As a lifelong fan of the NFL and of football in general, today is a day I will never forget.
When I received the news today that Packer quarterback Brett Favre had retired after 17 seasons in the NFL, I got the feeling that this is how my father might have felt when he heard Mickey Mantle called it quits. Perhaps this is how my grandfather may have felt when "The Babe" took his final swing.
Favre was not only an iconic football legend, but he also was an American treasure. He was a unique combination of Bobby Layne, Walt Garrison and Dick Butkus—tough, hardnosed, fearless, free-wheeling and amazingly talented.
In the age of steroids, "spy-gate," crooked refs, dog fighting and slimy college football/basketball coaches, it was Favre's play every Sunday that was a reminder of why I fell in love with sports at such a young age.
Favre was not without his demons and he was no angel. In fact, it was a quote from Favre himself that sums him up best, "I am more Bobby Layne than Bart Starr." But I think America likes their heroes a bit imperfect, more human. We could relate to Brett Favre because he carried himself like he was just another guy. Only he was just another guy with a rocket for an arm. Most of us, find it hard to relate to these super-human athletes of today, we can't jump out of the gym like Dwight Howard or hit a baseball 500 feet like Ryan Howard. It was the way that Favre played the game that made "Joe Average" feel like he was one of us. He played the game like we did as little kids in the backyard, running around, improvising, drawing up plays in the dirt, smiling, laughing, joking. I get the feeling he would have played football for free.
Every time I sat down with my family to watch a Packer game, no matter who they were playing, somebody in the room would always say, "I wonder what Brett's going to do today." Sometimes it was throwing up a prayer into triple coverage only to have an opposing defender come down with the pick. Most of the time, however, it was something truly remarkable that you knew only Brett Favre could pull off.
The Monday Night game against the Raiders after his father died is the most unbelievable moment I have ever witnessed as a sports fan. I use the word "unbelievable" loosely. It would have been unbelievable if this feat would have been pulled off by somebody like, let's say Bubby Brister. But because it was #4 that night against Oakland, it somehow all seemed probable.
I am going to miss Favre this football season. I am going to miss my grandfather reminding me that he said Farve was going to be great, while he was still at Southern Miss. (A quick note to NFL GM's, grandpa says Cullen Harper is the real deal). I am going to miss him talking trash to Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan. I am going to miss the fact that every time you watched him play, you knew he was giving it 110 percent, and nobody on the field wanted to win more than he did.
Most importantly I am going to miss the toughest man to ever put on an NFL uniform.
Good luck Aaron Rodgers.
By the way, is there anyone else out there like me that thinks there is no way that Favre is going to be away from a football field for very long?
So with that said, I want to say thank you to #4, but I have a feeling we haven't seen your last throw. This is just another reason for Packer fans and football fans everywhere to hate on Randy Moss.