Favre’s future foggy
Monday afternoon I was walking through the grocery store and happened upon an aisle in which two men were talking about the Packers-Vikings playoff game and, among other things, Brett Favre’s possible retirement.
Having grown up in Packer country, it’s always interesting how people other than obsessed cheeseheads feel about Favre. However, being fortunate enough to now have lived on both coasts, in three different cities over the past few years, I have begun to realize it’s not just Wisconsin that loves Brett Favre – it’s NFL fans from every corner of the country.
Whether it’s his dramatic late-game comebacks, his passion for the game or down-to-earth personality, fans everywhere seem to embrace Favre.
After finishing this season with a 31-17 playoff loss to the Vikings, Favre is once again faced with the decision of retirement.
Originally, I felt this was an issue of paramount importance to only the Packer faithful, but taking a closer look has revealed that many with no connections to the Packers are clamoring for another year for number four.
After the playoff loss, Favre addressed the media in regard to his retirement decision saying, “If I come back, I want to do it for the right reasons and that’s to lead this team to a Super Bowl and to give everything I can possibly give. I have done that to this point.”
One of the wrong reasons to come back, in Favre’s mind, would be for the money. He is scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2005, but anyone who has followed Favre knows that money isn’t going to play a key role in this decision.
Many fans think this decision is a no-brainer. Favre is only 35-years-old, both Dan Marino and John Elway retired at the age of 38 so he could surely play one more year – right?
Statistically, he is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He finished the regular season fifth in passing yards and 10th in passer rating. He threw for 4,088 yards, the fourth highest number of years in his 14 years in the NFL.
And his completion percentage this year?
By finishing with a 64.1 completion percentage in the regular season, Favre tied his second best year in that statistical category.
I think the majority of NFL followers would agree that physically Favre could compete for another year, no problem. I would argue, however, that it’s not the physical part of the game Favre is worrying about right now – it’s the mental part that he wants to make sure he is up to going through again.
Think of all of the events he has lived through this past year.
A year ago in December, Favre lost his father Irv, with whom he was extremely close, to a heart attack.
During the beginning of October, his bother-in-law Casey Tynes was killed in all-terrain vehicle accident on his family property in Mississippi.
Things became even worse toward the end of October when his wife Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer.
To end the year, Favre was a pallbearer in the funeral of his good friend and teammate Reggie White.
Dealing with all of these events and at the same time carrying a professional football team on his back, must have taken an enormous toll on his mental well-being.
If Farve does not return for another year of carving up defenses, it will be because emotionally he is plain worn out.
However, after watching Favre play since I was in fifth grade, I don’t believe that the passion for the game that burns so deeply in his heart is gone.
Favre needs football in his life almost as much as the game of football needs him.
He has too much pride to go out losing to the Vikings – of all teams – in a game in which he threw four interceptions.
My prediction is that Favre will take some time to decompress after a trying season. He will consider his options, but in the end, football is still too important for him to quit before his time has come.
Favre will be back and he will be back with a renewed energy to go out on top.
Maybe I’m fooling myself here – I am a cheesehead after all – but Favre’s not yet ready for retirement.
When he is, he will know 100 percent that he’s done.
If there’s any doubt, like there is now, he’s not going to risk always wondering “what if” he came back for one more year and one more shot at capturing another Super Bowl for the green and gold.
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