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Is Brett Favre Ruining His Legacy?
When Future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre first retired in 2007 after 16 years playing for the Green Bay Packers, many thought he was doing the right thing. He was 37 years old and in his career he did more for his team and the Green Bay organization than most players could ever dream of. He was a player who had always seemed to put his team first, despite his many individual achievements.
During his career with Green Bay, Favre helped lead the Packers to 7-division titles, 2-NFC championships, and won a Super Bowl. He also won the Most Valuable Player award three consecutive seasons. Statistically, Favre has set so many milestones that most quarterbacks entering the league will do well to accomplish half of his success. Favre threw 464 career touchdown passes, passed for 65,127 yards, completed 5,720 passes, had 9,280 career pass attempts, made 291 consecutive starts and led his team to 169 wins, all NFL records by a quarterback.
Favre always seemed like a kid in the candy store on the football field. He would turn negative games into positives all the time. He made so many game-winning returns that little kids watching at home knew their dreams of leading their favorite team to a Super Bowl win with 20 seconds left could come true with hard work and determination. He gave hope to so many people, whether through football or one of his various charities.
When he first retired, it was the end of another great legacy. Towards the end of his stint in Green Bay, he realized he was no longer the franchise player, when the Packers selected Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Knowing his time there seemed limited, Favre remained himself even with the fact that at any time he could be pulled out for Rodgers to take over. Through it all, he held his head high and completed two more seasons before announcing his retirement.
At the end of the 2007 season in front of the media and his Green Bay teammates, Favre bade farewell to the game he loved and cherished. From his emotional goodbye, it looked like he was done, and many fans looked forward to seeing him in the stand as a broadcaster for Sunday or Monday night football games. However, with his endless all-or-nothing attitude, he decided he might still have gas in the tank and accepted the NY Jets’ offer to come out of retirement and take over as as the starting quarterback. When he arrived at the Jets camp, it was reminiscent of the good old days when Broadway Joe Namath led the Jets offense, except the Favre-led Jets didn’t fare so well, missing the playoffs and ending Season 9. -7. After a trying season in which he injured his shoulder, Favre announced his “official” retirement for the second time in two years. And while it was sad to see him go, it was about time, the game seemed to be moving at a faster pace than it could.
After months of denying speculation he might return, he did the unimaginable right as the 2009 season was about to begin to announce he would once again come out of retirement to take over as the starting quarterback. Minnesota Vikings. Now, it looked like Favre was no longer looking out for his team’s best interest but himself. He was an aging quarterback with a torn shoulder who didn’t know when to shut it. It looks like Favre fell victim to the same thing many others like him have on “The Limelight.” It’s pretty hard to be the average Joe who walks away from the sport, as you get older. Now imagine being the face of an NFL franchise constantly in the media, always being asked to do commercials and make public appearances. Doing nothing but sit at home fishing and maybe make a few appearances here and there must not have seemed fulfilling enough.
For most of us, being able to retire at 39 with more money than you can imagine would be fantastic, but for a superstar, it’s not that easy. Although there were only a few legendary players who walked away in their prime, like the great Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns and Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions. Most professional players just don’t know when to say enough even though they have nothing left to prove. For example, Jerry Rice, probably the best wide receiver to ever play the game, played well past his prime trying to prove he could still do it. Even in other sports, players struggle to step out of the spotlight like Michael Jordan, the greatest to ever play on an NBA court.
Whereas we as fans say they should just know when to quit. We’re the ones who make true legends want to give it their all, no matter their age or body condition. It seems that when they retire they feel like they’re letting us down, acknowledging that we’ve supported them through the ups and downs. in their career. So while we can sit here and try to justify why Favre should stay retired, you have to think about all the winning plays he’s made, how much he’s contributed to the sport, and not just focus on the Viking 2 years $25 – million dollar contract, after all, who would say no to that.
The only question that remains is whether Favre’s decision to continue playing will taint his status as an all-time great. There will always be a debate about who is the greatest quarterback of all time. The generation you grew up in usually dictates your belief. Despite the fact that current NFL quarterbacks seem to be breaking all old records. My grandfather still insists to this day that Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr are the two greatest to ever play the game. My dad’s picks are Joe Namath, Warren Moon, and Dan Marino. I have to say my best quarterbacks of all time would have to be Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and Favre. But my favorite quarterback is Donovan McNabb and that’s because I’m an Eagles fan.
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