OK, it’s been seven years since Favre retired and there’s no doubt the time was right after the last season with the Vikings but that’s not the point. I just miss what he brought to the game, every week, every play, every season that he played.
There are still good players and good quarterbacks, some are definitely better than Favre technically speaking. But few, if any, conjure up that level of excitement and boyish exuberance that he gave to the game for so many years. And no quarterback is likely to ever match his endurance.
I have always been a Packers and Raiders fan … since I was a kid and watched the second Super Bowl. I loved watching The Snake (Ken Stabler). He was fun. I loved having Bradshaw and the Steelers as a nemesis for the Raiders because it was a great rivalry. And while the Packers descended into the gloom of a mediocre team for so many years, the Raiders found ways to stay viable. I was never a Jim Plunket fan but it was impressive how he managed to go from being a punching bag in New England to lead the Raiders to a number of good years and another Super Bowl.
Then a young guy named Favre came into the Packers-Bengals game when Don Majkowski got hurt and the fortunes of Green Bay gradually started to look up. There is no question that the Packers without Favre might have remained a backwater stadium where players like James Lofton, Sterling Sharpe and Donald Driver might not have been willing to play in the cold outdoor stadium of a small media market like Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Yes, he threw interceptions but it was always interesting and on par he won much more than he lost. Often the interceptions were a result of putting him in those situations were he needed to carry the load and make it happen … he wasn’t a player that said no to doing that and it often resulted in a wild finish with a win.
My perception of his last season with the Packers was that largely through Brett Favre’s enthusiasm and leadership, he made an average team believe they were a winning team. They got to the NFC championship game with New York on a brutally cold night … -6° without windchill. The Giants had a great game plan … grind it out and keep Favre on the bench. But he never sat on the bench (the heated bench) because that’s not who the hell he was. He stood on the sidelines. And he had a cold and he was 36 years old. Personally I think the iron man simply got cold and with the clock running down and the game tied he tried to push it for the win and got intercepted. That didn’t lose the game but overtime went to the Giants and it was his last game as a Packer.
The next year he surprisingly turned up in a Jets uniform and for the first half of the season had them thinking they were actually capable of making the playoffs. They beat the top unbeaten team in game 8 but Favre’s throwing arm was hurt. Again this is my perception but following that rise to a decent start of the season, the young “star” players that were happy to catch the laser perfect passes from him and strut around in the end zone started to see interceptions or misses and fingers started getting pointed. They didn’t adjust the game plans to help him out or run better routes to give him better targets. They weren’t really a team but just a bunch of guys getting paid too well and they fell apart.
After surgery to repair the arm he went to the hated (for Packer fans) Vikings where by my accounting, and many statistics, he had an incredible year. Perhaps the best of his career short of his super bowl year in Green Bay. But numbers aside it was the way he played that found me enjoying Viking games. On one play he threw a short pass and the receiver took off down the field. Next thing you saw was someone come flying into the camera shot with a block 25 years down field. The announcer says “is that number 4? It is! That’s Brett Favre throwing that block … what’s he doing down there!” I paraphrase, but it’s there in the video.
The 280 pound guy that Favre tried to block helped him up and the refferee pulled his jersey back over his shoulder pads … OK, next play! Frankly I would rather see that kind of enthusiasm any day versus some guy banging his chest, doing rehearsed dances after making a play, or pointing up and thanking God–certainly hope that God has better things to do than handicapping football games–for making HIM play better than the other guy.