Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favre Retiring...Finally

According to ESPN, FOX Sports, and the Biloxi Sun-Herald, Brett Favre is going to retire. I am shocked. We have been following the Brett Favre-Retirement dance for, what, 3 years now? It's gotten old. VERY OLD. In my opinion his yearly standoff with retirement is awful. He holds an entire organization and fan base hostage. I hate when people say athlete's have "earned" the right to do what they want. Aren't professional sports supposed to be the biggest stage for TEAM sports? Since when does one player get to take months to decide on his future? Should he have the right to decide for himself? Sure. But his process takes MONTHS. This completely handicaps the organization in terms of free agency and then the draft. No player, I don't care how good you are, should be treated differently (outside of the boatloads of money, of course). ARE YOU LISTENING ROGER CLEMENS? Well your playing days are over anyway. Ah digression...

Favre always stated that he wasn't about records; he was always about winning. If he thought he was in physical and mental condition to return to the field for another year AND the team would be competitive he'd come back. This decision sometimes took months. In the past few seasons, years he was considering retirement, Favre broke a few QB milestones. He is now the career record holder for pass completions, pass attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and interceptions (though he may not want that one). All of those records, except the INT one, were previously held by Dan Marino.

When Favre first contemplated retirement, I believe after the 2005-2006 season, the Packers had just finished 4-12. Favre threw 29 interceptions. It looked like he had lost it. Retirement looked imminent. Favre wanted to keep playing but wanted to contend. The 4-12 Packers did not have a lot of hope in the eyes fans or the media. The Packers organization did very little during free agency in 2006, mostly because they had no clue what Favre's plan was. They had already selected his successor, Aaraon Rodgers, in the 2005 draft. But should the team grab established veterans for one last run? Or should they purge the roster and get younger? If they knew Brett was coming back they could have had a plan. But they didn't. Because he wasn't telling them what he was doing. Finally on April 26, 2006, Favre announced he would return.

Fast forward through the 2006 season, one in which the young Packers team showed modest improvement and finished 8-8. You will now experience deja vu. Favre takes until mid-March to decide to return in 2007. Again, the Packers are not players in free agency, possibly due to the fact that they didn't know their direction. As the draft approaches, hoping for one more run at a second Super Bowl title, Favre yearns for the Packers to add Randy Moss. It doesn't happen. Favre is furious because he thinks the team isn't showing effort to make strides and get to the next level. There were numerous rumors that he demanded a trade. Favre would later deny this. Even without Moss the Packers surprised a lot of people. They finished with the second best record in the NFC at 13-3 and played host to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game, which went into OT. A Favre INT and then a Lawrence Tynes FG would end the Packers season and, apparently, Favre's career.

I find this very odd. Favre, a man who says he is in it to win, will leave the team after they go 13-3 and are minutes away from a Super Bowl berth? What??? The Packers are the youngest team in the NFL. They just went 13-3 with the gunslinger under center. Why the hell would he retire? Are there underlying health (that bad ankle) or family problems? Is the drive gone? What is up?

Unfortunately we don't know yet. And probably never will. But this decision reeks of hypocrisy. You wanted to win again. Now is your chance! But no, I'm hanging them up. Perhaps this is because you have now accomplished everything you wanted. The personal records, of course. It seems that the end of Favre's career never was about the Green Bay Packers or about winning another Super Bowl. It was about Brett Favre. That and only that.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope there is a real reason behind this. As of now, I don't see one. It makes no sense. I never was one to love Favre, much like numerous fans and the media did (right John Madden?). There is no doubt that Favre was an amazing QB and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But people always bring up what and outstanding person he is and how deserving of everything he is. I don't buy it. He is just another example of a selfish athlete. Something the world doesn't need. Good riddance.

Just to let everyone know I understand everything Favre and his family has been through. From the death of his father and brother-in-law, his wife's fight with cancer, and Hurricane Katrina. This doesn't make him any different or more important than the other people effected by those same types of tragedies. He did not persevere any more than any other 'average' person would. I had the utmost respect for him when he took the field on Monday Night Football the day after his father passed away in December 2003. But I have the same kind of respect for any person that does their job after a family tragedy. He isn't different, despite what the media says (Man of the Year, Sports Illustrated? Really?). Everyone goes through these things. EVERYONE. Don't put him on a pedestal because he is a terrific athlete.

1 comment:

Steely McDonati said...

ESPN is treating this like he died...all for a man who's final NFL pass was an interception.