Will he or won't he? Should he or shouldn't he?
As the now annual “Favre Watch” begins, I feel compelled to add my two cents worth—you know—as an average (Ok, maybe above average) football fan on the street.
There appears to be a few opinions on this out there, and here is where I stand on each of them:
Enough is enough! Stay retired already!!
I could not disagree more. Why should he stay retired? I have yet to hear any truly sound reasoning to support this line of thought. As long as any athlete can perform at an acceptable level, who gets to say besides the athlete when it’s time to go? And yes, while the New York thing didn’t work out as planned (see below), as I recall, there were some successes and magical moments there as well.
I keep hearing that “people are tired” of the Brett Favre saga. Exactly who are these people? And why should their opinion be any more important than the athlete who has had a hall of fame career when it comes time to deciding when to go. Or rather, in Brett’s case, when to stay gone.
He will tarnish his legacy.
Says who? This is one of the silliest things I have ever heard. Really. As if returning to play again will somehow magically erase all of the career highlights, the records and accomplishments, the multitude of awards and his Super Bowl victory. Exactly where are these things going to go if Brett decides to come back again? Still waiting for the answer to that one…
He didn’t finish the season well in New York.
With Brett, the Jets started the season 8-3, including two huge victories over the Pats and the Titans. If my memory serves me well, the Favre bandwagon at that time was dragging the ground, heavy under the weight of all the sportswriters, fans and commentators who couldn’t praise his leadership and risk taking abilities enough, even though the interceptions were almost as frequent as the touchdowns (as they have been throughout his entire career).
True—with an injured shoulder, he didn’t finish as well as he started. Could he have just sat out the end of the season due to the injury? Maybe. Was that his style during his entire illustrious career? No. You see, there’s the thing. Playing it out hurt, while it didn’t help his team or his numbers, is who Brett is. He would not have enjoyed the career that he did (nor us along with him) if he had played any other way.
And besides, it’s not as if the Jets were the only team to perform a late season swoon out of the playoffs. I haven’t heard anyone calling for the heads of those other QB’s who faded down the stretch. Tony Romo anyone?
He’s too old…he should just give it up…time to move on, etc.
Just how old is too old? Part of the reason some people may think that he is too old is that in today's age of athletes “going out on top” and retiring younger, most people think it’s crazy to want to compete past the age of 35 anymore.In fact, with few exceptions, most of the greatest players of all time had to be dragged away from the games that they loved and excelled in. Michael Jordan unretired twice, and picked up a couple more championships along the way.
If not for concussions, I firmly believe that Steve Young and Troy Aikman would have competed late into their 30s if not beyond. Vinnie Testaverde is a great example of a QB who played into his 40s and contributed some quality time to his teams.
I know that it’s not realistic to expect a late 30 something to early 40 something athlete to compete at the same level that they did in their 20s and early 30s. For most, that is physically just not possible. But they can still contribute.
In my opinion, the league needs more Brett Favre type guys around. While they may not have the same zip that they did in their heyday, they still have valuable contributions to make to the game, and to their team. And I believe that about Brett Favre. With a team like Minnesota, who many believe to be a hair away from being Super Bowl contenders, a player like Brett Favre can be the difference…warts and all.
It may be hard to even contemplate, but one day we’ll be having this same conversation about Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and perhaps a few others. Barring injury, it is my sincerest hope that all of these guys play well into their 30s, even into their 40s. Athletes play for the love of the game, and the thrill of the competition.
Some may have a hard time letting go. But you know what? For some of us fans, who have had the privilege of watching these greats play at the height of their careers and seeing the end just over the horizon, it’s equally as hard for us to let go, too.
So, to another Favre comeback? I say, “Bring it on!!!”
I’ve got my popcorn ready.