Monday, March 10, 2008

Shane! Come Back...

Ok, so maybe the image of Shane riding off into the sunset may be a bit dramatic, but it's pretty darn close to how Favre exited stage left last week from his career in the National Football League. I'll miss him. The interesting thing is... I'm not a Green Bay Packers fan. I'm just a Brett Favre fan. Since my loyalties lie with the Tennessee Titans, I haven't had to suffer any of the crushing blows delivered by Favre to his NFC opponents. This mantra belongs firmly around the neck of Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams for me (yes, think Super Bowl and two yards short). Still, I guess the Packers have gotten so much airtime over the past twelve years or so (coupled by the fact that they're staunch rivals of the Dallas Cowboys and I'm unfortunate enough to be flooded with TV coverage of 'da boys) that I've paid attention more to Brett Favre than many other quarterbacks outside the AFC.

He was simply thrilling to watch, even when the team was falling apart at the seams during that 2005-2006 season and he looked his age on the playing field. As the saying goes, you live by Favre and you die by Favre. Being the interception leader is not a flattering record to hold, but you take the great with the not-so-great in an athlete like Favre. I imagine there are alot of teams out there who'd take the not-so-great in a quarterback that resembles the finesse and results Favre has acquired. And then there were those truly great moments... so many over the years... but especially the play early this year when he escaped the sack rush, stumbled on his feet for 3-4 yards and shovel passed a completion to his wide receiver in blizzard like conditions. The play between Eli Manning and David Tyree will be remembered longer, but there was so much magic involved in this 38 year old QB pulling off such an acrobatic and aware play at that certain moment. This is why I like Favre the player.

And then we have Favre the man. While many may shudder at his "good 'ol boy" rhetoric, I always found something genuine about his personality. I didn't (and still don't) believe any of it was an act. It came across in interviews and it came through in his avoidance of casting a spotlight on mistakes and personal demons. We all know he had them, but they were handled with dignity. One has to admire that because, nowadays, when it seems 2/3rds of the players in most sports are continually the subject of breaking news, whether it be DUI, assault or the insane antics of PacMan Jones, Favre remained private. That's certainly an attribute we all can respect.

While there's little room for crying in any professional sport, Favre earned his poignant goodbye last week. Not only did I appreciate his sadness at walking away from the game he so dearly loved, but I suddenly felt like we had just turned a generational page in the NFL. Who's left? I doubt we'll ever see such a durable presence at that position again. Maybe in hindsight the image of Shane riding out on horseback isn't so far-fetched after all.

4 comments:

Chris Allen Gaubatz said...

Favre seemed like a good guy, and in his prime he was a great quarterback and leader. I didn't like the fact that his last few seasons seemed like attempts to break records even though he didn't have a competitive team until his last run at the Super Bowl. I'm a little ticked off about him breaking John Elway's all-time win record. Besides Elway's first season, he didn't have a season where he won less than 8 games. Favre limped around with 5 and 6 game win seasons and took that record because he stuck around. Other than that, I like Favre and wish him well. Also, don't quote me on those numbers, they are sort of, kinda right, and if they're wrong they're only wrong to prove my point, which would make them right. Don't question the OJO.

Joseph B. said...

Point taken about Elway. I'd rather be in Favre's shoes though- sticking around with the same team, understanding that there was obviously some talent around him- and take those 5 or 6 win seasons as opposed to, wow, so many other QB's come to mind. Warner, Plummer, Trent Green, Bledsoe- all these guys, like Favre, clearly didn't know (and don't know) when to stop, and its getting pretty sad bouncing from team to team with 3 or 4 wins a season. Even though he was losing, I think Favre's position in Green Bay gave him more leverage to prolong the inevitable. And, honestly, what normal, competitive athlete wouldn't wanna break records??

Chris Allen Gaubatz said...

I don't mind him wanting to break records. Don't get me wrong, I like Favre. Elway and Favre had a similar style as far as playing the game like they were at the playground, instead of playing on the huge stage that they did. They also have something else in common that you just don't see anymore- spending the entirety of their career playing for the same team (Favre did play two games with the Falcons his first season). As a lifelong Broncos fan it just sucked seeing Favre beat Elway's career win record. Considering that Favre could have reasonably let go of the game a few years ago. That's life in the NFL though, brotha. I still wish him the best (it's easier to do that since he played in the NFC and never knocked my beloved Broncos out of the playoffs). Isn't it interesting that this comparison of Elway and Favre came up; they played against each other in, arguably, one of the best Super Bowls ever. I believe Elway took that win, though. Eh. Dude here.

Joseph B. said...

You are correct. And Elway went out, truly, on top of the sport. Can you imagine winning the big one, then retiring? That's gotta be such an elating feeling.