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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Favre to Vikings smells like Febreze

Well, apparently, that's done. Or not. Since it's the guy who originally broke the story citing another media person and it hasn't been corroborrated by anyone within the Viking camp. I apparently had a much better handle on the situation that I thought when he originally retired from the Packers over a year ago.

What I wrote then, and still think now. It's like dating someone, knowing that it's best for both parties involved. You reminisce about the good times but ultimately realize that it was the right choice. And the way things have shook out Brett seems like the girl who becomes rather promiscuous. You're sad to see him sully himself in the eyes of others, you know that they're special, but ultimately glad that it's no longer your problem.

I'm looking forward to the Viking fans who ripped him when he played for the Pack breaking down when they have cheer for him to have their team be successful. Schaedenfreude. Good times. This will be the only Brett Favre post coming from yours truly, because I'm as sick of the whole song and dance as you are.

March 5, 2008

Brett Favre is retiring today. Supposedly. I’ve heard the talk before. He’ll be back. Or so I and millions of others hope. I try not to be partial to the point of abandoning reality or selfish as a fan, but with Favre there was always something. It could be great or it could be terrible, but there was always something to watch.

I didn’t think that it would affect me. He's an old professional football player. That's what they do. They retire. We knew it was coming. Or possibly coming. I laughed at my buddy when he was talking about how stunned he was when there was a false alarm on SportSCenter, and he just sat there and couldn’t function.

That couldn’t happen to me. I’m a fan, yes, but up until the point where I invest an unusual, unhealthy or mildly psychotic amount of interest or emotion. Aparently I forgot that fan is short for fanatic. No matter how far I try to keep it hidden under the fa├žade of a responsible, respectable human being.

One of the ladies I work with just casually walked by and said, “Brett’s retiring”. It didn’t hit me at first. What is she talking about? We don’t work with a Bre…wait a minute… It can’t be…He can’t… He did. And it did. Affect me, that is. Not to the point of the lady who said there were no dry eyes in the plant when they heard. I can’t do that. Not for someone I’ve never met. Not yet. Maybe later. During Favre 4Ever. That usually gets me.

I don’t want to say that I didn’t appreciate him while he was playing. I did. But I’d like to think I had a more balanced view of his play than most Packer fans. Too many times he would force a ball or make a dumb play and announcers and fans would fall into the ‘gunslinger’ trap. I wouldn’t fall into it, I'd say, I’m a knowledgeable fan. Or so I like to think. A fan of the game, of playing the right way, of not playing dumb. That throw was terrible, stupid and indefensible. (Essentially like me writing.) But that’s what you get with Brett, they say, you have to take those for all the plays he does make.

And he would make those plays. Oh boy, would he make those freaking plays. The ones that defy description, that are pure improvisation, that are the result of competitive enjoyment that make you look to your dad, your family, your buddies, the random people you’re sitting next to at Lambeau and all you can do is shake your head and laugh and high five and bang on the drum all day.

He would make ridiculous back-handed flips while scrambling to his left. He would wrap the ball all the way around on a draw to the running back. He would fake a throw after handing the ball off. He would fake a throw fifteen yard past the line of scrimmage and make defenders look ridiculous. He would get up after being sacked and get in the D-Lineman’s face. He would play entire series without buckling his chinstrap. He would thread the ball into ridiculously small places with incredible velocity. He would take off his helmet and run around like someone’s little brother in the backyard. In the Super Bowl. He would throw a snowball after he threw a touchdown and give a ref a high-five. He would play.

I’m sure people wanted him to grow up. And he did. Just the right amount. He became a husband, father and elder statesman of the green and gold with the grizzled gray beard. He became more responsible. Got over his share of demons. But he never lost the fun of playing. Never became stuffy or preachy. When he was miked up he always came up with some gems:

-What, you think God never farted?
-This ain’t the damn Ice Capades.
-Yip cabbage.
-Mr. Miyagi.
-Whoa Nelly, Keith Jackson. ... Take back some of them flapjacks, I gotta stay HUNGRAAY for the Crimson Tide.
-Put ‘er in the ol’ vice. Put ‘er in the ol’ vice. Put ‘er in the ol’ vice.

I'd buy a DVD collection with all of the miked up footage on it.

In all likelihood, I am still in the denial phase of grief, against my better judgment, thinking that there can be no other Packer quarterback. Starr and Majik and all the others were a logical progression to Favre. I’m sure I’m not alone. But there will be another, and people will love him, too. Just not in the same way. Well, maybe, but it's too soon, and I feel blasphemous even mentioning the possibility.

I feel like I lost something and I can’t verbalize what was lost and therefore cannot come any closer to accepting it. But you can’t describe him accurately with words you needed to see him. He was both ends of the spectrum, sometimes at once. The one who waffled and held the Packers hostage personnel-wise in previous off-seasons. The one who then brought the NFC Championship Game back to Green Bay. The one who started and ended his NFL career with an interception, the one who threw more of them than anyone else in the history of the league. But also the one who threw more touchdowns than anyone else in the history of the league. The one who was Four.

I love the way he is as all boys are. Or at least in their mind. You don’t think I can play anymore? Watch. I’ll show you. What, now you want me to stick around because now you think I can play? I’m done. I want to be done, so I'm through. But, I told you so. {Now you think I'm washed up? Give me my pads. I'll show you.}

And I can see the boyish Cheshire grin peeking out from underneath a ragged red hat. {Even though I want spectacular train wreck plays against the Pack this year.}

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