The Fleeting Talent and Glory of Brett Favre

RG YohoCorrespondent IMay 7, 2009

12 Sep 1999: Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Green Bay Packers moves back to pass during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Raiders 28-24.

At the end of his weekly hosting of Sunday’s highest rated political talk show, the late host Tim Russert used to say: “If it’s Sunday, it’s Meet the Press.”


Yet in the world of sports, people may soon start saying: “If it’s spring, it’s Brett Favre coming out of retirement.”


Following his yearly farewells tours, Brett Favre has seen more sequels on big screens wearing a football helmet than someone else did wearing a hockey mask.


But before you think I am mindlessly sticking it to Brett Favre, you need to know what I truly think of the man.


The former Green Bay quarterback is a warrior and a winner. Moreover, Favre is undeniably one of the fiercest competitors the game of football has ever seen.


Brett will always have his legacy.


Favre has his victories. He has the records. He has the Super Bowl rings. And we all know he eventually has a bust waiting for him in Canton, Ohio.


As someone who is essentially forced to retire from a job he has liked for over 25 years, I think I can better understand Favre's difficulty in walking away from the sport that has long been his life.

It’s not easy for soldiers to walk away from a battle anymore than it is for athletes to walk away from the game. After all, where can Favre go to find another profession that will simulate those feelings and emotions that he experiences weekly on the gridiron?

His life has been built around competition.

Perhaps Favre’s latest comeback is motivated by something other than a genuine love for the game. To me it doesn’t matter.

Only he can truly answer that.

How difficult it must be for professional athletes to walk away from their professions at the ages that most of us are only starting to finally enjoy the fruits of success at our own jobs!

Even though they may still have something to contribute, these are young men who are often too aged to play the games from which they have long derived an income.

Perhaps that is why so many of them often hang around too long, thereby tarnishing their once golden images in the process. No doubt you can think of many an athlete who has hung on well past their prime.

As a fan, it is often a tragic thing to watch.

I don't think any of us can even begin to imagine the inner conflicts these professional athletes must face when they see their incomparable skills slowly begin to diminish.

Like the triumphant generals in the days of old, for those who have stood in the stadium and heard the cheers and received the accolades, perhaps it is that final loss of glory that is most fearful of all.


"For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning;

that all glory is fleeting."
- Gen. George C. Patton