(Favre) Oh Please…

Sorry for keeping my football hat on longer than I should, but this is also too good to pass up.

If you didn’t hear, Brett Favre retired.  I respect him as a player and what he meant to the Green Bay franchise (especially since we Broncos have the myth, man & legend of Elway), but my eyes are starting to roll to the back of my head when I see this on ESPN:


Oh please.

Look, he retired – he didn’t die!  While this was mildly surprising – especially since he was a self-thrown interception away from being in the Super Bowl – this was the same thing we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years!  You know how the news media has their little vignettes on-deck for old guys they think are going to die soon – I bet sports writers had these graphics and stories sitting in the queue, just a click away from being published.

Favre had a great career.  He has the all-time TD’s record (as well as the all-time Interceptions record, but Favre slurpers forget that).  He took some pretty bad Green Bay teams and made them competitive, and he did bring enthusiasm and fun to the game.  He did wonders for Green Bay and deserves all the Cheesehead accolades.  While I celebrate Favre’s achievements, I can’t help but bring up things that prevent me from jumping on the Brett Bandwagon.

  • His Starting Record: He’ll be hailed like Ripkin for starting so many consecutive games. However, I think that Favre let that record get in the way of his better judgement.  In 2001 1999-2000 he had injured his thumb, which only sent Green Bay further spiraling down.  It was obvious he wasn’t helping his team by being out there, but Favre wouldn’t take himself out and because of the hype around the record no coach would take him out either.  This reared it’s head again in these last few seasons, notably this season during Week 13 when he separated his right shoulder.  Favre probably shouldn’t have played week 14, and while they won (it was the Raiders), he risked injury in a game that he probably shouldn’t have played in (again, it was the Raiders).
  • Constant Retirement Contemplation: For the last few years we all tuned in for The Days of Our Packers, where Brett Favre went through his soap opera of whether he felt like he should come back again.  All players contemplate retirement – I get that – but there were two things that bugged me about Favre’s contemplation: 1 – It was so damned public – It bothered me when he sat around in interviews wondering out loud whether he should come back and said that he’d wait and see if the Packers would make good moves.  To me this came across like he was holding his team hostage, being a GM from the sidelines.  “If you guys make good enough moves, maybe I’ll honor you with my presence for another year”.  2 – He made his decisions far too late. With the exception of this year, Favre didn’t arrive at a decision regarding retirement until the summer, preventing the team from making any free agency moves or draft preparation.  Had the Packers known sooner they could have better groomed a replacement for Favre appropriately, instead of gambling with the Aaron Rogers pick. Even this year, the Packers are too late to make any pushes for free agent veteran QB’s, all the best are already off the market (not that it was a great QB year anyway).  Now they have to deal with the problem that is Aaron Rogers.  This leads me to my next point…
  • Hurting Aaron Rogers. This same “consecutive start” probably hampered Aaron Rogers’ development from seeing any real game action.  There were a few meaningless games the Packers played in 2006 that would have allowed the Packers to evaluate Rogers, but Favre still had to start those games,dare they not break his coveted record. Granted, Rogers did end up getting hurt both of those seasons, but at the time a Rogers evaluation would have been prudent.  The Packers took a gamble and drafted Rogers to groom as successor to the Favre QB regime, but due to the Retirement Soap Opera they never were able to solidify their QB strategy.  Now they’re faced with Rogers’ rookie contract expiration and have to make a decision whether to keep Rogers and put up big money for an essential unknown.  Favre isn’t directly to blame, but one can’t deny that he has contributed to this circumstance.
  • “The Gunslinger” . The only difference between being called a “Gunslinger” and “Bad-Decision Maker” is luck & a ring.  Without his Super Bowl Championship, Favre would essentially be Jake Plummer.  The fact that Favre won his Super Bowl relatively early in his career enabled his apologists to brand him “the Gunslinger” who “gambles and takes chances” – whereas Plummer is “erratic” and “makes mistakes”.  This enabled sports writers to continue slurping him and ignore the fact that Favre also holds the record for career interceptions thrown.

Again, don’t get me wrong: Favre is an amazing player and the NFL is worse off without Favre playing – but let some time pas so people can ignore the above before branding him “the legend”.  I believe that history will consider Favre a great quarterback, but overshadowed in the 90’s by Elway, Marino & Young, as well in the 2000’s by Payton Manning & Tom Brady.

As for Packer fan: Take it from a Bronco fan – you don’t realize how good you had it until it’s gone.  A QB as legendary as Favre and Elway only comes to your franchise once in every 30-50 years.