December 31st, 2006-On Sunday Night Football, Brett Favre receives a standing ovation from the Chicago Bear fans as a gesture of respect and admiration for their longtime rival because of the possibility of it being his last game.
August 11th, 2010-Brett Favre faces the possibility of returning for his 20th NFL season, with the decision hinging on the health of his ankle, injured in the 2009 NFC Title Game against the New Orleans Saints.
Brett Favre has always been renowned and loved for his childlike sense of enthusiasm and joy he brings to the football field. That, in addition to his competitive fire, is the reason he has been one of the most captivating and polarizing figures of the last four years. The question-will he or won’t he retire?-is one of the most controversial and debated topics among NFL fans. This argument often conjures up feelings of disappointment, and even anger from those who are unhappy with the way Favre has handled his situation. Some even go as far as to say Favre’s legacy has been tarnished by the drama he has put three teams through in the past four years. While those who hold this opinion may be right in the short term, years from now, Brett Favre will be remembered as much more than an indecisive diva.
Statistically, Favre is the greatest quarterback of all time. He is the career leader in completions, attempts, touchdowns, yards, and, of course, interceptions. However, his most meaningful accomplishment in my eyes is his 309 consecutive starts, far and away the most by a quarterback. He is the “Iron Man” of football, a solid rock for almost 19 full seasons. To play the position of quarterback and take the physical beating he has taken for nearly 20 years is absolutely astonishing. He has played through a broken thumb, cracked vertebrae, multiple concussions, and perhaps the most impressive, the loss of his father merely hours before a Monday Night game. Watching a re-air of that game in a sense of complete disbelief of how a man could play that well with something so heavy on his heart and mind, I knew that that was the toughest football player I had ever seen.
The toughest player ever.
A lasting image of Favre is him running off the field, his helmet high in the air, jumping with exhilaration after throwing the first touchdown in Super Bowl XXXI. His amusing soundtracks and timeless pictures of celebrating with his teammates are what stick with us most and remind us that football is meant to be fun. He has made countless memorable plays, from his very first game where he threw the game winning touchdown pass with thirteen seconds left to Kitrick Taylor, to his most recent game winning touchdown to Greg Lewis as time expired for the Vikings against the 49ers in Week 3 of the 2009 season.
In regards to opinions on Favre’s choice of whether or not to retire, detractors say that this recent run of indecision will hurt what people ultimately remember when they think of Favre. Supporters of Favre, including myself, say that despite the fact that Favre has most assuredly brought some sense of disappointment and has by no means handled his situation in the best way possible, the passion for football and toughness he brings to the NFL season after season will endure much longer and stronger than his indecision.