Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This is about as archetypal a Brett Favre hagiography piece as we're going to get...

Pete Prisco?

Brett Favre was always that carefree gunslinger, throwing footballs into tight spots and putting himself into a few as well.

OK - that's the thesis of this article. I'm glad it took only seven words to reach "gunslinger", which no Brett Favre hero worship column could be complete without. Also, I'm guessing these "tight spots" he "[put] himself into" are going to be more than a little glossed over and apologized for. But hey, I've already read the article, so it's not really fair for me to "predict" what's coming next. Like I care...

We all could relate to him.

I fucking hated him. But then I am a Bears fan. Still, what was so universal about this guy?

He loved the game.

You know who fucking hates the game? Dan Ma-fucking-rino, that's who. Non-Super-Bowl-winning motherfucker. I'm picking up on what Djmmm (rhymes with Eminem, apparently) said in a comment, where he suggested Marino is the anti-Favre just because he never won a Super Bowl.

We loved watching him play.

Are we still on reasons why we could all relate to him? Because I can definitely relate to how much I love watching myself play. Wait...what?

He was fearless. He was daring. He was the every man, the Southern kid with the aw-shucks, down-home attitude who happened to have a rocket for a right arm.

Cliche, cliche, cliche, I'm not Southern, cliche, cliche, and as for this rocket...well, I too have a rocket on my person. I just keep it elsewhere. God, I'm immature.

Also, what part of that "aw-shucks, down-home attitude" involved being a colossal dick to Javon Walker?

He also had flaws, which we all do.

Yes, that's true. For instance, I sometimes leave the toilet seat up. Not that I, as a blogger, would ever share a bathroom with a girl, so that would never be an issue...but still, bad form and all that.

He had a substance-abuse problem early in his career.

Does Diet Sunkist count as a substance? Because otherwise I don't have that particular flaw. And trust me - I'm early in my career as a blogger, and temptations are everywhere. Why just the other day I got some spam email...and nearly read it. I know, I know. I just can't tell what's safe anymore.

He was addicted to pain medication.

Does Showtime's Dexter count as pain medication? Since otherwise I've again got to distance myself from Brett on this one. But still, yeah, we've all got our little flaws.

He loved the nightlife as a young player, and admittedly was not the family man he should have been at times.

That's the first remotely awesome thing I've read about Brett Favre all day. Can I please hear more about Brett Favre, crazed hellion? Please?

Maybe that's why so many loved Favre so much; fans saw themselves in him.

I haven't seen even the slightest bit of myself in the guy. But then, I hate Favre. Does that indirectly prove Prisco right? Because I'm willing to adjust my thinking to whatever it has to be if it means proving some random columnist from CBS Sports wrong.

With his career seemingly over, his decision to retire coming out Tuesday, Favre leaves the game as one of the greatest passers of all time.

Absolutely true. How about we just leave it at that? Or at least limit ourselves to substantiative discussion of his play on the field? Or, if we absolutely have to get into psychoemotional bullshit, could you at least spare us the D-grade philosophizing and just print some emails from Packers fans? Eh, who am I kidding; Packers fans aren't literate.

More important, he leaves as a better man.

So...I'm guessing this isn't going to be a discussion of his DPAR and DVOA? Ah well...it was worth a shot.

Favre grew up, wised up. He stopped going out. He focused on his family. The troubles of his early years were left behind.

He got addicted to painkillers in his fifth season. Sure, in a seventeen year career, that might still count as "the early years", but c'mon...Tom Brady had his third ring by year five. Unfair comparison? Absolutely. But I couldn't give a flying fuck if I tried. Anyway, the real point is you should be pretty fucking mature by your fifth season. Who else would have that shit excused for them as youthful antics? Hell, Dan Marino was forever immature because he didn't win the Super Bowl in year two.

The young Favre was brash and arrogant and got caught up in the trappings of being an NFL star. The Favre of recent years dealt with tragedy after tragedy as a mature man, making him a better person.

He smiled more. He joked more. He got closer to his teammates.

Except for Aaron Rodgers, to whom he apparently completely refused to offer any guidance or help whatsoever. I'm not even bothering to look this up; I just heard it once a few years ago and I'm repeating it as fact. Because this all just makes me so ANGRY!!! GAH!!! SMASH!!!

When Packers coach Mike McCarthy took over in 2006, he didn't exactly have a warm relationship with Favre. That changed and the two became close.

