CasteFootballers were apparently OTL or otherwise AWOL last week, so I guess I'll have to initiate CF's tribute to one of the greatest White athletes of this era, courtesy of the Wilmington (DE) News Journal. (Where's the roll-eyes emoticon?)
HOME > Sports > Kevin Noonan
Farewell to Favre
Record-setting career a mix of style and substance
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Brett Favre announced his retirement on Tuesday after a 17-year NFL career that included 16 years with the Green Bay Packers.
Trust Brett Favre to do the unexpected.
A couple of years ago, his team was bad and he looked old and everybody thought he would retire, and he didn't. Now, his team is good and he's coming off one of his best seasons and everybody thought he would return, and he won't.
After 17 years in the NFL, including 16 with the Green Bay Packers, Favre leaves the game owning just about every passing record in the book. But as good as he was and as many records as he set and as many games as he won, Favre wasn't a perfect quarterback, and that was a big part of his appeal.
His delivery had flaws and he forced passes into coverage and he wasn't exactly a Broadway Joe kind of quarterback. Favre was more comfortable wearing denim than fur, was more at home in a pickup than a limo, preferred swilling beer to sipping champagne. And, for some reason, he hated his razor almost as much as he hated losing.
But even though Favre wasn't the best quarterback in NFL history, he might have been the most fun to watch. And that will be his legacy, even more than all the records and all the wins and all the playoff appearances and even the Super Bowl victory after the 1996 season. For the people who were fortunate enough to watch him play, Brett Favre will be remembered for the enthusiasm he had for football and the joy he had in playing it.
Favre played the game like it was a game, not a billion- dollar business played by self-important millionaires. You hear athletes say all the time that they'd play for free, and with Favre, you believed it.
And, of course, he was a tough guy who took everything a defense could throw at him. Of all of Favre's records, the one that will stand the longest is the one he got for standing up to the punishment an NFL quarterback takes on a weekly basis. The fact that he was able to play in 275 consecutive games is amazing, especially when you consider that the quarterback who held the record before him, former Eagle Ron Jaworski, started 116 straight, which means Favre more than doubled the old record.
Somehow, it's easy to see him playing in the days when they didn't wear facemasks and guys had nicknames like Bronko and Bulldog.
Speaking of the Eagles, Favre played against them 12 times in his 16 years in Green Bay and they beat him seven times, including a playoff game at the end of the 2003 season that became part of Eagles folklore because of "fourth-and-26'' -- Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb completed a long pass to wide receiver Freddie Mitchell to keep alive the drive that tied the game and sent it into overtime.
But regardless of the outcome, the Eagles' games against Favre were always special because of his odd-couple relationship with Andy Reid, a former offensive lineman who was Favre's quarterbacks coach in the year before he was hired by the Eagles. The two had a good working relationship and became fast friends.
Reid talked about Favre on Tuesday and was asked how the QB would be remembered. Reid mentioned Favre's toughness and leadership and ability to improvise and, of course, all the records. But it was the way Favre played the game, more than the results he got from it, that impressed Reid the most.
"Just his love for the game,'' Reid said. "I'm not sure I've been around anybody who's 37 years old and is jumping on people and acting like he's 12. And that's how he played every day, that's what he did in practice. He just loved to play the game.''
Contact columnist Kevin Noonan at firstname.lastname@example.org.