I contemplated going down this path for a few minutes before putting together this post. More than one reporter has been embarrassed since 2007 with the headline: “Brett Favre Retiring from the NFL.” The guy has retired more times than Johnny Olson shouted, “Come on down, you’re our next contestant…”
Favre set record after record as he played for Green Bay from 1992-2007. He ‘officially’ retired the first time on March 4, 2008, and in a teary press conference said, “I know I can play, but I don’t think I want to. And that’s really what it comes down to.”
Four months after throwing in the towel, Favre yanked that sucker back, only to be told by the Packers front office, “Thanks, but no thanks.” The soap-opera between Favre, the Packers, and the Green Bay fans, culminated in his trade to the New York Jets for a 2009 draft pick. New York haven’t seen this kind of quarterback hoopla since Broadway Joe Namath guaranteed a win in the 1969 Super Bowl against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. The Jets front office took the keys to the Jets offense from Chad Pennington. Chad got the boot and Favre got the keys.
He had a better than average season with the Jets, including a solid win in the last game of the season against Pennington and the Miami Dolphins. Nearly two months later, Brett Favre again announced his intention to retire from football.
And then it was… “Oops, my bad!” In June of 2009, Favre announced that he was looking at several opportunities to return to the NFL and would likely join the Vikings organization, only to inform the Minnesota team on July 28, that he would remain retired. Perhaps money talks louder than aching bones, because on August the 18th, the Vikings announced that Brett Favre would be their starting quarterback for the 2009 season.
And what a season it was. When the Vikes met the Packers for the Monday night game on October 5th, Brett Favre became the only quarterback in NFL history to have defeated all 32 teams in the league. That game was the most-viewed television program, sports or otherwise, in the history of cable television. It drew an unheard of 15.3 rating and had 21.8 million viewers. The Vikings would go on to the playoffs and rout the Dallas Cowboys in a 34-3 embarrassment, the first time Favre defeated The Cowboys in the playoffs after three previous losing efforts as the Packers QB. The Vikings would lose to a solid New Orleans Saints team in the conference championship game.
Amid speculation of Favre’s retirement after the stellar performance in his first season with the Vikes, Favre’s ankle injury in the playoff game continued to fuel rumors and innuendo about his plans for 2010. That gossip was squashed when the organization announced on August 17, 2010, that Brett Favre would return as the starting quarterback for the upcoming season. His performance for the season was mediocre, at best, and marked by a couple of injuries late in the schedule. On Dec 2nd, he sprained his shoulder in the Buffalo Bills game. For this injury he was benched for the Monday night game on Dec 13th, ending his consecutive regular season start streak at 297.
With his list of accomplishments in the NFL, you could make an argument that this future Hall-of-Famer is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. (I would pick Joe Montana, but that’s another blog.) I don’t know, there have been some great ones. I’m afraid his legacy is not going to be how many TDs he’s thrown, or how many career starts he’s had, but how many times he said “I’m retiring.”
But then… there’s always next season.
“Sure, luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.” ~Don Shula