I know I'll never make it as a sportswriter, for one reason:
I've never liked Brett Favre.
It seems to be an unwritten prerequisite for being a sports journalist that you have to like Favre. For as long as I can remember, every ESPN analyst and every columnist I've read have consistently gushed about Favre.
I've never understood it.
For the Thanksgiving game in Detroit this year, Fox played an embarassing five-minute tribute to Favre, for no other apparent reason than he was Brett Favre. On a holiday game that is really about a Detroit tradition, Favre had the Fox studio crew talking as if Jesus were about to go under center against the Lions.
I switched channels to the Macy's parade.
Now that Favre finally has announced his retirement, ESPN seems to be running a day-long Favre-fest, with all of its analysts raving about his career, his last season, and his choice to hang them up. It's a disgusting 24-hour Brett Party, and it's sure to continue at least all week.
I'm watching Arsenal and AC Milan on ESPN 2, although the ESPN ticker at the bottom of the screen is reminding me twice per minute that Favre has retired.
I can't argue that Favre wasn't a good quarterback, because he was. You don't argue against records set and a Super Bowl won. But I can say that I just never understood what all the fuss was about.
Everyone says, "Well he's such a gunslinger, he has so much fun out there!" I always felt like he just couldn't make decisions fast enough, and he let his legs and arm make up for his slow choices. The gunslinger image completely is constructed by a media that is in love with him.
If anyone else tried the things he did and threw the interceptions he threw, they'd be ripped apart immediately.
Much is also made of how Favre is just a "Good-old boy who never grew up," and that his addiciton to (and subsequent recovery from) painkillers and alcohol just served to make him more human. Really?
Have we ever given this kind of free pass to a drug addict and alcoholic before? I'm certainly glad no negative consequences ever really came of Favre's vices, but I can't ever recall such habits being passed off as "endearing" with any other athlete before. Once again, Favre's image is a media construction.
The only negative that occurs to me from Favre's retirement is that there will be one fewer quality quarterback in the NFL. Aside from that, I'll be glad to see the No. 4 become a punter's number again. I'll be glad to see Green Bay develop a running game, which makes much more sense for their location. And I'll be overjoyed when I can watch a Sunday of NFL games without every analyst drooling on themselves over Favre.
He was a good quarterback, and I'm happy he played. But I'm happier that he's gone.