Thursday, March 6, 2008

Farewell Brett

Though the major focus of this blog right now is on hockey, I'd be remiss if I didn't take a moment to honor the retirement of one of football's greatest players and a true gentleman, Brett Favre.

I imagine there are an awful lot of testimonials being written about Brett now that he has formally announced he is leaving the game. I honestly cannot think of an individual more deserving of such tributes.

He is the current holder of many quarterbacking records, including : Most career passing touchdowns, most career passing yards and most career completions. He has been voted to the Pro Bowl 9 times. He is also a legendary "Ironman": His streak of 253 consecutive starts by a quarterback is truly mindboggling.

However impressive these stats are, though, they don't begin to scratch the surface of what an outstanding player Favre was. His "come from behind" heroics thrilled millions of fans as did his Gunslinger mentality. He was as mentally tough a player as ever lived. No matter how many interceptions he threw (he is the career leader in that category as well, by the way), he always came back the next series determined to succeed. His Never Say Die attitude inspired teammates and allowed them to believe that, no matter the score, having Favre as their leader always gave them a chance to win.

He endured quite a few hardships along the way, but instead of surrendering to the grief, he channelled that negative energy and found a way to turn it into a positive performance on the field. What football fan could ever forget the game against the Oakland Raiders on December 22,2003? A day after his father passed away, Brett threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team to a 41-7 victory.

More than anything else, I feel the enduring image that fans will have emblazoned on their minds when they think of Favre is one of him sprinting downfield to celebrate with teammates after throwing a touchdown pass. The pure joy he exhibited was an inspirational message to people of all walks of life. Passion like that cannot be taught. It is that same passion, coupled with a great deal of talent, that allowed him to achieve what he did. He is a role model that every spoiled, pompous millionaire football player who thinks he's bigger than the game ought to consider emulating.

Fare well in your retirement, Brett. The game will miss it's greatest ambassador.

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