Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Favre wimps out

For one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, Brett Favre's decision to retire has "wimp" written all over it.

Of course, notwithstanding any contract obligations, the decision is Favre's to make. The news, however, stunned Favre's teammates and Packer fans everywhere.

"I know I can still play, but it's like I told my wife, I'm just tired mentally. I'm just tired," Favre told ESPN's Chris Mortensen in a voice mail message.

Tuesday's surprise move comes after the 38-year-old three-time MVP set several league records, including most career touchdown passes, in one of his most successful seasons.

Favre's agent, Bus Cook, said the quarterback told him of his decision Monday night.

"Nobody pushed Brett Favre out the door, but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door, either," Cook said.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson thanked Favre for 16 years of wonderful memories with the team.

"He has had one of the greatest careers in the history of the National Football League, and he is able to walk away from the game on his own terms - not many players are able to do that," Thompson said in a statement.

Favre's departure comes after rumors that he wanted the Packers to acquire Randy Moss for him to stay with the team but Moss yesterday signed a new deal with the New England Patriots.

Before the Packers' Jan. 12 divisional playoff game against Seattle, Favre told his hometown newspaper that he wasn't approaching the game as if it would be his last and was more optimistic than in years past about returning.

"For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game," Favre told the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald. "I would like to continue longer."

But Favre finished the season on a sour note, struggling in subzero temperatures in a 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game.

"The Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude," Thompson said. "The uniqueness of Brett Favre his personality, charisma and love of the game - undoubtedly will leave him as one of the enduring figures in NFL history."

Thompson is correct and the Packers have handled Favre's childish indecision with an enormous amount of class.

For a player whose on-the-field performance was the epitome of class, Favre's retirement announcement is borderline crass.

I don't buy Favre's bit about being "tired" because he still has a lot to give. For example, Favre could have come back and split the quarterback duties with backup Aaron Rodgers, giving "A-Rod" the benefit of his mentoring. For someone who has expressed an interest in coaching, this would have been a perfect opportunity for him.

Yes, Favre is one of the greatest. Yes, if he feels he can't continue to do the job he ought to retire. But you don't just spend 16 seasons with the Packers and walk away on the basis of a couple of telephone messages. He owed the team -- which, in the case of the Packers, includes the fans -- more class. Plus his timing makes it more difficult for the Packers to shop the free agent market, assuming that Rodgers will get the starting role.

One of the greatest players in the history of professional football should have gone out with class, not as a wimp.

Again, my angst in no way, shape or form should take away from Favre's career and personal accomplishments. But he should have taken the time to say good-bye.


Anonymous said...

Hold your horses! Packer fans were blessed with one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. He made mediocre players look great, he took mediocre teams to the playoffs. He brought out the best in everyone around him. Brett is not one to go out with a big press conference, look at his history, he is a down to earth blue collar man. I can't believe Packer fans would have the gaull to have anything but praise for this first class man. You have no clue what it took out of him this past year. I am not a Packer fan but I respect him for what he has done for the game (even though he destroyed the Bears). Nothing but praise and kudos for one of the greatest ever! As a Bears fan: I'm glad he retired! Sports reporters well, they will spin every word any way they can, would you expect anything different. Stop the bashing of Brett because I am putting the curse of the 80s back upon you!

RAG said...

We're going to have to agree to disagree.

First, I never took one iota of dust away from Favre's accomplishments -- and made great efforts to praise them.

Second, the decision was his to make, subject to any contractual obligations.

But I think he owed his employer, his coworkers and his fans better, especially if he is that "down to earth" person. If he was going to hang up the spurs, fine, but have a little class in doing so.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear that Deanna Favre is replacing Brett? She has been married to Brett all of these years and as a result is best qualified to lead the team.

Anonymous said...

Favre is a genius, leave on top...if you watched the bears game and that giants game, that was not a man that wanted to play football in the cold any more...he just didn't want to be out there on the field, which is fine, hopefully rogers can do SOMETHING next year...

RAG said...

I saw Favre's press cobference.

For the most part, I am wrong except for that he could have made the call a little sooner and with more coordination.

His press conference was all class.