Brett Favre- The Teammate, The Legend, The Legacy.
No doubt the very title itself is going to raise eyebrows for all the wrong reasons, and that's because I'm talking about the one and only Brett Favre.
No sooner do the words leap from my imagination into the akashik records, and I already hear the collective startled response, "TEAMMATE?"
Am I really talking about the 'teammate' that threw six interceptions against the St. Louis Rams on Jan. 20, 2002 in the NFC championship game?
Could I really be talking about the same guy who threw an interception in what was only one of the four turnovers cooked up by The Green Bay offence who lost in a battle to the Micheal Vick-led Atlanta Falcons on the frozen tundra of Lambeau field on Jan. 4, 2003 in another heated playoff game?
Am I talking about the 'teammate' who threw the pick in overtime against The Philadelphia Eagles which all but set them up to win the game and sent the city of brotherly love into euphoria as it glowed with pride on a brisk Jan. 11 night in 2004 in what would be another playoff performance?
Or the 'teammate' who heaved the ball into the hands of Corey Webster in O.T. who subsequently played with the New York Giants in their playoff game on the 20th of January 2008?
The same 'teammate' who threw the O.T. NFC championship pick to Joey Porter on Jan 24, 2010 against the New Orleans Saints?
Am I talking about the same 'teammate' who essentially kept 23 of his colleagues out of work just due to his very nature?
Really? Am I seriously talking about the same 'teammate' who's first NFL completion was to himself?
The answer is yes. That is who I am talking about.
And of course, you're thinking,"Am I down right crazy or didn't the Minnesota Vikings have to send team representatives to Favre's home in Mississippi to plead with Favre to come back in the midst of training camp?"
The answer is yes, and with good reason too!
Not even the most passionate Favre hater can deny the fact that he showed up to the football field every week to win or at the very least lose trying.
A doubter to this claim has to look no farther then Favre's consecutive-game iron-man streak of 321 consecutive starts (297 regular season) to be turned into a believer.
Indeed even the doubter is likely quick to point out some facts which also back up such a statement, bringing Favre's NFL record 336 interceptions into the discussion.
Of course, this is where the Favre hater becomes deaf, dumb, blind or any other possible combination of the three, because what they don't see, or are ignorant of, are some of Favre's more miraculous records; 508 passing touchdowns, 71,838 passing yards, 6,300 pass completions, 244 career games with at least a T.D.
Indeed ever since his first start on Sept. 27, 1992, Brett Favre gave it all he had every week for 19 years. He played through shoulder injuries, a lacerated chin which required 8 stitches, two broken bones in his foot, several concussions and a death to his father prior to what turned out to be one of his most impressive monday night showings of all time.
As the dust settles, and Favre rides off into the sunset, the doubters will inevitably question when he should have called it quits for good.
Should Favre have ended his career after his Green Bay playing days?
If that had been the case we would have not seen arguably one of his best games in which he threw for 289 yards and six touchdowns at the age of 38 years and 354 days against the Arizona Cardinals.
Should he retired after his New York Jets playing days?
If that had been the case Favre never would have started 6-0 as a starter, threw for his 500th career touchdown or recorded his 70,000th passing yard, which subsequently he did on the same play- a truth unmatched by any QB in the history of the game.
Had he retired then, he wouldn't have passed for his career high in passing yards which he accomplished on Nov. 7, 2010, against the Arizona Cardinals passing for 446 yards.
No doubt I am talking about a teammate who left it all on the field. I am talking about the teammate who carried Donald Driver on his shoulders after a touchdown catch by the pro-bowl receiver.
I am talking about the same teammate seen dancing at a Minnesota Vikings practice to lighten the mood and spread some smiles even though there was no chance of Favre making the start, or the team making the playoffs.
Hands down my perspective is biased insofar as Brett Favre is the greatest QB of all time in my books and the most complete football player to play the game. How am I able to make such a claim?
His numbers speak for themself. His love for the game is unmatched. His preparation and knowledge of the game enabled him to read coverages and make plays. Playing the game at the level he did, as consistently as he did it, redefined Favre's persona from the good ol' Mississippi boy to the NFL's all-time iron man, a testament to his natural ability and desire to be the best.
Is Favre going to be remembered as a cool, calm and collected QB like that of Tom Brady?
Is Favre going to be remembered as the game manager that would be reminiscent of Peyton Manning?
Is Favre going to make the defense look foolish and end the game with one throw of his arm?
That is more likely the legacy he will leave, whether he's bombing it out on the first snap in O.T. against the Bronco's, or he's reentering a game with a concussion only to throw for a 28-yard T.D. on a fourth and two. Brett Favre was never shy to take over a game and strike fear into the hearts of his opposition, only part of the reason he has three MVP trophies sitting on his mantle and a Super Bowl ring to boot.
Love him or hate him, those of us who got to watch him know for a fact he put on a show, when we tell our kids and our grand kids about the one and only Brett Favre, he will probably resemble more of mythical hero or an enigma wrapped in a riddle rather then a football player. Without a doubt he was just that, a football player right down to his blood sweat and tears.
Indeed, somewhere not so deeply buried in the old-man Favre lives on the young-boy Brett who simply loved the game of football and who showed up to the field to win. Any way you spin it, at least you can say he tried.
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