The New York Jets announced yesterday that Brett Favre had notified them of his intention to retire from the NFL.  Naturally, Brett didn’t condescend to contact the Jets directly, instead instructing his agent Bus Cook to inform them of his decision.  Brett did, however, find the time to let ESPN know of his retirement in an e-mail message.  There were also reports that Favre asked the Jets for his release prior to his decision to retire, a charge that Favre later denied.  Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that Brett denied something that later turned out to be true.  Remember last year when reports first surfaced that Brett was reconsidering his ‘retirement’ from the Packers?  Brett at that time dismissed the news in a text message as “just rumors”. 
Upon hearing the news that Brett had “retired”, my initial reaction was ‘insert your own punchline here’.  Unfortunately at this point, Brett has become such a parody of himself that his “retirements”, like Super Bowls, should be numbered in roman numerals.  It was thought that Brett was ready to retire two years ago, after an emotional post-game interview following a season ending game at Chicago.  Then after leading the Packers to within one game of the Super Bowl in 2007, when virtually everyone assumed he would come back to build on that season, Brett crossed us up by “officially” announcing his “retirement”; going so far as to hold an emotional press conference in Green Bay.  Maybe what Brett really had in mind at that time was his retirement  from the Packers .  So, does that make this Retirement III?  We probably won’t know for sure until NFL teams at least go through 2009 OTAs and mini-camps.  And maybe not even then.  I’m just waiting for the Favre apologists to start blaming Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum for pushing Favre out the door.
One thing we do know for sure is that Brett still holds an unhealthy resentment toward the current Packers management; one that figures to delay any ceremony retiring Brett’s number 4 with the team.  According to an interview that Favre did with ESPN’s Ed Werder following the conclusion of his season with the Jets, Favre blames Packers General Manager Ted Thompson for pretty much everything short of global warming.  It’s one thing for Brett to question the way that Thompson goes about his job.  But, in making it a personal issue between him and Thompson, and indeed taking his bitterness public, Favre comes off as a petulant little kid who appears to feel he’s bigger than the team for which plays. 
Favre is arguably the greatest player in the long history of the storied Packer franchise.  He has an undeniable date five years from now in Canton, OH.  From a personal standpoint, I feel privileged to have witnessed his magnificent career first-hand.  He provided countless memorable moments (both good and not so good) and helped make it fun again to be a Packer fan.  But the events of the past year have cast him in a decidedly different light.  For though my admiration for Favre’s ability to play quarterback remains unchanged, I doubt I will again be able to view him in the way I once did.  And that’s the pity.    


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  • Jon

    It was always about Brett.

  • Gary

    You mean to say TT isn’t responsible for global warming? As far as being the greatest player in Packer history, I’m still leaning towards Bart Starr.

    • http://mike Mike

      Remember I said “arguably”. Since QBs are generally judged by championships won, Starr would be the clear winner for me as well.

  • Janet

    As a packer fan who lives in MN, I was glad Brett wanted to continue playing the game and as a result, I enjoyed watching Brett with the Jets this past year. We didn’t get all the buzz like you did in the WI papers, but based on what I had heard, I was dissappointed in the way the Packer management handled everything. It was hard to read about some Packer fans turning against Brett in a sense after all he did for the franchise. In my opinion, he was the franchise. As far as the last year and all that happened, it doesn’t change my opinion of him at all. His record and actions on the field will stand the test of time and will outweigh anything else people remember about Brett Favre. Other than packer fans, I don’t even think most people will remember him playing for the Jets or all the crap surrounding his retirement(s).

    • http://mike Mike

      As a practical matter, you are correct. Favre will ultimately be judged by what he did on the field. But if viewed only through that prism, he becomes just another of a handful of great quarterbacks. No small thing that. Yet Favre was celebrated as much for how he played the game as how well he played the game. What endeared him to fans like myself was his portrayal as an ‘everyman’. The events of the past year have shown that perception to be flawed. They suggest that Favre is just another pro athlete with a sense of entitlement that thinks he’s above the game. If you want to criticize me for my naivete, that’s fair. But it doesn’t alter my feeling of disappointment. IMO, everyone, including Favre himself, would have been better served if he had stayed retired as a Packer.

      • http://PocketDoppler Carol

        I agree 1000% Mike. Favre made Packer football fun again, but he should have stayed retired. I was one of those fans who cried right along with him, listening to his “retirement” annoucement. And when he changed his mind, I was one of those fans who felt used. Then…he asked the Pack to release him (and the Vikes were mentioned…), well, I won’t even start…
        Now, when I see Favre on the cover of SI, as “Sportsman of the Year”, all I can do is laugh at him.