Brett Favre Announces his Retirement as the NFL Says Goodbye to an Icon

(Philadelphia, Pa) — Fans always remember where they were and what they were doing when “their guy” did something special.  Well on March 4th 2008 an “American icon” Brett Lorenzo Favre gave his millions of fans one last moment to savor of his Hall of Fame level career as he announced his retirement.  Though he started out as a free bird kid quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons in 1992 – I can still remember loose cannon Falcons head coach Jerry Glanville calling his 3rd string quarterback “Mississippi”, because he couldn’t say ‘Farv’ correctly during his rookie season – the ‘crazy kid’ became a man and then a legend in Green Bay, Wisconsin producing an NFL Films vault worth of treasures in his 17-year career that will surely end in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.His last pass may have been intercepted by the Giants cornerback Corey Webster ending the Packers’ NFC Championship game, but it was fitting that the pass was thrown in the snow of the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau field.  Favre endeared himself to all fans with his genuine kid like enthusiasm for the game.  His giddily waltzed through the storm of seventeen NFL seasons winning a Super Bowl (XXXII, of course winning the MVP) and producing numerous records including most career NFL touchdown passes (442), most career NFL passing yards (61,655), most career pass completions (5,377), most career passing attempts (8,758), most career NFL interceptions thrown (288), his “iron man” most consecutive starts quarterback streak (253 and you can make it 275 if you include the playoffs), and most career victories as a starting quarterback (160).  But it was his enthusiasm along with his everyman humility – Remember Favre’s quote after breaking Dan Marino’s yardage record in week 15, “I’ve said this all along: I’ve never considered myself to be in the same league as Dan Marino”.  He added “What a great passer, maybe the greatest passer ever — that made everyone love him to the point that you had to root for him even if he was on the opposing team’s sideline.  Fans sometimes ask me is it all an act by #4 with all of the smiling, laughing, and his just plain having fun approach to football.  To answer them in a word “No” as his passion for the game stems from a pure love of “street” football that we all remember from our youth. 

Everyone has moments of Favre that they will tell their grandchildren about like the Super Bowl win over the Patriots where he and Reggie White brought the title back to “Title Town”, the magical December 2003 night in Oakland where playing through tears he won one for his Dad throwing four touchdowns in a 41-7 rout as every pass seemed to find a receiver, snowball fighting on the field in the playoff win over the Seahawks this season, taking on Warren Sapp after sacks, blocking on end-around plays downfield, and numerous other stories.  But my Favre memory is a personal one that shows the “character” of the retiring legend.  It happened on December 3rd, 2001 in Jacksonville, Florida.  As the nation was still hurting from September 11th   — I still remember not feeling too safe on the flight —  I went to Florida to do a piece on Packers backup quarterback Henry Burris and to see the Monday Night match-up between the Jags and Packers.  At the Packers’ team hotel it was like a scene out of a rock star’s life as everyone wanted to see Brett as they thought his retirement was near – little did they know he would play until 2007.  Wide-eyed I introduced myself to him by calling him “Mr. Favre” as I stood talking to Burris.  Through all the madness of humanity in the lobby that day, in his “Favre” way he told me to call him “Brett” and proceeded to tell me how well Burris was learning his playbook and praised him.  The moment was only a few minutes, but I appreciated him spending time with us.  Also from talking to Burris, I could sense how he marveled at hanging out with and learning from one of the NFL’s best on a daily basis on the practice field and in meetings.  By the way in one the best games I have seen live, #4 led the Packers to a comeback 28-21 victory throwing for numbers of 24-42, 362 yards, 3 TDs, and no interceptions.

The 2007 NFL season now takes on a significant note as it was the last time that we saw one of the NFL’s All-time greats at his very best.  The rickety 38-year old graybeard’s play was inspiring as he threw for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns leading the Packers to a NFC North division title and back to playoffs culminating in hosting a picturesque NFC Championship game in frigid Lambeau field.  I am glad for Favre that he went out on his own terms, because too often players want one more game and never receive it.  Though football’s John Wayne is through throwing passes, his legend will continue to grow by the day and happily we will all plan to see him in Canton in a few years. 

Good Luck Brett and we will miss you!!