Friday, November 6, 2009


Full disclosure is that I’ve been a Green Bay Packers fan forever and can speak no evil about the team or its players. So along comes Brett Favre; cocky, tight-lipped, egotistical, and immensely talented. Of course I don’t dislike him, and it hurt to see Packer fans in Lambeau give him the raspberry the other day; but I understand their sentiments. It would appear that he slipped away from their embrace while kicking them in their privates.

The media is loving it. I watched the sports announcers, dignified ex-coaches and sympathetic ex-players all, fishing around for any sort of muck to heap on both Favre and his detractors. I heard some say that he deserved every bit of scorn he received and others say the fans were over the top and excessively cruel. It wasn’t his fault, some complained. Yes it was, others jubilantly asserted. I heard either the fans were crap, or they were justifiably upset. Where does the truth lie?

I don’t know the answer to that because I don’t know what transpired behind management’s doors. And neither do any of the pundits. As for the fans being rabidly anti-Favre, as the media reported, I didn’t sense that when I watched the game. Sure, there was some evident displeasure displayed but hasn’t anyone wondered what’s with the Dog Pound in Cleveland? — the guy in the chain mail bra and spiked beanie in Oakland? — the naked guy with iced-up nipples in Minnesota? Now there’s some maniacal behavior. I thought the protests at Lambeau were somewhat reserved as though the love was still there but a hurt throbbed somewhere unreachable.

How can you be critical of Favre as a player? That answer is simple — you can’t. There never has been quarterback so in tune with his game, so expert in his leadership, so motivational in his behavior. There never has been a player so tough, so skilled, so feared. That said, I’m not so sure that Favre is a great person deserving of the bright light of idolatry. He comes across a little manipulative and self-absorbed. His tight-clenched jaw and mumbling speech leaves the impression that he’d rather be someplace else. His inability to be candid about his playing career has become tiresome. But witness his record at Minnesota. Without question the man is a football player, probably the best ever.

So I want to think of Brett Favre as he’s always been — a joy to watch displaying talents that are beyond description. I don’t care what team colors he’s wearing. He’s a long way from being washed up and I can tell from his demeanor that he’s still having fun. Play on, Brett, but don’t play the shell game with us anymore. The next time you retire, make it because your skills are fading or the joy of the game is gone. That’s the way a legend says goodbye.

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