Couple of girly girls. Bet they had slumber parties and talked about their feelings (that Joe Philbin is so dreamy!).

Pshaw! You think Belichick and Brady have even spoken to each other since 2002? Hell, you think Belichick has even spoken since 2002? Fuck and no. Advantage: mutual distate.

They teased each other a lot. McCarthy fined Favre for being late to a practice when Favre didn't pay close enough attention to the time, which Favre respected.

Apparently "teasing" Brett Favre involves "enforcing" "rules" of the "team." Good to know. Also, I don't care for teasing that doesn't involve massively impractical pranks designed to suggest a teammate has been traded to Japan. Then, to show it's a joke, you punch your wife in the face. Or so I've heard.

Seriously, fuck Brett Myers. Just generally, fuck all Bretts. Dude from Flight of the Conchords gets an exemption because he's technically a Brit, not a Brett, but the New Zealand accent could fool you. I'm going to keep monitoring that.

Favre always wanted the appearance that he was one of the guys, and the fine showed that he was.

So he only wanted the appearance, not the reality? Brett Favre: Machiavellian operator of the highest order. You know what they say...the Packers have always had a rivalry with Eastasia. I think Eastasia is the Lions, but I'm not a 100% on that.

He was distant at times with teammates in his career, keeping to a select circle, but in recent years that changed, too. The outer layer of protection wasn't as hard to crack.

Yeah, he stepped out of his shell and proceeded to completely crap on Javon Walker. What a guy!!!

Last season, after the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road, Favre visited with friends and family in the hallway of Arrowhead Stadium. His brother and young nephew were there. Favre's face lit up as he talked about the kid's ability to throw the football. He made the kid show his motion to McCarthy. The coach said he had better footwork than his uncle.

Brett Favre then punched Mike McCarthy in the face. Wait, wrong Brett.

"He's going to break all my high school passing records," Favre said.

Aw, what a self-deprecating guy.

"Of course, my team ran it too much," he said. He broke out in laughter.

What a total fucking dick. I bet he also crushes his nephew's sandcastles when they go to the beach. Nobody's beating the authentic Spanish colonial garrison he made back in '74. That shit was solid as a fucking sand rock.

You could tell that this was a man content with where he was in life. The Packers success of last season rejuvenated Favre.

Thank goodness we wasted two seasons of a franchise's time so that in year three Favre could be fucking rejuvenated.

After a few years where some questioned whether he could get it done anymore,

He couldn't.

Favre became a star again.

Now that would require a fawning media to write endless puff pieces about him as part of some half-baked immortality scheme. And what sort of media would do that? C'mon, this isn't the financial press, and Brett Favre isn't retired Fed chief Alan Greenspan.

In 2005, he threw 20 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions. That arm that made him so daring in the past, able to squeeze balls into windows few could, now was a problem.

There is a really immature image in that second sentence, although it's the sort of crazy shit I totally wouldn't put past an adolescent Brett Favre. I'm just going to point that out and leave it at that.

He couldn't strong-arm passes into the tight spots like he once did.

And yet he did. Well, he at least kept strong-arming them, but I think when the other team catches them those don't technically count as "passes."

He followed that up with an 18-touchdown, 18-interception season in 2006. Both years he had passer ratings in the 70s. Was he done?

Honestly, he probably should have been, and if he didn't have the Packers franchise by the (foot)balls, he totally would have been.

He pondered retirement, but came back last season to lead the Packers to within a game of the Super Bowl. He threw 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and his passer rating was 95.7.

I believe you mean "within one career-ending interception of the Super Bowl."

The Giants upset the Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field, denying Favre a chance at wining his third Super Bowl. His last pass that day, his last pass ever, was a poorly thrown ball that was picked off by Giants corner Corey Webster in overtime. The pick set up the Giants' game-winning field goal.

At least you devoted an entire paragraph to it, which is more than you can say for Jim Mashek.

Because of the way that game ended, many speculated Favre would be back. But when I spoke to McCarthy at the Super Bowl, the coach wasn't so sure. Favre was conflicted about his family, saying that football was taking him away from them too much.

Would young Favre have even contemplated that for a minute?

Did young Favre have a family? Why should young Favre have to contemplate making time for a family he didn't yet have? Dude, get the fuck off young Favre's back.

How could he when his love of the nightlife took him away even more?

