Please Folks, A Moment of Silence for Brett Favre… All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Dear Packer fans everywhere,

Sometime between today, two days after our once-great quarterback was crushed by a Patriots defensive tackle and sent to the locker room to get stitches, and next week when Favre trudges back onto the field one more time, take at least a minute to feel sorry for the man.

(Pause for outraged exclamation and protest.)

I know. I was there for each one of his unretirements. I argued during the summer of 2008 that he was making himself bigger than the team, when half of Packer Nation was burning Ted Thompson in effigy for daring to trade him away. I cheered as loudly as anyone when he threw the fatal pick at the end of the NFC Championship game, and I took a great deal of satisfaction from watching him lose the game for the Vikings two weeks ago. I’ve defended him before in this space against Deadspin’s charges, which are inching closer and closer towards being substantiated, but I do not consider myself a Favre apologist. I’ve castigated him enough over the past few years for that to be an untruth.

And I know that he brought all this on himself. I know that he took a fat contract from the Vikings to come back for another year, how it took three Vikings flying down to Mississippi to beg him to return, and how Favre alone is the reason why he’s still on the football field, taking these massive hits and losing game after game.

But he doesn’t deserve this.

The image of Favre lying on his side, wincing and huddling in pain as a Vikings tagalong held a towel up to his bleeding chin as the motorized cart sped towards the locker room, was one of the saddest things I’ve seen in professional football.

Regardless of what you believe Favre did or didn’t do for the Packers–and forget the revisionist history, he was the biggest reason why we’ve been as successful as we have over 16 of the last 20 years–he will go down in football history as one of the all-time great quarterbacks, if not the all-time great players. What endeared him to us Packers fans and to all of America, his exuberance, his play, his heart and guts and courage on the field, make him so. Such a player, who we have been privileged to see as fans for almost as long as I’ve been alive, should not go out like this, battered and broken and still coming back for more.

Favre’s situation is not unlike the one the Brewers’ Trevor Hoffman faced this year. After an unbelievable season for the Vikings, Favre has become worse then ordinary in his second. He can’t run anymore. He’s fighting tendinitis in his elbow, and playing on a newly re-fractured ankle. He has eight stitches in his chin, courtesy of Myron Pryor. He’s hearing allegations of improper conduct with a Jets hangabout, and being forced to admit that at least some of them are true. For perhaps the first time in his career, there’s open talk in the media and among his coaches about benching him during the season for a better alternative. His locker room is falling apart, and his team is just 2-5 after a NFC Championship berth the year before. In short, he’s being assailed on all fronts.

And we see every agonizing bit of it and cheer for more.

Hoffman didn’t have a consecutive starts streak to protect. He could watch quietly from the bullpen as John Axford saved game after game, then come out late in the season when winning no longer mattered and get one last, well-deserved ovation from his fans. He could sit back, teach Axford and cede the public eye to his successor. He could be shielded from the ruthless gaze of the media.

But Favre will be out there on the field for every game of the rest of this season until he is knocked out or forcibly benched by his coach. And that means we will continue to see every heart-pounding hit, every head-hanging interception, every public spat with the Vikings’ brain trust. There’s no young savior waiting to start (Tarvaris Jackson certainly doesn’t count as one), and we wouldn’t see him if there was. All the pathos and all the tragedy of a forty-one year old man trying to play a game for relative kids in their twenties will be on display for all to see, for as long as he keeps coming back.

At this point, Favre reminds me of nothing more so than an old dog still trying to play fetch-the-stick with his master, limping and barking down the field and still trying to do what used to be so effortless and fun. It’s sad to see what he has become and all the abuse he takes. You know that point in some action movies, where the hero is beating up the bad guy, and at first it’s righteous and necessary? But the punches keep coming and the blood spatters out the corner of his mouth and it gets more and more brutal, until it’s just too much and the hero’s sidekicks cry “Enough!” That’s where we’re at right now, or at least where I am. It was satisfying to see Favre get his righteous comeuppance for all he put the Packers organization through, but enough is enough. Let the man up.

