Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Thanks for the memories, Brett

Over the past few years I found myself wondering what it would be like when Brett Favre retired. Not just the following season with Aaron Rodgers or Tim Couch whoever starting at quarterback and getting hurt every fifth game, but the day news of his retirement came out.

Here's how: I'm sitting in my office when one of our sales reps comes into my office and says "Guess we'll be drafting a quarterback, huh?" Not being a morning person, and having just read a Favre-less Journal Sentinel online, I didn't make the connection and thought I'd missed the story where Rodgers had gotten hurt mowing his lawn. But he explained it to me, and then the emails, IMs, shouts over the cubicle walls, etc., started pouring in. It wasn't as surreal as I thought it'd be.

No sense in analyzing this, as a million people already have. Why did he do it? Did Ted Thompson force him out? What does Travis Jervey think about it? All interesting questions if you have an endless amount of time to obsess over it.

It does surprise me. It wouldn't have surprised me last year or the year before, when he was coming off marginal to bad seasons on marginal to bad teams. He played well in 2007, his last pass notwithstanding, and the Packers are the youngest team in the league.

Here are my top Favre memories:

-The day Ron Wolf traded for him, I was watching one of Andy's basketball games at St. Mary's in West Bend, and my dad and one of the other parents asked this sports nerd what he knew about him. "Big arm, gunslinger, had a few feet of intestines removed in college," I said.

-Early in his career, when he would send my dad into alternating fits of joy and madness, I often thought that Don Majkowski could have been just as effective in Mike Holmgren's system. Blasphemy, but there's the opinion.

-I was working at Pick 'n Save when he threw that bomb back across the field to Sterling Sharpe at the Silverdome to beat the Lions in the playoffs. Big arm, indeed.

-Hill always called him "Bart Farve" and "cheater" on account of the vicodin addiction.

-A girl who worked with me at Pick 'n Save told me I looked like Favre. You can't see it now, but 17 years ago it wasn't that far-fetched. Maybe she had a thing for me.

-There was a time when Favre had been in the league for a few years and he was still younger than the Badgers' starting quarterback, Darrell Bevell.

-Favre's reaction after throwing that early touchdown to Andre Rison in the Super Bowl win over New England was priceless, made us all remember why we play and love to follow sports.

-I was at Lambeau for the game I thought would end his consecutive-games played streak, when Lavar Arrington just about ripped him in half. That's one tough sonofabitch we had there.

-Could have sworn his last game was the win over the Bears at Soldier Field last New Year's Eve.

Just hope we don't have to see what it's like to be a Bears, Lions or Vikings fan and start every season with a different guy under center. I've got faith in Thompson, although if it is ever definitively proven that he chased my favorite player of all time to his lawn mower before before he was 100% ready, that faith will forever be shaken.

Great career, Brett, thanks for making Sundays fun.

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