Brett Favre has cast a giant shadow over the Green Bay Packers and the rest of the NFL for the better part of two decades. With his impending return to the NFL and Minnesota Vikings, I wanted to take a look at Favre and his impact both in the past and currently.
This is the first of a two-part series in which I’ll take a look at Favre, both good and bad, as well as his impact for the upcoming season. I originally wrote this when Favre announced his retirement from the Packers in March 2008.
I've had time to digest the news and let it soak in while working all day, and I think I'm ready to share my thoughts about Brett Favre's retirement. I knew that I would have to write about this eventually, but I honestly did not think I would be writing this until this time next year.
As he always has, Favre did things his way and on his own terms. I just want to share some of my favorite Favre memories that are etched in stone in my memory.
Any memories of Favre must start with his spectacular entrance into Packer lore. In week three of the 1992 season, Favre came in against the Cincinnati Bengals for an injured Don Majkowski.
Although he fumbled four times in that game, Favre led the Packers 92 yards down the field with 1:07 left in the game for the game-winning drive. He found Kitrick Taylor for the first of his 442 career touchdowns.
The next thought I have is Brett diving in the end zone against the Atlanta Falcons in the last game at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1994. The Packers had no time outs left but Favre was hell bent on making it to the end zone and won the game to close out County Stadium in style.
Another thought that comes to mind for me is Favre finding Sterling Sharpe in the back of the end zone in Detroit. It was the first Packers' playoff game I ever witnessed and the first of many playoff victories for Favre.
I don't think any Packer or football fan will ever forget Favre running the field of the Louisiana Superdome during Super Bowl XXXI. Although Favre didn't win the MVP of the game, his touchdown passes to Andre Rison and Antonio Freeman, along with his bootleg run to the end zone, cemented his place in Packers history.
An improbable pass from Favre to Freeman on a rainy Monday night at Lambeau field will go down as one of the greatest plays on Monday Night Football. Witnessing another Favre dive into the end zone live against the Arizona Cardinals, followed by his only career Lambeau Leap is something I take a great deal of pride in seeing.
A snowball thrown in the middle of a playoff game, which turned out to be the last win of Favre's career, sums up the love and fun that Favre had in his career for the Packers.
All of these are reasons why we cheered for Favre, but they are not the reasons that as I type this that tears are rolling down my face. I'm not ashamed to say that either.
People outside of Green Bay and the rest of Wisconsin can never understand the connection between the Green Bay Packers and their fans. It's unlike any bond between fans and franchises in America. Yes, all of the above and more are why we cheered for him, but the following are reasons why we loved him.
For generations in this country children have always idolized and held their sporting stars in high regards as heroes. But most people look at heroes as someone that is perfect that can do no wrong. Favre was far from perfect, and it is in his faults that Packer fans looked at him as one of their own.
Prior to the 1996 season, Favre entered a rehab clinic for his addiction to Vicodin. After overcoming those demons and returning to the team, he told the national media to go ahead and bet against him because he would prove them wrong. Later that year he did that when the Packers won their first Super Bowl in 29 years.
Perhaps the most defining moment of his career came on Dec. 22, 2003, on a Monday night in Oakland. The day before Favre's best friend and father, Irv Favre, passed away in a car accident. Favre decided to play against the Raiders and had the best game of his career.
Favre threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns as the Packers beat the Raiders, 41-7. Favre showed true courage to overcome the adversity in his life and honored his former high school coach the best way he could.
Tragedy again struck Favre and his family soon after as his wife, Deanna, was diagnosed with breast cancer. He showed the maturity he had gained in standing by his wife through such a tough time. It was a stark contrast from the younger Favre who would party all night as a young player.
Brett Favre is a true legend of the game and stands alone as the greatest Green Bay Packer in history. He is the oddity in sports today. He played the game with a love and enthusiasm that fans envision themselves playing as well.
Along with the rest of Packers fans, I am saddened by today's announcement. I am now wishing for just one more season, but I know that is pure selfishness on my part. Today is a celebration of a Hall of Fame career that I feel so lucky to have had a front row seat for. Thank you, Brett.