The tears alone were worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Brett Favre shed them, and all of Wisconsin cried along with him. The rest of the country got a bit teary-eyed, too, and who could blame us.
His storybook run to the Super Bowl may have come up just short, but Favre had given us one last great season to remember. And now, looking more vulnerable than he had ever been on the field, he announced he was finally done after 16 seasons as the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
“It’s over,” Favre said. “As hard as that is for me to say, it’s over.”
It seems like it was just yesterday, but it was four long months ago. One of the greatest players of his time was done, heading home to Mississippi with nothing left to do but write his acceptance speech for Canton.
And we believed him. How couldn’t we when the tears seemed so genuine, the emotions so raw?
How couldn’t we when his agent insisted just a month later that reports he was shopping Favre around to other teams were false?
We should have understood that old quarterbacks don’t simply quit unless someone forces them to. We should have figured out that after playing two years of cat-and-mouse with the possibility of retirement, Favre wasn’t done playing games.
We should have known that a player who has provided so much drama on the field might be the biggest drama queen in sports off it.
The only consolation is that it could have been worse. All we did was invest a little emotional bonding with Favre.
We could live in Green Bay.
The citizens there woke up Saturday morning with a giant citywide hangover and a lot of questions they’d probably like to ask the quarterback they’ve given their allegiance to for the better part of two decades. After finally coming to terms with their hero’s decision to retire, they must now confront the fact that all those years of cheering Favre on apparently meant a lot more to them than it did to him.
How could they think otherwise, when Favre wants the Packers to release him so he can play for another team, perhaps even the hated Minnesota Vikings.
That the Packers have no plans to do so should help boost the spirits of some in Green Bay. Their summers are way too short as it is, and there’s no point ruining this one entirely by letting Favre get away so easily.
Besides, payback can be fun. Let Favre twist in the wind for a while, wondering if his only option is to return to the Packers as the backup to Aaron Rodgers.
After all, he’s been playing the game with the team and its fans for a lot longer. He vacillated last year about returning, and the year before called a press conference in Tunica, Miss., to talk about whether he would play again, then told reporters who traveled there that he didn’t know why they wasted a trip because he had no news for them.
Cheesehead Nation waited until April that year before Favre bestowed the gift of another season upon them. Asked what the team thought of him delaying preparations for the next season that long, Favre responded:
“What are they going to do, cut me?”
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