We do this ever year. Every February since 2006, we as writers have hyped ourselves up over the idea of the legendary Brett Favre hanging up the shoulder pads and calling it quits once and for all. We have all sought to write the perfect article to culminate one of the all-time great’s career. And when we had, we cringed and grinned at the same time as we learned that “Old Man” Favre wasn’t finished yet!
Brett Favre entered the league as a relative nobody despite his miraculous successes at the collegiate level, including an upset of No. 6 Florida State during his Junior season and a phenomenal victory over Alabama just six weeks after a life-threatening car accident that saw 30 inches of his small intestine removed.
He was drafted in the bottom-half of the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft out of Southern Mississippi. At the time, Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville hated the draft pick and used Favre minimally during his rookie season. I bet Glanville wishes he knew the type of player he had on his hands that year.
A trade to the Green Bay Packers that offseason soon gave birth to the legend Favre has been molded into today as he entered the game for the injury prone fan-favorite, Don Majkowski. On his very first play, Favre threw a pass that was deflected at the line. Surprisingly, the play didn’t end there as Favre caught the ball himself. It was the first of 6,295 record-setting completions in the first of 297 record-setting consecutive starts by NFL‘s personal “Ironman”.
From that point on, Favre led a novel-worthy career full of ups and downs, highs and lows. He gathered MVP awards, Pro Bowl appearances, and a Super Bowl trophy; he fought addiction problems, nagging injuries, his wife’s cancer and the loss of his father.
Through it all, Favre rose above and never quit.
Favre became the man we would either love or hate. Many couldn’t help but admire his boyish joy during every game. Some couldn’t help but envy the man who appeared to have it all at times.
He was determined and passionate, but we all knew he would have to hang it up someday. When he retired in 2007, it was mournful, but short-lived.
Maybe he couldn’t live with the idea of his final pass in the NFL being an interception in the NFC Championship. Maybe he loved the spotlight just too much. Maybe he was self-absorbed and greedy, feeding on every dollar a team was willing to give him. Or maybe, more than likely, Brett Favre loved the football game like no other.
Much of people on network television believe we should look at Favre’s career as if his three years following his “retirement” from the Green Bay Packers should be ignored. They say that all of that stuff tarnished an amazing legacy and has given him the image of a selfish, maniacal human-being who is only concerned with himself.
I disagree. In these past three years, what I have seen from Brett Favre is all I have ever truly believed about the “Old Man”—he just wanted to play football.
From Green Bay to New York to Minnesota, all Brett Favre has ever wanted to do was play football and he has fun doing so for 20 impressive years. There will always be those people who wish to look at the worst of a man’s legacy. They want to judge him on the allegations that have been made against him and his shoddy decision-making, but the fact of the matter is, no one can question the legacy Brett Favre has left behind.
He is one of the all-time greats in NFL history and perhaps, the greatest quarterback to have ever lived. Regardless, there is no man who has ever stepped on the football field with more toughness and more heart than Brett Favre and after last night, there never will be again.
Of course, who is to say “Old Man” Favre is finished just yet?