Brett Favre: The Man, the Myth, the Legend...or the Letdown?

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Brett Favre: The Man, the Myth, the Legend...or the Letdown?
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

[Editor's Note: It is with great pleasure that I present to you MSF's newest contributor: Myles Berry (aka BigMB). Myles and I know each other from my time living in Indianapolis, during which he and I engaged in many highly competitive sports debates and games of Madden. (He'll tell you that he owns a lead in the all-time series...but he's wrong.) 

Myles will be covering the Colts for sure, as well as chiming in on the sports world at large. We are happy to have him as part of the team and hope that you enjoy his work, the first example of which is below.]


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Maybe I should apologize to John Madden ahead of time, but with the turn of events in the most recent Brett Favre Saga, a question still lingers that needs to be answered.

Has Brett Favre perhaps turned what would have been a legendary career into a letdown?

We all know that many athletes have overstayed their welcome in the past. Some do it for the money, some do it for the fame and notoriety, and some do it because they love the game and can’t imagine life without it. Most likely, it’s a combination of all three reasons.

With respect to Brett Favre, let’s first take a brief look at his career with Green Bay. In 16 years, Favre only produced one losing season, alongside his 10 Pro-Bowl appearances, and three MVP awards. He went 5,377 of 8,754 for 61,655 yards, and had 442 touchdowns with 286 interceptions, while winning one Super Bowl.

Fast-forward to his 2008 one-year stint with the New York Jets. He led the Jets to a 9-7 record, yet another winning season, and started out in true Brett Favre fashion until the bottom fell out in the final five games of the season during which he completed 343 of 522 passes with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

A shoulder injury was partly to blame for the decline, but many would point the finger at Favre, accusing age and his reckless style as major contributors to his and the Jets’ downfall.

On Sept. 27, 1992, Favre was named Green Bay’s starting quarterback against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then he has maintained a living record of 269 consecutive starts, a record whose closet challenger is Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning, who is at a distant 176 games. This accomplishment knights Favre as the NFL’s, and perhaps all of sports’, true Iron Man.

So has Favre tainted his legend with this offseason’s teeter-totter of antics and surprises? Let’s take a quick look at another sport’s most famous player, who did much of the same thing.

You may know the name Michael Jordan.

He began his first season with the Bulls in 1984. Two years later, he was on his way to becoming the most dominant force in basketball. 

After three championships, Jordan retired in 1993, only to come back one year later. Another three-peat championship followed. 

Then, in 2000, he announced another retirement, followed by Jordan becoming partial owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. In January of 1999, Jordan was quoted saying the he was “99.9% certain” that he would never return to the NBA hardwood again (Sound familiar?).

However, in September of 2001 he returned to the NBA, playing for the team in which he had previously staked ownership. Two sub-par seasons followed, and Jordan retired again, this time permanently.

Other players have overstayed their welcomes as well.

Emmit Smith stayed around a few years too long to break the all-time NFL rushing record that was previously held by Walter Payton, a player who retired in his prime. Vinny Testaverde started NFL games well into his 40s. Gary Payton and Karl Malone, both past their prime, joined a stacked Lakers team in an attempt to win a NBA championship.

Agree or disagree with these athletes, playing sports becomes a way of life and becomes quite difficult to give up, especially when you still have the talent to stick around.

 

Brett Favre young in Green Bay

 

With the 2009 NFL season looming, Favre will again suit up, this time with the Minnesota Vikings. Perhaps he will have a great season. Perhaps he will have a poor season. Maybe it will just be quite average. But one thing is for sure: He will be exciting.

Will his reputation be tarnished?

Let me ask you this: When you look back at Michael Jordan’s career, do you think about the six championships, the scoring titles, the amazing buzzer beaters, as well as the Nike and Gatorade sponsorships? Or do you even, for one second, think about or remember one game with No. 23 in a Wizards jersey?

I think you have your answer, and I have mine.

Regardless of the ensuing 2009 NFL season and its results, Brett Favre remains The Man, The Myth, and The Legend.

**********

* – Brett Favre with Viking photo credit: Fantasy-Info.com

* – Brett Favre young in Green Bay photo credit: The Sporting Truth


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