On Feb. 23, I pleaded with Brett Favre to come back for an 18th year. Nothing would have made me happier than being able to see him play at Lambeau, just once. Based on reports out of the Packers organization, I was pretty confident that I'd get my opportunity. I almost was certain he'd come back.
Instead, he retired this morning, after holding on to his decision for weeks. As much as it hurts to think about, the decision was definitely all about Favre himself. Because of this, he goes out on top and in style. He made sure that the focus was on how the decision impacted him and not anyone else.
I guess, as a wise man once told me, all good things must come to an end. And, boy, was it good. Watching the Pack this year was something I hadn't really enjoyed in a while. The 13-3 record, the number of individual records that Favre broke this season, and the fact that they were finally in the top five of the league again made the entire season all worthwhile.
He may not have been the best ever, but he was pretty damn good. It's been said that he's the last of the gunslingers (who else could have possibly held the record for most completions and most interceptions?), and the game itself will be very different without his influence.
The Green Bay sidelines will be different without him there. He brought life to the game, sometimes when it didn't exist on its own. As a athlete, he appealed to football fans in general, not just Packers fans. He managed to remind people that it really is a privilege to do a job you love.
Most of all, Favre embodied the ideals that we would like our children to embody—hard work, perseverance, and loyalty. He did this with the utmost humility and pride in himself and his work. When he played poorly, he admitted it, when he played well, he downplayed it. He had fun on and off the field, and showed fans that he was a real person, with real concerns and problems. No one begrudged him that.
While he wasn’t perfect as a person, or as a football player, he was larger than life. He was a true hero, overcoming huge obstacles to get to the high point of his career. His game against the Oakland Raiders in 2003 (the day after his dad died) was a thing of beauty. The look on his face during the blizzard at Lambeau during the game against the Seahawks was the highlight of the 2007 season.
Thanks, Brett. For the memories. For the wins. For the Super Bowl. For the looks of joy on your face. For the records. And, last but not least, thanks for the commitment to our team and its fans.