Thanks For The Memories
Today is a sad day in the world of sports.
Brett Favre, (the soon to be former) starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, was as synonymous with both the Pack and Football as the pope is with religion. For that matter, Brett Favre might as well have been the leader of those loyal cheese heads, playing the role of minister for the last 17 years inside the football cathedral that is Lambeau Field.
While we’re on the subject, I have a confession to make before I continue.
I am not a Green Bay Packers fan by any stretch of the imagination. When they lost to the Giants this past January I couldn’t have been happier for all the Giants fans I know.
Despite not being a Packer fan, I am proud to say I am and always have been a big Brett Favre fan.
And I’m willing to bet most people out there feel exactly the same way.
Brett Favre represents all that is right with sports.
For 17 years, he has played the game the way it was meant to be played.
He was tough and he was durable.
He wore number 4, the same number as legendary New York Yankees first basemen Lou Gehrig. It should be no coincidence that among all the accomplishments of both of these legendary sports figures shared the distinction of being Ironmen in their respective sports. Until his record of 2,130 consecutive games played was broken in 1995 by Cal Ripken Jr., Gehrig was the gold standard for durability. Favre’s feat may be even more incredible, considering the sport and position he played while not missing a start over the final 15 years he played. For 253 (275 including postseason games) consecutive games, Favre was under center at the start of each and every game. What makes his accomplishment so incredible is that he plays the most physically demanding professional sport out there, and happens to play the most important position within his sport. Whether it was fighting off injuries, the frozen tundra of Lambeau and a few years back the death of his own father, Brett Favre made it a habit to make sure nothing was going to stand between him and the playing field when Sunday rolled around.
He was talented.
No quarterback in the National Football League is starting over 200 consecutive games without being good as what he does. And Favre wasn’t good, he was great. With his rocket right arm, Favre was able to throw the ball down field with the best of them, right until the end of his brilliant career. Among the records he holds:
- Most Career Touchdown Passes (442)
- Most Career Passing Yards (61,655)
- Most Career Wins as a Quarterback (160)
- Most Consecutive Starts (253)
Favre consistently had one of the best pure arms in the game, regularly connecting downfield with some of his favorite targets (Antonio Freeman, Donald Driver and Sterling Sharp to name a few).
He wasn’t afraid to take risks.
Favre holds a number of prestigious passing records; however one dubious honor he also holds is the all time leader for interceptions. All of his success could not have come without the risks he took, and while you could argue whether or not you trusted Brett Favre with the football in a big spot, you can’t look past the fact that for the 288 picks he threw, there were 442 balls which made their way from his hand into the end zone. Unfortunately (although in a sense maybe fittingly), Favre’s final pass was an interception which found the arms of Giants corner back Corey Webster in the NFC championship game 2 months ago, which would spark the G-Men and thrust them towards their eventual Super Bowl title.
He played with passion.
Competitive might as well have been Brett Favre’s middle name (plus it sounds a lot better than Lorenzo). For all the interceptions he threw, all the sacks he took and the hits which leveled him, Favre always got back up, got back out on the field week after week and competed. It might not seem like much, but Favre almost always gave his team a chance to win. He hated to lose and you could always see it on his face. You could see his will to win with the frustration in his eyes after every pick. You could see his pure thrill of winning with that fire in his eyes. And you knew he loved to the play the game as he was never shy to smile.
He was accomplished.
Look past all of his records, Favre was able to reach the top of his sport in 1997, when his Packers defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. Favre was more than good enough, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another, and could have been the game’s MVP had the show not been stolen by Heisman Trophy winner and return man extraordinaire Desmond Howard. Appropriate that Favre was able to hoist the Lombardi trophy in his career, the trophy named of course after the immortal head coach who also happened to find success in Green Bay. Favre also was the first and only player to ever win three Most Valuable Player awards, and did so in consecutive years (’95, ’96, and ’97). With a resume like that, it should surprise nobody when Favre becomes a first ballot hall of famer upon eligibility.
I could probably list a dozen more qualities Brett Favre showed during his illustrious NFL career, however simply put, he is a living legend who will be sorely missed by fans- not only in Green Bay- but everywhere.
You didn’t have to like the Packers to root for a guy like Favre.
He was one of the good guys, and unless your team was playing his that day, a part of you was always on the edge of your seat during that 2 minute drive with his team driving to win the game.
Favre will undeniably be missed in a league where he was hardly the most recognizable figure, despite all he has accomplished.
While the names of Brady and Manning probably sold more jerseys, the NFL just doesn’t feel like the same league with Favre having departed for the NFL afterlife.
On behalf of everyone out there who just liked Brett Favre because he was a guy worth rooting for, a guy who you always pulled for and for a guy that always kept things exciting and unpredictable, I would like to congratulate him on a hall of fame career.
Thanks for the memories Brett.
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