I've stayed silent on the entire Brett Favre situation since he announced his retirement. I had a feeling he might be coming back, and I wanted to save my farewell address to one of most special men in all of sports for his true finale.
The way that Favre has been forced into the position he currently finds himself in has made me finally boil over to a point where I can't do anything else today before I vent a little.
My apologies to everyone who currently finds themselves on Bleacher Report with a burning question—I simply will not be able to give you my full attention until I get this off my chest.
I cannot put into words how disgraceful I believe the recent actions of the Packers' management to be.
Here you have one of sports' all-time legends—a man who has played 15 consecutive years of professional football without missing a start...who won three straight league MVP awards...who holds nearly every significant passing-record known to man...and who is the epitome of a fearless, play-at-all-costs competitor who never winked at any sign of adversity.
Admittedly, Favre became an interception machine in his later days, and it appeared that his career was coming to an end. But he worked his butt off last season to get back into top form, posting his highest quarterback rating in over a decade and leading an otherwise young and inexperienced Packer squad to the brink of a Super Bowl appearance.
For all of his hard work—for everything that Favre has given to the Packers organization, the city of Green Bay, and football fans across the world over the past two decades —Brett Favre has been treated so poorly as of late that even a piece of garbage in the town dump would consider it disrespectful.
And it just isn't right.
I have one question for Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson: When you've looked at the mirror in the past couple of weeks—while a God among men has been leaving messages on your machine telling you he wants one more shot—what have you seen staring back at you?
If the answer is "a human being," I'm going to go out on a limb and say that both of you are boldface liars. The way you two have conducted yourselves in this situation is shameful, classless, and downright monstrous.
This man has given his heart and soul to your franchise for 15 years. And he was AWESOME last season; he gave you guys a legitimate shot at your fourth Super Bowl victory.
Now he wants to return and take one more crack at the Vince Lombardi trophy. And you're telling him you want to move the team in a different direction?
What direction is that, may I ask? Straight down to the depths of the NFC Central?
It's pretty sad that you'd rather see your team make the playoffs five years from now than have a shot at a ring this season. It's especially disgraceful considering the long history of excellence that has defined the Green Bay Packers' franchise since the days of coach Lombardi.
You guys surely remember Vince Lombardi, right? Remember that thing he used to say...what was it again?
Oh yeah: "Winning isn't everything—it's the only thing."
Well, apparently that's not true anymore for the Green Bay Packers in 2008. Looks like you'd rather lose with a young Aaron Rodgers than win with a grey-haired Brett Favre.
As a Niners fan for life (how bout that for irony?), I remember back in the summer of '92 when Carmen Policy, Eddie D, and George Seiffart found themselves in a similar situation with the great Joe Montana. Joe wanted to come back and play for the Nines, but management felt he was over the hill.
Joe and the Niners ended up parting ways, and it worked out pretty well for both parties. Montana re-assumed his position as the best clutch football player to ever live, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship with some brilliant come-from-behind-victories in the postseason.
The 49ers, meanwhile, won the Super Bowl just a year later, behind the brilliance of quarterback Steve Young, who didn't waste any time establishing himself as the league's best passer.
However, there are a few key reasons why the situation with Favre and the situation with Montana are totally incomparable:
1) Joe Montana had been injured for nearly two entire seasons before his release. Brett Favre has started in 253 consecutive football games.
2) Aaron Rodgers is no Steve Young.
3) Joe Montana hadn't led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game the year before his release.
4) Joe Montana hadn't carried his team on his back the year before his release and lost his chance at a final ring because of the second coming of the Perfect Storm.
5) Aaron Rodgers is no Steve Young.
Brett Favre has served as an inspiration for athletes worldwide since he threw his first completion in the pros (to himself). He loves his job and has never missed a day of work throughout his career. He has never hesitated to give credit to his teammates and conducts himself on the field at all times with the heart and mind of a true competitor.
Sure, he has a habit for forcing balls into places where they don't belong. But by the same token, Favre has also thrown for more touchdowns and more yardage than any other passer in the history of the game.
You take the good with the bad, and for most of Favre's career, the good has far outweighed the bad. Last season was a prime example—Favre proved that even at age 38, he still has what it takes.
When he expressed his desire to return for a final year, Packers management should have rolled out the red carpet for Favre. They should have laid roses by his feet and showered him in champagne for his undying devotion to the game, and the fact that him playing another season gave the team a legitimate chance to get back into the Super Bowl hunt.
Instead, Favre's former coach and general manager chose to drop their drawers and defecate all over one of the greatest men to ever step onto a football field—all for the benefit of an unproven quarterback who could still learn plenty this season from the sidelines.
Mike and Ted: It's not too late to change your mind. Look in the mirror and tell me what you see.