. It was the game the Chicago Bears went on to win to clinch the NFC North. Favre was already hurt in a previous game, which took him out and spoiled his path to 300 consecutive starts three games short. It was a game that he shouldn’t have started. He looked bad all game… all season in fact. Towards the end of the season you almost started to feel bad for the guy because he just couldn’t say no to the game. He still had his good times but he wasn’t the same player. They took him out of the game and they lost. Brett was deactivated. That was the last time Brett Favre played football.
I don’t think his legacy is ruined or completely tarnished – I’m just saying that when you talk about Favre in the future there’s always going to be the “he didn’t finish strong” thing there. He could have gone out respected and loved by everybody but I think his greed for the game and even possibly attention hurt his legacy. We all got tired of his indecisiveness and the media hyping up every press conference and hearing about Favre. It got to the point where he became kind of a joke and nobody cared what he did as long as he wasn’t in our face every day on ESPN. When he came back he wasn’t as good and then the photo. He could come back again next year but this time I don’t think he has a choice – I can’t think of one team that would take him after this last season and more injuries. He’s done.
Thanks Brett for all the good times and bringing the level of the game you did. Do us all a favor and accept the obvious. Retire and keep what Legacy you have left.
Chuck, I don’t think Favre’s biggest sin was not finishing strong. Many athletes have stayed at the party a bit too long, and I can’t hold that against them. Competitive athletes want to compete for as long as they can; the window for making money by playing the sport you love is short and fragile.
Brett’s problem is that he believed he was bigger than the game. By retiring, un-retiring, being traded, retiring again, asking for his release, un-retiring again, and then showing up late for training camp two years in a row, many fans like myself just got sick of his antics. Fans have been known to forgive a lot, but in addition to the stuff you and I have mentioned he also badmouthed the Packers team he led to the Super Bowl win by proclaiming the Vikings as a superior team to that one. Even Bears fans like you and me would have a hard time badmouthing a Super Bowl winning team…even an NFC North rival.
Brett, you will be remembered for the NFL Championship ring you wear, and the records you set and broke. But more than that, many will remember you as a prima donna that didn’t know when to stay home from the dance. I am not sure any number of years will remove the tarnish you have allowed to ruin what should have been an incredible career.
well said.. and agreed. I left a number of things out but I didn’t want to bash on him being a Bears fan… wasn’t my point but I could have put in the hating on the Packers thing lol.
Thx for your thoughts.
I totally get why Favre wants to keep playing. When you do something for that long, at that high of a level, it has to be really tough to give it up and accept your complete life change.
But c’mon…plenty of athletes have figured this out. In a sport like football, where your career can hang in the balance from play to play, there’s just no way an athlete should be out there if he’s not 100 percent. Work ethic be damned, Favre was hurting the rest of his team every time he lied to them and said he was physically and mentally capable of leading them onto the field.
Guys like Montana, Elway and Young all played long careers, but none of them quite went out like this.
But if you compare Favre to Donovan McNabb, you can easily see WHY Favre chose the route he did. He wanted to go out on his own terms and I think we all know that mean he wanted to play until he was so hurt he couldn’t suit up anymore. Selfish I suppose, but in a team sport, that’s just unacceptable. Why the Vikings ever agreed to bring him back is beyond me.
Is his rep tarnished? A bit, just like Jordan’s was a little skewed because of his post-1998 play. Difference between Jordan and Favre was obviously dominance over his career, so I’m almost willing to forget Jordan even played after 1998.
Favre? He made me hate going to espn.com, hate turning on Sportscenter and hate hearing any damn thing about the Minnesota Vikings.
I wish they’d get back to worrying about their real talent, guys like Adrian Peterson, and let Favre ride off into the sunset while they lock the barn door behind him.
So here’s my thing on Favre, and I think you said it really well even as fan of the rival team. Favre is an addict, this is not news to anyone, he’s had a public struggle with alcohol and pain killers. Addicts are addicts regardless of the drug of choice. He’s now switched to Football as his drug, and it is just as destructive as the other drugs he abused.
