The Brett Favre era is over in Green Bay. Somehow, the sun will come up in the east today, the NFL will remain the most popular sports league in the country and the Green Bay Packers will continue to field a team. During some of the TV coverage of the announcement yesterday, you would have thought none of the three were going to happen.
My favorite memory of Brett Favre will be the final play of a loss to Cincinnati a couple of seasons ago. With the Pack down by a touchdown and the ball on his own side of the fifty, Brett was flushed out of the pocket and forced to run. Despite being a good 15-yards beyond the line of scrimmage, Brett threw one of his patented back-to-the-receiver-over-the-head-underhanded-tosses as he was being tackled. It would have been a great play--if it hadn't been an illegal forward pass. That was just "Brett being Brett". As I recall, Bubba Franks hurt his knee trying to catch that pass as well.
My favorite off-the-field memory of Brett Favre comes from a night early in his career. I was playing darts and having a few beers with my friends at a Green Bay bar called "The Speakeasy" on a Sunday night. Brett and his other "Three Amigos" buddies--Frank Winters and Mark Chmura--got dropped off by their limo and came on in. They stood at the door--and because this was a cool "college" bar--were basically ignored. Nobody fawned all over them, none of the women in the bar came rushing over to throw themselves at the "big stars" and the owner didn't invite him to come behind the bar and pour himself whatever he wanted--for free--like some owners did. After five minutes of being ignored, the three left.
My favorite stat from Brett Favre's career: 0-9 at Texas Stadium against the Cowboys.
Now seriously, I will miss the infectious enthusiasm with which he played football. You could tell he loved being out there and probably would have played for free.
For those who wonder why he would decide to call it a career now--despite a great season--just look at some of the footage of him standing on the sidelines against the Bears in that windy game in Chicago and the frigid Conference Championship game against the Giants. Brett looked miserable and you could tell he was not having any fun in those games. It was almost like he was thinking: "what the heck am I doing freezing my butt off out here?"
So thanks for the memories Mr. Favre. We'll see you again in Canton in 2012.