The Compulsory Favre Reaction

I couldn’t decide if I was going to write this post or not.  One minute I was going to write it, the next I wasn’t going to, but here I am.

I vomited in my mouth a little on Tuesday when I saw that Brett Favre was en route to Minnesota to sign with the Vikings.

This is now the third post I’ve dedicated to writing about Favre and that’s probably two more than needed to be written, but what kind of sports fan/blogger am I if I neglected a big story like this?

Maybe I didn’t actually vomit in my mouth when I heard that Favre signed, but I closed the book on his legacy.  Brett Favre had a great opportunity to ride off into the sunset (or his Mississippi swamp) after his last game as a Packer, losing in the NFC title game to my Giants in 2007.  In fact, I remember telling my friends that I will never forget that Giants cornerback Corey Webster caught Favre’s last pass.  Favre could have had his tearful press conference and the following year, he could have been on hand as the Packers retired his iconic #4 jersey.  Lambeau Field would have been sold out and fans would have cried with Favre as they remembered and honored his terrific career.

About halfway down that path Favre started having doubts.  He abruptly turned around and asked the Packers to take him back.  Green Bay looked terrible under the public scrutiny as they turned the legend down.  Aaron Rodgers was their quarterback now.  Somehow, as I look back at their decision, the Packers did the right thing.  Favre then tried to engineer a trade to the Vikings, but there was no way Green Bay was trading him within their division.  Brett Favre became Brett the Jet and ran out of gas about 10 games into the season last year.  This was it, the end of a career for Brett Favre.  The old man didn’t have anything left in the tank.

Like a mistress, the Vikings lurked in the shadows this past off-season, trying to coax Favre to join their team.  We all thought it would happen, but as the off-season wore on and training camp began, Favre had yet to don the purple and gold.  After an epic battle of brinksmanship Americans haven’t seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Favre decided to stay retired and football fans let out a collective sigh of relief.  The Hall of Fame sculptor was readying Favre’s bust for enshrinement in Canton.  His familiy probably even bought their plane tickets for the event.  Brett Favre had finally gone back to the swamp where he was there to stay.

It was three weeks and the Vikings, after driving quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels insane with the Favre speculation, had moved on.  They would compete in the NFC North, but were maybe a great quarterback shy of being a Super Bowl contender.  So Coach Brad Childress did the only thing he thought he could do – he betrayed his two quarterbacks and placed a phone call to Brett Favre.  The next day, Favre was on a plane to Minnesota.

When I’m old, sitting on a rocking chair and slurping peaches out of a can, I don’t know how I’ll remember Brett Favre.  Will I tell my grandchildren I saw a “gunslinger”, a great quarterback who never missed a game, the quarterback that holds all the records?  Or will I tell them I saw some guy try to hold on for too long and drove his fans away? Ultimately, whatever Favre’s legacy turns out to be, the latter may not be the whole story, but it will be a large part of the story.

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