The addiction is why he did the retire/unretire/retire/unretire game, why he focused on the start streak, why he can’t let go. I honestly don’t think it’s the “bigger than the game” argument, he just doesn’t know how to let go.
Excellent point. Dude needs therapy and I mean that literally.
Good read. Being a Bears fan also I don’t really like Favre either. I think the Vikings are actually better without him than with him. I mean a 3rd string qb helps beat one of the best teams in the NFC especially a game that Philly had to have.
Hopefully he is done and can go back to filming Wrangler commercials.
I appreciate people that are so consumed with passions, but to be so one dimensional is not healthy. His whole life was/is football and he can’t (or won’t) let it go. It was just as sad for me to see Michael Jordan keep trying to come back when he left on top, game winner, buzzer beater … championship etc. Brett had the opportunity to leave on top (even last year throwing that INT) but he chose to come back – also, lets be honest with each other – if you had the skill and the offer of 16 million … would you be turning that shiz down? LOL Anyway, its just sad to see someone that is an amazing athlete lose his skill and not know when its time to hang it up. I have missed Kurt Warner SO MUCH (as you know Chuck) but seeing Brett Favre this year has made me appreciate his decision to leave SO MUCH MORE. He left with a legacy in tact …. Brett tarnished his a bit – and that’s just sad … because division rivals or not … he was the man in the QB spot for 20 years.
yup i agree… I still see the Jordan thing as not as big of a thing compared to Favre’s decisions. 16M is hard to pass up but when you have a billion million already does it matter? Idk perhaps growing up in blue collar world and not having tons of money to piss away at any given time made me more wise as to what I would do with that kind of money.
Anyways – Warner did go out with class… he’s a good guy and everybody appreciates him leaving even though the Cardinals sucks pretty hard this year – but there was more at play there anyways like coaching and flopping QB’s like underwear but perhaps that’s all for another post.
Thx for commenting sir
Nice post, yes athletes sometimes have a hard time of letting go. QBs might have a harder time as they are in charge most of the time and they are the ones who get the rest of the team a ring or not. Or at least they get all the focus. There are many streaks, and Favre’s was certainly one to behold. And with the fact that on every snap there si someone on defense who wants to pile drive the QB even more remarkable.
I recall that one day Cal Ripken was not on the bag at third base. Someone else was there, don’t recall who (guess I’d miss out on $$ if that was the trivia question) but the streak was over. I recall Hank Aaron, who I saw hit 715 in person, continued to play even as his skills as an outfielder where slowed by age. This was one of the best outfielders in the game. He also ended up in Milwaukee which was in the AL at them time. The DH made it possible to bat, but not have to play on the field. While it added to his home run total…many thought it took away from his accomplishment of breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
In Favre’s case he has the Super Bowl ring, he has more records than most. The last QB I recall wondering about was Joe Montana another QB that perhaps played too long.. and I am a) huge fan of Joe’s and b) a Chiefs can and was hoping to a Super Bowl with Joe. Didn’t happen and some blamed the age of Joe. Its what you remember last…although “Touchdown 49ers!!!” is something I recall very well to.
I agree, it would be great to go with a win. And a ring. I am sure Curt Warner would of loved that..but his last game was a Super Bowl, with a team that wasn’t even suppose to be in the playoffs. Alas Favre will not have that ending…and I have to agree that no team should want him, at least not as a starter…and that is the only role he would want.
You saw Hank Aaron play in person? SO jealous by the way… I did a bunch of my grade-school reports on him… loved that guy.
Yeah Kurt did it right… but I really like what Conrey said about him being addicted… it’s really his addictive behavior that led to this.
I heard from my Vikings buddy that Favre might start this week… I wouldn’t be totally surprised but at some point somebody’s got to say hey man… we’re tired of watching this train wreck and you’re only going to hurt yourself more… it’s over. let it go.
Look at favre’s completion percentage and his touchdown to interception ratio. He wasn’t that good. All his good stats are the result of playing forever.