As Packer fans and as football fans, there’s a time for us to let the man up. I’m not saying it should be today, or tomorrow, or even the end of this season after Favre struggles through the last nine games. Not for everybody. But I encourage you, as people who followed him through the glory years and cheered for all his touchdowns, and as fans who booed or cheered him before his trade to the Jets, take a minute before the next inevitable beating to feel for Brett Lorenzo Favre. Because a legendary career like his shouldn’t end with this kind of brutal, crushing vulnerability. Call it Favre’s fault, Thompson’s, or whoever you like. But he shouldn’t be going out like this.

42 thoughts on “Please Folks, A Moment of Silence for Brett Favre…

  1. I think it all comes down to how he actually retires and if he makes amends with the Packers. I am not sure what form it needs to take, but if he does it with class a lot can be forgiven. Only time will tell.

  2. I’ll have none of this sympathy at the moment. The day the Vikings are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention? Yes. Absolutely. Make room for me to jump on board then.

    But not today. The Queens still have 9 games left, and many of them are winnable. That team does have some playmakers, even if their front office/coach is a disaster. And Favre didn’t play half bad Sunday until he got his game-ending boo boo.

    Right now, Favre is like that big buck you just shot at across the swamp. You made a good shot and knocked him down, but he’s still kicking around in the weeds. And the rack isn’t in your hands until you walk up to him and shoot him one more time right behind the ear. He’s hurt real bad, and you know he’s probably not going anywhere, but you have to make sure he doesn’t somehow get up and limp away. And right now we’re just getting out of our tree stand to walk over to him.

    1. True enough, and a valid point. I just think that the buck is dead at the moment, and that the walk across the intervening space will only confirm it for us. The last bullet won’t so much be finishing off a buck that’s still kicking as it will be the final confirmation.

  3. Andy, like most Packer Fans, I wish Favre no ill. However, he is a Queenie and every bad thing that happens while he is in Purple will elicit no sympathy from me. Until the day he retires (really) he is the enemy. And the Packers #1 objective is to beat the enemy any way they can.

  4. AWESOME ARTICLE! I’ve Facebooked and Tweeted it to the world! I am new to fball, since Favre came to us in Minnesota 2 yrs ago. HE brought me to the game–his love of the sport, and his unwillingness to relent in the face of adversity. All the drama aside, I have never understood why Pack fans were so hard on him. Particularly 2 weeks ago when the booed him OFF Lambeau Field. I understood it when he entered the stadium, but not off. He had already lost the game, and it seemed a lot like kicking your former star QB who brought Cheesedom a lotta fame…while he was down. I call dirty pool. GO VIKES, and LONG LIVE FAVRE, our Silver Fox!

  5. I cannot, and will not, feel sorry for Brett Favre at this point. His decision to exact his revenge on The Packers for not allowing him to comeback is his choice, and if his vision was so shortsighted as to not realize when it was time to really retire, then so be it! Had he retired, and not chosen this path, his legacy, his stature, and his history as a Packer would be intact. He has chosen this path to destruction! His comments about the Vikings being the best team he has ever been associated with still ring in my ears! I watched as he gave his “retirement” speech from Lambeau. I felt the tug at my heart for this “larger than life” legend, as he said his good-byes. I was a Packer fan long before Brett Lorenzo Favre came on the scene. I know his contributions to The Green Bay Packer Legacy. He has cast aside all those that have held him so dear. HIS CHOICES!! He must be the one to begin to process of healing. Without that effort on his part, I for one, will not be welcoming him back anytime soon.

  6. MSMKB76 says “HE brought me to the game–his love of the sport, and his unwillingness to relent in the face of adversity.”

    Favre brought to me his love of money, records, attention, and an unwillingness to think of the team first.

    I’m with Ron LC…Favre & the Queenies are the enemy. I want them to fail badly. Al, you’re too nice a guy. πŸ˜€

    1. Oh, dude, make no mistake. If the Vikings don’t win another game for the rest of the year, I’ll be pointing and laughing in a west-northwesterly direction like everybody else. My sympathy is reserved for Favre, not the rest of the NFL’s answer to Deepwater Horizon.

      1. Sooo, Andy’s the agitator. Hmmmmm… πŸ˜€

        It’s funny how lively the replies are in response to Andy’s articles. They add a lot an already excellent blog. πŸ™‚

      2. There you go Al.I’ve known you for over 40 yrs.and you are a good and classy act. You were the only other Packer fan while we where growing up in NJ.LOL This is turning into an Oprah episode.

