I love you, Brett Favre!
See how easy that was?
The strange thing about this is that I even had to say it at all. Why wouldn’t everyone blather on about the gunslingin’ quarterback who just loves to play the game? Really, he just has fun out there. Besides, it’s impossible to write a sentence about Brett Favre without using the word, “just.”
Here’s the thing that’s just so lovable about Brett Favre (two names, please) — he always, always, always delivers. Every time. He’s like Michael Jordan that way. Tiger Woods, too. Whenever we need something in a football game, Brett Favre makes sure we get it.
Some say Brett Favre is overrated as a quarterback. OK, that might be true when talking about the actual quarterbacking skills. Throughout his career, Brett Favre has had 96 games in which he has thrown at least two interceptions, and seven games in which he has thrown at least four interceptions. Brett Favre has also been to the conference championship five times and has one more win than Donovan McNabb (one more Super Bowl victory, too).
So when it comes to the stats and his performance in big playoff games, yeah, Brett Favre might be a bit overrated. But then again, aren’t we all?
The truth is Brett Favre is completely underrated when it comes to the true essence of the NFL. In terms of the entertainment dollar, no one beats Brett Favre. Sure, Peyton Manning comes close, but that’s like comparing Superman to Batman. Superman can make the earth spin in reverse on its axis because he’s not even an earthling. He’s a mild-mannered freak from another planet and he flies. Superman is not perfect, but he rarely makes the same mistake twice.
Batman is human. He has hubris and vices. He falls down and gets concussions and still figures out how to go back to work only to repeat the entire process again.
Certainly the “humanness” of Brett Favre has been waxed upon for decades. There’s no new material there and in our selfish, mundanity of our everyday lives, we look at the rehashing of Brett Favre’s story as if it’s just another TV repeat. Worse, in this case the Brett Favre show isn’t even in syndication.
However, no one ever talks about how spectacularly Brett Favre fails. Sure, some quarterbacks throw bad passes in important parts of the game. Sometimes passes are dropped and tackles are missed. You know, the same ol’, same ol’.
But when Brett Favre goes down it’s like that old-timey newsreel of the Hindenburg exploding. Some guys watch their seasons go down the drain with a kneel or a simple expiration of time. Not Brett Favre. He grabs a flamethrower, amps it up as high as it will go and burns it all to the ground.
And we should love him for it.
When it comes to putting on a great show, yes, Brett Favre is ridiculously underrated. Better yet, there is no middle ground with him—people have extreme emotions to one side or the other. Yet the thing about the folks who loathe Brett Favre (just the football player, I hope) is their emotions are wrong. Certainly that’s a difficult judgment to make about another person, but it’s true. You are all wrong about this guy.
He’s great because he’s never lets you down.
How many guys have ended the past three seasons for three different teams with interceptions? I don’t have the figures or the charts, but I’m guessing this feat has never been done in the history of the NFL. In fact, the costly interception that kept the Vikings out of the Super Bowl (again) and ruined two weeks of unadulterated Brett Favre media coverage wasn’t even the worst (shouldn’t that be best?) one. Frankly, the interception he threw against the Eagles at the Linc in the 2003 Divisional Playoff game was totally awesome.
Remember that one? It was set up by the 4th-and-26 reception by Freddie Mitchell from Donovan McNabb to send the game into overtime. Then, after winning the coin toss, Brett Favre took the first snap, dropped back and threw the ball so high and far into the air that it was like a punt. Brian Dawkins was standing by himself so far back in the secondary that it seemed as if he should have called for a fair catch on Brett Favre’s punt/interception toss.
It was the most inexplicable throw by a quarterback in the history of the game. It was like a game of all-tackle-one broke out in the middle of a playoff game.
Sure, like any addicts we have are enablers like Chris Berman of ESPN who goes on and on about Brett Favre with a voice that makes one want to drive an ice pick into their middle ear. But the truth is we’re really going to miss him. Perfection, as we’ve learned, is sometimes a façade and always boring.
Brett Favre was never perfect and never boring.