It’s been nearly one month since it was first reported that Brett Favre had an "itch" to play football again. In that time, the itch has morphed into a full-blown rash that has certainly changed the public perceptions of both Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
At the moment, it doesn’t look like Favre will show up at Packers training camp…but anyone who’s followed this story knows things can change by the hour. Favre can change his mind in the middle of one of his run-on sentences. Don’t forget, this was the guy who, when word first leaked out that he may want to come back to the NFL, said it was all rumor. He may sit tight in Mississippi, or he could fly from Hattiesburg to Green Bay in hopes of forcing Green Bay management to make a trade with the Minnesota Vikings, Favre’s apparent preferred destination. Talk about doubling the spite factor: his arrival at camp forces the organization to move more quickly than it wants, take less than it expects in a trade, and on top of all that, Favre gets a chance to stick it to his former team at least twice per year.
Beyond the Darrell Bevell connection, the Vikes’ version of the West Coast offense, an improved Minnesota defense, and the presence of a stud like Adrian Peterson in the backfield, has anyone else considered that Favre really likes the idea of playing eight regular season games and potential playoff contests in the climate-controlled Metrodome, rather than playing outdoors at Lambeau Field?
However, after Mark Murphy’s trip this week to Hattiesburg, Favre may have 20-million reasons to stay retired. It’s interesting that the organization never talked publicly about Favre’s post-retirement role with the Packers prior to this current reinstatement stalemate…perhaps they were waiting for the September 8th jersey number retirement ceremony at Lambeau Field.
There is some logic to the Packers ploy: in essence, they’re giving Favre a job, a post-football role as a sort of team ambassador. Maybe this is best for all parties concerned. The Packers avoid a public relations nightmare; Favre goes straight to Packers Alumni Sainthood and continues to be loved by Green Bay fans for sticking around, albeit not as the team’s quarterback…AND he has something to do other than cut his grass and clear brush at his Hattiesburg estate.
As the Favre saga played out over the month of July, I kept thinking about the 1988 movie "Everybody’s All-American," and the character of Gavin Grey, played by Dennis Quaid. In the movie, Gavin Grey, a college football hero, struggles to adapt to life in his post-playing days. Favre’s not quite there yet, but there are parallels, beyond the fact that both the real-life Favre and the fictional Grey are aw-shucks type of guys from the south.
Consider these quotes from a recent Sports Illustrated article by Peter King:
"I don’t know what I’ll do, "said a weary Favre, running a hand over his customary six-day stubble. "It’s strange to think I’ll never play for the Packers again. Does it hurt? Hurt’s not quite it. To see those fans I love cheer for another quarterback…"
The Favre quote continues, followed by this one from Brett’s wife Deanna:
"You’re a football player," said Deanna, who doesn’t say much but when she speaks is usually spot-on. "You need to play football."
I’m not even an arm-chair psychologist, but it sounds to me that someone and his wife haven’t come to grips with the notion of life after football. Of course, from Peter King’s on-line description of the Favre estate, Brett and Deanna probably don’t have to worry about making ends meet–so it’s not like he’s a guy recently laid off at the Janesville GM plant.
With that movie reference out of the way, how about we take a trip down memory lane to the earlier days of professional wrestling on TV? Let me state for the record that I figured out very early on that this was not actual competition, but campy, low-budget entertainment with some oddball characters that was always good for a laugh. Occasionally, the villians became good guys (e.g., Jesse Ventura) and good guys became villians (Jerry Blackwell changing his name to Sheik Ayatollah Jerry Blackwell and forming an evil alliance with Sheik Adnan al Kaissie sometime around the Iranian hostage crisis). In that vein, there’s a small part of me that really wants to see Brett Favre wearing a Vikings uniform on September 8th at Lambeau Field…not that I’m saying any of this has been orchestrated by the NFL or the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.
Besides, September 8th is my birthday…don’t I deserve a good gift before I get REALLY old and have to ponder my own retirement?
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on August 1, 2008