Before you get all over me, let me say I like Brett Favre.
He’s in my top 7 or 8 quarterbacks of all time that if you said he was going to be my starter, I’d be happy. And he’s going to the Hall of Fame as one of the all-time greats. And yes, I’m voting for him (just like everybody else.)
I do have one “but” and it’s not a big one but I do think it’s important to point out that he’s not flawless and certainly had his ups and downs in his professional career.
I first saw him play in ’89 against FSU while he was still at Southern Mississippi. He pretty much single-handedly won the game in the Gator bowl throwing it all over the place, running all over the place, making off-balance throws and getting the job done. And that’s ultimately what quarterbacks are judged on, wins and losses, getting the job done.
He was drafted by the Falcons and sat on their bench one year until Ron Wolf became the General Manager of the Packers and traded for him with about his first official act as GM. “We don’t really care who we get in the first round of the draft,” Wolf said at the time, “we’ve already got Brett Favre.”
It was a great trade for the Packers and another in a line of boneheaded moves for the Falcons. Favre turned out to be one of the pieces of the puzzle along with Reggie White and others that lead the Pack back to greatness. Along the way, Favre earned a reputation as a fearless gunslinger, a quarterback who would throw it into small spaces and as a very tough guy. He virtually never missed a game. He had a drug problem, he played on a Monday Night right after his dad died.
Over his career he went nearly 16 consecutive seasons without missing a start! He set all kinds of career records this year and got his team to the NFC Championship game. And maybe that had something to do with his retirement announcement. So quick, and actually a voice mail to a reporter.
He got his team to the NFC Championship game, took the game to overtime, at home, and threw an interception that gave the Giants a chance to win the game. Of course New York did just that and went on to win the Super Bowl. Favre’s interception can’t be pointed to as the single reason and Packers got beat but you can look at it as a microcosm of his career. He was able to take his team to great heights. He was entertaining to watch, made great throws, strong-armed and strong willed stuff. But occasionally that wildness and that streak of confidence in his personality cost his team games.
Plain and simple. You can easily say he won more games than he lost with his style because he did. But in some crucial situations, Favre’s gambling ways kept the Packers from winning. Again, I’m not bashing Favre and I’d take him on my team, but I’m just trying to separate man from myth.
He was and is very popular with many influential media types. Sports Illustrated, ESPN and others used his storyline to promote games. He’s a likeable guy, accessible and quotable. And he’s a three-time league MVP. So nobody ever questions his game.
The retirement question has been hanging around for several years for Favre with him hinting that he’d make a decision once he was back home. This time the decision was made and nobody with the Packers seemed to try and talk him out of it. They’re moving on. It’ll be interesting to see if the Pack can play a different style of offense without Favre at the controls.