The Gunslinger has fought his last duel. After almost taking his team back to the Super Bowl this past season, Brett Favre is saying goodbye to the NFL and hello to more Wrangler jeans commercials. I’m a little shocked he decided to walk away now because of the renaissance he experienced last year and the quality team they have up in Green Bay. The Pack looked poised to make another run at the trophy named for their former coach but Brett alluded to the fact that the odds are stacked against any team reaching the Super Bowl in any given season, and he just wasn’t prepared to make that trek again. He doesn’t really owe us an explanation, Favre gave everything he had to this game and will walk away as one of the greats, among the best to ever play his position. On top of that, he played the position with panache, he never lost that little kid feeling and he was as entertaining as he was good.
Watching Favre play was a thrill because you never knew what was going to happen on any given play. One minute he’s playing matador to bull-rushing defensive tackles and completing a 55-yard bomb for a TD. The next minute he’s throwing a pass as ill-advised as his foray into acting. But that was the essence of Favre, from the sublime to the train-wreck, he made you watch.
My initial thought upon hearing this news was: Has anybody checked on John Madden? Did his bus driver remove all sharp objects from the vicinity and lock the bus door so the big guy could take a suicidal leap onto the pavement going 55-mph? Most of us had a certain amount of love for Favre, but Madden had a man-crush the size of Wisconsin for the Mississippi Magician. I halfway expect to hear of Madden’s retirement later today now that Favre has walked off into the sunset.
I’ll miss Brett but will always be reminded of him as I watch his knock-off, Tony Romo, line up for the Cowboys each Sunday. Romo exhibits many of the same traits that Favre made famous, including the gunslinger mentality and the pure joy of playing the game. The one guy I don’t envy is Aaron Rodgers; he’ll soon know the pressure of trying to replace a legend. Nothing he does will be good enough unless he leads his team to the Promised Land, just ask Danny White.
So goodbye Brett Favre, you earned your retirement and your place in NFL lore. It was a thrilling ride, one I was glad to witness.
Here’s a little Favre/Cowboys trivia.
After one season with the Falcons, Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers on February 10, 1992 for the 17th pick in the 1992 NFL Draft. The Falcons later traded that pick to the Dallas Cowboys who selected Kevin Smith.