I always knew this day would come. Eventually. But here it is, Brett Favre has finally retired, and for some reason it’s caught me off guard. I feel sucker punched. Like my best friend just rang my doorbell and told me he’s moving to Europe — tomorrow.
It will take some time before this totally sets in; it’ll probably take half a season of Aaron Rodgers before it stops feeling weird to watch a Packer quarterback with a number other than four. And that said, I’ll spare all the personal memories about Super Bowls, his hijinx with teammates, coaches and refs alike, and of course, those idiotic, rage-inducing interceptions. This is, after all, a blog determined more to looking at media.
That works out alright though, because no player has been as beloved and as glorified by the media as Brett Favre has. Now, for fans of Favre, this wasn’t such a big deal. Sure, you roll your eyes like everybody else when Sean Salisbury mentions his “toughness” and “love for the game” 15 times in two minutes. But at least I knew I’d get to see my team’s highlights. More than you can say for Falcons fans, or anybody who watches the NHL.
But Favre also offers one of the wildest anomalies I’ve seen among “professional” sharers of opinion. On the one hand, they drool over the man’s every move — treating him like some living decedent of the Greek Gods. Yet, as we will continue to see as this story unfolds, nobody ever seems to argue that Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback of all time.
I’ll preface all of this by saying these arguments are dumb — they don’t matter. Favre is my personal favorite quarterback, yours might be Jeff Hostetler. That should be the end of the debate. But alas, every media outlet does this crap, so it’s within our duties of analyzing the media to jump through these same ridiculous hoops.
What I’m getting at is this: Favre has the best numbers ever. The big records are all his, with only Marino falling close to him. He also has a Super Bowl, which is Marino’s bugaboo. He’s got the media darling factor of Joe Namath, but also the intangible of his consecutive games’ streak. His only major knock is the interceptions (which, believe me, are horrendous) but those stem from that same “tenacity” and “gunslinger’s mentality” that the media so easily fawns over.
But look at these lists!! There are plenty more, I know, but it’s almost as if people are hesitant to crack him into the Top-5. Again, I’m not trying to turn this into a debate or make a pitch for Favre being No. 1. I’m just trying to point out the backwardness of all these who come out saying, “Oh God, Favre, what a player! What a fun-loving, gunslinger of a guy who really embodies everything you want in a quarterback. Oh man, who wouldn’t get down on their knees for this guy? I know I would!” and then right after a brief discussion of how they would go about pleasuring the man if they had the chance, they’ll turn around and say, “I mean, he is certainly a Top-10 quarterback. Yes, he’s the all-time leader in touchdowns and receptions and consecutive starts at the position. And yes, he’s won that ever-elusive Super Bowl that has evaded so many greats. But, he made some mistakes, so I’d probably put him No. 5…” WHAT!?!?
I guess all I wish is that the media acknowledged its own presence. They’ve convinced themselves so well that they don’t affect the game, that they don’t even hear themselves anymore. Who cares if you say Favre is the best and people disagree. But if you really don’t think he is, then don’t treat him like the one man you would probably turn gay for.
Cuz you know what, if Brett Favre asked me to marry him, I would probably say yes. I would make him pancakes every morning and press the next day’s Wranglers every night before bed. And I’d definitely tell you he was the greatest to ever play the game.