Favre just couldn't get enough of the Green Bay nightlife. And who can blame him, when two of the four Google image results are fucking Packers logos?

Favre leaves the game holding the records for passing yards, completions and touchdowns. He's also the all-time leader in interceptions, a sign of just how daring a quarterback he was.

I'm going to go with that being a sign of how inaccurate a quarterback he was. Yeah..."inaccurate" is the more accurate word. Maybe it isn't the daring choice, but it's not the inaccurate choice. Or did I just blow your mind?

To be great, you have to take chances.

Really? I could have sworn you had to be successful. You know, like this guy. Lowest interception percentage EVAH!!! WOOT!!!

Chances lead to mistakes. But that was Favre.

Just answer me this: why does that have to be a good thing? Isn't it possible to write the story of Favre without romanticizing the negative points of his playing style?

At times, I thought Favre got a pass from the media.

Really...you think?

His problems with abusing pain medication seem like a lifetime ago. Wasn't that performance enhancing? Yet it is rarely mentioned, even with the focus in all sports on those things.

I think the painkillers might be more like cortisone, which is legal in MLB. So I think you might be barking up the wrong tree with calling them performance enhancers. Though definitely points for effort. The sad thing, of course, is that this deletion of an ugly episode from Favre's life has nothing on the sort of whitewashing we saw in the obits of another former Packer. I'm sorry, I'm still pissed Reggie White got a free pass on that shit he said. What can I say? I'm a total asshole, but I try to be a straight shooter about it.

Instead, the focus when it comes to Favre is on his records and his streak of never missing a start. Of his dealing with the death of his father, the death of his brother-in-law and the heartache of watching his wife's fight with breast cancer, which she is winning.

Well, that's...factually accurate.

Maybe seeing him change is why Favre is so revered. The fork in the road was there and he took the right one.

The boy became a man -- a good one.

And then he acted like a vaguely smug asshole about it. Or am I just projecting my own inadequacies onto him? Yes, yes I think I am.

Where the man ranks in history as an NFL quarterback is up for debate. I don't think he's in the top five, but he's in the top 10.

I'll go with Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady ahead of him. Then it might be Favre.

For me, any list starts and ends with Slinging Sammy Baugh. Because I'm ninety-three.

As much as any of them, he was a joy to watch. You never knew what was coming next. It could be an underhand pass for a completion. It could be a laser for 50 yards that made your jaw drop. It could be a terribly forced pass that made his coaches wince.

Maybe it was the unpredictability that drew us to Favre. You couldn't turn away because you just might miss something truly special.

Yeah...like an interception returned for touchdown by your favorite player. That was always fun.

As he walks away from the game after 17 years, that long list of passing records going with him, Favre should do so with his head held high.

Kinda hard to hold your head high on a tractor. You should probably look where you're going.

Not only did he show greatness on the field but he became pretty damn good off it, which is the most important game of them all.

But what about Halo? Isn't that an important game too? How's he doing there?


Djmmm46 said...

Picking up on the Marino-Favre thing, I just remembered something-- Marino threw more picks in a season a grand total of ONCE, and it was his last season when he was 38 years old, with loose bone spurs in his throwing shoulder, and a season in which he played only 11 games. Other than that, his worst year in that department was 1989, where he threw 24 TDs and 22 picks.

Favre, on the other hand,threw at least as many INTs as TDs in four seasons over the course of his career, including the infamous 29 pick season.

Bill Simmons often points out that Favre has been overrated for sometime and costs his team games, like Marino did at the end of his career. I agree with the first part of that, but the latter part is bogus. The only real bad year of Marino's career was his last, and he was wise enough to walk away then.

Djmmm46 said...

Also, fuck all Bretts? Surely, you don't include Bret THE HITMAN Hart? And if you do, I'm assuming that you're pandering to get Sean Michaels to read this blog.

That Heart Break Kid... So dreamy!

Archie Micklewhite said...

He's a Bret, not a Brett, so he's OK...for now.

Also, though I think your Dolphins love is maybe biasing you a little towards Daniel Constantine Marino (best middle name in sports), I still think he gets so much shit he doesn't deserve. I think the best modern comparison is still Peyton Manning, not Brett Favre, and Peyton is one of the greatest players I will ever see. Seriously, what's the difference between Marino and Manning? Does it really come down to one game? Because I think Marino would have stood a very good chance against Sexy Rexy.