As many of you know, I don't start many threads (other than the game threads), and I don't blog. I have comments that I like to make known sometimes (popular or not), but I don't like to bloviate or waste time. I had a 45 minute drive home today, and I started thinking. I didn't think about my mortgage, the economy, family stuff, or work. I started thinking about football, and especially relating to my feelings about my favorite team and a certain former player. I shut off my Blackberry, and just drove on the rather empty highway just looking out the window at the drying cornfields (horrible crop this year, we are hurting for rain), and thought about the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre.
Any guy (or gal) who grew up being a sports fan remembers that one player that would stop you in the middle of a thought or cease you to speak when he touched the ball. Whenever your team was down, you felt a little nervous as the game grew late, but you never panicked. You worried, but you never panicked, because, by gosh, so and so would get the ball, and we were going to win. That guy for me was Brett Favre. I can remember watching him get the ball in countless situations and thinking to myself that it would end one of two ways. Either in a hail of big, long, laser like passes or one big nasty interception. Most of the time, it was an amazing play followed by excitement that I could picture myself displaying in that situation. I can remember seeing the genuine delight that he displayed, whether it was carrying Donald Driver like a fireman, or smacking Bubba Franks on the butt so hard he left a mark. It was this passion that the media has helped get people sick of, myself included. Which puts us to a fateful day a few years ago.
When I heard that Favre was leaving Green Bay either by being forced out, or retirement, I was to say the least, a bit sad. I mean, I grew up wanting to catch passes from this guy in a Green Bay uniform, and now he was gone. I was ecstatic when Green Bay stole Aaron Rodgers in the draft a few years back, and was excited that he (by all accounts at the time) was progressing very nicely. As a fan, I just wasn't ready to see Teddy Thompson turn over the keys to an NFC Championship game loser to a somewhat fresh faced QB. When Brett became a Jet, I felt like someone had stabbed me. I went to the mall to get my grandfather's pocket watch fixed, and saw the new (at the time) Favre-New York Jet jersey's. I went to buy the new (at the time) Madden game and saw Favre in a Jet jersey on the cover. I kept seeing him on ESPN, and reading about it in the paper. The more I saw, the more I selfishly thought that HE was the one that did this to us Green Bay fans. He was the one that left than didn't want to commit to coming back. I got to the point where I didn't even want to hear his name. When he came to the Vikings, I became even more infuriated at the man who is in a picture hoisting Donald Driver that hangs on my office wall.
When Favre threw that pick in New Orleans last year, I didn't feel the vitriol that I wanted to feel. I wanted to laugh at him, and cheer that he let the Minnesota fanbase down. But for some strange reason I actually felt bad for him. He threw a pass he shouldn't have, and got fricasee'd for it. Rightly so, but I still couldn't shake the feeling of old times. I knew how Vikings fans felt, and I didn't have the heart to torch them for it.
What this boils down too, is that he just wants to play. If we did some dog math (1 dog year=7 human years), only converted it to NFL math, I would say that Brett at his age is similar to a regular Joe at age 64-70. He is getting past the normal retirement age, but can't stop that burn to go back to work. I know a guy who was huge in my life that had the same problem at that age. He wanted to retire, but he just couldn't. When we would talk about bidding out a contract, I never knew if he was in or out til' the last minute. But you know what? I never gave him crap because he earned it. He earned the right to take his time in making a decision because of the time that he put in over many years. I'm not trying to insinuate that a contractor is "just like" an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, but the situations have similarities. I could have worked for someone else, or gotten someone else to be the consultant on the job, just like the Vikings could have handed the keys to Jackson or Rosenfels. I think I would have missed his input and experience, just like like Vikings would too.
To put the proverbial toe-tag on this column, I just wanted to get this off my chest. I came to this conclusion in about 45 minutes and no phone calls. I probably could have sooner, but I was being selfish and thinking about me as a fan, instead of what I would do if I were in his shoes. Whether he gets painted as an attention deprived savant is one thing, but I don't think we will know the real story until hell freezes, and he co-writes a book with Ted Thompson and Brad Childress. Thanks for reading this, and remember, everyone comes to closure in their own way. Thanks guy and gals.