  7. What a pathetic article/plea…You are absolutely a Favre apologist. He has made his bed now he has to lay in it. He is the biggest example of hypocrisy I have ever seen. On one hand he is the maverick, super tough, gunslinger who does what no one else can do. On the other he is a cry baby, womanizing, wimp that acts like a manic depressed high school girl. He does not represent any of the christian, republican, tea party values that I hold dear. He is a drug addicted, woman chasing, little boy with a daddy complex. He gets almost all of the credit for the superbowl win when we had probably the most talented coaching staff ever assembled and a beast of a man in reggie white. He never got it done again even when he was running the show under Sherman. Brett Favre can lick my left nut. I have never been more proud to be a Packer fan than I was after the jets game when I heard of the disaster that was playing out in Minnesota. management listened to Favre and they got Randy Moss. Then the whole thing blew up in their face. Favre doesn’t care about anything but himself. Why try to make people feel sorry for this guy. He has a net worth over a 100 million bucks, and he earned it by appealing to feelings and passions of the fans. Now those feelings have turned, he is still filthy rich, and he can still have extramarital afairs. Why do we care?

  8. The only thing I feel sorry about for Favre is how the media pressured him into the retirement discussions and decisions. He never started that, and the media should have had no part in it.

    However, he has chosen this path, so for that I don’t have much sympathy. I understand the iron man attitude, but at some point, your injuries have to make you think twice about what you’re doing.

    When Brett Favre starts putting the team before his record and his own desire to play, then I will sympathize with any woes he may incur. Until then, he is the one putting himself in this position.

    Some silly starts streak is not worth as much as your health or the success of the team.

  9. NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!…… et to brute………….he should quit,if not ,i personally will love watching him get nailed…..SUPER…STARRRRRRRRRRR

  10. yes he does deserve it, every bit of it. He had better wear purple and yellow in the hall, becasue he wanted to go there so bad.

  11. “The image of Favre lying on his side, wincing and huddling in pain as a Vikings tagalong held a towel up to his bleeding chin as the motorized cart sped towards the locker room, was one of the saddest things I’ve seen in professional football.”
    Or one of the greatest things that could happen to the internet.

  12. BTW, I would feel sorry for him, if I didn’t know what kind of person he really is. Devious, cheater, primadonna, self-centered human being.

    Favre the Packers QB is forever in my memory. But that figure stopped existing the moment he faked his retirement from the Jets to sign with the Vikings.

    Now all I see is Brett Favre, the person. And the person isn’t worth the %#$ I take every morning.

    1. All good points. But I see the transition… from well-loved Packers QB to polarizing figure to Jet to Viking to embattled, injured wreck… as the saddest part of the whole thing.

    2. Ok,now take a breath and admit that you’ll be cheering and tearing up like the rest of us when he returns for Favre day and when he’s inducted.

      1. Honestly? I can’t antecipate how I’ll feel. I know that, if right now his jersey was retired, I wouldn’t care much. Wouldn’t be excited nor angry. But who knows how I’ll feel about it in the future…

  13. Excellent job giving a warrior his due.I know it’s tough watching him in that Viking’s uniform ,but I also was saddened by the punishment he took Sunday.He did more with less than any QB except Elway and all this in the frigid conditions of Green Bay.

  14. You have GOT to be kidding me. Really? You want me to feel sorry for a petulant diva that badmouthed the GM, the organization, and our QB to Greta? You want me to feel bad about the little boy that cried wolf time and time again? You want me to feel sorry for a guy that called the Detroit Lions proactively and tried giving them help? You want me to feel sorry for a guy that only wanted to play for our #1 rivals to stick it to the Packers, an organization that took a chance on an immature, alcoholic, lazy piece of garbage that could have rotted in Atlanta forever? You want me to feel sorry for a Minnesota Viking?

    You’re not an apologist, you’re insane. Your hero is not what you think. He’s NEVER been that. He’s about 1 thing and 1 thing only. “BrettFavre” The brand. The personality. The having fun out there playing like a kid awesome teammate on his John Deere wearing his wranglers.

    I know it must be hard having to face the reality that YOUR hero is anything but a hero. Please don’t take that as license to insinuate that all Packer fans should feel sorry for him.

    Screw Brett Favre, and frankly Andy, grow up. Time for hero worship should be over when you get above 12 years old.

Comments are closed.