What is retirement? An interesting question and probably something that if you asked a wide variety of people what they thought you would get a wide variety of answers. If you asked Barbara Streisand… well, I don’t think she would talk to you. There are also people in the professional world who are forced to retire because the company no longer wants them. Neither Barbera nor those forced to retire have a good view of those experiences or at least I think they wouldn’t.
Brett Favre. There, I said it. The only two word phrase which has become as bad as a four letter word in certain circles. But truthfully I am not sure that he has been treated as we would hope to be treated.
The Green Bay Packers got 16 years of his life and a Super Bowl Championship out of this man. They got one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game and a gunslinger that hated to loose. In a word the Green Bay Packers got a Legend in Brett Favre, someone to tell their children about. Then after sixteen years of blood, sweat and tears the Green Bay Packers no longer wanted him.
Green Bay had a new young quarterback and they thought they would be better off without the man who had given himself to and become the face of the organization. Now you might argue that he retired and he did. But doesn’t he have the right to continue playing? Doesn’t Brett Favre have the right to change his mind? In his last year with Green Bay he led them to the threshold of the Super Bowl again. Well, it appears that for someone of Brett Favre’s status the only person who doesn’t get a say in what he should do is himself. Or at least that is the way that everybody has treated him.
The organization that he had spearheaded for a while pushed him out. What more does one man have to do in order to keep his job? The Packers didn’t want him. The fans that he had thrilled for so long didn’t want to see him run off the field, jumping in the air after a touch down any longer. So he went to the Jets.
Brett Favre left the team he had played for over the past 16 years for a team that had finished 4 and 12 the year before. The team couldn’t run the ball, had poor pass protection and we in dire need of a quarterback to lift them up. The team started off the season 8 and 3 before an arm injury limited Brett’s abilities and the interceptions that had followed the gunslinger’s career returned. You would think that doubling the previous years wins would be a feet that would make the team happy. Instead his teammates who couldn’t win without him blamed him for the 1 and 4 finish. Brett admitted it was his fault. No one mentioned the enormous burden he had to carry throwing 40 times a game for the team.
Again number 4 retired. Not as publicly and without the raw emotion he had exhibited before. Who would want to go back to a team that showed so little appreciation for what he had attributed to the team. He got all the blame for their losses and nothing for their victories after the season. Again he was unwanted.
At least he would still have those die hard Green Bay fans to cheer for him. Or at least you think he would because while he was wearing the Green and Gold they revered him like a saint. But as soon as he stated he still wanted to play after first retiring in 2007 the fans abandoned him like a fire wreathed ship. Instead of chanting the name, calls poured into the Wisconsin talk radio condemning the legend for wanting to still play the game he loved. The talk of giving Rogers his turn and that Brett should just stay retired became the rally cry for the same people who cheered for Brett the season before as he led them deep into the playoffs. What more could one man do to deserve the loyalty of his fans?
Well once again the talk of Brett Favre coming out of retirement had surfaced, this time to play for the Minnesota Vikings; a team with a great running back, a solid defense and good receivers. The Vikings need a quarterback to complete a team that could make another playoff run. They have 2 quarterbacks that have not produced to any level. If Brett Favre decides to play for the Vikings isn’t that his right?
The whole of all the conversations seem to miss one point. Who is looking out for Brett Favre? The Packers weren’t when the kicked him to the curb. The fans aren’t when they are calling for him to remain retired. The Jets weren’t when they leveled all the blame and none of the praise for a turn around season on him. If Brett Favre still wants to play and still can why shouldn’t he? Because the sports world says he shouldn’t? Most of us dream of playing in some professional sport. Brett Favre was and still is good enough too. Should he pursue that until he no longer has that desire?
You may not have to like who he plays for and you won’t like what he can do to apposing teams but we all should revel in a man doing what he needs to do for himself while he still can. I doubt any of us will relate the stories of how we treated him in the past few years to our children. It is time we stopped treating Brett Favre like a problem and started treating number 4 like the legend he is.