The unthinkable has happened, Brett Favre has retired. This is a sad day for Packers’ fans, NFL fans, and sports fans everywhere. I don’t care who you are, Bear fan, Viking fan, you had to like watching Brett Favre play football. To think the Packers will take the field next year with someone other than No. 4 hard to comprehend. I know I have been critical of Brett and I even said it was time for him to hang it up. Deep down I never thought it would really happen this year. The lure of the Super Bowl I thought would bring him back, not drive him away, as it appears to have done.
In his voice message to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Favre seemed like a man wearing the weight of 253 consecutive starts on his shoulders. Like I said a before, if Favre comes back it is Super Bowl or bust and that is a lot of pressure on someone, even Brett Favre. It sounded like Favre doesn’t have the passion left to do the things necessary to continue playing at a high level, and Favre would never sacrifice his level of play just to play longer. To me, the final record Brett set is one of his all-time great marks. In throwing for 4,155 yards last year Favre set the record for quarterbacks in their last season. Beat it by about 600 yards over Roger Staubach. That might be a record that lasts as long as his consecutive starts record, or more. Brett walked away on his terms, still healthy and still able play at a high level.
I am the first to admit I have already shed a tear or two for greatest quarterback of my rememberable Packer life. How can one not when watching Favre destroy the Raiders 41-7 a day after his dad dies (thank-you NFL Network)? That is the reason the world loves Brett Favre, he is one of us. He played the game like I did in my parents back yard, which was the biggest on the block so most games were played there. I could easily picture Brett out there with us, at age 8 or age 38, running over my sister’s tree.
Everybody is already trying to determine where Favre ranks in history. If you rate quarterbacks by championships, then Bart Starr is the greatest of all time with five in seven years. If you rate them on intelligence, Starr should still be first by most will say Joe Montana. If you rate them on ability, most will say John Elway. If you rate them on arm strength, Favre is number one. But when you put all of that together I would have a hard time choosing between Johnny Unitas and Favre. Those two guys probably did more for the NFL with their styles of play and will to win than anybody else, and Favre has won more games than any quarterback in history.
I’m sure you are all aware of my emotional rant hours after the Packers’ devastating loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship game. You are all free to hit me with the “be careful what you wish for” email. I will apologize for that rant right now. I’m sorry for loving the Packers too much. That said, I do love the Packers and I do think they still have a bright future. I’m still a fan today ad will be tomorrow. General manager Ted Thompson was preparing for this day since the day he took the job. Now we will find out if his plan works or if he is the next guy out of job, only he won’t be retiring. Thompson’s choice of Aaron Rodgers holds the career of not only Thompson, but also head coach Mike McCarthy in the balance.
I think the Packers will be OK. Brett Favre can never be replaced. I don’t think there will ever be another quarterback like him who like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods clearly transcends the sport they are in. For all Tom Brady’s success, he’s no Brett Favre. The rules of the NFL have changed and tough guys at quarterback are not really needed any longer. Favre was big and played big. How many times have we heard him compared to a lineman?
I’m going to think back and put together some of best Brett Favre moments for you. Maybe I’ll have some you might not remember, having seen every game No. 4 has ever played, half of them live at Lambeau. We’ll look to the future later. For the time being it’s all about Brett Favre.
More to come…